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HOW TO HOST THE PERFECT PIRATE PARTY

Transform your home into a pirate's cove for an unforgettable themed party.

INVITATIONS: If you're not taking advantage of our free invitations or using our beautiful printed ones from the prop store, a great idea is to craft invitations that look like old treasure maps. Use tea to stain paper to give it an aged look, and burn the edges slightly for authenticity. Write the party details in a pirate-esque font or handwriting, using phrases like "Ahoy, Matey!" and "Ye Are Summonsed to Celebrate!" Don't forget to put the pre-game player site link at Your Mystery Party for your party so your players can get more information about the game - including character bios, the game trailer video, costume suggestions, and more. 

ENTRY: As guests arrive, greet them with a makeshift gangplank leading from the entryway towards the party room, adorned with tattered flags and lanterns flickering with an eerie light.

SOUNDSCAPE: Set the mood with a soundscape of crashing waves, creaking ship timbers, and distant cannon fire playing softly in the background.  Even if your setting is on land and not the ship - it can still set the mood. 

Traditional Sea Shanties and Folk Songs

  1. "Drunken Sailor" - An iconic sea shanty that’s perfect for getting everyone in the pirate mood.

  2. "Blow the Man Down" - Another classic that tells tales of the high seas.

  3. "Spanish Ladies" - A traditional naval song that's upbeat and lively.

  4. "Haul Away Joe" is a great shanty about the life of sailors. It's great for singing along.

  5. "The Mermaid" - Tells the tale of a ship encountering mermaids, a classic maritime superstition.

Pirate-Themed Songs

  1. "Pirate Looks at Forty" by Jimmy Buffett - A softer tune reflecting on the pirate life, from a more modern perspective.

  2. "The Pirate's Gospel" by Alela Diane - A hauntingly beautiful song with pirate vibes.

  3. "Ship in Distress" by The Imagined Village - A modern take on traditional themes, blending contemporary and folk sounds.

Instrumental and Atmospheric Music

  1. "Pirates of the Caribbean Theme" by Hans Zimmer - No pirate playlist is complete without this iconic instrumental theme that evokes the spirit of adventure.

  2. "He’s a Pirate" by Klaus Badelt - Another exhilarating piece from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack.

  3. "Black Sails Theme" - The main theme from the TV show "Black Sails," which is rich in pirate atmosphere.

Fun and Festive Pirate Songs

  1. "You Are a Pirate" from LazyTown - A fun, catchy tune that's especially great if kids are at the party.

  2. "Captain Kidd" by Great Big Sea - A folk-rock take on the infamous pirate's story.

  3. "Barrett's Privateers" by Stan Rogers - A rousing ballad that tells a story of privateering misadventure.

DECOR: Inside, immerse guests in the pirate life with dim lighting from flickering candles and strategically placed lanterns, casting shadows on walls adorned with weathered maps and nautical charts. Arrange tables with draped cloths resembling sea-worn sails and scatter gold coins, beads, and jewels as if spilled from a treasure chest. Use skull and crossbones flags, treasure chests, and gold coins scattered around. Hang fishing nets from the ceilings or walls and place barrels around the party area. Use old bottles with candles in them for lighting to add to the pirate cave atmosphere.

Set up a photo booth area with pirate hats, eye patches, hooks, and inflatable parrots for guests to take memorable photos.  For a headstart on pirate decor - here is a pirate decor kit. 

FOOD: For food, serve a bounty fit for a crew of scallywags, including hearty fare like roasted meats, seafood platters, and tropical fruits. Offer a selection of rum-based cocktails, grog, barrels of ale, and bottles of wine to quench guests' thirst for adventure. 

INTERACTIVE CORNERS: Create interactive corners where guests can engage in pirate-themed activities. Set up a treasure hunt with clues leading to hidden booty, a sword-fighting duel using foam swords, and a pirate photo booth complete with props like eyepatches, bandanas, and wooden cutlasses.

COSTUMES: Encourage guests to come dressed in their best pirate attire. For those who might not be fully dressed up, offer simple accessories at the door, such as eye patches, a parrot that attaches to the shoulder, bandanas, or fake mustaches. Here are some fun pirate costumes. 

With a captivating entryway, atmospheric lighting, immersive soundscape, delicious fare, and engaging activities, your pirate-themed party will be a swashbuckling success that leaves guests feeling like they've embarked on a grand adventure on the high seas. Arrr, matey, let the festivities begin!

MENU SUGGESTIONS

Always ask about your guests' nutritional requirements with the RSVPs to determine if they have any allergies or objections to particular ingredients.

Recipes courtesy of the Halloween Party Host Handbook. 

  

 

APPETIZERS:

CARIBBEAN PIRATE FRITTERS

2 eggs

2 tsp of baking powder 1 ½ cups of flour ¾ tsp of salt 1 ½ cups of cream style corn 1 Tbs of melted butter

Instructions:

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the beaten eggs (until fluffy), melted butter, and milk to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.  Drop by spoonfuls into a preheated deep fryer or medium sauté pan with cooking oil at 375 F. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes or until evenly browned. Serve with or without a pirate-worthy dip of your choice.

