If planning for another humdrum party makes you want to walk the plank, why not celebrate with a pirate theme? The best aspect of a pirate theme party is that you have abundant options for decorations, activities and foods that stay in the sea-faring spirit. Set a budget and get your child working on some do-it-yourself projects to add to the festivities.
Create some pirate-themed invitations for guests. You could go with packaged invitations, but it is simple and nearly free to make your own. Cut out squares of brown paper grocery bags. Lightly dampen them and crumple them up. Smooth them out and let them dry in the sun. You have instant miniature treasure maps. Address the invitation to lads and lassies, and draw a treasure map that serves as directions to your house. A map key at the bottom can indicate the date, time and any special instructions, such as dressing in costume.
Decorate for the party. String a rope hammock or a net overhead and fill it with beach balls or, for a more natural look, starfish and shells. For outdoor settings, you can fill small buckets with sand and top them with sand dollars, coral, sea glass and shells. Paint a canvas cloth or an old sheet with blue ocean waves and have your child cut out paper fish, adding the name of a guest on each fish. Hang life preservers on the walls. Paint cardboard boxes to look like a ship. Buy black pirate hats or make hats out of folded newspaper. A parakeet toy in the corner and flags printed with skulls and crossbones complete the decor.
Assign your child the task of transforming a cardboard box into a treasure chest. He can paint it brown and glue on plastic gems, beads and gold coins, or he can use brown crepe paper to cover it. Have him add a lock made of tinfoil. This box will have a starring role at your party, because it will be the treasure the children find in the treasure hunt.
Jot down pirate-themed activities for your party. The treasure hunt will be the central activity, so write out clues that have the children running to different parts of the house and the yard to follow the trail. Fill the treasure box with party favor bags. Use your cardboard box pirate ship for another fun activity. Mix up the boxes and have the children figure out how to put them back together to make the ship. The fish with guests’ names on them become the tools for a “pin the fish on the fishhook” game. Make a poster of a pirate holding a fishing line with a hook as the target.
Prepare an array of snacks. Pirate Booty snack puffs are a natural. Make little gold coin sandwiches by making grilled cheese sandwiches and cutting out circle shapes in the sandwiches with cookie cutters. A pirate punch of lemonade can feature small treasures of sliced strawberries to savor. Top off the event with a chocolate cake that looks like a treasure chest or cupcakes decorated with pirate flags.