Jonah is 8! And this year's request was for a pirate party. I've seen so many awesome ideas for this theme, so I was really excited to plan one of our own. And the birthday boy and his friends had a blast!
Here is what the invitations looked like:
To make this simple message-in-a-bottle you will need plastic coke bottles, sand, jolly roger flag clip art (the image I used was found on google images - there are several varieties to choose from), scrap paper, raffia, a burning candle and either old document looking paper or just plain white paper. Assembly is pretty simple... the invitation, which is rolled up inside of the bottle, looks like this:
I singed the edges with the flame from a candle. The advantage to using a candle is no thumb cramps or burned fingers. :) Roll up your invitation and secure with raffia (I used black). Place in side of bottle - it should fit just right. Then pour in a little sand. Peel the coke label off the outside of the bottle and replace with your own.
Decorations were pretty simple. This party was more about the action! But I made a simple birthday banner using white cardstock and twine, and hung one of many jolly roger flags:
I got the boys lined up with their finished product, though!
Next we all came back inside for pirate make-overs. The boys got to choose whether they wanted a goatee or mustache (or both). They also got eye patches, hoop earrings (both found in the $1 section at WalMart) and tattoos (matched the stickers from Party City). Once they looked the part we taught them to act the part. Big sister Adriana instructed them in Pirate-ese. I printed this list of common translations off the Internet from www.coolest-kid-birthday-parties.com:
Ahoy, me hearties (Hello, my friends)
Thar she blows! (whale sighting)
Heave ho (give it some strength and muscle)
Buccaneer (a pirate)
Swab the deck (clean the deck)
Savvy? (do you understand?)
Blow me down/Shiver me timbers! (expression of shock, disbelief or surprise)
Dead men tell no tales (leave no survivors)
Sea-dog (an experienced sea-man)
Me (substitute for my)
Lookout (someone posted to keep watch on the horizon for signs of land or other ships)
Shark bait (enemies)
Grog (a pirate's drink of choice)
Cap'n (short for "captain")
Sail ho! (I see a ship!)
Shipshape (well organized)
Booty (treasure or loot)
Jolly Roger (A pirate's flag, indicated by skull and crossbones)
Yo-ho-ho (just an expression)
Fair winds (goodbye or good luck)
The birthday boy:
Tattoos (purchased from Party City):
Now that the boys were all set in their roles as true pirates, it was time for a treasure hunt. I got the ideas for the wording directly from a map I bought at Party City.
They started at the Stormy Seas, which was actually a wading pool they all had to walk through.
They arrived at Sea Dog City once they'd made their way through the pool, and found a clue that said:
"Seek out the shade of the Hall of 7 Fountains. There you'll find which way to go to get the Broken Skull Mountains."
The Hall of 7 Fountains was just silly Daddy with a hose. ;)
They all ran under the spray and screamed with delight. Then they saw a big arrow telling them which way to go to get to Broken Skull Mountains. I wish I had a collection of halloween skulls to set out here. It would have been fun for them to have to walk through. Alas, I did not. Skulls aren't my thing, but maybe this year I'll buy a couple for when and if I do this party theme again.
Next they came to a sign that said "Beware of savage scalliwags!" At which point I was going to have some parents hang back and toss black water balloons at the kids from the porch. I didn't get around to filling the water balloons, nor did any parents stay to help! Lol! But it would have been such a nice touch! So if you use this idea, stay up and extra hour for me and pull this one off. M'kay?
Beyond Broken Skull Mountains came the Valley of Eternal Rest, which was a just few sleeping bags lying on the ground. One of them had an old skeleton key hidden in it, and here was the clue as to why:
"Through the Broken Skull Mountains is the Valley of Eternal Rest. You must find the key to open the chest."
Jonah posing in a sleeping bag:
After finding the key the boys came to a sign that said (and this is so you can see what the signs looked like - they were inked around the edges with a black ink pad... I got tired of burning paper and setting off my fire alarms!):
Next came a sign that read:
"When you reach the Isle of Plenty your journey's almost done... Take 40 paces north and face the setting sun. You'll be close to a treasure once forgotten, now you're getting hot... this be the place where "X" marks the spot!" And the treasure chest was hidden in a black garbage bag back in the corner of our yard. Under the snack table or in our case the table where they decorated their periscopes would have been better, but that is not where Daddy put it. ;)
Inside the treasure chest, which was a styrofoam cooler covered in kraft paper and decorated to look like wood, was a goody bag for each friend that had a few gold plastic coins, a shark shaped water gun and compass inside.
The boys held onto their goody bags (which display a jolly roger flag on a toothpick!) and continued on to a pinata, where they then got to fill their bags with candy.
When you are an 8 year old boy, you tend to move quickly. So - believe it or not - we got through all of this in about an hour. *I* couldn't believe it. I had planned for it to take up at least an hour and a half. But it was just as well, because it began to rain shortly after we finished, and if we hadn't gone so quickly they'd have missed out on something for sure. Blessing is disguise I suppose! Because I'd have been a little miffed after putting in all the prep time I did just to accomplish half of what I'd planned for.
So we came inside after it started raining and sang happy birthday and blew out candles on the cake and all that, and turned on "Pirates of the Caribbean" for the remaining 30 minutes or so left over while Jonah opened his gifts. They were totally happy with that so it all worked out fine! Can't wait to do this one again!!!
This party has been linked up at C.R.A.F.T.'s MMM!