Ahoy, there mateys. Are you looking for pirate themed party ideas for your next soiree? Well, you’re in luck. Your little birthday captain is sure to enjoy your savvy thinking when he sees all your hard work. From the invites to the goody bags, all the little scallywags will be impressed with your party planning.
It’s always fun to have a birthday theme for your parties. Who wouldn’t want to pillage and plunder the hours away and leave with a ton of loot at a pirate birthday party? Your event is sure to be the talk of the town if you follow our fun and creative tips.
We’ve got the perfect suggestions for your decorations, games, food, and even take-home bags. The attending buccaneers will be talking about your party for months to come. You might also have pirate moms asking for tips for their pirate-themed birthday party.
Pick a Color Scheme
Before you plan your party decorations, you’ll want to pick a color scheme. Any colors can work for your birthday party, but if you’re going to go the traditional route, stick with red, black, white, and of course, gold.
Use red as the predominant color, such as tablecloths or backdrop for the photo booth. Red also works for the pirate bandanas, balloons, and cake. Black and white work for accents on the tables and the birthday banners.
You can’t have a pirate party without pirate flags. Jolly Roger flags, also known as pirate flags, are solid black with a white skull and crossbones in the middle. You can make homemade flag banners or purchase them at any party store.
Use gold for accents to make the tables pop. And you can’t forget the treasure chests! Fill a big treasure chest with fake coins, gold-covered chocolates, beads, marbles, glass gems, and fake jewels. Add in some clip-on crossbones earrings and clip-in bead extensions for authentic pirate looks.
Pirate Themed Invites
Now that you have your colors picked out, you can design your invitations. Your invite is an essential tool you don’t want to overlook. Use these to provide relevant information about the party, including the time, date, directions, and dress code. Invitations are the perfect way to announce the theme of the party.
There are plenty of fun ways to announce a pirate-themed birthday for your little one. You could keep it simple and purchase pre-designed invitations so that all you have to do is fill in the blanks for the relevant details.
Or you could send out postcards of the birthday boy or girl in their best pirate getup. Be sure to tell the guests when, where, what time, and any special instructions – come dressed as a pirate to join the best pirate look-alike contest.
DIY Party Invites
If you like to be creative, why not go all out and try a DIY pirate party invitation like one of these? They’re easy to make, and your guests are sure to enjoy the attention to detail.
Design your pirate map with an “x” to mark the spot of the party. You could draw a map of your neighborhood or even just a map of your yard with an “x” marking the table where you’ll place the presents – right in front of the sunken treasure chest. Print these on tan or cream-colored paper for a realistic look and crumple them up a few times for authentic weathering.
Message in a Bottle
Use recycled water bottles to create authentic messages in a bottle. Add a bit of sand at the bottom, along with a few pieces of pirate loot, like marbles or tiny shells. You could even sprinkle in a small bit of glitter to look like gold or silver flakes in the sand, so it sparkles. Draw a skull and crossbones on the outside of the bottle (or attach printed labels) with the birthday boy or girl’s name. Inside, place a scroll with the party deets.
Mini Treasure Chests
Who doesn’t love getting surprises? Give your guests a taste of what’s to come with mini treasure chest invites. You can find these little boxes at most party stores or online. Add in a few small items along with a “scroll” that is written in pirate talk. Need some ideas for how to speak like a scallywag? Feel free to use our example –
“Captain Matt Diamond summons ye to a birthday bash. Come if ye dare. There’s plenty of loot to score. Plunder and pillage to your black heart’s content. Savvy? Saturday, 2 – 5pm. 1234 Birthday Dr, Partyville. RSVP with Buccaneer Becky at 555-555-5555 if ye say aye. Argh.”
A party isn’t the same if you don’t decorate for the occasion. Balloons are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to brighten up any festivity. Use different colored balloons to add pops of color. Metallic number balloons are great for marking the guest of honor’s place at the table. Remember that pirates love shiny objects, so consider gold or silver.
Use black balloons as cannonballs. These can be recycled later for multiple party games, so you get two purposes for the price of one. We’ve discussed tablecloths, banners, and napkins. And I’m sure we don’t have to point out that you can get pirate-themed plates and cups at any party store.
Some people have multiple tables set up for guests to sit at, whereas other people might use a few long tables connected. How you decorate each table is up to you, but we recommend including a pirate-themed centerpiece at the middle of your guest of honor’s table or in front of his seat, so everyone knows not to occupy that place. It saves trouble having to reshift seating.
If you plan to have assigned seating, try this fun game. Assign guests a pirate name, or take the one they chose when they arrived, and write it in cursive on a small scroll or cardboard boat cutout (you could even have it written on paper pirate hats). Tape their name to the bottom of their assigned chair or hide it under their plate.
Give them a small map or scroll with two or three clues to hint at the color of their assigned seat – which has been marked with an X made of different colored tape. When they figure out what color they are, they find their names and an assigned seat.
