When it was decided a few weeks ago that Dash’s party would be pirate themed, Brett suggested we look into one of our local beach pavilions to host it. I drove up to check out the facilities for rent last weekend and called Brett, ecstatic.
“Oh my God, it might as well be called Pirate Beach. It basically looks like a pirate movie scene. Like we don’t even need to bury a treasure because there’s probably a real one already buried there.”
So a pirate party was born, and this weekend we gathered some mateys and celebrated Dash’s six years with sword fighting, plank walking and a treasure hunt led by my dad who went all in on the pirate theme.
Okay, we all did.
We used the beach facilities (Delnor Wiggins State Park) to grill burgers and dogs, and brought chips and cupcakes to keep the food simple which always works out best for kid parties.
And then we dug into our Halloween bins for some skeletons and didn’t need much more decoration because the entire scene already looked like a beach overtaken by pirates.
My dad used painted foam core, a large plank of wood and a roll of blue cellophane to set up a “Walk-the-Plank in shark-infested waters” activity that quickly became a favorite. Dash was so nervous to walk it without someone holding his hand at first but was running across it alone and having sword fights in the middle of the plank by the end of the party.
I found some unfinished wood treasure boxes at Michael’s for the kids to paint. They added jewel stickers and filled them with plastic gold coins (Hobby Lobby).
The pirates battled in a cannonball toss on the beach (black water balloons). We made a big deal of making sure everyone was super careful to pick up any balloon pieces if they broke, but then they never broke because they were made of some freaky thick latex.
The kids searched for the bones of Blackbeard on the beach and dug them up when they found them…
…and used a treasure map to find three buried treasures along the beach boardwalks.
When I visited the beach last week to check it out, I drew a rough map of the trails with landmarks, noting where I’d bury the treasures. I transferred it on a big sheet of butcher paper (I burned the edges and some holes in it first), embellished it with some pictures and then crumpled it up to make it look old.
The treasure boxes were filled with little trinkets for the kids–light-up bouncy balls and pirate bracelets and rings (these were so cute–and stretchy so they fit adult fingers too!).
Dash’s one major request for his party was a pinata. He has been talking about a pinata for weeks, and he was ALL BUSINESS when he was up to bat. Back up, kids.
I actually had a broomstick-looking bat packed in the car before the party, and right before I left, Safety Dad saw it and said, “WHOA! WHOA! WHOA! Is that for the pinata? BIRTHDAY RULE #1: PLASTIC BAT. Good thing I caught that.” Nothing gets by Safety Dad.
We also generated pirate names for every guest, and wrote them on little sheets of paper. This pirate name generator site is fun and includes descriptions of pirate identity: Oscar “Shiny Buckles” Jewell, “The Plague Bringer of Parrot Sands!” Oscar be consorting too much with the locals on the mainland!
So the verdict is: Pirate beach parties are the best. Dash is the kid who talks about his upcoming party ten times a day three weeks in advance, so it was so much fun to see him so delighted that it was all coming to fruition.
When the party was officially over, a few of his friends stayed to hang out with us on the beach, and the boys took off exploring with swords and skeleton remains. One friend was so dedicated to the pirate theme, he kept a hook on his hand for a good hour. Dash was in heaven.
We love birthdays around here, and celebrating Dash this weekend reminded us again of the unique way each of our kids fits our family. We love you, Dash and can’t imagine life without your joy and humor!
A few party sources if a pirate party is in the works:
Pirate signs (these were so great to hang all around the beach trails)
Pirate hats (or just use red bandanas–$0.99 at Hobby Lobby)
Pirate jewelry favors
Chocolate Gold bars (we had one of these for each little pirate to put in their treasure box to take home)
Dash’s Pirate Shirt
Unfinished Wood Treasure Boxes (or a smaller version here)
Swords & Eyepatch Set