Idea No.

7536

Alexander's Pirate 10yr - Perilus Voyage

Award

Date

Nov 2003

From

Kieran in Mountain View, CA USA

Runner-Up

The Pirate Party

Alexander's 10th birthday party theme was a "Pirate party". He scripted the following invite for his friends: "Ahoy there matey! Cap’ain Alexander {the great}, has arranged some spine-tingling, blood-curling, swash-buckling fun in ‘onor o’ his birthday. Set yer sails for Longitude 485 and Latitude Central Avenue on Sunday, November 16th 2003. We’s expecting ye to be there by 11:00 am, an’ ye can go back to yer mums at about 2:00 pm. Shiver me timbers, I almost forgot, RSVP to 988-xxx to prove you’re not yeller. Don’ be late or you’ll walk the plank Sees ye there aarrgh!"  All 7 friends accepted the invite and each was asked to choose a pirate name.

The front of the house was decorated with the Jolly Rogers flying over a pirate chest overflowing with baubles. Against a stump were 2 shovels and discarded bottles of XXX Rum. A parrot (macaw) completed the yard decorations.  When all 8 pirates assembled, the Pirate Code of 'onor was read out aloud and all 8 had to sign it using their pirate names. The code said: 1. Each pirate vows to observe rules of the day:  \* No jumping or pushing anyone in the pool or in Steven’s Creek.  \* No climbing trees or throwing rocks.  \* No litter.  2. The Quartermaster will decide the punishment for breaking the rules. He has a thing for keelhauling, so be warned!  3. Each pirate shall have equal vote and all will receive an equal share of food and drink seized. 4. Each pirate in turn will have first choice at plunder but those who cheat their fellow pirates will be marooned. 5. Pirates will not fight each other on board. The Quartermaster will settle all quarrels. 6. No woman pirates allowed. The penalty for bringing a disguised woman on board is 10 lashes with the cat o’nine tails!  Once they did this they each earned the right to carry a pirate dagger, wear pirate hats and choose a washable tattoo.

The crew were now ready to cast sail on the perilous voyage to find the lost treasure of Billy Bones!   First they had to go to Shark Tank (backyard swimming pool) where each pirate had to fish out a bottle containing a fragment of the treasure map. While they were at it, each had to prove his skill by catching a shark (rubber toy) that was floating in the pool. When all 8 pirates completed this task, they assembled the pieces of the treasure map like a jigsaw puzzle. The map showed key areas like Captains Deck (poolside deck), Forbidden Forest (cluster of trees), Shark Tank (pool), Snapping Turtle Creek, Spyglass Hill (grassy knoll) and Bat's Cave (tent)  Now we were ready to start the treasure hunt wherein each would earn the remaining pirate gear. Their first clue said, "Those in-tent on venturing into Bat's Cave will be rewarded with their eye-patch". The team was told that the Bat's had abandoned their cave due to torrential rain. They found the 'tent' containing their eye-patches. It was on to the next skill test, each pirate had to swing across Snapping Turtle Creek. We rigged a strong rope on a sturdy frame and laid out a large 3-foot stuffed turtle-doll. The pirates had to swing on the rope and jump across the turtle. After a few tries they worked out how to cross safely.  Their 2nd clue asked them to search in the Forbidden Forest for a yellow ribbon round the Old Oak tree. We had tied skull rings to the ribbon. The 3rd clue here read "Lookout! Spyglass Hill has something you use in the crow's nest". The pirates went looking for telescopes we had hidden. The 4th clue read: "This clue encompasses the captains deck where you will get points for NEWS". The boys knew they were looking for compasses with North/East/West/South. Now that they had all the right pirate gear and the map, we could start the Treasure Hunt.  

But first it was time to cut the cake and eat lunch. The Chocolate pirate ship cake was set on a tray of blue Jello (choppy sea). The ship had 3 sets of sails complete with pirate flags. For portholes we used Cheerios. There was even an island (piece of cake covered with green coconut shavings) with a marooned pirate. The candles were sparklers. For lunch the boys were served chicken nuggets with a blood dip (ketchup). Hot dogs each with a paper sail pushed on to a bamboo skewer as well as Pirate's booty, which is caramel covered popcorn. The drink was "Shark's blood" - glasses of Sprite with ice-cubes (fun shapes like discs, stars) made from red Kool-aid  The motley crew next walked down to Steven's Creek trail where they had one final test of pirate character - to walk the plank (25 foot fallen tree) to separate to real pirates from the boys.

The hunt started with looking for Billy Bones' secret chest. The only clue was to look for a chest at the foot of the crow’s nest. There were 3 trees with bird’s nest and the pirates had a great time finding chest hidden in the shrubbery at the foot of one of them. Inside the chest was a cryptic number "21". It made no sense, at least not till they heard the next clue. "Go down to the creek", it said. "Look for the Jolly Roger and when you find it you will have found the Billy Bones' shovel. The treasure is buried 21 shovel lengths from Billy Bones remains".   Of course, Billy Bones had died in the poison ivy - or so the boys were told. The pirates ran up and down the dry creek bed till one of them found the Jolly Roger and the crucial shovel.  They were very close to the treasure but they had to first find the mortal remains of poor Billy Bones. All it took was a systemic sweep of the creek bed before they found a 4-foot glow-in-the-dark skeleton (from a Halloween store) we had hidden upstream behind some flotsam. Now the pirates had to figure out if the treasure was upstream or downstream from the mortal remains of Billy Bones. They reasoned it would be downstream because that's where they found the shovel. Sure enough after measuring the distance they started to dig for treasure but wait a minute. Ole Billy Bones had one final trick to play. He had lost a finger in a vicious sword fight, therefore when he counted "21" paces he was off the mark! Once again the pirates had to discuss how to adjust for this and bingo they found a spot marked with an "X". They started to dig feverishly and uncovered a metal chest. The rules said the bounty would be split evenly so the pirates had to start the long journey back home.  The plot thickens; there is mutiny on board.

The pirates were split into 2 groups. Each team was given a 7-foot cardboard box (appliance store) - their galley to protect from the other team. Contest 1 consisted of "Cannonball dunk". The attacking team were given an assortment of soccer/basket/volley balls or 'cannon balls". They had to dunk the ball in the opponents ship without being tagged. Rules were similar to Ultimate Frisbee, a non-contact sport, which all boys were familiar with. After 5 minutes roles of defenders and attackers were switched. Contest 2, ‘Bombs away’, was even more fun. Each team was given 25 water balloons or ‘bombs'. One pirate was allowed to defend the ship while 3 others attacked. They were given 5 minutes to anchor their galley so as to minimize chances of direct hits and discuss a plan of attack. Only direct hits on the ship counted. The boys were told that they were not allowed to hit a pirate directly or their team would be disqualified. The action that followed will surely go down in the annals of naval warfare.  Mutiny over; the pirates went back home to open the "treasure chest" which contained 8 Terry's chocolate orange balls amidst the chocolate doubloons. The birthday boy got to open his presents. The party ended with each boy taking home his share of the pirate gear and loot not to mention the battle scars and memories.  Entry from the journal of Quartermaster Kieran, circa 2003 PS: None of these adventures would have been possible without the tactical help of bosun Sandra (Genius nonpareil) and the able bodied help of Quartermaster Jarl (Viking extraordinaire)

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