Posted by: ad65shorty | August 25, 2010

Birthday Ideas: Pirate Party

For my son’s 5th birthday, he wanted a pirate party. Once again, simple and cheap, but loads of fun! I wish I had more pictures so I apologize for those that are missing!

Invitations: I copied the following on some parchment paper. We included some skulls and burned the edges. We then rolled them into a scroll and tied it with rafia. Each child was assigned a pirate name, which we wrote on the outside. My son then delivered them dressed as a pirate.

Ahoy Maties!  Cap’t (your child’s name) is turnin’ five!  He needs all his mates to help raise the sails, wash the deck, and batten down the hatches.  There will be plenty of treasure for the taking.  Please say you’ll come for this swash buckling pirate fun-filled birthday adventure.  The Captain ship is docked at the Horizon’s Harbor.  We’re settin’ sail at 10:00 a.m. on August 22.  Don’t be late or you’ll walk the plank!

 Arrr… Dress as a pirate if you dare!

Costume: I made his costume by buying some black sweat pants at my local thrift store, cutting the bottoms shorter and jagged, and then cutting a couple of holes in them. (He snuck scissors into his room and cut more holes, making it look like swiss cheese. UGH!) We added a white t-shirt, sash and headpiece (I found the material at Walmart in the Halloween section! Perfect!), and eye patch. Too cute! We also provided sashes for any children that didn’t come dressed as a pirate, who wanted to dress up.

Starter/Craft: As the children came in, we made pirate hats out of construction paper. I provided the crossbones and skull for them to glue on, and they could then decorate it with pirate stickers and by drawing. This gave every child a “costume” and helped the kids coming in have something to do while we waited for the rest to arrive.


Sink the Enemy/Walk the Plank: This was their favorite by far! What I did was roll up newspaper into balls and put them in 2 laundry bins. My kids were a great help with this!! During the party, I split the kids into two teams–one next to each laundry bin. When I blew a whistle, they got to throw their “cannonballs” (or the newspaper) at the other team. When I blew it again, they stopped. Now, what you’re supposed to do is count how many cannonballs are on each side and whoever has more on their side is sunk. My boys ended up with all of them in the middle, so I just decided who was sunk. The boys on the sunk ship had to walk the plank (a sturdy board placed a couple of inches above the ground on bricks). Then the game began again! I wanted to play again so everyone had a chance to walk the plank. They loved it and we played it more times than I could count!! I was flying solo this day (my husband was working) so one of the moms stayed to help with crowd control, and she jazzed it up near the end by being a crocodile who snapped at the kids! So fun!

throwing cannonballs at the other team

Pin the “X” on the Treasure Map: This is simply a version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. I drew a treasure map, they each got an X, and then tried to place it blindfolded in the right spot on the map. I drew the X on the actual map, but for older children, you could leave the X off completely and have them try to place it in the space instead.

Treasure Hunt: You can’t have a pirate party without a treasure hunt! I chose to do clues (and made them all rhyme ’cause I like that sort of thing. Ha!) that sent them from one clue to another until they finally found the treasure. I wrote them on parchment paper and burned the edges to make them look old. My local party store had some treasure boxes that I bought for each child to store their booty in. I hid a big box that we divided evenly, but it would also be fun to hide the individual small boxes for the kids. Go here for a list of things we included in our treasure box.

a clue

Beanbags into Treasure Box (no idea what to call this one): Provide a treasure box, and the kids get to throw some pirate-themed beanbags into the treasure box. They could get a prize if they make it in!

Hook the Treasure: Put Mardi Gras beads into treasure chest.  Let each child use a plastic pirate’s hook to hook a necklace they get to keep!

Piñata: My son really wanted a Piñata. Easy enough. We filled it with candy and took turns hitting it with a bat. To avoid the mad rush to get the candy, I had each child collect 10 pieces (also educational!). When they got their 10, they put them in their treasure boxes and were done. Simple and then everyone has the same.

Cake: For directions and hints, go here. It looks fancy, but was actually very easy to make. And people thought I was so amazing! 🙂

We ended the party with presents and play time. This party lasted an hour and 1/2. We didn’t play all the games (I always overplan).

Thank you’s: I’m a FIRM believer in thank you’s and the written word. I took a picture of my son with each of his friends while they were opening presents. We then pasted it on some cute pirate paper (once again, found in the Halloween section) with the words: “Friends are the best treasure of all.  Thanks for joining in our pirate adventure…” He then wrote thank you for their specific gift.

Another super fun party!

Updated: We’ve since thrown another pirate party in this house!! This time for 8-year-olds. It was a Pirates of the Caribbean theme. More pirate-themed activities can be found there.


  1. can you tell me the clues that you used for your pirate treasure hunt, I am painfully poor at coming upwith these and yours is fantastic. My party is next weekend… Yikes! I will give you all the credit of course!


    • Of course, Heather. I’ll email them to you!

  2. Could you also give me the clues you used for your son’s pirate party? My son is having his party next weekend and your help would be greatly apprenticed.

    • Ashlie–I would love to share them with you (although they’re not superb!). Look for an email from me shortly.

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