This is a long, long time coming. As my son will be 5 this year and the pirate party was for his 3rd birthday, I’m a bit behind on the posts about birthday parties. But better late than never, right?
As is now our tradition, we held Milan’s Pirate birthday party at a park. In the end, it probably takes just as much effort as having it at home except you’re forced to clean up when you leave and you get to come home to a clean home (provided that’s the state you leave your house in). For 3 year olds, I find it to be the best because they get to run around and make as much noise as possible within lots of space without driving you nuts! Besides, we live in an apt so my max is pretty much 4 other kids in our tiny place (seriously, just my 2 drive me nuts).
Milan had been talking about having a pirate party for months and he was the one that really wanted it at a park, too. To make it obvious where the party was (its a big park), I bought a big balloon with the number 3 on it and hung up a big pirate flag.
Pirate Party Costumes
I do think the key to make a theme park party successful is the details and in particular providing some form of costume for the kids and parents. Even though there will be some that don’t want to wear the costumes, it really makes a big difference and it allows the kids that don’t know many people to feel automatically included.
Of course we started out by buying a pirate costume for Milan although it comes with a hat now but we bought him a separate pirate hat for his costume. It has gotten lots and lots of use and he’s worn it to other pirate themed parties.
The big hit was the bandanas. I went to Jo Ann fabrics and bout 2 yards of cheap red cotton material, 1 yard of pirate material and 1 yard of girl pirate material costing me a whopping $7. I cut about 8-10 triangles from each of the yards of pirate material and also from one yard of the red material. Then for the remaining yard of red material, I cut a bunch of strips in varying sizes. Some were long enough to be belts for adults, some were small enough to be head bands or belts for kids (with the majority being small since it is a kids party).
We bought some eye patches from Amazon, they looked awesome because they were made from hard plastic and they definitely have lasted through many play dates but to be honest they weren’t very comfortable and really just ended up being decorations on the table.
I also had a bunch of pirate tattoos spread out on the table with a bowl of water and a couple of wash cloths handy.
Pirate party game – Treasure Hunt
Since this was a 3 year old party we really only had one game other than the pinata. To be honest, 3 year olds just don’t have the same attention span as even 4 year olds and since we were at a park they ran around pretending to be pirates for a very long time.
Before the party, I had put together a bunch of plan paper bags filled with a ring light, a ring pop, a couple of candies and a beaded necklace. While the kids were playing, we (some of the other parents and I) hid the bags in an area of the sand box. Then we gathered all the kids together and had them go on a treasure hunt and dig in the sand to find a bag. I was happy to see the big kids helped the little ones find bags of their own. I made several extra so if some couldn’t be found in the sand everyone would have a bag. We used the bags for the pinata right after the treasure hunt.
I really had wanted to get this pirate treasure chest but alas, when it came time to order it they were out and we wouldn’t have gotten it in time for the party. Luckily, Target had a pirate pinata and was able to get one there. I filled it with the rest of the beaded necklaces, some Rolos since they look like little pieces of gold, Hershey’s kisses since they are silver, some more pirate tattoos, and some other candies. I really don’t like having tons of candy around so it ended up being about 4 or 5 pieces per kid (with the little kids getting less and the bigger kids getting more as is the nature of pinatas).
We had forgotten a bat but luckily someone had come dressed for the pirate party and had brought a pirate sword that was quite hefty and we were able to use that.
Pirate Ship birthday cake
Other than being in a pirate costume this was an absolute must for Milan. He kept asking over and over again if he could have a pirate ship cake. I kept trying to talk him into cupcakes with pirate flags or pretty much anything else. He was dead set on a pirate ship. I found some awesome pictures of the Evolution of a Pirate Ship Cake on Flickr that I was planning on doing completely. But as time got closer, I didn’t have the time to bake a cake, in fact I didn’t even have an cake pans even if I wanted to. So a couple of hours before the party, I ran out to Vons (its the closest grocery store to us) and picked up a round German chocolate cake, some cupcakes and everything I’d need to make frosting. Then I transformed the store bought cake and cupcakes into a pirate ship and water. Making your own frosting really makes the cake taste homemade. It turned out great! I know I could’ve added many more details but in the end it really didn’t matter. The pictures (although good) really don’t do it justice. It looked much better in person and Milan was so, so, so happy to have a pirate ship birthday cake!
We had an absolute blast and I learned something that I hope to remind myself of in the future, in the end, the kids (especially at this age) really only care about playing with each other, getting something little to go home with and cake!