Pirates of Caribbean 7yr - Crafts & Games
Myra in Ontario, Canada
June 2004 Winner
My son LOVES pirates, and Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean (POTC) movie was just the ticket for him. Thus this was his 7th birthday party theme. The party was in June 2004, and fortunately, we were able to have it outdoors as the weather cooperated for us. Seven boys were invited.
INVITATIONS: They were a 2-sheet invite. Page 1 was a sepia-toned POTC movie poster of Depp looking quite menacing. I wrote on the bottom of this page, "Make sail and haste mateys, cursed pirates roam these waters…" I used Scurlock font in sepia-colour, which I thought was quite "piratey" looking. Page 2 had a sepia-toned background of a pirates treasure map which I found on the internet. In the same font & colour, I wrote, "There are pirates lurking in Tavistock and we need you to help us find the Aztec gold before they do! Join us for some yo-ho-ho fun and to also wish Christopher a happy 7th birthday." Then I listed the date, address, time. Next paragraph said, "To get into the pirating spirit, please try to wear a striped t-shirt or other pirate-type shirt. We’ll take care of the rest!" Then a note to parents: "Weather permitting, we will be outside for the duration of the party. Please make sure your son has sun-protection! The pages were soaked in tea, dried in the oven, and edges burned. Page 2 had small Aztec coins glued on afterwards--the "cursed coin" from POTC movie. Pages were taped at top and rolled up with black bands to keep secure. I put sand, shells, and skull confetti in dried out water bottles and sealed with black electrical tape. I then made jolly roger flags using clipart and black construction paper, and each boy was given a pirate name, such as Mad Dog Mitchell, Left-Eye Liam, Jolly Roger Jesse, etc.
DECORATIONS: We have a 6-foot wooden gate that leads to our fenced-in patio. It is propped open, and I made a 5 foot skeleton pirate that stood to the side of the gate. I printed off the skeleton head from POTC to the appropriate size, glued him onto cardboard, and taped him to a coat hanger. This hanger held a red pirate coat---like Dustin Hoffman's in "Hook"--this was part of my son's Halloween costume from last year. I only made the parts of the skeleton that showed: his ribs, part of his lower arms & hands; legs from the knee down (he was wearing pirate pants to the knee) and he had black Hook-like shoe covers. I made a ship steering wheel from cardboard, which turned, and propped his hands on it so it looked like he was steering the ship. Black streams filled the entrance-way, and I made a sign using the POTC skull head and the phrase, "If ye be pirates, ye can enter…at yer own risk". Tea-dyed, baked, and burned like the invites. On the patio table, where the kids ate and crafted, I used 2 ceramic skull heads I had in my Halloween decorations, and made them eye patches, bandanas, and beaded dangly things (like Jack Sparrow in POTC). The "unpatched" eye, I sticky-tacked an emerald craft stone. Then I put a bunch of costume jewellery, around (pearl necklaces). All areas had the antiqued signs, example, here it said "ye can craft & eat here". Games were also with signs--see the games part for names of games. The patio umbrella had black streamers with skull and crossbones at the end--clipart I printed off. The table had a black tablecloth. We have a lampost on our boulevard & I made a jolly roger flag and taped on a couple of black balloons to help guest find our house. MUSIC: At the entranceway, I ran a 30-minute tape of the POTC soundtrack--nice & loud---the first 3 scores on the CD over and over to provide "mood". In the backyard, I played the movie soundtrack for the entire time. Upon leaving, I had taped the last track "he's a pirate" and had that going at the gate.
CRAFT: I bought a 100-pack of plain & coloured tongue depressors (wider than popsicle sticks) and made each child a picture frame using 8 depressors each (4 plain, 4 coloured). Upon arrival, each boy had to decorate his frame, and then we took their photos near the end of the party in their pirate gear, and right now I'm in the process of printing them from my PC; gluing them in the frames with 'A pirate's life for me" under their photo, and magnetic strips on the back so it can go on the fridge. For decorations, I provided skull confetti, small shells, "diamonds" and "rubies" (craft stones), pennies I spray-painted gold so they stay nice & shiny, and swizzel-stick swords in which I painted the blade silver and the handle gold as they were originally pastel in colour. This made them look more authentic.
