Pirate Party Themes

PiratesYarr! Every kid, boy and girl loves to be a bold, daring pirate! What is more full of adventure and excitement than holding an ancient map with an X that marks the spot, and digging up and finding a gleaming chest of buried treasure? So raise the skull and crossbones flag and transform your house or backyard into the high seas of the Caribbean. Put together a fun and fabulous pirate party that will be a swashbuckling success for kids and kids-at-heart!

Playing Dress-Up

With a pirate theme, invite guests to wear their pirate best. In addition to favorites such as Blackbeard, Captain Hook and Jack Sparrow, kids could also opt to be Tinkerbell, Peter Pan or wear an Elizabeth Swann princess ballgown. Old-fashioned sailors with eyepatches are also easy and fun costume picks. In fact, there are probably more types of pirate costumes available than any other theme. Or, look in your closet for an eyepatch, belt and bandana, and with some face paint your child will turn into that scurvy-dog pirate, arrrr!

Yo-Ho-Ho Invitations

Choose pirate theme invitations and be sure to sprinkle them with plenty of “seagoing” language (including, naturally, the obligatory “yarr”). Choose a specific theme, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, or simply go wild with wall decorations including ships, treasure maps (with an X in the center), sea shells and other inexpensive and fun ocean images.

When writing invitations, write using calligraphy, or find some calligraphy fonts to print them out. A neat idea is to draw a map to where the party is, but make it look like a treasure map, with dotted lines a decorative “X” at the spot. If you have a lot of invitations, I would draw one, then photocopy it to the desired amount of invites.

You will then want to give the paper that ancient look. Here’s how to do it:

Bowl of Tea Method:

  • Prepare a large pot of black tea, then pour it into a large bowl
  • Take your completed invitations and crumple them up
  • Still crumpled, immerse each invitation into the bowl of tea
  • Carefully remove the paper and let them dry. They will be stained and dark-looking. Adding milk to the tea, or using different color teas will give the paper a different look

Dip in Coffee Method:

  • Brew a pot of really, really, really strong, black coffee
  • Pour over the paper, then let it dry. Or, bake in the oven at 200 degrees to dry it out. Rip some tears along the sides so they will slightly curl in the oven while drying.  Sprinkling lemon juice on the edges will make them look even darker

There’s many other ways to make paper look old: Dripping dark tea to stain the invitations or smearing tea bags over the paper then microwaving each sheet for a minute come to mind. I don’t like using flame to char the edges, not only because of the mess of charred paper, but because of the danger of it quickly getting out of hand. Staining the invites with tea or coffee creates a great effect by itself.

Seaworthy Food and Refreshments

Be sure to make your refreshments seaworthy, too. Tropical punches and Kool-aid are delicious options, as well as small snacks such as fruit speared with sword-shaped or other pirate-themed toothpicks (file the ends down after you speared the snacks so your little pirates don’t poke themselves.)

We have some great pirate theme idea below. Check them out for specific ideas: