Thrifty Pirate Party

25 Feb

I thought we were coming to the end of birthday parties at home but oh no!!…  I did of course give in to pleading and begging from my very persuasive 4 year old and agreed to a pirate themed party at home.

We didn’t want to spend a huge amount of money, I don’t think it’s necessary to go over the top at this age. Good old pinterest came in handy for sourcing ideas and helping fuel my motivation which was somewhat lacking! As you know I am a huge fan of recycling so a lot of my ideas were focused on recycling what we already had.

We made use of a fantastic beach find. A wooden plank had been washed up during one of the storms so this came home with us to be used for our ‘Walk The Plank’ game. The children walked the plank and then they could go off to find some hidden chocolate coins. If they found a coin they could come back and have another go!



We played lots of games which cost next to nothing.

Pass the treasure chest

The prizes are all in a Treasure Chest and the children pass the chest around in a circle. When the music stops they pick something out. I filled it with ‘recycled goodies’ (in other words, cracker toys or items from other parties that the children forgot we had!) I prefer to play this rather than the traditional pass the parcel as you don’t need to waste loads of paper.

Choc Ahoy

This idea was pinched from a friend of mine. She throws the best parties and my children always come home raving about the games. The children sit in a circle and you put a scarf, hat and gloves in the middle along with a big bar of chocolate and a knife and fork. The children throw the dice and if a child gets a six then they have to put on the clothing and then try to chop up the chocolate with the knife and fork. Over-sized gloves makes it a pretty funny, frustrating affair for the children but at least you know there is no fear of them spoiling their appetite!

Pirates Aboard

I printed out 6 different pirate themed images (pirate ship, captain hook, skull and crossbones etc) These pictures are spread out all over the floor. We stuck a list of the images on the wall and each image had a number next to it from 1 – 6. The children dance along to the music and when the music stops they jump onto one of the pictures. You then roll a dice and you call out the picture that coincides with that number. Any child that is on that particular picture wins a sweet! This game is cheap as chips. All you need is the pictures (again printed from the internet) and a packet of Haribos.

Ducky Ducky

This is such a fun game and I remember playing it at family gatherings with my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. I remember laughing so much I could hardly speak and Thomas is much the same when we play it now. Everyone sits down and one person in the middle is blind-folded. Someone spins the blindfolded player around so that they do not know which way they are facing. They then sit on someones lap and say “Ducky Ducky”. The person whose lap they are sitting on has to reply ‘quack quack’ in a disguised voice. Needless to say this had everyone giggling and falling about…. brilliant.

We made most of the things for the goody bags ourselves. We made some great cardboard swords. I forgot to get a photo of these but you can see them here . We also made some lovely telescopes out of old cardboard tubes. I used the tubes from wrapping paper as these are much sturdier than your average toilet roll. All you need to do is cover them in black paper and then add some gold trim.

We also included some pirate colouring pages which I printed out for free. Just type in free pirate colouring pages in Google and you’ll find enough to keep them occupied for weeks!

We buried some real treasure and my husband drew a map to put in the goody bags so that the children can try to find it at a later date. It is buried elsewhere (at a secret National Trust location!) Two of the children went out last night to find it with their parents. They found the booty and were very excited judging by the photo that their mum sent me!!

We did buy a couple of bits for the party bags but I thought these were quite nice and I figured a compass and bubbles would probably go down well.

Pirate party favours from Dunelm Mill £1.29 for 4

Pirate party favours from Dunelm Mill £1.29 for 4


I was going to make some paper bunting but decided to make some material ones that we could use in the little man’s bedroom afterwards. He loves it and the bunting only cost me £5.50 to make. I bought the material and bias binding on ebay. I will try to write-up a tutorial for making this at a later date.

Bunting2 (4)

We had some fantastic signs at the front of the house which hubby designed. The children love them so much we have decided to leave them up for a few days. I hope they don’t scare the postman off?


P1020928 P1020931


The Cake

I’m not really sure how thrifty the cake turned out to be compared to a ‘shop bought’ one. I initially purchased ready to roll chocolate icing which turned out to be a complete disaster. I had to peel it all off and start again with chocolate frosting. I made an enormous madeira cake which involved an awful lot of ingredients including 8 eggs. All in all I think it cost me around £13 to make and I could have bought one from the local supermarket for a lot less. BUT my children love their home-made birthday cakes and again, I just couldn’t say no!

It turned out quite well but I think what really made it were the Playmobil pirates which I borrowed from a friend, don’t they look great? If you are looking for a fail-safe birthday cake recipe then try this one for a madeira cake. I am the worlds worst cook but this cake came out perfectly. Of course decorating it was another matter and I don’t think I will be attempting this shaped cake again!

For lots more ‘pirate party’ ideas, check out my pinterest board.




3 Responses to “Thrifty Pirate Party”

  1. nickdixon1 February 25, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Don’t know if you get this, but I read it and loved it!!


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  2. Lucy Brown February 25, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    Awesome as ever!

    Caroline asked for a pirate themed party for her next birthday (planning already!) last week so I now have loads of ideas!

    Loads of love,


    Lucy Brown

    07828 150 375



  3. Gina Caro February 25, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    Sounds like a great pirate party and that cake is fantastic! We had a pirate party for our sons 4th birthday too 🙂

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