GAMES: After craft we started the games (ideas I got from this website!). I made 2 pirate teams: the yellow pirates and the blue pirates. We had an odd # (I have 2 boys) so the smaller team had to have a "pirate" go twice. I had a little tikes easel up to "keep score" for fun--no prizes were awarded. First game was "Dead Man's Tunnel" in which I had 4 metres (approx. 4 yards) of black knit material in a tube. Jolly rogers with coloured bandanas to represent the teams at each end of the tube. A yellow pirate & blue pirate had to crawl through the tube at opposite ends and at one point go past each other. First team to finish first, won. It became a tangled giggly mess. It was fun for them.
PIRATE ATTIRE: After this game, I did the pirate attire. I waited as I knew with the tunnel game, most of the stuff would come off in the tunnel. Each "pirate" received an eye patch (I made using black craft foam & some black sewing elastic), a few tattoos wherever they wanted them; a gold earring (shower curtain rings spray-painted gold, although the gold started to flake off during the course of the afternoon), and a skull and crossbones bandana which I made from scarves I cut into strips and hemmed. I attached 2 bead danglers (like Jack sparrow from POTC) onto the bandana using yellow wood and gold metal beads for the yellow pirates and blue wood and gold metal beads for the blue pirates. I found some coins at WalMart to put at the end of each dangly.
GAMES (cont'd) Second game was the traditional 3-legged race. The sign hanging from our small maple said, "Arrgh, only 3 legs, swab!" A 3-dimensional resin skeleton hung from the same tree--another Halloween item--with his black eye patch as well. We had a few posts in the ground to keep people off some newly laid sod, so I used that as a turning point for the race. Hung a jolly roger flag there (made of construction paper and clipart. The kids had to go down and around these posts and back. Most had never done this before, and they had a hoot. Third game was on our deck, which only has 2 stairs, called "Arghh, ye can swab the deck, matey!". Using coloured electrical tape to divide the deck in half, each pirate team had a bucket of 6 plastic golf balls and a dish mop which looks just like the full-sized floor mop---a wooden handle and white rope bunched at the bottom. Approximately 8 feet away from the start line was the 1 first step where another small pail was leaning against the top step. Each team had to get their 6 balls into the end pail by sweeping the ball with their mop. Seemed easy when I "tested" it, but many of the boys had trouble keeping the ball on the deck! If they swept it off the deck, they had to start again. This got a lot of cheering going on.
Fourth game was "Cannonball battle". My husband constructed 2 ship facades propped up with wood strapping, complete with cannon holes and ropes off the posts (sorry, don't know ship terminology) where the sails were--using white pillowcases. Made construction paper and clipart jolly roger flags--skull had bandana that I could colour yellow and blue for the respective teams. Made 100 cannonballs from scrunched up newpaper and a couple of strips of coloured electrical tape--2 colours so we could count the balls easier. Told the kids it was not a race but an accuracy game--the team who throws the most cannonballs into the other team's ship wins. If any pirate went past the ship façade to get closer, they were deemed "man overboard" and out of the game--that didn't happen. We did 2 rounds of that, and it was hilarious to watch this "sea" of cannonballs go flying across the yard. We were going to then do the same thing with water balloons, but I ran out of preparation time to blow 100 up and fill them. That or wet sponges would be another great idea on a hot day. Last game before cake was "Arghh, ye can walk the plank, matey!", We used an 8 foot 2x4 and most were able to walk it w/o falling. 1 point per pirate for their team if they made it; minus 1 point if any pirate fell. Did it twice--2nd time I blindfolded them, but they lightly held onto my arm. Two boys did it w/o my help at all--they were given 2 points for instead of 1 for bravery. The "pirates" from opposite team were chanting, "fall off, fall off".
FOOD: Chips, cheesies, pretzels, cake. Very simple. The cake I made from a mix and made a slab cake decorating it as a jolly roger flag using black & white icing. Drinks were clear pop in clear plastic glasses (but flavoured such as grape, raspberry, etc) and I put in red Koolaid ice cubes so in a few minutes they "bled" into their pop. We called it pirate's blood. They were quite impressed with that. After cake, Christopher opened his gifts. Then my husband took each boy's photo on the digital camcorder for the craft, and while others waited to have their photo done, I decorated them with more tattoos.
FINAL EVENT: was the treasure hunt, of course! I had a map sitting under a sign on our deck that said "the hunt for aztec gold". The map was just a rectangle cut of old white cotton I had lying around. I dyed it in tea and baked it, too. I drew the map with brown pencil crayon. I tried to trick them a bit. The hunt was in my yard and my 2 adjoining neighbours. So I drew 3 islands, represeting each yard, ours had a ship, since we had the facades, one neighbour had the pirate flag as they had a flag pole in their yard, and the other I just drew some trees. The "x" was near the flag. One of the boys figured my trick out, but had the map upside down, and immediately went to the wrong neighbour's yard. I had to call them back and said, "You must follow the clues". The first clue was rolled up with the map, and I did it in riddle form. Example, the 1st clue read, "I stand tall and proud; I flap in the wind; Even though I have a maple leaf, I am not a tree" (Canadian flag). I had 7 clues that lead them through all three yards and the front yard, and the last one read, "You are almost done; You have 1 more trip to go; Look for a bridge, and you will find your Aztec gold". The neighbour with the flagpole also has this wooden bridge in their yard that goes over a wet area,and I hid the treasure chest (which looked like a real one--out of cardboard; got at a party place a couple of years ago) under one of the large spruce trees surrounding the bridge. Their "booty" was in the chest and I had to put icepacks in the chest as I was afraid the chocolate was going to melt!
LOOT BAGS: I made each bag from scrap black material I had. Made a drawstring on it and made tea-dyed name tags on it, example "Jay's Booty". In each bag was: candy necklace, ring "pop", chocolate coins, sea shell, jolly roger stickers, more pirate-themed tattoos, jolly roger pencil, and a necklace that I made from black macrame cord. I attached fasteners, and was able to find & buy the same Aztec medallion that "curses" the crew of The Black Pearl in POTC. They are made of metal and quite heavy. They kids were thrilled as many had seen the movie and knew what it was. I put a tag on the necklace that read, "Aye, ye be the owner of Aztec gold. Guard it well." We finished 1/2 hour early, so the boys rooted through their "booty", put on more tattoos, checked out the gifts, and played the cannonball game again. Oh--I forgot!!! I dressed up as well. I had the same bandanas the boys wore; found skull & crossbone earrings, bought a white ruffly shirt at a 2nd-hand shop; wore a brown suede vest with a stuff parrot on my shoulder; put on some tattoos; tied a black sash around my wrist and a long red on around my waist. Heavy eye-liner and there ye be.
TIME TO DO: Hard to say as I work in spurts. Invites went out 1 1/2 weeks before the party. The tea-dying and burning of edges was time-consuming. I'd say 2 to 3 weeks before the date is a good time to start. Some was last-minute, such as the ship facades because if they were calling for heavy rain, we would've scrapped that game--couldn't do that indoors.
BUYING SUPPLIES: Dollar stores are awesome! Examples of what I bought there: streamers, tablecloth, beads, shells, swizzel sticks, skull and crossbone scarves, construction paper, dish mop, golf balls, candy for booty bags. I also internet-ordered pirate-specific goods (pencils, stickers, parrot, aztec medallions, my earrings, etc.) from a GREAT website deadmentellnotales.com Service was fabulous. There was no way I could've located those items around here.
COST: Hmmm...probably around $100 Cdn.--ballpark. I've become known as the mom who does "those parties". One girl down the street said, "you give the most awesome parties". It appears that very few go through this trouble, but I thoroughly enjoy it, and my kids absolutely love it. I've also done dinosaur, medieval, thomas, and peter pan/captn hook. When I get time, I'll post those here too!
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