As I write this blog, I am gazing about like a blinking owl. My left leg hurts and Oliver is still in bed (at two O’clock in the afternoon). The kitchen still looks like a hurricane of food has blown through it and the back garden…the less I say about that the better. I think we can safely say that the party was a ROARING SUCCESS.
I woke up horrifically early yesterday morning with a jolt. The night before had been spent cooking batches of cupcakes and I had completely forgotten to wrap Olly’s presents and so, I started the day in a frenzied search for some sellotape (which by the way, should be featured in Harry Potter books as an example of an amazing disappearing substance. It doesn’t matter how much of it I buy, I can never bloody find ANY OF IT when I need to) which I couldn’t locate and so ended up wrapping his gifts which craft glue. A great start to the day, I’m sure you agree.
The morning was spent icing cupcakes and cornets filled with sweets and decorating the shed/playhouse.
As I had decided that the food was going to comprise of burgers, hotdogs and sausages in buns the food preparation was at a minimum. This left me time to decorate the front garden and to force Tom into blowing up an inflatable banana the size of a lilo.
Time then warped and suddenly people were arriving. Family members dropped by to give cards and presents to the birthday boy in advance of the party, the entertainer arrived and then the guests started flooding in. I realised that I had no idea how many people were going to descend as I hadn’t received many RSVPs (Quick note here – please respond to invitations, it makes life so much easier for the person throwing the party) and was greatly relived that more than 3 children turned up.
The entertainer was just…brilliant. 11 is a difficult age. The disparity between the more knowing and mature girls, and the boys (who spent at least half an hour wrestling and throwing plums from the tree at each other) who are in the main, still children, means that there is awkward balance to strike. Michelle (for that was her name) managed this beautifully and the kids all got really involved in the karaoke and competitions.
So while the kids were doing the limbo, screeching Justin Bieber songs and
throwing plums at each other generally having a good time, I got on with the food.
Deciding on providing hot food was just plain stupid. Why I thought that this would lessen the load on the day is now, with hindsight, completely beyond me. Am I actually mental?
The entertainer had to leave (BOO!) and there was still an hour to go before the party ended.
There was only one option left open to me…
This worked really well until they escaped and run amok with water pistols
This was actually my favourite part of the whole day. To see these kids – some of whom have been coming to our parties since they were 5 – running and laughing and being children again was just…amazing and surprisingly touching.
And so, the time for it all to end was upon us.
Oliver blew out his candles…
The children left, each and every one thanking me for a good time.
Po emerged from his hiding place…
And I put my feet up, drank a glass or two of wine and fell into my bed in a messy mess.
This morning, Olly got a text from one of his friends that simply said:
“Your [sic] party was epic”
Ah. The pirate party. Is there a male child alive who hasn’t wanted a Pirate Party at some point in their childhood?
*hides Oliver’s hand shooting into the sky*
It’s actually a pretty easy theme to do – Lots of eye patches and skull and crossbones and you’re golden.
Download a treasure map – something like
And print them out. Now for the wordz…
Captain <insert name> has docked ship at <insert address> and is looking for jolly buccaneers to join his crew of swash buckling pirates!
Captain <insert name> will be interviewing all candidates on <date of party> at <time of party>
No land lubbers or lily livered cowards need apply.
Pirate dress essential (obviously don’t worry about this if you’re not going for a fancy dress thing, but I have to be honest the kids love it)
Let the captain know if you’ll be turning up for fun and dastardly deeds by:
Text <mobile number>
Remember! If anyone asks you why you are a pirates? Just tell them
“Because we ARRRRR!”
OK – now print this out onto the back of your treasure maps. Roll into scrolls and…well, I hesitate to tell you this, but I actually sealed them with some red candle wax. Oh yeah. I am that obsessive…but you could just tie them up with a little red ribbon, or a piece of string – or anything really. For older children, you could collect those small plastic Coke (other pops are available) bottles, remove the labels and place the scrolls into the bottles. Actually, fuck yeah, that’s a great idea – why didn’t I do that?
Now, I have always tried to have a good mix of both genders at our parties – and while I appreciate that there are little girls who are quite happy to dress as pirates, I am also aware that there are those who would much prefer to dress as a princess or something more girly. It’s easy to get by this by adding the magic words “Mermaids” and “Tinkerbell fairies” into the invite.
As you can see, I went down the cheapest route possible. I got the boys dressed up in their outfits a week before the party and took a bundle of pictures. I then fiddled about with them a bit on potatoshop and printed them out.
I turned some into “Wanted” posters (using the crime of “Theft on the Seven Seas” and all that jazz) and left some alone and stuck them up all over the house and Shed/Playhouse.
It is possible to buy pirate themed decorations from most party shops, but they can be expensive pieces of tat. It’s a great place to find ideas though and it’s definitely worth having a look around and seeing if you can make something similar at home.
A Skull and Crossbone flag can be easily made with some black fabric and white paint – and let’s be honest here – this is a kids party, they really wont’t be looking too closely at the decorations anyway!
Black, white and red ballons look great clustered together.
The nautical theme can be expanded upon to great effect without too much outlay. A big knot of rope and pieces of driftwood (uh, I realise I’m talking utter shit here with the “driftwood” bollocks, but hey! *shrug* you might live near the sea) can be left by the front door as a sign of things to come.
If you have some girly girls coming, remember to include some pictures of mermaids (again just download them and print them out) and fairies. I remember buying a bag full of shells
and shit from Wilkinson’s weird bathroom section for a few pounds – I scattered these around as well. If you have such items in your bathroom as a matter of course, then they might as well be useful rather than just sitting in a bow on top of the toilet gathering dust and smell.
One thing I always do is a welcome note on the front door. I must admit that this pirate party was thrown in around 2007 and I have lost all of my original artwork and poems in the great changeover from crappy PC to Mac, but if I remember correctly the front door notice went something like this:
ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE
ALL WEAPONS TO BE LEFT AT THE FRONT DOOR
ANY WOODEN LEGS AND HOOK HANDS MUST BE EXAMINED BY FIRST MATE <INSERT NAME OF MUM>
KNOCK ON THIS DOOR ONLY IF YOU ARE READY TO JOIN CAPTAIN <INSERT NAME>’S SALTY CREW
Anyway – I think there was probably a poem or something (I like writing poetry) but it is lost to me now. *weeps bitter Mac tears* *remembers I now have a lovely shiny Mac* *Cheers up*
Oh the food part is a piece of piss! Just make ordinary party food and…here is the genius part…make labels out of cocktail sticks and printed pieces of paper to magically turn your run of the mill, ordinary food into AMAZING PIRATE/MERMAID vittels. Pah! Kids eh? Aren’t they thick?
Cheesy Balls (c’mon you know what I’m talking about – either those
vile spherical wotsits or…if you are quite mental…those chicken ball things with the. ick. cheese stuff inside) – “Cannon Balls”
Sandwiches – “Buried Treasure”
Pizza – “Captain Hook’s Delight”
You get the idea. Try not to get too bogged down with the food – by their very nature, Pirate Parties are generally for quite young children, and you can scrape by with very little effort on the food front.
Buy each attending gift a small gift (I’m thinking something from the pound shop, or a chocolate bar) wrap each gift in different wrapping paper. This is great for using up all those scraps of Christmas paper or old birthday wrapping that are just too small to use (am I the only person who keeps this shit? please tell me I’m not). Hide the gifts around the house/garden before the children arrive and then give each child a scrap of “their” wrapping paper and send them on their hunt. This is a terrific way to
use up time start the party as it can be played by the early arrivers while they wait for the late stragglers. Of course, if you can’t be arsed then you can do a pretty good treasure hunt with chocolate gold coins.
Simon says with a pirate twist. Yeah. It’s the usual game but with “Captain” instead of “Simon”. Lazy party? nahhhhh.
Musical chairs but instead of chairs use large pieces of paper.
Peg Leg Races
A three legged race. Pair the children up and tie them up…
wait until their parent’s pick them up
Well, I actually bought a pirate ship cake tin from a local cake porn shop. Oh, you should see it. It has sails and everything. So..a couple of days before the party I prepare the cake batter, I decided to go for something quite dense using buttermilk, and as I poured the batter into the well oiled tin I felt true pride. Pride and a little bit starry eyed - “Oh” I imagined to myself “I might be the next Jane Asher”
Well. I might be the next Jane Asher, if the real Jane Asher makes cakes that are actual lumps of shit. Oh Lord it was pitiful. It was just a lump of cake. Who in their right mind would like a lump of cake to celebrate their birthday?
So, I covered the LumpOCake in green icing,stuck a couple of pirate figures and a palm tree in the top, rolled a bunch of blue icing onto a cake board and called it a treasure island (*points at head* Up here for thinking)
In conclusion I would advise you to buy a cake from Asda.
Oliver, Tom and his friends had a brilliant time. The party was a great success. If you’re throwing a Pirate Party soon I wish you all the best and urge you to not start drinking the wine until the final child has been collected.