Girl Pirate Birthday Ideas

Since we have three girls who have birthdays one month right after the other, we decided to have one party for the three of them. The theme they chose was Pink Pirates. They are totally into pirates. Not necessarily just pink ones, either.

As you know, I love party planning, and while I could have just bought a zillion paper plates and tablecloths with pink backgrounds and skulls all over them, I felt that was not much of a challenge. So instead I decided to make if more of a "Pirate Adventure on the High Seas."

I had seen this drawing of an octopus and I knew that was the feel that I wanted to convey in the party. It's a little bit old-fashioned and wonderfully evocative of the mysteries of the ocean, don't you think?  Makes me think of giant sea monsters lurking in the deep. So this was my inspiration. And I wanted to try and do this with minimum amount of skulls and crossbones...because really, it's just too easy.
So for all you party planning geeksies, here are all the gory details.

The invites. Since the people I was invited were all very close to us, they all know where I live and how to get here. I talk to them frequently enough that I didn't need to include an address or RSVP details.

That opened up more space so I could include a map. I (predictably) went all old-timey and wrote it in pirate-speak. I used some blank invites from Michael's, printed up the words on card stock and chalked the crap outta that bad boy. I may not be able to afford coordinated and personalized party printables, but at least I can apply chalking to any paper products that crossed my path.


This image of a pirate ship listing a little on the open seas had the exact feeling I wanted to convey. I would give credit if I could remember where I found it! I am going to say that a lot on this blog post. Because I found and incorporated a lot of images and ideas from other sources, but I don't remember where I found them.


An easy way to make an invite pirate-esque is to rename the child or children with pirate names. Here I gave the girls a rank by order of their ages.

I hand drew the map and then made copies of it on the actual invite.  Port o' Leal is our house, natch. Note that the invitation is not especially girly in color or theme. I just didn't think it had to be, and I am ok with it.

I posted this sign at the door, with burlap behind it and tied with twine.

Its a little hard to see details in this picture, so here is the original image.

For this sign I used Dover clip art for the drawing, made up a little poem and typed it in with Treasure Map Deadhand font to create this, and then I edited it with Foto Flexer to produce the frame and the aged look. I just saved as a jpeg and printed up an 11x14 photo at Walgreens.

The decor. No vomit comet of skulls on a pink background for this party. This was pirates. And pirates are serious business, even if you are a girl. The other thing that I knew I was not going to be able to do was I wasn't going to be able to have coordinated printables like you see on much more well-coordinated parties than mine. I just don't have the money to spend on it. I was going to have to rely on "me crafty wiles".

I knew I wanted some sort of bunting because its festive and pretty. I found scrapbook paper on sale at Michael's that was vaguely piratey and old-fashioned, including some burlap theme paper. So I just cut it into this flag shape, hot glued it to some basic rope from Lowe's, and strung it across the room.

Sadly, the lighting made it so this picture doesn't show the colors of the paper very well, and instead shows the images on the reverse. This is because since both sides were going to be visible, I put the color part out and on the blank side I pasted clip art images from some Dover clip art books that I had bought online.

This Jolly Roger with the pink circle and a heart on it was my nod to the girly pirate thing, and the only thing that had a skull in the entire party. Proof that you have have a pirate party and not stick a skull on absolutely everything!

Here is a photo of the bunting as it now hangs in the girls' room so you can get a better idea of the colors.

The favors table was set up with under an "X marks the spot" using red scrapbooking paper and black electrical tape. I really want to credit the blog I found this on but again, cannot remember the name of the site! If you see this brilliant idea elsewhere, please know that it was their brilliant idea - not mine.

On the favors table we also had Pieces of Eight, which were just chocolate coins from Fresh and Easy and Hershey's Gold Nuggets in a sea-themed container. I made the sign using the scrapbook paper and my handy dandy calligraphy pen.

One of the things I loved the most about how things turned out was this pirate ship with the girls' names and ages on it. The wooden ship model was one of my mom's and the original sails fell off. So we used the coordinating scrapbook paper, and printed up their names and ages and just stuck them on the original masts using hot glue. I am super happy about how it turned out! After the party I put it in their room as a keepsake.

Also on the table was a treasure chest (from a pirate board game we own), rope, a big conch shell and a glass jar with starfish and netting in it. Since the "Dread Pirate" board game came with actual pirate coins, and velvet bags full of "treasure" (glass beads), we also set those out along with some plastic pearls and some of the girls' play jewelery. If you have girls you know they have a ton of play jewelry and you can use that to your advantage if you through them a girl pirate party.

One of the things I wasn't at first sure about how to hide was my very non-piratesque treadmill. I ended up covering it with some old linen curtains and tied some rope to it with some fantastic iron replica keys I got on Amazon for about $3, and a sign that I hope suggested what was under the cover was rum and not a treadmill.

I wrote a Pirate Code of Conduct in calligraphy on a poster and framed it with rope. I modified the rules from a website about pirate one-liners.