Use Props for Decorations and Photo Ops
A cardboard pirate ship made out of a refrigerator box makes a great party decoration. Not only is it an excellent prop for the kids to get to act out pirate scenes, but it can also serve as a photo booth. And it can be a memory piece. Let all the guests sign their name for a super-custom birthday card.
Nail fishing nets on the walls or toss one over the “sunken treasure” – a giant treasure box filled with goodies that you have partially buried in the sand. For an authentic feel, you can also tape on rubber fish, crabs, starfish, and any other sea animals you might have around.
Arrange the presents around the chest, so you have the ultimate sunken treasure. Hang a sign that says, “Make your Offer to Davy Jones for safe passage.” After the party is over, let each guest get goodies to take home out of the box – or fill it with named goodie bags, so everyone gets the same thing.
Designate Different Areas of the Party with Signs
Use creative signs to mark the different sections of your party. Examples you could use include “Beware, Pirates Ahead” at your front door or the gate you come through to get to the party; “Pirate’s Cove” could mark the food area. Set it up around trees and add a river – blue fabric or cardboard painted blue – to separate it from the “ship.” Add a bridge between the river to signal transfer from the boat to land.
“Walk the Plank if you Dare” is perfect for the walk the plank game. “Deadman’s Swamp,” “X marks the spot,” and “Welcome aboard” are also significant signs to use for your pirate theme. To make sure guests stay out of areas, put up signs that say “Area closed due to storm damage” or “No pirates allowed.”
Don’t Forget the Party Favors
A pirate-themed birthday party is a great way to provide your guests with interactive party favors. Instead of handing out goodie bags at the end of the party, hand them out as the guests arrive. Set up a pirate sign up stand where each guest picks out a pirate name printed on a label.
After signing their information down so that they have a pirate name during the party, and maybe even a customized thank you card after the party is over, hand them a loot bag. You can use drawstring wool bags, mini treasure chests, small sand pails, or even a red bandana.
Inside each package, include items that every pirate needs.
- Bandanas (typically red)
- Pirate hat (you can purchase simple felt hats or provide newspapers and let the kids DIY their own)
- Skull and crossbones clip-on earrings, necklaces, or rings
- Beads (Mardi Gras beads work great)
- Eye patch
- Gold doubloons (Rolos or customized chocolate candy with the birthday boy or girl’s info printed on the gold wrapper – Etsy can be your best friend.)
- Pirate sashes (or you could have only the birthday guest of honor wearing a personalized one, as they are the Captain)
You can also hand out pirate props like swords, hook hands, stuffed parrots, pretend peg legs, and vests. Instruct your guests to show up in a baggy white shirt tucked into black or striped pants for the perfect pirate look.
Getting a group of kids together without providing them with something to do is a recipe for disaster. Don’t take the chance of your party being a dud. Make sure your party has plenty of fun things for your guests to do. Remember that younger children lose interest quickly, so don’t attempt a long, complicated game.
Here are some fun party activities for you to try:
No explanation needed. You can find a pirate ship or skull and crossbones pinata at any party store. Use their bandanas to cover their eyes. Spice up the challenge by making them wear two eye patches, as well as the sash. Use a big sword as the bat and set a loud kitchen timer to fifteen seconds. The loud ticking represents the crocodile in Peter Pan, who ate Captain Hook’s hand.
Walk the Plank
Nail a large board into sturdy blocks so that it’s elevated off the ground. If possible, place the plank over the top of a baby pool and fill it with water. Throw in some sand at the bottom to represent the bottom of the ocean. Add in a few inflatable crocodiles. Spin the player and then have them try to walk the plank. If they fall in, they lose. If they make it across, they get a prize. Make it more challenging by having a few adults spraying the pirate with water guns.
Fill small fishing bowls with water and decorations so that it looks like the bottom of the sea. Seashells, sand, glass rocks, coral. Think of what you put in your fish tank. At the bottom of the bowls, place beads, bracelets, and rings. Players have to use a plastic hook hand to collect their booty.
Cannon Ball Pop
Before the party, fill out slips of paper with different messages on them. Half of the letters should be instant wins like “Collect ye treasure” or “Ahoy sailor, ye found the sunken ship. Plunder the treasure chest for ye booty.” The other half should have try again messages like “Walk the Plank,” in which case the player would have to go to the “Walk the Plank” game before they can attempt to pop more cannonballs. To pop the cannonballs, the player must sit on them. Make it harder by declaring that they cannot use their hands to pop the balloons.
Find the Croc
As an ode to Peter Pan and Captain Hook, let the little pirates play a fun game of “Find the Croc.” Get a stuffed crocodile and tape on an egg timer. Have all the pirates leave the room and then hide the croc and clock somewhere with the timer set to two minutes. Whoever finds the ticking before the timer dings win a prize.
Pin the Pirate
This game is just like pin the tail on the donkey. But as you may have guessed, for this game, you’ll need a picture of a pirate. You’ll also need a sticky eye patch or a parrot. The same rules apply as any “Pin the Object on the Thing.” The player is blindfolded and spun around. Then they have until the timer goes off to get their sticker on the pirate.
