How to Throw a Pirate Birthday Party.
We had such a blast throwing our son's first birthday party with the Pirate Pool Party theme. It was the perfect way to celebrate his vivacious life with our closest friends and family, in a way that was silly and playful. In other words, I was a dweeb and decided to make name cards for every pirate-y element of the party. I would say that it's the stay at home mom in me, but when it comes to celebrating, I just like everything to be over the top. Let me have my crafts and my recipes! LET ME!
1. The Food.
The food is obviously one of the most important elements. Since the party was early afternoon, we served lunch, which included (prepare yourself) Scalleywags (hot dogs and cheeseburgers), Fish and Chips (Goldfish crackers and potato chips), Plundered Pasta (pasta salad), Pirates Booty (duh), Veggie Planks (vegetable tray) and a fruit salad. For the drinks I went simple, with Ocean Grog (bottled water), and the Captain's Brew (beer), with juice boxes for all the kiddos.
2. The Watermelon Pirate Ship.
I came across this when I was pinteresting, and I couldn't resist giving it a try. This watermelon pirate ship was too adorable to pass up! I'll admit, the effort required was vast, and I am so grateful that my mom watched Everett the day before the party so that I could do crazy things like make a pirate ship out of fruits and vegetables (this tutorial was helpful!) But I was so proud that it turned out great! This is definitely the kind of thing you want to make a day ahead of time and then refrigerate overnight. There should be no day-of carving! The supplies needed for this (other than the fruit) were the fruit skewers (like these), some pretty straws (I found mine in the Target dollar section, but these are similar) and this pirate Lego set to really set the scene. These cute blocks were lying around the house and I decided to employ their attractiveness, as well. I also made 4 boxes of blue jello the day beforehand and cut it into squares, then surrounded the ship with "water". I'll admit, that might have been my favorite element of this little project, because it added a special effect.
3. The Cake.
The Publix Bakery has been a long-time cake provider in our family, from before our wedding up until now. My favorite dessert are the petit fors (the orange and vanilla are TO.DIE.FOR) and of course, the strawberry cake was my choice for our wedding. We decided to go with the Little Pirates cake for Everett's bash. Publix has this really special promotion for 1st birthday parties - when you buy a large cake (either 1/4 or 1/2 sheet cake), they will give a free mini cake for the baby's epic cake smash. How great is that? And they decorated his two cakes so well, I almost cried when I saw them. Thank you, Publix! You do it up right!
4. The Decor.
Balloons, streamers, and banners oh my. We posted balloons down by the mailbox and then drew a dotted line up the driveway (using black tape) to create the "treasure map" trail. A red "X marks the spot" was on the front door, where the party goers entered at their own risk :) That's where they dropped off their gift by the Captain's Loot and found their way outside to the food, drinks and poolside fun. Yes, cheesy. YES I KNOW. But the cheesy only added extra sparkle to the fun. Which I was having LOADS OF. I was on a party high the whole day. Laughing in pride at my homemade crafts-turned-decor. I also used a smattering of these, these and these free printables, all thanks to my excessive, late night nutella-induced Pinterest binging. Good times.
4. The Activities.
I am a firm believer in the fact that a birthday party IS the activity. We have a pool so everyone could "walk the plank" (the diving board) and swim to their heart's content! We also had toys out for the babies to play with and more than enough pirate "stuff" for the big kids to go around - eye patches and pirate face masks. But I'm a little bit over the top, so I also put together a photo booth (which, sadly, was never used - a good reminder that a party is enough of an activity!) I learned that when there is a pool, there is little else you need to keep kids happy and busy.
5. The Favors.
We couldn't resist putting out toy water guns and bubbles for all the kiddos to enjoy. While most of the bubbles ended up dumped in the pool (sorry, mom and dad!), I know that everyone really loved playing with these. Unfortunately, I ended up with an excessive amount of left over toy water guns. WHO LEFT THEIR PARTY PRESENT?! Come get your left overs!
6. Have SO MUCH FUN.
This was the most important part of the day. I made sure to take moments and deep breaths and just soak it all in. Not be too stressed about the details working out and just have fun. Enjoy my son and watch his expression change as he was sung to, doted upon, and loved so so well by all the wonderful people who surround him, encourage him, and have helped him grow. It is such a privilege to raise up this healthy, strong, hilarious boy and I am so lucky to be his mom and be part of his story. You only get to celebrate your son's 1st birthday ONCE. I wanted to make it count. I wanted to dress him up like a pirate. It's really too bad that he threw an enormous fit and wouldn't let me.
There's always next year.
In case you're wondering, YES, I pinterested an enormous amount to gather ideas for this party. You can see my board of ideas here. I had SO much fun planning and executing this party. I might not always put this much effort into birthday parties to come (I just re-read that sentence, and that's completely untrue), but I am so glad that Everett's birthday will always be a sweet memory for our family.
Let me know if you decide to throw a pirate-themed party! I would love to see your links and pics :)