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For our daughter's third birthday, we had a pirate party. She was really into pirates and when she brought up this idea, we were more than ecstatic! We first found some pirate type things in Target's dollar bins 75% off. We found the items six months prior to her party, so we knew there was a chance she could change her mind, but they were cheap enough, we bought them anyway. This ended up being the start of her picking out themes months, even years before her parties, and us getting to execute them. But that's another story.
After having two parties at our house, we knew the next one needed to be in a separate building. Our house was too small for a lot of guests, and even though our deck was large enough, July was far too hot to have children outside for long. (We tried that already.) I found a decent enough building in my town and it ended up being more than perfect! When you first walked in there was a a sitting area with couches and a space with tables to eat off of and an attached kitchen. Then there were two large doors off to the side (the building is L-shaped) and then that was an even larger room! This inspired me so much.
The invitations were from Oriental Trading and were the message in a bottle ones. And at the time they even had triangular stamps with ships on them and we ended up using three on each manila envelope we mailed them in.
Right at Christmastime, before I had even known we would have a pirate party, I found a Dora outdoor pirate ship for $45 on sale and had held on to it for her birthday. Wow, it ended up being perfect in so many ways! I attached a balloon to it and put the pirate ship out in the sitting area that was there when you first enter the building, and put a sign on it that said, "The Present Ship." I also put a sign on it that had a photo of my daughter dressed up in some of her pirate gear that said, "Captain Bailey's Loot." My idea was to put all the presents in there, but the kids had a better idea. To play in it before the party started! Well, that worked even better.
The dining tables varied between black and red tablecloths, and it looked like I raided Oriental Trading's pirate party supplies. (Unfortunately, they have even better ones now, all these years later!! Arrgh!) I put these little pirate ships on the tables and sprinkled plastic gold coins on the tables. The little ships were from the Target clearance stuff I had bought in advance. (Not too terrible for a quarter!) I also used some of the pirate cups and put Jolly Roger flags in them as filler, as the tables had looked a bit naked.
As for the food, we had a Buccaneer Buffet. We served a meat platter with different rolls and whatever topping we remembered to buy. My daughter's Godparents brought the baked beans (so yummy!). We also had potato salad. I think we may have had chips too. I tried out my new punch fountain (the best clearance find ever at $12.24 and I have since used it A LOT). My friend and I had some issues at first setting it up, but it ended up being gorgeous on the table! I meant to dangle necklaces off of it, but I was too worried they'd fall in and contaminate the punch. I worry about things like that. I also had found pirate apple juices boxes!
I also have a thing about little kids blowing out cake candles and spitting all over the cake that everyone else has to eat (and now you get to think about that...oops) so I made my daughter a miniature treasure chest cake using a small loaf pan and different candies as the treasure. It looked very homemade, but she didn't mind. I also had bought a pirate ship cake from Hyvee, which spared me from spending hours to make it, which I would've done. Then, me being me, I was convinced we still wouldn't have enough cake, so I also bought cupcakes from the store that were Pirates from the Caribbean. They just happened to have them there when I picked up the cake, so I grabbed them too.
I had a lot of tropical decor around, and almost all of that was leftover from our wedding reception. (We got married in Jamaica and had a tropical reception when we returned.) I ended up being glad I had saved it all! I also found these metal serving trays from the Dollar Tree, and they looked like pirate treasure pieces to me, so I used those too. I did have to buy some extra tropical decor, but only because it was cute.
On the two large doors that opened to the larger room, I placed a sign that said "No Trespassing" and something about walking the plank and pirate tape that said, "All pirates Beware!" and hung a plastic skeleton above the doors. It looked like decor, and that the room really was blocked off, so no one, especially the kids had any idea what was in the other room. Except my friend, she knew. And maybe my husband. After it looked like everyone was winding down from eating, I interrupted their conversation and announced to the kids I found a treasure map and wondered if they'd want to go on a treasure hunt with me. They all agreed and so we approached the two doors. By this time, there was a sign on the doors that said, "If you think ye a pirate, Port of Paradise is the place to be. Once you arrive there, then you will see."
We opened up the doors and started at the Port of Paradise. At the Port of Paradise was The Paradise Pirate Clothing Co. where we read a sign that said, "Get a vest, grab a hat too. Now go next door for your pirate tattoo." (I bought the vests with bandanas from Target's dollar bin clearance and the hats from Oriental Trading.) The kids each grabbed their gear and we headed to the tattoo parlor. The kids each chose their own tattoo and we then looked to the map to where to proceed.
We came to a place called Craft Cove and went to a place called "The Crafty Crab" that had a sign that said, "Here at the Crafty Crab, crabs we make. Paint and brushes; all it'll take." The kids painted little wooden crabs here and later, once they were dry, they attached eyes on the front and a magnet to the back.
We passed a scary alligator on the way to our next destination and approached "Carnival Island." A sign there read, "To find the treasure, treat it like a game. Carnival Island's the spot- ready, fire, aim."
Carnival Island had a couple games. There were two sharks and a sign that read, "Dare you to walk the plank, grab a flag and walk back, but don't fall in; I guarantee a shark will attack." The kids did that without any issues. There was also "Hook the Loot." They each won a gold necklace there. There was supposed to be a third game, but not all things work out as planned. The new inflatable pirate ship game I had bought didn't come with its plug-in, and I of course hadn't tested it before the party, but the kids didn't know about it.
After we played the carnival games, we found two ferns in an "X" shape and a sign that said, "Down is up, up is down, figure that out, and your treasure is found." We dug the treasure from under the brown tablecloth and there was a treasure chest pinata. I had a pinata stick lying next to a shovel. I handed out little black paper sacks with pirate stickers on the outside for their loot. (I found the little bags from Michael's and added stickers from their scrapbooking supplies.) Inside the pinata was loads of confetti (not my brightest idea when it came to cleanup) and chocolate gold coins, rolos, pirate fruit snacks, and I'm unsure of anything else. Then we had cake, opened presents, finally remembered my pirate music CD (not to be confused with pirated music), and sent the kids home with their loot.
Unfortunately, I can't find my picture of the treasure map, but I included as many other photos as possible.
My daughter kept blowing out the candles before we had a chance to sing to her.
My daughter's Godparents' dog wearing a pirate hat.
What People Ate
Lunch from the Buccanneer Buffet- Sandwiches made from the meat and cheese tray, potato salad, grapes, chips, and baked beans.
What People Drank
Punch, soda, and pirate apple juice boxes.
Activities / Games
Treasure hunt that led us to the pirate clothing shop, tattoo parlor, The Crafty Crab, Carnival Island games, and finding the buried treasure in the form of a pinata.
Their pirate vests, bandanas, hats, tattoos, crab magnet they made, gold necklace, pirate flag, and their loot bags with pinata treasure.