Idea No.

5342

Pirate Party Arrrgggh 3yr - Skull & Crossbones

Award

Date

Dec 2002

From

Julie in Colonia, NJ, USA

Runner-Up

The Pirate Party

Pirate Party Arrrgggh!  For my son's 3rd birthday party we had a great Pirate Party.  The invitations were brown paper made to look like treasure maps, then I CAREFULLY burned the edges.  I mapped out our neighborhood and used landmarks like Blue Beard Alley, Peg Leg Pier and I made coordinating posters and hung them around the  neighborhood at the designated spots. I was told the kids had a great time looking for the signs!  I rolled each "map" up and tied them with natural raffia and my son and I hand delivered them dressed as pirates!   The few that needed to be mailed went in empty paper towel rolls that I wrapped in brown paper and addressed. The return address said OUR LAST NAME Cove and our address.    When each guest arrived at the front door, they were greeted by a pirate saying "Ahoy Matey, Im glad you found your way to MYLASTNAME Cove! Come on Aboard and join in the fun! 

They had to  Walk the Gangplank up to the ship.  I had two 2 by 8's fastened together and they walked up the planks over my four front porch steps.  I had triangle jolly roger pirate skull flags on both sides it really looked cute!  I had black paper on the front door and gold and silver and black helium balloons attached to the columns and a large captains wheel on the door too.  When they came aboard they were given an inflated sword, a pirate hat and an eyepatch, along with a nametag with their pirate name, example Long Tooth Tony,  Peg Leg Pete, Blind Eye Barbara.  The birthday child is of course Captain Frank!    I really wanted to keep all the kids in the playroom area downstairs so I used black crepe paper blocking off the living room and I made a sign on a brown posterboard that said Captain Frankie's Party on the Lower Deck ( with an arrow pointing down to the playroom) and then it said Poopdeck CLOSED .. THIS MEANS YOU! With a skull and crossbones.  This kept them out!  When they walked down the stairs they walked through black hanging foil garland to the party area.  My sons birthday is in December, so we were limited to my large finished basement playroom to decorate. I inflated about 200 blue and green balloons and static clung them to the ceiling. I also hung blue and green crepe paper about 6 inches from the ceiling this made it look like we were underwater.  I drew the outline of a large ship on brown paper on a roll and taped it on the walls of the playroomcomplete with circle windows as portholes and then used ziploc baggies half filled with blue water, then taped behind the brown paper.  I had all different size boxes in the corners and plastic battery powered lanterns also.  I recycled fish nets I had from a Luau party and used these as decorations as well.  I had blue rope lights all along the perimeter of the ceiling as well.  This really set the scene and the kids loved it!  

Once in the party area, I had someone hand painting tattoos you can't be a pirate without some tattoos!  Some kids even ended up getting scruffy beards painted on their faces. Once all the guests arrived they each made their telescopes using empty toilet paper tolls with colored paper glued to them and colored cellophane rubber banded to the end.  I had colored sequins and stickers also for the kids to use.  For the games we started with the Walk the Plank Game.  I had a 2x 8 board on 2 cement blocks that I wrapped in old towels and had the kids walk from one end to the other.  First they did it just walking across. Then I had them do it holding an empty box, then the older kids tried to do it blindfolded! This game requires a lot of supervision and ready hands to catch the younger ones. When they all took a few turns I gave each of them a Captain Hook  that I made from a black plastic cup and a hook shape cut from cardboard then wrapped in aluminum foil.  I slit the bottom of the cups and slid the hooks through them.  My pirate then came down to the party area and just was mingling around talking to the kids and then I took a Polaroid picture of each child with the pirate in their best ARRRGGH pose!  The pictures went into the kids goody bags.

Next we did the Pin the X on the Treasure Map game, which is just like pin the tail on the donkey.  We almost did a Pin the Eyepatch on the Pirate, but I decided to go with the treasure maps.  When everyone was done with that the one who got closest to the real X on the map got a pirate necklace ( M&N International.com) and the rest of the kids got a sack of gold foil chocolate coins. It was time for the kids to eat something so I moved the plank game out of the way and they all sat in a  circle on the floor while I made sure the party table was ready.  I had it set up behind some folding room dividers on the other side of the stairs.   I ordered the partyware from BirthdayExpress.com and it really looked great!  The treasure map placemats were my favorite! 

The kids buffet had mini hot dogs in rolls, cheese fries, chicken fingers, macaroni & cheese and mini pizzas.  I served Pirates Punch in a Halloween black "cauldron" and had bottles of root beer too.  As the kids were finishing up their food they moved on to the "decorate your own treasure chest craft" that I ordered from Oriental Trading. This was a bit more time consuming and the parents of the little ones ended up helping the smaller kids but I think they had fun doing it also.  While all of this is happening, I have my party helpers walking around gathering up all of the LOOT the kids have and whatever they have made so far.  I always put names on EVERYTHING!  They then put everything each child has into a large brown grocery bag to be used as part of their goody bags.   We then did the piñata.  Here is a great idea!!!  When you are filling the piñata DON’T USE LOOSE CANDY.  Take small cellophane bags, or party loot bags and write each child's name on it, big enough for them to see.  Then, fill each bag with candy and toys, whatever you are using as piñata filler and then put those bags into the piñata.  I always pour glitter and confetti in the piñata also, so it isn't just the bags that drop once the piñata is broken.  This eliminates some of the chaos and the little ones seem to get trampled on LESS.  What I did this year (for the first time) was purchase a regular TREASURE CHEST piñata (or a parrot one would have been cute too!) then I also bought the piñata pull string kit from BirthdayExpress.com.  It was very easy to do, then each child got a string and yanked it , the bags dropped with the confetti and the glitter and it was still fun, grabbing for the bag with your name on it! After the piñata it was time for the cake! 

I used to spend close to $75 on a cake that would look FANTASTIC, but unfortunately I rarely got a chance to taste it.  I found out that the bakery department at my local A&P was far superior in quality and every year now they send me a $5.00 off coupon 2 weeks before my son's birthday!  What I have done for the passed 2 years is give them a picture of my son, usually dressed in his theme costume (We took pictures the day we hand delivered the invitations) and they scan it onto an edible image and decorate it so nicely that it really looks great and I KNOW those cakes taste good.  Most bakeries now with make half chocolate half vanilla side by side not layered so you can cut it from either end for your picky eaters.

While the kids were eating cake I was busy filling the remaining items into the goody bags.  So far they had: EYEPATCH, SWORD (I deflated them) PIRATE HAT, CHOCOLATE COINS, TELESCOPE, TREASURE CHEST, PIÑATA LOOT and CAPTAIN HOOK HOOK.  I added a treasure chest bank (M&N International.com) a stuffed parrot, a bandana, pirate stickers, a skull & crossbones flag, handful of plastic gold coins, a compass, a handful of bubble gum gold coins, a pirate pencil and a thank you card.   Each brown grocery bag was then tied with natural raffia and all of them had their pirate names on them.  I put all of the bags into the treasure chest and it was time to play the last game of the day and a game that I play at all of my kids' birthday parties it just so happened to fit in really well with the pirate theme. 

I always do a treasure hunt writing clues down and having the kids go from clue to clue until they get to the end where the goody bags are in a large box.  I read the first clue out loud…It is almost time for our pirate ship to dock…now go look for your next clue behind a big rock! They all then had to try and find the next clue.  When it was found, they waited for everyone to get there and then that clue was read outloud.  Depending on the area you have and the amount of kids and their ages you can decide on how many clues.  For 3-7 year olds 5 clues were plenty!  The last clue read…We all know that Frankie is a cutie, now go under the half mast pirate flag for your Pirates Booty!  I spray painted a small Rubbermaid storage bin and made it look like a treasure chest.  I filled it with all of the goodie bags and had beads and balloons overflowing from it to make it look festive!   The kids really had fun and we took tons of pictures and will remember this one for years to come!

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