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How to Throw a Pirate Party

Argh, matey, so ye’ want to throw a pirate party, eh? Well then, everything you want to know is right here. Whether you’re celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sep 19), hosting a pirate-themed Halloween party, or throwing a pirate’s birthday bash, we’ll cover it all! Keep reading for tips on pirate invitations, decorations, costumes, and menus.

Pirate Invitations

Start incorporating your pirate theme right from the very beginning – with your invitations. You can make great invitations at home, like a hidden treasure map or a pirate’s hat.

Treasure Map Invitations

To make your invitations look like treasure maps, print the directions to your party in rhyme and include a small, hand-drawn map that you can photocopy onto the invitations. Once that’s done, make the paper look yellowy and old by crumpling it and staining it with tea. Roll up the invitation and either tie it with string or, if you’re hand-delivering the invitations, stuff it in a bottle.

Pirate Hat Invitations

If you’re using a thicker card stock, you can also get away with cutting your invitations out in classic pirate shapes, like a pirate’s hat that attendees can wear. To make a pirate’s hat invitation, start with black card stock or construction paper. Fold a rectangular piece of paper (8.5 x 11 is fine) in half, bringing together the shorter sides. Turn the corners down along the crease, lining them up (like you’re making a paper airplane). Then fold up either side’s bottom edge to create your brim. You can make a chin string by punching holes in each side and running elastic or thread through the holes. Print your invitation details, including date and time, and glue it to the pirate hat.

Pirate Theme Decorations

Pirate themed party

Raise the skull-and-crossbones flag, because you’re throwing a pirate party! Decorating for a pirate party can be as simple as throwing down some black and white striped cloth over the tables, or as elaborate as turning your entire living room into the inside of a galleon. Some affordable decorative suggestions:

  • Purchase inexpensive fishing nets from your local hunting or gaming store. Drape these from the staircases and ceilings. For an added touch, wrap a few fake skulls up in the netting before you hang it.
  • Scour your basement or local garage sales for old trunks that could double as treasure chests. Fill these with party favors, or even an ice cooler filled with beers (now that’s a treasure!)
  • Buy metal buckets from your local hardware store and fill these with snacks or, again, more iced beer.
  • Use an old sheet (you can “age” it by lightly dying it with yellow food dye and carefully burning the edges) and stakes from the hardware store to make a sail and mast for the front lawn or even the front room.

Hearty Eating and Drinking

No party is complete without a full refreshments table. Keep your menu pirate-themed by serving pirate drinks and themed treats that are also tasty. Here are some great snack suggestions:

  • Hollow out half of a watermelon to make a boat shape. Fill it with fruit or dip and plant a little sail and pirate flag in the middle.
  • Serve up roasted chicken and turkey legs or jerk chicken for a real island swashbuckler’s dining experience.
  • Fill a metal bucket with chocolate coins and mark it “Treasure,” or gummy worms and mark it “Fish Bait.”
  • Make coconut balls and dip them in black food coloring to make them “cannon balls.”
  • Serve a lot of rum (Captain Morgan anyone?) drinks, beer and, of course, some non-alcoholic Pirate’s Punch for those who don’t imbibe. A classic pirate’s drink is Grog – dark rum, a teaspoon of sugar, cloves, lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon and a splash of hot water. Serving it in a hearty mug completes a true tradition.

Pirate Costume Ideas

With all the frenzy of putting together a true pirate party, don’t forget your own costume. If you’re not a tailor or creative in your closet, a number of online retailers sell pre-made pirate’s costumes that include wigs, hooks, boots and all the accessories you need to put together a pirate’s outfit.

Of course, you can always go hunting for treasure in your own closet. Cut up some old clothes, like a white shirt and pants, to make them look ragged and worn. Add a sash for a belt, a bandanna or a pirate’s hat for your head, and maybe even a fake bird from the dime store to wear on your shoulder. You’re done! Now, walk the plank!


About Chris Molnar

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