My boys LOVE to plan their birthday parties every year. Seriously, they talk about their birthdays more than any other single topic and look forward to birthday parties more than any other annual celebration—including Christmas. I’ll admit that the incessant b-day chatter drives me a bit batty, but I’m also proud that they appreciate planning a good, yet humble, soiree. But before we go any further, I should add a disclaimer here: If you’re looking for over-the-top birthday party ideas that cost a small fortune and rival wedding receptions, then you’ll be sorely disappointed in this post. But if you’d like a few free, fun ideas that are kid-tested and easy to pull off, keep reading!
Zephan decided that for his 6th birthday he would like to celebrate with a pirate-themed party. I was more than happy to oblige!
I come from a tight-knit family and am the only one who lives outside of the Hampton Roads, VA area. My boys adore their cousins and insist on having their birthday parties at my mom’s beach house so that we can celebrate with all of our extended family. The parties are almost always “costume required” and everyone is a good sport about dressing up!
Instead of having a bunch of different games, we opted to have an indoor scavenger hunt. My husband wanted to be in charge of this part of the party, so I let him have at it! Granted, if I would have been in charge of the scavenger hunt, I would have typed all the clues up on little treasure maps, rolled the clues into scrolls, and sealed them with red wax. And that would have taken me forever and probably gone unnoticed by the kids! They definitely didn’t seem to mind one bit that the clues were instead scrawled on index cards.
Tip: If your kiddo’s birthday falls during a cold-weather month, an indoor scavenger hunt is a great option!
Before the scavenger hunt began, my husband as The Dreaded Pirate Blue Bandana explained some necessary pirate terminology and reviewed some pirate ship definitions that would be used in the scavenger hunt clues. After the kids completed “Pirate Speak 101”, they were led to their first clue.
In case you can’t read pirate scrawl, the first clue says, “Angelic faces hide adventuresome pirates; you must gear up for your quest. Beside the galley lies what you need, to look your pirate best.” The kids had to go to the “galley” (kitchen) and find their pirate eye patches, swords, and bags for collected booty.
The kids enjoyed decorating brown paper bags which were used to collect their goodies. I also had some pirate-themed temporary tattoos that we placed on willing pirate’s hands and arms.
Each clue of the scavenger hunt led to a different area of the house and a different treasure to collect. I used the following as pirate booty:
- Candy necklaces
- Ring pops
- Hershey’s gold nuggets
- Chocolate gold coins
- Fish gummies
- Snack bags of Pirate’s Booty cheese puffs
See those two cuties below? You will be seeing a lot of them in the upcoming pics! The hubs made the clues pretty hard much to the delight of these two! My oldest son, Asher, and my niece Evie, are total brainiacs and pretty much took charge of finding and reading the clues. The littler ones didn’t seem to mind one bit :).
The second clue read, “Upon the topmast a sailor stands where the view is best. Command him: Ar! Avast there matey! Bring basket from yonder crow’s nest!
My mom’s house is on the beach and is 4 stories tall. The highest point of the home leads up to the widow’s walk (a roof deck). The kids ran upstairs to the “crow’s nest” where my nephew was waiting with a basket full of goodies and the next clue.
“On sandy beach a fallen tower has exposed another clue! Use the golden spyglass power to bring it near to you.”
For this clue, the kids had to look through the spy glass which was pointed at a tipped over lifeguard stand (fallen tower). My husband had previously taped a sign to the tower that read, “You are forward now. Your treasure is under the portside bow.” The kids had to remember where to locate the portside of our ship using information they obtained from The Dreaded Pirate Blue Bandana’s Pirate Speak 101 lesson!
There was some heated debate as to where exactly “portside” was located, but they quickly agreed and found the basket of booty and the next clue!
Clue 4 read, “In ship’s galley, a silver urn is hiding in plain sight. Don’t despair her tarnished face for she shall set you right.”
The next clue was hiding in a tarnished sugar bowl on the kitchen counter and smart little Evie found it right away!
“This ship’s captain has her cabin up above the deck. Beside captain’s chair, some treasure there, rewards you if you check.”
We had to prompt the kids a bit for the answer to this riddle. But once we asked them, “Who is the captain of the house/ship we are in?” They all immediately agreed it was their grandma and ran up to her bedroom to find her “captain’s chair”! Here they found more booty and the final clue.
The final clue read, “You have the jewels, and nuggets gold for your pirate wealth, but pirates want their gold doubloons which lie below deck upon the wardrobe shelf.”
The kids all agreed that below deck meant that the gold was somewhere on the lower level! The kids raced downstairs and searched for a wardrobe. In the guest room, they found a basket filled with chocolate gold coins and their final message.
“Bra-awk! Congratulations salty pirates! You are a clever brood! Ascend the stairs with birthday boy and you shall have some food!”
Yay kiddos! Well done! We all enjoyed some pizza and salad followed by some treasure chest cake.
This wasn’t the prettiest cake I ever made, but Zephan adored it which was all that mattered :). I used my marshmallow fondant recipe for the frosting and decorated the cake with Smarties, fruit tape candy, candy necklaces, ring pops, and gold chocolate coins. Zephan is gluten free, so I also made some non-g/f cupcakes for those who aren’t crazy about the taste of g/f cake.
I am so pleased that my baby loved his low-budget birthday and it was so much fun for the entire family!
Thanks for letting me share a practical birthday party with you! I hope you gleaned a few ideas for your next little pirate’s party.