My little pirate’s birthday party

I was just putting the photos from D’s 5th birthday party into an album (yes, I still do albums, albeit one year late), which made me remember what a fun party this was. . .


My son, D, told me he wanted a pirate party for his 5th birthday. Since his birthday is in September, I was able to scoop him up a Halloween costume from Old Navy and he ended up wearing it for his party AND Halloween.


For decorations, I used some basic clip art and black poster board to make some signs like this:


I also purchased the Pirate Party from Paper and Cake which gave me super cute printouts like little signs for the food (“subs” of course):



and cake:


To create the ship, I followed the directions from Parenting, and I am so happy with how it came out.


What to do with the little ruffians:

Along with some temporary tattoos, balloon swords (thanks Auntie K!) and a 2×4 on the ground (to “walk the plank”), the main activity was making Pirate Flags. I printed out pirate symbols and bought some sticker letters, along with a few cheap black plastic tablecloths that I made “flag sized”. With some wooden dowels and double-sided tape, all the kids were able to make their own Pirate Flag.


After making flags, the kids went back to whacking each other with balloon swords or playing with some of our Playmobil Pirate toys before eating lunch (subs and hot dogs for the kids and grown ups).

Almost every Pirate Party you read of has a Treasure Hunt in it, and D’s party was no exception. There was only one thing I changed and that was to make the hunt more collaborative and less competitive since I had kids ages 3-11 at the party. I hate to see little kids cry when they can’t keep up with the big kids.

The general premise was that the pirates had to all work together to get to the treasure. There were several “tasks” they had to perform first.

Task 1: Free themselves

The pirates had all been captured and needed to break free to search for treasure! Each one was given a black balloon that was attached to a rope with a loop on the end (their “ball and chain”). With the loop around their foot, and the balloon at the end of the rope, they had to help “free” each other by stomping on the balloons (but not their own!).


Outcome: This was very funny to watch and took all of 30 seconds to finish. It took a good bit more time for me to blow up all those balloons.

Task 2: Search for treasure

Greedy pirates can’t help themselves and start digging in the first place they can find: The sandbox. Luckily, there are some jewels: each pirate got to keep three plastic rings and a few gold coins that were buried in the sand.


Outcome: I don’t care the age or gender—kids love to dig for stuff.

Task 3: Prepare the ship for a long journey

Pirates often suffer from scurvey because they don’t get enough fresh fruit while out on the ocean. So to protect our pirates, they had to load their ship up with fresh fruit. To do this, I took the GIANT bag of plastic balls we already owned and put them in our kiddie pool. The kids had to carry as many balls, I mean fruit, down our little hill and into waiting containers. The task wasn’t complete until all the balls had been transported.



Outcome: Hilarious. Awesome. They took this so serious, I laughed the entire time. Every age could do this too which was great.

Task 4: Enemy attack!

I wasn’t able to find cheap little toy boats, so I grabbed plastic egg cartons and separated them. With a little play-dough at the bottom of each one, they floated upright in a tub of water. The kids then took pennies and stood a few feet away and had to try to use the pennies to sink the “enemy ships”.

Outcome: Cute idea, but started taking a long time since the egg cartons needed several pennies in them to sink. The kids ended up standing over the “ships” and dumping handfuls of pennies on them, but it was fine and cost almost nothing to create.

Task 5: Swab the deck

Pirates are messy souls, so each child had to take their turn to “swab the deck” (er, driveway) of a few ping-pong balls.


Outcome: The older kids did fine, but this was much trickier for the little kids, since I was trying to get them to put the balls into buckets.

Task 6: Treasure!

The last clue led them to find the Treasure, aka, big pinata.


Outcome: As long as no one gets bonked over the head, it’s hard to screw up with a pinata.

The Rest:

There was cake time, of course:


Gifts were given:


And a few sea shanties to end out the day:


Super fun, not too expensive (lots of DIY options) and great on a nice day. I also love that a lot of the kids dressed up for the party (as did some of the adults). I bought most of the party supplies, like hats and pirate-themed goodies, from Century Novelty (the hats, in particular, were awesome).

Oh, and all the adults left with mini bottles of Parrot Bay Coconut Rum. Hey, we aren’t always G-rated.


  1. Dude! That cake is FANTASTIC! Seriously, it looked amazing.

    I keep threatening to make my son a broccoli cake for his birthday, but it is surprisingly hard to find a broccoli-shaped cake pan.

    broccoli? brocolli? Now neither one looks right…

  2. An amazing looking party but most of all I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you gave the parents rum. Love it.

    My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  3. Renegade Scholar says

    That is totally awesome! Great ideas.

    – Ingrid

  4. Aye, me parrot concurs. That thar party was da bomb. Gar.

  5. What a great party. Everything you did looks great, especially the cake.

  6. Wow!

    This is so nice! It gave me wonderful ideas for pirate games!
    My son is turning 3 and my daughter us turning 1 this July,
    I’m planning for a pirate and fairy party for them!

    Thanks for sharing!


  1. […] you’d rather DIY, you can go that route too. Our editor Christina threw a riotously fun pirate party for her little rapscallions using Paper and Cake’s printable pirate birthday party […]

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