Pirate Theme

Pirate Theme Ideas

Ignite your child’s imagination and let them fly to Neverland with Captain Hook, sail the seven seas with Long John Silver or see the ghostly image of Captain Jack Sparrow by throwing them a themed pirate event.


Send your invitations out one to two weeks before the event. Be creative and send out Treasure Map invitations. Stationery stores sell a range of pre-printed papers that can be used – scrolls are ideal. Make it clear that everyone must come dressed as a pirate or they’ll be walking the plank! You can use ordinary white paper and burn the edges to make it look old. Decorate with skulls and crossbones, arrows and footprints. Roll your invitations up and secure with a piece of frayed string and candle wax. Make sure you include the date and time of the event, the address and an RSVP date and phone number.

Pirate Decorations

Plan to have a safe place for your event where children (or grown-ups!) can have fun without fear of injury and have a backup plan in case of bad weather. Inside or out, decorations will create your pirate hideaway.

Scour your local party shop or shop online for pirate themed products. Sensational themed pirate partyware is available from party shops. You can get everything from cups plates and napkins to tablecloths balloons and decorations in pirate themes.

Decorate with black and white streamers and skull and crossbones balloons.  Make sure you have a Jolly Roger flag flying. Put a sign over the front door “Enter at yer own risk me harties”.

Make a treasure area using silver serving dishes, candlesticks, lots of Christmas tree beads, add fairy tiaras, chocolate money and jewels and beads from craft stores. Spray stones gold and add as nuggets. Add sea shells and some sand.

Display on the food table or fill a treasure chest. If you don’t have a treasure chest, line a laundry basket with purple or red satin.

Potted palms will give a tropical island feel. If your party is outside, use lots of sand to add to the theme. Add some bamboo garden flares – use orange or red cellophane as flames. Bird netting is cheap to buy and is a great sea prop. Skeletons left over from Halloween will complete your theme.

You can create a pirate ship using hay bales covered with hessian. Make a pirate flag out of a bed sheet – paint on a skull and crossbones. Tie balloons to your front gate or fly a pirate flag. Mark the spot with a large X cut from black cardboard.

Balloons can be used indoors or out. Printed Pirate balloons can be mixed with plain black or white. Tie in bunches and add lots of red ribbon – red foil ribbon from party stores will create an eerie effect. Hire a helium tank and float the balloons off the ceiling with long spidery tails – great decorations and you can add one to each loot bag at the end of the party.

Pirate Craft

Cut out strips of brightly coloured fabric to make bandanas. You can buy eye patches from party stores or use face paint to paint them on. Buy paper mache chests from your craft store. Decorate in advance and fill with lollies or have them for party craft games for the children to decorate themselves (make sure each child writes their number under their box). They are great favours for the children to take home.

Have a small clean jar for each pirate and a selection of glitter, beads, shells,  pebbles sprayed gold, and other little sea treasures, top up with a mixture of water and baby oil to create their own treasure cave. You can also add a drop of food colouring to the water.   When the child has finished, hot glue the tops in place. Cut some pirate coloured fabric into circles to place over the lids, secure with a rubber band.

Make spyglasses using cardboard tubes – toilet roll tubes are ideal – add coloured cellophane to either end and decorate with jewels.

Pirate Food

Have a cake decorated with skull and crossbones or as a pirate’s face.  A simple cake could be iced and have chocolate money added.   A more elaborate cake could be shaped as a treasure chest.     Have a Sara Lee chocolate slab cake and add white chocolate buttons to outline the shape of a skull and crossbones.
Make little pirate name signs to add to the food you are serving.

  • Parrot food

Have a tray of fresh nuts and raisins and dried fruit.

  • Pirate boats

Make a sail using a triangle of white paper with a bamboo skewer pushed through it.   Insert it into the sausage and hey presto a sailing ship.

  • Pirate’s teeth


  • Gold dubloons

Chicken nuggets

  • Pirate ale

Ginger beer

  • Parrot legs

Chicken drumsticks

  • Pieces of eight

Garlic bread

  • Sunken treasure

Chocolate coins in blue jelly

  • Cannonballs

Black grapes

  • Captain’s treasure

CCupcakeswith the tops sliced off, add jelly beans and frosting and push the top back into the frosting to make it look like the open lid of a treasure chest

Pirate Games

  • Pirate Piñata

Available from most party supply shops or make one yourself using a large round balloon and paper mache. Paint black and make into a cannonball. Bought piñatas include pirates, pirate chests and crocodiles.

  • Treasure hunt

No pirate party would be complete without a treasure hunt.  Make maps in advance giving clues to where the treasure is buried.

  • Cannonball stomp

Fill your party area with black balloons and let the pirates stomp on them until they burst.  You can add treasure slips to some of the balloons so the pirates can claim their prize.

  • Pirate peg legs

Have a three-legged race

  • Booty race

Have a sack race

  • Pirate Islands

Similar to musical chairs but use hoola hoops instead of chairs and remove one hoop each time the music stops until only one hoop remains. A great game for outside.

  • Walking the plank

Use two bricks either end and place a plank over the top. The children have to walk the plank blind fold, if they fall off, they are out. If they make it to the other side they win a prize.

  • Pin the parrot on the pirate

or pin the X on a Treasure Map – a variation of pin the tail on the donkey.

  • Gold hunt

Spray seashells gold and hide in the garden. The children have to hunt to find them. The winner is the child who finds the most.

  • Cap’n Hook’s Treasure

Buy cheap pirate hooks from your local party shop. Each child wears a hook on each hand.  Fill a bucket with “treasure items” and each child is given 30 seconds to try and pick up as much treasure as they can. The winner is the child who picks up the most.

  • Octopus Treasure

Fill a bucket with cooked spaghetti. Add treasure to the bucket. Blindfold the pirates and time them for 30 seconds while they hunt for the treasure among the octopus tentacles. The winner is the child who collects the most treasure.

Originally published 28 September, 2018

You may also be interested in: