Thinking of throwing a Pirate themed party? Well, I have some ideas and tips for you!
With Halloween around the corner, I thought I’d dig through my archive and share some fun Pirate Party/Halloween Ideas that I tried out for my son’s 4th birthday party.
I’ll just throw this out there NOW, when those items at halloween time go on clearance…you better snatch them up!
With that being said…
I will admit, we kinda went a bit overboard for turning 4, but in my defense, it was transfer season [we are a traveling military family] so instead of a traditional ‘going-away party’, I linked up with his best buddy’s mom and we threw them both a Pirate Birthday Party they will never forget.
My mission for this party was to make it fun, crafty, memorable and cheap- of course. My phobia of throwing things away lingered so I did my research, played extreme couponer and raided any dollar-bin and clearance section I could find until I was loaded on more crap than I knew what to do with.
Here’s some simple tips to get you going…
// 5 SIMPLE TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
1. SAVE EVERYTHING
Some of you know this as….hoarding. I call it collecting for purpose.
Anyway- when it comes time for those random things you WISH you had saved so you didn’t have to repurchase or overspend…guess who’s in luck? Me 🙂
You can always add your leftover decorations into your stock-pile but it’s a good idea to always keep your receipts for those instant buyer’s-remorse purchases or items you just won’t ever need.
2. USE EVERNOTE TO STAY ORGANIZED
I usually opt for Evernote because you can sync it to your phone, web and computers so it makes my life a lot simpler.
I still have post-it notes and lists in my notebook because I’m a physical-creative and need to tangibly sift through my thoughts but it does help to organize it all when you can break it into bullet points and check off as you go. If you’re confused, don’t worry, I’ve included a screen shot of one of the notes I used to plan this pirate party.
To give you an idea, here are the various ways you can use Evernote to plan your party. Start by creating a note or notebook for the following titles:
- RECEIPTS. I’m sure you can guess what that one’s for…and having the app on your phone is key with this because you can take a photo right after your purchase so you never have to stress about it.
- TO-DO/TO PURCHASE. This is great because your active list of items you need to purchase or tasks you need to complete constantly shifts for busy parents. This makes it hassle free when you have a central list you can reference to when you’re at the store.
- CRAFTS & GAMES. Super important when doing your research because it isn’t realistic to do everything. Creating this list (pictured above) really helped me visualize every task that went into every project so I could decide ahead of time if it was worth the stress or not.
- FOOD & BEVERAGE. Again, pretty to the point. Sometimes when you’re shopping you think you might not have enough, so you grab extra, only to not need half of it. A common mom-practice. This can be avoided by creating this list and including what you paid for it, because food ain’t cheap and I like a visual reminder of what I spend.
3. SET A REALISTIC BUDGET
I think we can all agree that shopping is a big chunk of planning for a party.
It’s important to make an actual paper-pen list (or use whatever app) so you can visualize, prioritize and negotiate with your want’s/needs before you find yourself in the center of a crisis at the craft store because you “want” things you really didn’t plan for.
I advise setting a budget because I’ve been there, many times…but that’s when you have to throw on your crafty-mom hat and engineer an idea out of what you can find. For me it always ends up being something I enjoy but if you’re not the crafty type then you might have to opt for some nice handmade’s on Etsy or ask favors from friends.
And by “realistic”- all I’m saying is to remind yourself at the end of the day that its a birthday party…you and your child will survive if you have to say no to some streamers in order to feed your guests.
The best tool you can have in this scenario is the ability to rationalize. It makes the next party that much more fun to plan because you’ll have your spending in-check ahead of time.
4. PRE-PREP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
I didn’t give myself enough time to prep BEFORE guests arrived, thus, causing the well-known domino effect of things that just don’t work out like you planned.
If I have any real-life advice I’d simply tell you to plan with your time and not with your money. You can buy all the cutest little party favors that Etsy sells but if you don’t remember to bring them to the party and put them inside the party bags, they loose their purpose. So avoid that headache and prep as much as you can at home, it’ll save you in the long run.
5. DESIGNATE ACTIVITY AREAS
In my case we were limited to our options and held the party in a rectangular shaped room with a bunch of tables and chairs that happened to be an art studio.
Having an empty room made it easy for us to move around tables and dedicate areas to specific crafts and activities – essentially making clean up seem a bit easier because we were able to heard kids from one area to another with a new activity and my helpers assisted in “clean as you go”.
// PIRATE PARTY SUPPLIES
I did a lot of shopping at the Dollar stores and clearance rack since it was the end of the season but I was able to find a lot of items that were pirate-ish. A few items you can keep an eye out for:
- black and red anything
- fake mustaches
- sea shells
- skull decorations and netting
- jewels, pearls and other costume jewelry and toys
- eye patches
// SHIP OUT INVITATIONS
If you are the crafty type you can try out these diy-pirate-scroll invites I made. It did help that I’m a designer so I was able to deal with that part but you can always use templates, Word or even Google Docs to type and print your design. The rest is easy-peasy. This was by far my favorite part of the planning because it’s a chance to basically create anything I want. For these invitations I shopped at Michaels Craft Store, kept it at a budget but ended up spending a bit more time with assembly than I anticipated because I made it up as I went and of course need to account for the dozen’s I basically hacked and tossed in the trial series. Each invitation was crafted with more love than my chubby glue-gun-burned fingers could handle, I can tell you that much. (Soon) You can see how I created these DIY Scroll Invitations here (link coming). My method behind creating DIY projects is to remember that these are tips and guidelines. There is no recipe to follow so create as you go and use the tools that you have (or don’t).
Supplies for Scroll Invitations
- gold paint
- red and white twine
- Popsicle sticks
- stained paper (plain paper will do just fine)
- glue gun
// CREATE A PARTY FAVOR CRAFTIVITY
yes…I’m making “craftivity” a thing…
One of the things I did a bit different with this party was to create a party favor bag for our friends that wasn’t a traditional “give out at the end of the party” loot-bag. The difference with this bag is that it held an activity inside along with a few other fun items like an eye-patch, toy telescope and a headband.
The idea behind putting the activity inside of the favor bag was two sided because we needed an activity to do at the party but we also couldn’t spend a lot because we had about 30 kids to prepare for. We wanted to send them home with a favor bag so we killed two birds with one stone. By having tables set up with baskets of markers, jewels, etc, your guests can decorate a one of a kind craft they made at your event and get to take home with them.
This can work with pretty much any craft or activity! It also served as a great welcoming gift and introduction into making sure I said hello to everyone.
We went with jumbo paper lunch sacks and cut slits at the top to weave in themed ribbon I found on sale. I had found some halloween labels and made sure to leave out sharpie markers so everyone had their name on their bag.
I’m sure there are ton’s of brands and producers but I wen’t with Oriental-Trading and ordered their Papier-Mâché Mini Treasure Chests dozen packs.
I didn’t use any handmade props but do want to give a shout out to A Joyful Bow on Etsy- a fellow Coast Guard Wife and obviously brilliant crafter. If I had known her then, I would have opted for her handmade Pirate Set.
// GATHER ITEMS FOR A BURIED TREASURE HUNT
You would be surprised how simple this activity is to throw together! I scored on these paper skull treat bags and turned them into a treasure satchel to collect buried treasure and take home.
Supplies I used in my buried treasure:
- large open-mouth bucket
- sand (or pavers sand if you can’t find the real stuff!)
- sea shells
- costume jewels
- fake diamonds
// SET UP A TATTOO PARLOR ON-BOARD
There are tons of ways to do this one. Here’s my rendition…
I literally painted over an old (ugly) painting from a drunken paint night and made the background to look like my version of a run-down ship parlor where all I had to do was let it dry and use double sided tape to stick on the tattoo’s.
[A little tip: You can use chalk on dry acrylic paint to write out text or draw and then paint over]
Best advice, keep it simple.
// USE PHOTO PROPS TO SET THE SCENE
This one here was a stretch but we got it done in time. A friend was able to cut and assemble for us so all I had to do was draw the design out and paint it. Here you can see the primer stage, draft and final…
// ARRRR! THE SNACK BARRRR
The food is always a hover-point for many at a party so it’s important to give your guests options. Its not required but be mindful of who you invite and any food allergies they may have. You don’t want to have the party go down hill fast for no reason!
Sit back, grab a snack…or a drink.
To share your pirate party ideas use the tag > #pirateparty
Thanks for reading!