Pan for Gold
Looking for gold is an entertaining game for your kids to play. Get some small pebbles and rocks and spray them with gold paint. Scatter them out in a sandbox, or a kiddie pool filled with sand. Make sure you have some buried at different depths.
The pirate crew can use strainers, sand sifters, or even foil pie plates with holes punched in the bottom to sift through the sand to find the “gold.” Make this an educational experience by letting the kids cash in their “gold” for real prizes. You can then recycle the gold back into the sand, so there’s plenty for everyone to find.
Pass the Parrot
Get the kids together in a circle. Hand one pirate a stuffed parrot. The rules are simple. The parrot gets passed around the circle until the music stops. The person who has the parrot when the music ends is out. The last one standing wins a prize.
Don’t be alarmed by the name. We’re not expecting you to make your kids run around in a peg leg. This is just a fancy name for a typical three-legged race where the “peg” is the two legs tied together. The first team that makes it to the finish line gets to pillage the treasure chest.
Arts and Crafts
Kids love the chance to do arts and crafts. Provide paper towels or toilet paper rolls so the little buccaneers can make telescopes. Have crayons, markers, paints, glue, jewels, beads, glitter, and any other art supplies so they can make them customizable.
They can also use the arts and crafts table to design their pirate hats using newspapers or felt hats. Have an adult or older teenager help use a hot glue gun to apply any decorations. And why not let them design their treasure chests? All you need is some empty baby wipe containers that have a wide opening. Spray them brown or gold and let the kids decorate them.
Face painting is a typical birthday party idea. For an unusual twist, give it a pirate makeover. Use makeup to make the little pirates have facial hair. For the girls, you can add large birthmarks to resemble a mole. Go all out with Halloween makeup and blackout a tooth or two.
Food and Drinks
When hosting a birthday party for kids, you should remember that children get cranky when they get hungry. It’s smart to make sure you’re offering some kind of substance if your party is going to last for more than an hour. You could always go with pizza, which is a hit with most adolescents.
But if you want to stay pirate-themed, here are a few foods you could serve. Don’t forget to make labels, so the guests know what tasty pirate treat they’re eating. You can get adorable little chalkboard tags for the individual dishes or design an extensive menu at the front of the food line announcing the different options.
- Gold doubloons – Rolos or gold-wrapped chocolate
- Jewels – ring pops
- Beads – candy necklaces and bracelets
- Rope – Twizzlers
- Pirate ship – a hollowed-out watermelon filled with different fruits on skewers or toothpicks with pirate flags or swords.
- Sunken treasure – Spray Oreos with gold food coloring spray and place them in a treasure chest. Or scatter them out on the sand (a plate covered with brown sugar)
- Shark head – hollowed-out watermelon with a quarter portion cut out of the top of the rine so that it looks like a shark mouth, complete with teeth. Filled with chunks of fruit (shark meat). Include a bowl of fruit dip – dyed red with food color so you can have “shark blood.”
- Catch of the day – goldfish placed into a fishbowl
- Fish and chips – goldfish and chips mix (or you could actually have a fish fry)
- Pirates on a log – strips of celery or carrots covered with peanut butter and raisins
- Cannonballs – scoop of chocolate ice cream with black licorice stuffed into the top for a fuse
- Bread rations – you couldn’t survive months at sea without bread and ale. Serve flavored or plain breadsticks or pretzel twists. (You could also call them swords)
- Boats – rice Krispy treats with small sails attached.
- Cannonballs – cocktail meatballs or cheese puff balls
- Polly’s parrot legs – chicken legs
- Peg legs – fish sticks
- Pirate ship pasta – hollow out spaghetti squash and fill with a pasta dish – mac and cheese or baked ziti
- Octopus – hot dogs that have been split into quarters and cooked
- Slimy seaweed – pasta alfredo made with green fettuccini noodles
- Pirate fingers – pigs in a blanket
- Crocodile blood – Red kool-aid or Hawaiian Punch – or for a more interactive drink, freeze a red drink into ice cubes and drop into Sprite. The ice cubes melt, making it look like blood.
- Pirate’s Grog – fruit smoothies that have a greenish tint. Or water bottle labeled with crossbones
- Frosty ale – Root beer in chilled mugs
- Peg legs – fish sticks, Little Smokies, pretzel sticks
- Buccaneer Brew – chocolate milk or hot cocoa
Yo-Ho-Ho – A Pirate’s Life for Me
Avast! If ye want to have the perfect pirate shindig, ye need to be consistent with yer pirate theme. We’ve given ye all the tools you’ll need to have ‘yer party shipshape in no time. Your scurvy seadog guests are sure to be saying shiver me timbers by the time the fair winds blow their sails towards their own Jolly Roger ships. Your Lil Cap’n deserves the best, me hearties. Heave ho with these pirate birthday party ideas.