Pirate Party 7yr - Pirate's Code of Conduct
Kelly in Glen Head, NY, USA
For my son's 7th birthday, we threw a Pirates of the Caribbean party in our backyard (even though he is too young for the movie).
We started by hand delivering invitations: treasure map stationery on which I printed in a fancy "pirate" font, "It's time for a pirate adventure! Come aboard the Black Pearl to defeat Davey Jones and celebrate Jake's birthday! \*Come straight from school if ye dare!" On the gate I had a sign that read, "Enter if ye dare." They came through the gate and a skeleton fence post purchased as a Halloween decoration. When each boy arrived, I had a Pirate Signup Sheet that I printed from the computer using the same pirate font. I stained it in tea to look old. On it was each boy's name and a check box. I had each boy read the Pirate's Code of Conduct. It was a sign that I made from brown poster board and black markers to look like wood.
The sign read, "No whining, No Crying, No Complaining, No Eating Vegetables." Each boy then put a big "x" in the box next to their name (I explained that Pirates can't write). They were then each given a bandanna, eye patch, and sword and a bag of Pirates Booty cheese snacks (it was right after school, so I knew they'd be hungry). Then I had each boy pull a coin out of a skeleton goblet (a Halloween prop). On half of them I had placed a black dot with a permanent marker. They were told that if their coin had a "black pearl" on it, they should report to the ship The Black Pearl with the rest of the crew. If they had no black, they reported to The Flying Dutchman.
I had made two pirate ships out of appliance boxes, which I spray painted black. I secured the flags onto poles and set the poles in umbrella stands. We started with a cannon battle. Each team was given 20 balls. I made a dividing line with plastic sharks over which they could not cross. When the music (the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack) started, they had to throw as many "cannons" as they could into the opposing ship. When the music stopped, whichever team had the most balls had to walk the plank (an 8-ft. long 2x10 I purchased from the hardware store and set up on bricks). I've never seen boys so happy to be on the losing team.
Then we played Tug-O-War with sharked in the middle. Each team won a game apiece, so I gave out team prizes. We also played Pass the Skull (a version of hot potato with a foam skull from Halloween). As each boy got out, he had to walk the plank. The Pirates Code of Conduct came into play during the whole party - if any boy complained or whined, he had to walk the plank! We also had a treasure hunt. I hid 6 clues around the yard with riddles such as "be as quiet as a mouse, the next clue is taped to the ______". I used black tape to write on my daughter's playhouse, "Pirates were here". I covered the doorway with creepy black fabric and hung skeletons out of the windows. I also stuffed a pair of pants, placed the "feet" in boots and layed it on the outside to look like a body. I was afraid 12 boys would trip over each other, but they all really worked together.
The treasure was a hand-decorated treasure chest with 100 gold plastic coins inside. I gave out Pirates of the Caribbean loot bags, and they divided up their booty. It wasn't particularly even, but I managed to use the "what do you expect from pirates?" argument, and they were happy. Then we played Shark Attack. The birthday boy was the shark. He chased the pirates and whomever he tagged also became a shark. The last pirate was the winner. Whenever the boys got a little too wild (swordfighting will do that), I made everyone stop in their tracks and we had an "Aargh" contest. Everyone took turns yelling out their best pirate Aaargh. They loved it.
For decoration, I hung rope from two trees and draped black streamers and little plastic skulls across the yard. Not only did it look creepy, but it became another activity as the boys batted at the skulls with their swords for fun. We then had pizza. On the table I used a black tablecloth and a skull centerpiece (the one from the game). I told the boys that pirates don't use ediquette - they got a big kick out of trying NOT to say "thank you".
We then had birthday cake which was an ice cream cake onto which I had placed Pirates of the Caribbean toys I purchased from the toy store (which then became an extra gift for the birthday boy). On it, I had the store write, "Aaargh" instead of "Happy Birthday". We then had a treasure chest pinata filled with candy and toys (it just so happened that the birthday boy broke it open). Each boy was then given a foam shooter as a parting favor. Each guest went home with a bag of gold coins, a bag of candy, a bandanna, an eye patch, a sword, and a toy! I heard quite a few comments from the boys, including my son, that it was the best party they ever went to!
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