I've been meaning to post this for a while (well, since October) but posting about pirate parties around the holidays just seemed kind of out of place. Unless you celebrate Christmas with Pirates. Anything's possible.
Anyway, I let my oldest decide between three different themes for her 7th birthday and Girl Pirate Party was her first pick. So, I thought I'd share some of the things that we did to make it a swash buckling good time and a party that the kids are still talking about.
For the invitations, I found several digital scrapbook elements and a cool map image for the background. I assembled everything in a free program called Paint.net and voila', super cute invitations. I tore the edges to give an old look, tied them with a pink ribbon and attached a skull ring (the dollar tree has packs of these around Halloween). Make them super fun by using Pirate Speak. "Ye be invited to join me crew... we will pillage, plunder and feast on cake... dress in your pirate best if ye have 'em."
For the decor, I went with a pink, black and white theme and easily found plates, napkins and cups to match. Oriental Trading now carries Girl Pirate party ware. Since I'm not into matchy-match table ware, I mixed it up with solids, prints and pirate items. I also made a cute bunting banner and some food place cards to label the food. I found pink coins at the Dollar Tree to scatter around the table and borrowed a pirate ship toy and skull bank from friends.
The kids' table was decorated similarly to the food table, but the chairs, oh the chairs, so stinkin' cute! I took black plastic table covers and cut them to size. Then draped them around the chairs and tied them with pink ribbon. I found a pack of skull and crossbone cutouts from Michael's Crafts and cut pink bandanas out of scrapbook paper to attached to them. Then fixed them to the back of all the chairs.
For the food, we had Pirate Punch, Pirate's Booty (gotta have that!), Strawberry Cannonballs (Strawberry Whoppers), Shark Fins (watermelon slices), Goldfish Crackers and Jolly Roger Cupcakes. The cupcakes were tricky and if I had to do it again, I would use the color spray instead of the sprinkles, but the trick to getting the smooth top is something I learned from my friend Mandi. Microwave your frosting for about 30 seconds and then dip the tops of your cupcakes into it. Let the frosting harden before you attempt to stencil anything onto them. I found the skull/cross bone stencil in a Wilton Halloween stencil pack. (I also thought about doing dark chocolate cupcakes, and skipping the frosting, then doing a stenciled powdered sugar skull/cross bone on the top. This would have been much easier).
Onto the games! I made a treasure map that I cut into seven pieces and each piece was associated with a different game/location. Complete the game and find another piece of the puzzle. Each piece of the map had a clue on the back as to where to find the next piece and game. I had the first clue to get us started, "Aye ye scurvy dogs, yer on th' right path, But first walk th' plank, ye all needs a bath!" Each child walked the plank which was just a long 2x6 board on the front lawn.
Here are the rest of the clues and the games we played...
2. "Me one-legged matey gunna set the' pace, Ye gunna find a clue at th' peg-leg race!" (three legged race).
3. "Polly ate too many crackers, she feels a wee bit hot, Quick pass her around, do not get caught!" (We played hot potato with a stuffed parrot and when the music stopped, whoever was holding it was out and had to walk the plank).
4. "X marks th' place, but in 'tis case not, It hides a clue fer ye to find another spot!" (Similar to musical chairs, but with several X's on the ground. When the music stopped, another X was taken away until there was only one left and a clue was taped to the bottom; anyone who got out had to walk the plank).
5. "In Mermaid Lagoon, thar be a note, Wit' another clue, 'tis what she wrote." (I put a pirate ship and some Dollar Tree mermaids in our small pond and a bottle with the next clue in it).
6. "Avast 'tis an enemy ship I spier, All hands on deck... ready, aim, fire!" (This was the kids' favorite. We filled water balloons and the kids took turns throwing them at the enemy ship from our upper deck. We have one of those empty tugboat sandboxes, so we placed that on the lawn and took the lid off, then told the kids to sink the ship).
7. "Yer almost done, th' end be near, Set a course fer Dead Man's Island, the treasure be here." (This was the final clue which led the kids to their buried treasure).
As an activity before cake and presents, the kids were each given their own pirate hat (from Oriental Trading) and I cut out pink felt bandanas beforehand for the kids to add that "girlie" touch. They were given glue, pom poms, jewels and puffy paint to personalize and take them home.
Before all of the kids left, I made sure we got individual pictures of them posing with the buried treasure. We wrote thank you notes on the back of a group photo and I got prints of each pirate to send as a keepsake that included their pirate name on the back (which we assigned to the kids when they first arrived). There were fun names like One-Eyed Olivia and Tortuga Taylor.
Super fun party and just goes to show that pirates aren't just for boys. :o)