Pirates of the Caribbean 7th Birthday

I’m excited to share the details of my son’s 7th birthday party with you. Seven. Wow. Not sure how that happened. He is all about the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and loves Jack Sparrow. That’s CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow. I set out to throw him a sort of creepy and realistic pirate party, and we must have done pretty well because it got the birthday boy’s pirate seal of approval. I am crazy excited to tell you that I hired a photographer for the first time, so you will not be subjected to my mediocre photog skills (and the blogging world breathes a collective sigh of relief). Here we go…

We set the tone with this parchment colored map themed invitation. I used a sort of messy ink pen font that read, “If it be adventure you seek, yer compass need look no further…Captain Reese be expectin’ the service of his regular crew as he sails the 7 seas in search of treasures.” It was delivered in a kraft colored envelope printed with map elements and sealed with a blood red wax “X.” Everyone said the kids would freak over the wax seal, and that absolutely held true from the feedback that I received.

We had rain in the forecast that day, so our backyard activities sort of flew out the window. I repurposed our props, using them to greet all those scurvy dogs.

I made the ship mast for about $10 using PVC pipe (which is crazy cheap–who knew?) , a bushel basket from Michael’s, a mini skeleton and some creepy fabric swags, both from Dollar Tree. I borrowed the tattered Jolly Roger flag from my partner, Lauren, who had ordered it from Oriental Trading.

We already owned this awesome chest, which has been in my family since I can remember. It used to be green and yellow and live in my parents’ room. Ahhh…the seventies. I got ahold of it in grad school and painted it black. It lives like this in my guest room, minus the bones and stuff. I had already purchased and made another treasure chest before I even thought about this one, but it’s huge and would’ve been difficult to hide for our treasure hunt.

Dead Men Tell No Tales…

This guy is one of my very favorite details of the whole party. His name is Jolly Roger, and he narrates the DVD menus on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He’s got quite a bit of personality and inspired a lot of the invitation wording. His Captain Jack goatee makes me giggle.

Inside, we were all decked out in fine pirate style!

This year, I did a little birthday retrospective of my boy from past years. You know, afore he was captain.

Funny, no? Thought it was better than a pirate’s wench costume, which I also have. Kidding.

We screened the first POTC movie in the living room. The kids were totally captivated (and some of the adults too). If you haven’t seen the movies, I highly recommend although you may want to pre-screen them before letting your kids watch. Johnny Depp is amazing.

Since the party was mid-afternoon, we wanted to keep the food on the light side, but after all the plundering, those kiddos had worked up an appetite!

We served chicken, fruit and these hilarious little crab sammies, which were my favorite! They look to me like they’re pleading not to be eaten.

I pinned these from familyfun.go.com and substituted mozzarella balls for the eyes and red apples for the pincers. We made them into turkey and ham sammies.

Here’s a closer look at the cupcakes I made for reasons which were totally logical at the time. Then I was kicking myself at the 11th hour for not hiring it out. They were yummy though!

I had this raw cupcake stand from Pick Your Plum. I looked really Piratesque to me already with the burned edges so we just left it plain. For now.

I made an XL cupcake for the birthday boy and topped it with this weird little candelabra I found at WalMart. There was one. It was $1. Random. And oddly perfect for the occasion.

Here’s the birthday boy making his wish. It was for Skylanders. Trust.

The kids drank juice poured from these plain bottles which I corked and labeled with art I created from The Graphics Fairy blog.

There are six different designs to choose from. Download them and print your own for free here:

Pink Peppermint Printables Rum Labels

For the adults, we taste tested grog, mostly because I had a curiosity about it myself and thought others might like to taste it too. It’s a rum drink with lime juice (fer tha scurvy), sugar, mint and water. Not bad.

For a fun activity, we did a twenty clue treasure hunt. It was a bit chaotic having to move it inside, but we managed. If you ever do one, plan on having an adult read the clues aloud. I would also have devised some way to let everyone find at least one clue. They had a blast searching though!

