I decided that I was ready for a break from the stress of throwing birthday parties at home so this year we searched for different venues where we could have parties for the kids. We knew the themes months in advance (a HUGE key in keeping the costs very low) so when I learned I could host Julia's at a local restaurant for FREE, I felt we could splurge a little on a pool party for Sam at a nearby hotel pool - the perfect place for a pirate party! See?
He invited all the boys in his 2nd grade class and a friend he's known practically his whole life.
Google helped out with the wording for the invites and I aged paper using tea. I found bottles where I bought our garden plants that are meant for making homemade vinegar with the intention of rolling up the invite and putting it in the bottle for Sam to give to his friends but I neglected to unscrew the top to make sure the opening was big enough to get the invite in. oops! So instead I laid them out on Saran Wrap until they were mostly dry & wrapped them with jute rope instead.
The invites were free because I already had the heavy weight paper, so I didn't feel bad about spending a little money on 9" black beach balls from beachballs.com to serve as cannon balls. The kids LOVED them and I loved the fast shipping, low cost, and durability of the beach balls.
The littlest pirates thought the cannon balls were fun too. They also had a blast with the pirate swords I found on clearance at Target over the summer. I wasn't sure if they would hold up in the water, but they were good as new after 2 hours in the pool.
I offered to lead Captain Says (like Simon Says) but they were plenty busy on their own.
After two hours in the pool we went next door to the party room (aka hotel breakfast room) for snacks, cupcakes, & presents. The dollar spot at Target had these fun dishes earlier this year so I confirmed with Sam that in fact he did want a pirate party and we packed them away until yesterday.
Our local grocery store sold these little sword toothpicks we used to skewer the watermelon. Aren't they perfect for our pirates?
I had a blast coming up with the menu for the kids and the theme names for the food/drink. I used the same technique for the food signs as I did for the invites.
The kid's favorite thing to eat was the Swedish Fish sea creatures. (No I didn't spend $20 on Swedish Fish - this is a budget FRIENDLY party.) Our grocery store sells small packages thank goodness, but I did get two bags since I had the bowls to spare.
The fact that the sea creatures were easy to spear with the swords from the watermelon might have had something to do with why they liked them so much.
Note on the party hats: We've had these hats for a while, but they are still in perfect condition. (I set them out at Elsa's rainbow party but nobody wore them.) A pack of pirate stickers from Target and plain hats are a perfect way to keep the first guests to arrive busy while you wait for everyone else to arrive.
Instead of cutting off the tops of celery I left them on to resemble palm branches.
Pirate ships had rats so of course rat droppings (chocolate covered raisins) were necessary. If ever there was a time I took a theme too far. This would be it, but what 8 year old boy doesn't love a little gross humor? :)
bilge water? Blech.
The loot scattered on the table are coins from my travels to South America and Europe. I love being able to decorate with things we already have (like the red fabric remnant).
This Pirate Cupcake design is all over Pinterest, but the specific link I used is this one. It was super easy other than having to wait until the last minute to decorate to make sure the Nilla Wafers didn't get soggy.
Sam loved it, and that's all that matters.
8 candles. Time sure flies when you're having fun!