Inject a little fun and swagger into your next party by throwing a swash-buckling, Jolly Roger hoisting, treasure hunting pirate party. A pirate themed party is a great way to lighten the mood and break the ice among guests and it’s perfect for creating a fun and casual setting. Whether it’s a kid-friendly party for wee-lads and lasses or an adults-only celebration for wannabe buccaneers, guests are hooked on the adventurous and fanciful idea that a “pirate’s life” inspires at all ages.
At Mariposa Cruises we’ve hosted a number of pirate themed parties and cruises over the years. It’s a much-loved party theme among many of our charters. After all there’s nothing that sets the mood of a pirate party better than cruising out on open water, so naturally our fleet is a perfect venue for any pirate party.
For anyone looking to throw their own pirate themed party, here are some helpful tips.
Even if you don’t have a boat to set-off your pirate theme there are plenty of basic décor items that will create the ambiance of a pirate’s dwelling and capture the imagination of your guests. Set the mood of your pirate party with a colour scheme that encapsulates the daring, ruthless, carefree, treasure hunting spirit of piracy. Stick to the colours of black, white, red and gold.
Treasure maps can be used in a number of ways. They can be hung on walls, placed on tables or used as place mats. The latter is particularly good for children’s parties as it can also be used as a fun colouring activity. Try staining your treasure map with tea to give it a weatherworn, authentic look.
Treasure chests are a great décor item and can be used as centrepieces. You can also incorporate the motif of a treasure chest into your candy bar or cake.
Gold coins, glass beads and fake jewels are a bountiful yet cost effective way to show the spoils and riches of piracy. Chocolate gold coins in particular are always a crowd pleaser.
Add some nautical details such as compasses, telescopes, anchors, fishing nets and ropes. Seashells and sand can also be incorporated.
Old wooden crates and barrels are great accessories. Candles provide great mood-lighting and can be set in gold colour candelabras or in wine bottles with the labels removed and wax dripping down the sides.
Add some danger with fake skeletons, skulls, daggers, cutlass, swords, muskets and a gangplank. Add a canon if you have the budget for it.
A parrot, real or fake always adds a nice touch to any pirate themed party.
Don’t forget to hoist your Jolly Rogers flag, as no pirate party is complete without the symbolic skull and crossbones on display.
Dress like a pirate
It’s not really a pirate party unless there are pirates. Ask your servers and bartenders to dress like pirates and wenches or better yet make it a costume party and encourage your guests to dress up like pirates. Motivate them with a prize for the best costume. After all, every pirate needs the promise of riches to inspire them.
Pirate costumes are easy to create and your guests can get very creative. They can be inexpensive or expensive depending on how elaborate you want to make them. It’s always a great idea to have some pirate accessories on hand for anyone who may need a finishing touch to their costume or for guests who may have forgotten to wear one. You can find pirate eye patches, plastic swords, beads, bandanas and other inexpensive items at most dollar stores or party supply stores. If it’s a kids’ party get the kids to colour and make their own paper pirate hats.
Set up your pirate accessories in a treasure chest or old trunk by the door for when guests arrive or scatter them about as part of your decor.
Pirate Food a.k.a. Grub
While traditional pirate fare may be a bit grim for your festive party, you can carry the pirate theme into your food while still keeping it fresh and appealing. Have platters of cheese, raw veggies, cured meats and tropical fruit. Use miniature plastic swords or Jolly Roger toothpicks.
Shish Kabobs or anything served with a skewer adds a little swashbuckle to any meal.
Spice it up Caribbean style! Galley cooks on pirate ships traditionally used lots of spices to mask the rancid taste of rotting meat. Luckily for your guests – you can add some Caribbean spice and still keep the ingredients fresh. Try jerk chicken, Jamaican beef patties and peas and rice.
Grub it up with some chunks of meat you can really get your hands on. After all pirates were not known for their good table manners. Think turkey drumsticks, pork or mutton chops, chicken wings and ribs.
Pirate Beverages a.k.a Grog
Every jolly, shanty-singing image of a pirate usually involves a tankard of grog in their hand. For kids’ parties serve root beer or ginger ale in frosty mugs. For buccaneers of legal age serve tankards or mugs of draught beer.
Yo-ho-ho – don’t forget the rum for your adult pirate party. It was after all the drink of choice for any pirate back in the day. Get creative and have a rum based signature drink or have a bowl of welcome aboard rum punch. Some of our favourite rum based cocktails include planters punch, dark and stormy, and blue lagoon.
You could also serve anything with sherry, brandy or port while still maintaining the pirate theme.
Pirate themed entertainment and music
While the costumes, food and drink may be entertaining enough you could always add a little more pirate panache with some pirate themed entertainment.
A treasure hunt game is fun for both kids and adults alike. Make it as simple or elaborate as you like with a series of clues or treasure maps.
A photo booth with pirate accessories is a great way to capture the fun of your pirate party and offers a great piece of loot for your guests to steal away with.
Teach your guests some pirate sea-shanties or get a karaoke machine with a full list of pirate inspired songs. Anything from your traditional Yo, Ho, Ho pirate shanties, to something from Pirates of Penzance could fit the bill. There’s plenty of modern music about pirates to choose from as well.
Talk like a pirate and encourage your guests to do the same. You can even make a game of it and have each guest come up with their own pirate name. Arr, Let the best scurvy festered, lubber-offender, bilge-talking old salt win!
Avast! What ye be waitin’ for? Start yer pirate party planning today or talk to one of our Event Coordinators about how you can throw your very own pirate party on one of our six vessels.
About the Author:
As the Event Manager for Mariposa Cruises, Lauren Matunin prides herself on delivering fun and memorable events for our clients. She is always ready to take the helm and willing to go the extra nautical mile to ensure all events go off without a hitch. Lauren relies on her attention to detail, creativity, and passion to ensure each and every event is one of a kind and credits collaboration among the entire Mariposa crew as the key to our event successes.