The skull and crossbones flag flying high over a many-masted ship, tall shiny boots and large shiny swords–these accessories bring to mind pirates! Our culture has been fascinated with pirates since the 1600’s when pirates began to rob the Spanish galleons of their gold and treasure. You don’t have to be a child to enjoy a swashbuckling pirate adventure; adults love them, too. So why not consider a adult pirate party for a special someone’s birthday?
When my father turned 80, we decided to go with pirates as a totally unexpected theme, and had a great adventure. We gathered decorative items from our children’s stash of toy pirate items, We ended up with two pirate hats, a crook for the hand (like Captain Hook in Peter Pan), a pirate flag I’d bought as a party prop, fake gold coins for treasure, a spy glass from a Happy Meal, a red and white striped belt from a costume, and a model of a ship from the times with many sails. We used these items for a centerpiece for our birthday dinner buffet.
We also bought some plastic gold pirate earrings and some skull and crossbones plastic eye patches for all the guests to wear in honor of the theme. Pirate hats, costumes and weapons can be purchased at most party stores or costume shops if you want to go all out. We’re a rather low-key group, but to really spice up the atmosphere, you can raid your Halloween decorations for skulls and skeletons that can be dressed as ghostly pirates protecting treasure chests of loot. You can also raid your nautical beach decorations for shells and nautical netting.
You can gather costume pieces to set up a photo booth where your guests can dress up like swashbucklers of old. Or you could ask your guests to come dressed as pirates to get them in the mood. You might want to create an outdoor or in-the-neighborhood treasure hunt with clues for your guests to follow as they search for the prize. You could set up contests like fake sword-fighting, darts, best talking-like-a-pirate, guessing how many gold coins are in the chest and proving who know the most real pirate trivia. You could see who of your guests can tie the best sailor’s knots, You could even set up a plank-walking contest with a length of strong wood held up by two sturdy chairs over a child’s wading pool. “Shiver me timbers and get all hands on deck–it’s time to make our prisoners walk the plank.”
Pirate movies like the classic Captain Blood, Against All Flags, The Sea-Hawk, Treasure Island, or the modern-day Pirates of the Caribbean series will entertain your guests if they would prefer someone else to swash-buckle.
So, if your birthday honoree has a good sense of humor and can get into the spirit of swashbuckling, try an adult pirate party. Enjoy!
To learn about possible pirate party themes, check out this post.