The rules are tongue in cheek, and a bit of a nod to the feminine aspect of the party:

1. No one shall have a feather in their hat that is taller or more delightful than the Captain's.
2. Pirates do not cry except in the case of the loss of a shipload of chocolate coins.
3. When describing the size of a treasure, a pirate is required to exaggerate by at least 130%.
4. Flowers are not treasure, unless said flowers are made of gold.
5. A pirate may never compliment another pirate on the softness of their hands.
6. Pirates shall always wear boots, except in the case of a peg leg. Then one boot is acceptable.
7. The phrase, "Arrr, I'll probably kill ye tomorrow" is an acceptable alternative for "Thank You".

To prevent kids from going outside in the "non-staged" area we hung netting and burlap across the sliding glass door, put some star fish in it, and put the gift table in front of it. Sadly I do not have any clear pictures of that area but I promise it was very nautical. Here is one picture of Phillip walking the plank, and you can kind of see it in front of him.

On top of one of our bookshelves we put another one of my mom's model ships and some seashells, and hung the treasure map that came with our board game over it.

 And in the hallway leading to the bathroom I hung a sign that said "Davy Jones' Locker" and hung blue crepe streamers to represent the ocean. Not the clearest of photos but you get the idea.

 The favors. The favors were very basic. I found some things on the Oriental Trading Company website. Little pink and black collapsible spyglasses, eye patches and some cool treasure maps. I threw chocolate coins in there and voila. Favor was taken care of. I personalized them by printing a Thank You message using each of the kids' pirate names. I used a Dover clip art frame (found in the Mermaids book) on it to give it that ocean feel. Then I mounted them and some scrapbook paper onto a plain brown paper gift bag with shredded paper inside and tied them with twine. Easy peasy.

The cake. Even though Phillip went to Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Academy, I knew that with three children we were not going to have that much time to dedicate to it. So we borrowed an easy pirate cake from yet another website. The deck looked a little empty so we stuck a Marshmallow Matey on there. We put the candles on the side as cannons.

The Food. Food was pretty basic - meatballs (Cannonballs), buffalo wings (Peg Legs), spinach fettuccine (Seaweed), lemonade (Anti-Scurvy Lemonade), Marshmallow Mateys (or, Pirate Pops, whichever you prefer), goldfish crackers (Live Bait), chocolate coins (Pieces of Eight).

The Atmosphere. I wasn't in the mood for games and crafts this year. In my day, you didn't have games and crafts at birthday parties. You just showed up, hung out with your friends and ate cake. Instead, I decided on making up the rest of the theme with various activities.

  • Name Tags. The first step to setting up the "pirate's life for me" was to give everyone new identities - a pirate name and an eye patch. For the name tags I wrote each person's name in calligraphy on card stock and aged it with distressing ink. Since I knew everyone who was coming I was able to personalize these but if you have an open invitation and don't know who is coming, just print up generic names like "Dread Pirate" or "The Cannonball", etc.

Some of the names we came up with:

Lamplighter Liz
Cristabel the Pistol
Fishfood Holly
Therese the Terrible
Calico Cayna
Bootleg Bethanie
Peg Leg Joe
Karen the Cannonball
Blackbeard Dave
Ye Olde Anchor (that was me)
Old Salty (Phillip)
Big John Bones
Graciela the Gouty
Dread Pirate James
Teri the Terrifying
Keel-hauled Kevin
Hip-Flask Nati
Looting Lettie
Swift-footed Lucy
Nautical Norma
Naomi Siren of the Sea
Amelia the Iron Fist

The girls' names, which were on the invitation, reflect their status on the ship.

Walk the Plank. The punishment for not calling someone by their pirate name was to walk the plank. There were quite a lot of us walking the plank since we kept forgetting to use each other's pirate names!

Hoist by my own petard: I, too, was forced to walk the plank!
    • Dance a Sea Shanty. I bought a pirate music CD on iTunes called "Pirates of the Carribean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs", and gathered everyone to dance a sea shanty. I also left it on afterwards for further ambiance. I absolutely loved this CD, and I sometimes actually listen to the music for no good reason other than the songs are very catchy and not stupid or annoying. Incidentally, I am aware that a sea shanty was not something you danced to but rather sang while working. But since I wasn't going to make anyone raise a mast, I figured this would be a better activity.

    • Read a pirate story and a sea poem. We read a beautiful sea poem called Sea-Fever by John Masefield, and then Phillip used his best gruff pirate accent to read "Fluffy: Scourge of the Seas" to the kids.

    Learn to tie nautical knots. Well...we actually never did this because I ran out of time to plan for it. But come on - great idea, right?? I would have had to first learn how, then buy a ton of rope, and I just didn't have the time to do it. By the time inspiration struck it was too late. But I hope someone else can use this idea for their child's pirate party!!

    And that, my friends, was our Pink Pirate party! And now, for your enjoyment but mostly for sheer self-gratification, here are a bunch more of show off pics of my family.


    1. I am again impressed at your energy in doing that much detail wth a house full of kids! Good work Matey!

    2. Arrgh, I'll probably kill ye tomorrow!

    3. How fun! Happy birthday to all your sweet girls!

    4. Those are some fearsome pirates! Specially Powder Monkey Rose... Scary!!!!
      It was a great party and also the kids had fun!


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