Pirate Party Ideas and Themes
A Pirate Party can be a simple theme with a few games to an elaborate set up with pirate costumes, decorations and a treasure hunt just before or after the Birthday cake. Plus you can do activities like talk like a parrot, color the pirate ship, make treasure map or read a pirate story. Pirate parties can easily be adapted for age 5 through adult.
Pirate Party Costumes / Dress
The great thing about pirates are that the costumes can be as simple as a bandanna and an eye patch or complex with full pirate regalia with a pirate shirt, hat, boots, jacket, sword, belt and more. For a fun Pirate Party the parents or host should dress in pirate costumes and talk in pirate speak! Get pirate costumes and accessories.
Should guests be asked to arrive in pirate costumes?
We believe it is unrealistic to ask all the kids to come to the party dressed as pirates and recommend that you purchase pirate hats, eye patch or other accessories that will quickly transform them from neighborhood kids into a band of pirates.
If you do asked your guests to dress up like pirates, please include ideas of what you would like them to wear.
– Example: Please dress in jeans, a white t-shirt (that can be written on) and have them bring along a bandanna if possible.
Also include items you will provide for the party so parents don’t overspend on a pirate costume.
– As part of our Pirate Party we will be providing Pirate eye patches and hats.
Last if you do ask your guests to come in costume make sure you have a few extra back up outfits just in case a few parents forget to send their kids as little pirates to your party.
Theme / Story
Part of the fun of a Pirate Party is setting up the theme or a story to go along with the party.
These theme can be base on books (Swiss Family Robinson), movies (Pirates of the Caribbean) or pirate lore (Blackbeard).
You and the crew are on the high seas and have different groups of pirates battle to rule the high seas. Divide the guests into different groups of pirates and during the birthday party call out different pirate teams to play games the winners go on to take on other pirates and the losers could be done playing games, join with the victors or play again in a round robin type party.
The worst fate of a pirate is being shipwrecked on a deserted island, however it you are shipped it is best on an island with mysterious inhabitants, unique clues and a hidden treasure. Have fun doing games that involve bringing water back to camp, (consider the Bucket and Sponge race), activities that include learning about, making or coloring shrunken heads, and then during a nature walk around the island (or house) discover a map or clue that starts a treasure hunt.
The classic Pirate Party theme is the treasure hunt, but you can start your treasuring hunting theme anywhere like in a pub or at a gathering of scalawags. We always think it is fun to build up a treasure Hunt with sharing and / or creating stories of pirate lore. Activities that go along with this include:
– Storytelling by an adult
– Starting a story for the kids and then having each child add a sentence or word to the story (the result is an Improv pirate story, just be sure to tape it and play it back for them)
– Pirate Fact or Fiction – Get real pirate facts and then make up a few of your own and share with the kids. Then have them vote by raising their hand whether the Pirate statement is fact of fiction.
– Message Mix-Up game – This is a great way to show how pirate lore can grow into pirate legend and how silly tales might come to be. Start with fun message about the pirate party with one child and see what message the last child ends up with.
So you could say “Captain Hook was a crook who’s ship sailed high on the seas.” and end up with “Captain Hook was a cook who slipped on some peas.”
– Treasure Hunt – Hunting for lost treasure at a pirate party is the best part. The secret is good clues and / or a treasure map. The treasure map can be strategically placed to be found by the birthday boy or girl or a clue can be pointed out by the parent or host or a clue and map can be delivered in an old dirty box or envelope that happens to be mixed in with the presents. We like a treasure map that is somewhat vague as to where the treasure is and like the idea of providing clues to find the treasure.
This site will help you write Treasure Hunt clues for your pirate party.
Your Pirate Party can be as simple or complex as you want it and can include pirate crafts, games and watching a pirate movie. While the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are fun they are also very long so maybe consider some of those classic pirate movies like Peter Pan, Hook, Blackbeard and others.
Pirate Party Games and Activities
Here are games you can play at a Pirate themed party. Some of these party games at perfect for a Pirate Party already while others need to be adapted for your event to be more pirate themed.
1. Pirates need to be able to keep the ship clean and get rid of any rats that might be hidden on board. Adapt the Clean You Room game to be Swab the Deck. You can say that the socks are rats (add eyes and a tail to socks or say they are rotten potatoes)
You could also play Pirate War with these an imagine that the socks are cannonballs and the team with the fewest cannonballs on board at the end of the game wins.
2. Pirate Mystery – Who Stole Blake Beard’s Booty (Boys)
This swashbuckling children’s mystery has the kid’s in the midst of a band of pirates and they must solved the mystery. Perfect for a group of boys ages 8 – 12. This activity must be purchased.
3. A game that younger pirates might enjoy would be the Balloon Booty or Bust Game which is a simple balloon and candy game. This game is a risk / reward game and involves some water. Fun if you have a back yard.
4. Another skill Pirates need is the ability to have good aim. So have them compete in a One-Eye Pirate War, where they take aim at knocking over the competitions crew!
5. If you are planning a treasure hunt you need to set the stage by staging a story about a pirate who hid treasure in these parts and then find or have the kids find a clue. Make sure you have a Treasure Chest for the treasure.
This might help you get started: Treasure Hunt Game and Photo Treasure Hunt Game that uses picture clues instead of words.
This site will help you write Treasure Hunt clues for your pirate treasure hunt.
Be sure to adapt your Treasure Hunt clues by age group; for young kids 8 to 10 clues and for older kids consider 10 – 15 clues and try to include a treasure map at the end to find the final treasure. More ideas at Halloween Scavenger Hunt games.
6. Death of a Pirate – Murder Mystery for Teens
If you are having a teen pirate party then this pirate murder mystery might be perfect for an event with 8 – 10 guests.
8. Cat Tails Game
Everyone knows that ships have cats that are on board to take care of the rats. Well change up this game and have teams of pirates or cats vs. rats complete to eliminate each others tails.
You can also get creative and come up with a Swab the Deck relay race involving a mop and moving a paper plate around obstacles, a sword fighting activity, if you have a pool and a diving board maybe a game where you walk the plank it you lose, another way to come up with great game ideas is to watch a pirate movie and see if you can turn a scene into a fun game.