Pirate Party Guide - Kids

FREE decorating tips & recipe ideas

Handy Hints - 
There are a few important decisions to be made before you send out your invitations - Date, Time and Location.

Date - It’s a good idea to check the proposed date and time with “key” friends before committing.

Time - It is important to state starting and finishing times on invitations. If it's a children's party then generally 2 to 3 hours is ample. A morning party may be good for littlies as you will generally find younger children tend to get tired in the afternoon/evening.

Location - You have a couple of basic choices with the most popular being “home” where you’ll have plenty of time to set-up and have all your supplies close at hand. The obvious disadvantage with this choice is, having to clean the house before and after the party, possible damage to your house and space limitations. Nearby parks are nice because they’re usually free, with plenty of space to run around and usually have a play structure to entertain the kids. The downside is, having to haul the supplies to and from the park plus lack of privacy and overcrowding. Local indoor play centres are becoming more popular for little children and the best part is there’s no cleaning up afterwards.

When sending out invitations, allow plenty of time for guest’s to change their plans if necessary.

The golden rule for the party host is, don’t try and do everything on your own. Many parents invite another parent or relative to help them with the
 food as well as supervision once the party begins.

Once the party begins you will generally find that younger children need constant supervision. Older children usually like to be left in peace at least some of the time during the party, only needing to be checked from time to time to make sure everything is all right. Be vigilant around balloons. If they pop the rubber bits could be a danger to young children. If they put them in their mouth, they could choke.

Party Game & Activity Idea’s - 
Party games are a great way to teach children about winning, losing, fairness and luck. Keep each game relatively short to keep children interested and if they begin to appear irritable, move on to a new game. There may be squabbles about who won or who got what prize so be sure to explain the rules before the games begin.

Treasure Hunt - You can buy a treasure hunt game or make your own using the sample map provided below as an example. To make the map you will need a piece of white paper approx. 30 x 20cm. Give it the old look by painting with a simple mix of water and faint touch of yellow food dye or a used tea bag. Wait overnight until the paper is completely dry then draw the shape of your island and detail it with palm trees, rocks, water and the all important X, which marks the spot where the treasure is buried. Next burn the edges with matches, a little at a time, putting out the flame when enough has been burnt. The burning gives a wonderfully authentic appearance. Roll up the map and tie with a ribbon if you wish.

Hiring an entertainer who doubles as a face painter or balloon sculptor is a great way to amuse and entertain the children for a few hours whilst remaining in keeping with the Pirates Treasure theme. Another popular option is hiring play equipment such as an alligator ride or waterslide.

Decorating Tips - 
A great way to incorporate the Pirates Treasure theme into your day is by having your party at a nearby beach and or having a barbeque. If that is not possible then creating a pirate ship around the party table is also effective. This effect is easy to achieve using flattened old cardboard boxes. Search through an old Encyclopaedia or similar for a picture of an old Tall Ship or similar and then copy the picture onto the cardboard. Cut around the outline using a stanley knife and then paint the ship using craft paints. Coils of rope and a plank, suspended above the ground on a couple of plastic storage cubes will give an instant pirate atmosphere. A couple of metres of inexpensive striped fabric threaded onto a timber batten for a mainsail and a few bits of rope or thick cord to serve as rigging.

To make a treasure chest you’ll need a small sturdy cardboard box from the local supermarket for the lower half of the chest and the side panels of the lid. A sheet of black card makes the lid. The sides of the lid should be matched in length to the side of the box. Draw onto black card and roughly draw in tabs. Glue black card to outside of box, forming the lid. Hold side so lid can be placed over it. Mark centres so correct gluing of sides can be done. Fill most of the box with sponge, cover the sponge with fabric and then jewels, gold chocolate coins or a treasure map.


Recipe Suggestions - 

Treasure Chest Party Cake *              Frosting                                                Decoration
Quick-mix Rich Chocolate Cake          75g soft butter                                      Assorted lollies and chocolate money
185g butter                                      1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder                  Gold or silver cachous
2 teaspoons vanilla essence               3/4 cup (120g) icing sugar mixture
1 3/4 cups (385g) caster sugar          1/4 cup (60ml) milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
2/3 cup (70g) cocoa powder
1 cup (250ml) water

Container of Duncan Hines creamy Home-Style Classic Chocolate premium frosting available from supermarkets
Assorted lollies, vanilla buttons, gold or silver balls and gold or silver chocolate money

Lightly grease a deep 19cm square cake pan; line base and sides with non-stick baking paper. Combine butter, essence, sugar, eggs, sift flour and cocoa and water in large bowl. Beat on low speed with electric mixer until ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium, beat for about 3 minutes or until mixture is smooth and changed in colour. Spread in prepared pan. Bake in a moderate (180 degrees) oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until cooked. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool. Using a sharp knife remove a 13cm square from the centre of the cake. Ice to the outside edges or remaining cake with chocolate frosting, and decorate with vanilla buttons, as illustrated. Fill centre of cake with lollies and chocolate money. Include a scattering of gold coins in your “treasure” and use tiny gold or silver balls to outline the shape of the chest.

Suitable to freeze but thaw before icing. Cake can be made 3 days ahead, storing in airtight container. Remember as big a ratio of lollies to cake as possible

Pirate Faces *   
(Ingredients makes around 34)
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups (240g) icing sugar mixture
250g packed un-iced round biscuits
hundreds & thousands

Beat egg white in a small bowl with electric mixer until just frothy; gradually beat in enough of the icing sugar mixture to form stiff peaks. (Keep icing covered with damp tea-towel to prevent drying out). Spread top of each biscuit with icing (leaving a little leftover for the patch and mouth). Add hundreds & thousands for bandana and 1 coloured smartie for each eye. Then finally, halve remaining icing and add pink food colouring to one portion and black to the other. Wait until white faces are semi-dry before creating patch and mouth.

Not suitable to freeze. Biscuits can be assembled 1 day ahead, storing in an airtight container

* Recipes as seen in The Australian Women’s Weekly craft library


Final Checklist

1. Pick your party date and time   

2. Plan a menu and go grocery shopping so that you can make as much food as you can before the day and freeze   

3. Write out a final schedule of activities and games   

4. Arrange for help on the party day   

5. Order the cake   

6. Get exact guest numbers   

7. Buy remaining party food, film, batteries, candles and matches for cake, plus other incidentals   

8. Child proof the party area   

9. Take plenty of pictures to commemorate the special day   

10. Plan an after party nap for yourself

Please remember, if you want the children to have a good party, plan it and keep it short and simple. Mishaps may occur so keep your sense of humour, even if not every aspect of the party goes off as planned. The most important part is to enjoy the day as you celebrate the life of your child.

Lastly, we’d love to receive a photo of your child’s “themed party” in action, to place on our website. Thank you for including Parties In Packages in your special day and we wish you the best of luck with your themed party pack.