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How to Host a Kid’s Pirate Party on a Budget

My son has a summer birthday, which has its advantages and disadvantages.  On the plus side, the weather usually cooperates and we can be outside.  With a slew of boys, this is always good.  On the other hand, he never gets to hear his class sing “Happy Birthday,” a fact he learned to capitalize on quite early.

Perhaps because his birthday isn’t celebrated at school, we always have a party.  However, we haven’t always had the funds—or the inclination—to turn the celebration of another year of life into a pricey affair complete with a scary clown and the moon bounce.  Nonetheless, we want his parties to be fun, and memorable.

To this end, when he turned 5 we sent his friends invitations to a treasure hunt.  Ahoy, Matey, there’s treasure involved! 

The inexpensive fun included:

  • A tattoo for everyone upon arrival
  • A pirate hat (homemade, with construction paper)
  • The homemade cake you see above
  • Games:
    • Hot “treasure” (hot potato, with a bag of “gold”) My husband still mocks this game.
    • Pirate-Pirate-Gold (duck duck goose) Okay, he mocks this one, too.
    • Pirate tag (tag)
    • Walk the plank (basically, a very low balance beam made from some wood in our garage) 

If these sound completely lame, think again.  That’s because you’re all grown up.  The kids totally loved this!  

But they especially enjoyed finding the clues that led to the treasure—a big gold box (thanks to the magic of spray paint) filled with their goody bags. 

After the cake and ice cream, they went after the bad guy (dad) with their balloon swords, sugared up and full of energy just in time for their parents to take them home.

Now that’s what I call a successful party, on a family-friendly budget.  Ahoy, indeed!