Pirate Bay Mystery Party 8yr - Pirate Games
Nelda in Simi Valley, CA, USA
For my son's 8th birthday party, he asked if it could be, something to do with pirates." The invitations were made from beige parchment paper that I bought at a stationary store. I took nine sheets one per guest and burnt the edges at my stove to age it and drew a comic-type map of each child's house and neighborhood using dashes to direct them to our house. Above the drawing of our house was a banner naming it 'Pirate Bay.' I rolled each map invitation and bow-tied it with twine. I cut-out a tag from spare parchment poked a hole on the corner of it took an end of the bow-tied twine put it through the tag and knotted it. On the tag I wrote: Ahoy there Mate! There be strange goings on at Pirate Bay N yer needed to save the day In your pirate finery you'll be Enjoyin some good eatin by the sea Meet your mates at the stroke of noon On the mysterious fifteenth day of June. Send a seagull or call with your RSVP. I later spoke with each child's parent and informed them that pirate finery can be a bandanna wrapped around the head a comfortable t-shirt and jeans. I wasn't expecting nor wanted them to go all out and buy/rent pirate costumes. My husband my eldest son and I dressed up like pirates as well.
The backyard was decorated in theme as well. We had fish nets placed on the fences to the shrubs. I hung a skull and cross bones flag up and skeletons taken from my Halloween decorations box adorned the area. We have palm trees in our yard which added to the beach feel plus some tiki statues and fake tiki torches. The flames were made from shiny glittery construction paper glued to cardboard and taped to the torches. I didn't want to light them with real fire when kids were running about. To fill in the time as the guests arrived they were face-painted (scary scars mustaches beards) by me and tattooed by my husband. A couple of the kids arrived with a clip-on gold hoop earring! The group photo taken after the kids were transformed into something that would make Jack Sparrow proud was made into copies and sent later with thank you cards.
When everyone was there and 'pirated-up' they were put into 2 teams and ran an obstacle course. It contained two plywoods on top of two bricks each (walking the plank) then they had to crawl under the cannon (brooms set inside two plastic chairs jump over quick sand (beach towels) and grab a cannon ball (water balloon) from the artillery box (laundry basket). Then they had to turn around and run through the whole gauntlet without popping the 'cannon ball'. Each cannon ball was given to the next pirate (teams of five)and they handed to the one behind them. The last pirate placed the cannon ball in another artillery box behind him. I have 4 laundry baskets. Then the next pirate in line would go and so on. They were given a time limit of five minutes. Whoever had the most unpopped cannons in the artillery box at the end won. No prizes given. I had a dry erase board set up and wrote each guest name down and marked down each time someone won a game. After that since the water balloons were out anyway we had an old fashion water balloon toss. It wasn't planned but I thought it would be fun and they were all excited to do it. So I told them to take a step back each time they caught the cannon ball without it exploding. This went on until we had a pair with an unexploded cannon.
After that the BBQ was ready and they chowed down on turkey burgers hot dogs and rum (punch). There was also chips strawberries and a veggie tray. I was surprised at how many kids actually bypassed the chips for carrots cherry tomatoes and broccoli! Then they played another game which didn't require any running since they just ate. I put them into different teams and had them play 'Name That Tune'. Each person in the front of the line would listen to a song I had burned into a cd beforehand. Songs that ranged from little kid songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to songs heard on Radio Disney. The first person who covered one eye with one hand and yelled out "Arrr!" got to guess. If wrong the second team could collaborate together and guess. Again no prizes at the end just marks by their names.
Then it was present opening time. The last present opened was a box decorated with skull and cross-bones. In it was a story I wrote using all the kids names each given a pirate-type nickname in the story. The tale unfolded about a mystery of boxes disappearing that their families from long ago hid just for them to find. Through the years relatives and pirates who wanted to steal the booty searched high and low for the hidden treasures. Ten pirates disappeared after their ship ran off course and got lost in the fog never to be seen or heard from again. They all wanted a special bottle that contained a mysterious map that would lead them to their treasures.
While all this was going on my older son discretely placed a small plastic soda bottle in our swimming pool. The label was taken off and a cork placed on top. We kept the kids attention away from that until we wanted them to see it. It was fun when one of the kids finally noticed it and the birthday boy with the help of a couple of friends and our close supervision fished it out using a net. They eagerly pulled out the map that was rolled inside the bottle. This map was also a parchment burnt around the edges to give it that 'authentic' pirate look. On the map I drew a picture of our backyard. They scanned it eagerly and noticed the big X which oddly enough was located at the part of our backyard that wasn't landscaped. They speedily ran to where they thought the X was and saw plastic shovels that happened to be laying there. One guest got so excited he dropped his shovel got on all fours and dug like a dog. A couple of the boys followed his form and with all that exuberance they quickly found another bottle which contained another rolled up parchment. I made a code that had to be broken. Instead of words they saw numbers and below that directions to break the code: Letters corresponding with the numbers. A small pencil was also inside the bottle. Each letter spelled out words which turned into a sentence which directed them to look somewhere. It directed them to a tree in our backyard. They ran to that and so on. I had them running around the yard finding clues figuring out riddles leading them to go inside the house and back outside then finally to the garage where they ran to my dryer and inside were shoeboxes. I wrapped each shoebox in Contact paper that resembled wood so each shoebox looked like a wooden treasure box. Inside I had eye patches candy and small toys shaped like pirate men. They really had a ball with the treasure hunt and wanted another one!
But a song had to be sung candles to be blown and a pirate ship cake needed to be eaten. Lastly there was a pinata shaped like a treasure chest filled with what else - gold foil-wrapped candy coins! This is where the winners of the games came into play. The one with the most points got to swing at the pinata first. The treasure hunt ran long so we didn't have time for two other games I had planned. Because of this a lot of kids had the same amount of points so they played rock paper scissors aka cannon ball pirate ship sword to fix that problem. My husband was in charge of the rope that held the pinata so each guest had a turn to swing at it before it was broken and candy coins spilled forth. They put those in their treasure boxes. My son was full tired and happy at the end of the day and the other parents told me their kids talked about the party even weeks after! I think I had the most fun though! "
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