 

CRAB’S ‘N THE KRAKEN

1 large onion, diced very finely 1 cup garlic-flavored breadcrumbs ½ stick of butter

2 cups fresh crab meat

Salt, paprika, and pepper to taste 2 teaspoons of finely chopped chives ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce 8 crab shells, cleaned, boiled, and dried

Instructions: In a large skillet, add the butter and sauté the onion, spices, chives, crab meat, and Worcestershire sauce until the crab is cooked (if the already cooked crab is used, just heat it up thoroughly). Combine the remaining ingredients over low heat in a pan and mix thoroughly. Spoon the mixture inside of the empty crab shells.  Pour a few drops of butter on top of the mixture and place the crabs under a heated broiler until they’re golden brown in color and serve!

HIDDEN TREASURES DIP

Ingredients:

½ cup of fresh crab meat ½ cup of light mayonnaise ½ cup of light sour cream 3 oz. of cream cheese ½  clove of garlic, crushed 1 Tbs. of lemon juice ¼ tsp. of garlic herb spiced salt substitute 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

 Instructions: Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and slowly stir in the crab meat. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to blend the flavors. Serve with vegetable-flavored party crackers and/or potato chips.

 

CARIBBEAN SPICY GRILLED TUNA

Ingredients:

1 ½ tsp ground coriander

1 ½ Tbs freshly grated ginger root 1 ½ tsp ground cumin ¼ tsp cayenne pepper 2 Tbs pure virgin olive oil 1 Tbs lime juice Salt and pepper to taste 4 1 inch thick (~2.5 cm) fresh tuna fillets or steaks

Instructions:

Preheat the grill and line the grill pan with aluminum foil. Place the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish large enough for the fish to soak and mix thoroughly.  Add the fish and turn to soak on all sides, then grill for 3-5 minutes on each side until done.

 

ENTREE:

 

ARRRRRR!  CARIBBEAN CHICKEN QUESADILLAS

Ingredients:

8 flour tortillas Paprika, salt and pepper by taste ½ tsp thyme leaves ½ tsp ground allspice ½ tsp crushed red pepper 2 cups of chopped grilled chicken - grilled with a light jerk chicken spice rub

2 green onions, minced

2 cups peeled and chopped fresh peaches &/or mango 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions:

Combine the chicken, spices, fruit, and cheese in a mixing bowl.  Brush 1 side of each tortilla with vegetable oil and sprinkle with the paprika and salt and pepper.  On the non-oiled side, top half of each tortilla with the chicken mixture and fold in half.  Cook in a large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat for at least 3 minutes per side or until the cheese melts and the tortilla is lightly browned and sliced into 3-inch wedges. Serve with salsa, fresh guacamole, and sour cream on the side.

DESSERT:

ENCHANTED CARIBBEAN CHOCOLATE PIE

Ingredients:

3 large eggs ½ cup of walnut halves 1 unbaked 9″ pie shell ¼ cup unbleached Flour 1 tsp of rum flavoring 1 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped 2 tsp. of Instant Coffee Powder ¾ cup of brown sugar, firmly packed ¼ cup of butter or regular margarine 12 ounces of chocolate chips, melted and cooled

Instructions:

Cream the butter, then brown sugar in a bowl until it's light and fluffy, using an electric mixer at medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cooled chocolate, coffee powder, and rum flavoring, blending well. Stir in the flour with chopped walnuts, and then turn in an unbaked pie shell. Arrange the walnut halves into a circle around the edge of the pie. Bake in a preheated 375 F. hot oven for 25 minutes or until set around the edge. Cool on a wire rack. Makes at least 6 servings.

PIRATE BEACH PUDDING CUPS

8 oz cool whip

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 package of Golden Oreos (crushed into crumbs with a food processor to look like sand)

1/4 cup butter

4 oz cream cheese 

1.5 cups milk

1 box white chocolate pudding, instant

Drink umbrellas or little Jolly Roger flags

Pudding: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar with a mixer until smooth. Fold in whipped topping until blended. Mix pudding and milk with a whisk until combined well in a separate bowl. Add pudding to the cream cheese mixture and blend well.

Assemble your masterpieces: Place a few tablespoons of Oreo crumbs in your cup or small jar. Add some of the creamy mixture into a Ziploc bag and snip off the corner. Add another layer of the crushed Oreos. Add one more creamy layer, and then top with the Oreo crumbs. Stick a drink umbrella or pirate flag in the top layer for a fun effect. 

 

COCKTAILS FOR ADULTS:
 

LOST AT SEA

Ingredients:

1.5 oz. vodka

¾ oz. blue Curacao

¾ oz. amaretto

5 oz. pina colada mix

Combine in a shaker with crushed ice.  Garnish with a pineapple slice, lime, and cherry. 

CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW

Ingredients:

Ice

1 ½ ounces amber rum

½ ounce dark rum

½ ounce 151-proof rum

¾ ounce fresh pineapple juice

¾ ounce fresh lime juice

½ ounce Velvet Falernum

½ ounce simple brown sugar

Pineapple slice for garnish

Directions: Put all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake until icy cold. Double strain over fresh ice. Garnish and enjoy!

THE TREASURE CHEST

Ingredients:

Ice

2 ounces dark rum

4 ounces pineapple juice

1 ounce fresh orange juice

1 ounce sweetened coconut

½ ounce grenadine

Orange slice and a cherry for garnish

Directions: Put all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake until icy cold. Double strain over fresh ice. Garnish and enjoy!

BONUS ACTIVITIES

PLUNDERER’S MOVIE CHALLENGE

Objective: to be the team that can answer the appropriate movie with the corresponding ‘summaries and date of release.’ 

Rules: Pair the guests into groups of 3-4. Give the teams 15 minutes (or more) to fill in the correct movie in the blank next to the date of release and summary using the ‘Plunderer’s Movie Challenge Answer Sheet’ (below).  When the time is up and/or the guests are finished, collect the answer sheets and score them using the answer key. You can give younger teens a movie word bank and have them match the answers.

Props needed:  Printed copies of ‘The Plunderer’s Movie Challenge.’ A pen for each group and the answer key.

Time needed: ~20 minutes.

 

PLUNDERER’S MOVIE CHALLENGE ANSWER KEY

Edward Maynard goes undercover as the ship's surgeon on the ship of a ‘reformed’ pirate, Sir Henry Morgan, in hopes of proving he is still involved with piracy. Blackbeard, the Pirate, 1952.

In search of a treasure map, a female pirate named Morgan Adams races against her rivals to locate a hidden treasure on a hidden island. Cutthroat Island, 1995.

A group of young teens are desperate to find a way to save their homes from a local developer who wants to turn them into a golf course.  They find a treasure map and their journey begins.  Goonies, 1985.

Peter Pan grew up to be a cutthroat lawyer. His nemesis, a notorious pirate, kidnaps his children and forces him to return to Neverland. Hook, 1992.

Captain Jack Aubrey engages in a battle against a renegade French frigate from Napoleon’s Army around South America.  Master and Commander, 2003.

Elizabeth Swan, the daughter of a Governor, is kidnapped by a group of pirates led by Captain Barbossa and taken aboard their ship.   Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, 2003.

Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan prepare to exchange their wedding vows until Jack Sparrow, owing a substantial amount of money to Davy Jones, throws a kink in their plans.  Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, 2006.

A grandfather reads a fairy tale to his ill grandson about a stable boy who becomes a pirate and rescues Buttercup - his true love - from an evil prince.  The Princess Bride, 1987.

 Elizabeth Swan, Will Turner, and Captain Barbossa save Jack Sparrow from the Kraken and then face their foes.   Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, 2007

 

THE SEA SHANTY SINGALONG

Objective: to come up with the best pirate-worthy sea shanty.

Rules: divide your group into teams of 4-5 players.  Ask them to develop a pirate-worthy sea shanty - a work song that pirates would sing while laboring on the ship.  Ask each player to create 1-2 lines of the team’s shanty.  They will have 10 minutes to write their shanty and prepare it to perform.  The shanty will be performed one at a time by each group, and the host of the party will judge based on the following: creativity of lyrics, melody, and harmony. Bonus points can be awarded for anything that goes ‘above and beyond’ with the performance.  The team with the best shanty – wins!

Props needed: brains, creativity, and a singing voice…hopefully good ones, but it isn’t required! 

Time needed:  ~ 15-20 minutes.

  

SWABBIN’ THE DECK RELAY CHALLENGE

Objective: to swab your deck the fastest!

Rules: divide your group into two even # teams, and they will line up in two ‘lanes’ at one end of the room.  If you cannot get an even number, one player on the second team will go twice – so they will be first and last. Hand a mop to the first person in line on either team. Each team will have a bucket of Ping-Pong balls, and they will place one ball in front of their mop before crossing the ‘start’ line.  When the host says ‘go’, the swabbers will move their ping pong ball across the finish line to the other end of the lane. They must use the mop to advance the Ping-Pong ball – they may not use their hands, feet, tongue, etc.  If they use anything but the mop to advance the ball, they must return to the start line and start over. Once the Ping-Pong ball crosses the finish line, they can pick it up and put it in the bucket for their team. The player rushes back and hands the mop to the next player, and the process continues until all players have gotten their Ping-Pong ball into their team’s bucket.   If, for any reason, your Ping-Pong ball goes AWOL during the challenge and cannot be recovered – the host may provide a player with a new ball, but they must start over at the start line.

Props needed:   Two mops and a ping pong ball for each player. It is suggested that two different Ping-Pong ball colors be used for each team in case balls get mixed up during the race. It would help if you had a collection bucket for each team that is large enough for the # of balls on the team. Painter’s tape or other floor-safe materials to mark the start and finish lines/lanes.

Time needed:  ~ 15-20 minutes.

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