Sweep down the decks, hoist the Jolly Roger and welcome their crew to a pirate-themed birthday party. Mix and match pirate party decorations with things you can find or make at home to recreate the deck of a galleon or an island full of hidden treasure.
Mark the pathway to the front door with a paper or chalk-drawn trail leading to ‘X marks the spot’ on your front door. Team this with treasure-map scroll party invitations, to get the kids excited from the get-go. Stick desert island palm-tree and skeleton-pirate scene setters to the walls, along with strips of blue paper or material to represent the ocean.
Set up the rigging above the tea-table galleon using strings of flag bunting and use an old sheet draped over a washing line for a sail. If it’s warm and you have a picnic table in the garden, stick a broom mast through the parasol hole in the middle and drape a sheet sail and flag bunting from it. A climbing frame hung with flags and streamers makes great rigging too. As an alternative to a classic pirate themed table-cover, use brown paper and draw a treasure map on it or enlarge a map of your local area and get the kids to find your house (marked with an X, of course).
Red, black and white balloons and streamers work well with the skull-and-crossbones. If the party is for a pirate-mad girl, replace the red with pink. Tie a helium balloon to each chair, for the kids to take home afterwards. For a touch of pirate fancy dress, wrap any cutlery in red and white spotted bandanas and provide an eye-patch at each place. Foil-covered cardboard cutlasses are cheap, easy and fun to make. Scatter the table with gold chocolate coins.
Arrange old crates and boxes draped with netting or sackcloth as pirate-cargo props. Use smaller crates for ‘grog’ boxes and fill with drinks bottles and stripy straws. Label the pirate party food with flag food picks and bottles of pirate pop with homemade sea-scroll paper you’ve dyed using damp teabags or coffee-grounds
Designate a separate ‘treasure island’ games area, away from the pirate ship table, using yellow and blue paper on the walls and floor, white and blue balloons. Add a few hanging fish decorations and make paper starfish to stick to the beach. If you’ve got an old trunk or suitcase, leave this open and fill it with pirate party prizes – even more exciting if it’s a lucky dip. An outdoor alternative might be a sandpit full of buried prizes or pirate party bags, which the winning seadogs can have a ‘lucky dig’ for before they go home.