We cordoned off certain areas of the house to the treasure hunt by hanging these signs on the door knobs of rooms that were off limits.

We hid the clues in the common areas of the house and in both kids’ room. They were hidden inside the birthday boy’s pirate boots, by the PlayStation, under the TV remote, in his school backpack, inside a prop compass and on and on. The clue that led them to the timer said this: “Set the time and push to start. I beep when done. That is my part.” I used a great little program called RiddleMe, that allows you to enter an inventory of things and places you have in and outside your home, and it will help you to generate clues. I had to redo all of my clues for inside use at the last minute since we had rain, and although I reworked them all to rhyme and be more pirate-like, it was a huge help to have a place to start.

We even hid a clue next to some skeleton keys by the dog’s crate. In the POTC movies, there’s a dog that carries the keys to the prison cells, and all the pirates are always calling him to come closer so they can grab them. We ALMOST got a photo of our Buttercup carrying them. Proof positive she will put anything in her mouth! The clue read, “I guard the keys to the prison gate. When I’m not working, I’ll be in my crate.”

Well, who would’ve thought they’d find the treasure buried in the gas grill. We took the tank out and hid the chest underneath. It held treasures for pirates and mermaids because we had a few little sisters and a dear classmate too, and hey, there are mermaids in the POTC movies. Even if they are mostly evil. Details…

We made the boys Captain Jack head wraps, complete with beaded dread.

And the kids and I made the mermaids each a beaded bracelet.

When guests left, everyone took home a small bag of chocolate pirate’s gold with a compass to lead them to the thing they want most. Spoiler alert: It’s chocolate.

A week or so later, we sent these message in a bottle thank you notes out, which I thought would be a little different and fun. We placed them in mailboxes mostly around the neighborhood. I printed them on 1/4 letter sheets of parchment with silly notes that would speak to the kids’ imaginations and make Captain Jack Sparrow proud.

One note read,

“Dearest cousins,

From the bottom of my tiny Pirate heart, a sincere thank you for the Skylanders.

It helps with me boredom while marooned on this deserted island.

Mutiny is no laughing matter. “

And was signed, “Pillage and Plunder, Captain Reese”

Happy 7th to my devilishly handsome boy!


Photography by Kirk Giessinger

23 thoughts on “Pirates of the Caribbean 7th Birthday

  1. I made him from a bag of bones they sold for Halloween and used the two thigh bones and the skull hot glued and mounted on a yard stake.

  2. Your party design is fantastic! I just threw a pirate 30th birthday for my husband and used your rum bottle labels to decorate the wine. They are so authentic that I had several people ask me where I found pirate themed wine! Thank you for sharing them with your readers! I linked back to you from my blog post.

  3. Love it all EK – the coolest party ever. And now I know why you were making Grog… Assuming you did more than tasting by the time you were able to enjoy it!!:)

  4. AAAARGH! Astounding. Such amazing deets, E. I love the dramatic table setting with candlelight..The sandwiches are adorbs. Beautiful, yet still butch. Sparkling, yet still skurvylicious. xo

  5. i wanna come to one of your parties! 🙂 everything is so well done. i just can’t imagine how much time you put into it and how you find the time to do it all! i’m sure everyone loved it! great job!

  6. The pictures make a huge difference! This looks even better than when I was there looking at it! Maybe because it’s QUIET!

  7. FREAKING ADORABLE!!! Everything is just perfection. I love that you really gave it the feel of the movie, instead of being generic pirate. The food set-up is my favorite! Looks like a banquet!

  8. It’s PG-13, and I’m pretty sure there is some hanging in the gallows, etc. It’s been a while since I’ve watched it all the way through, but mine has seen worse in the Star Wars movies. From what I recall, most of the questionable content is adult humor that goes right over kids’ heads.

  9. Amazing! My favorite part was the crab sandwiches. I’ve held off on letting my 7-year-old watch the first POTC movie but will now let him go for it based on your recommendation. The photographs came out great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *