Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pirate Party

We just had my son’s 6th birthday party and it really was a lot of fun. We had a HUGE rainstorm the night before, but luckily the weather was perfect during the party. We had 23 children who attended.

INVITATIONS: I wanted a message in a bottle invite. I used small glass bottles (again I used the ones from Cracker Barrel-their small syrup bottles) You can also use large glass bottles, but since I was doing so many, I chose to use the smaller ones. I took masking tape and ripped it into small 2 inch or so pieces and covered the entire bottle. I then took brown shoe polish and wiped it all over the tape. I printed “yer invited” onto a small treasure maps and mod-podged it onto the bottle.

I also used mod podge all over the entire bottle. I printed the invitation details onto the treasure map, rolled it up, and put it into the bottle. My husband dressed up as Captain Hook and delivered the invites to my son’s kindergarten class. He had the music, “YO HO YO HO, a pirates life for me,” playing on his iphone when he went into the classroom. The kids loved it!!

DECORATIONS:I bought plastic that looked like a ship from It was actually the barn one, but it worked perfect for our ship. My husband took a roll of wire fence that we had and wired it around to create a ship, with a point at out basketball hoop and another point at the fence, and we covered it in the plastic. I bought some “creepy cloth” from the $store and we hung it around to look like fish netting, and I had a fish netting from OTC that I had left over from our Spongebob Party. I bought these large foam fish at the thrift store and we had them hanging in the large fish net. I also bought a ship wheel at the party store and put it at the front of the ship. I bought 12 plastic pirate flags (US Toy) and hung them around the outside of the ship. I labeled each game section with signs. My husband strung white sheets in the middle of the ship to look like a large mast and we used my mom’s large pirate flag right in the middle. We had red and black balloons all around the entire ship. I printed 3 signs and took them to Staples office supply store to have them printed on 24” x 36” paper. One said the “Black Pearl’, the name of the ship, one said, “Pirate Cove” which was where the ship was docked, and the last sign said, “Welcome Aboard for Captain Aiden’s party” and was out front where the guests arrived. I also bought a pirate sign that said “Beware of pirates” that was out front. I had a stuffed parrot on the ship and a stuffed monkey hanging. The kids had to walk down the stairs to our back yard and at the bottom we had several ficus trees and it looked like the ship was docked. We played pirate music throughout the whole party that we had downloaded from

COSTUMES: Once the kids arrive to the party, they have to get into their pirate costumes. They got to get a red or black bandanna for their head and a sash to tie around their waist. My mother-in-law made these. They got an eye patch, a black chain with a parrot charm on it, and a beaded necklace. The girls also got a pink earring and bangle bracelet.

TREASURE CHEST: Next the kids each get a treasure chest and we wrote their name on it with a black marker. I made this using a pattern my mom had. She had printed them on yellow paper. We spray glued the yellow patterned paper onto brown paper, because we wanted to have a “gold” inside, and be brown on the outside. (If I were to do this again though I would just print them onto the brown construction paper – it kept coming apart.) We cut them out and I hot glued them together. I added gold ribbon and a pirate sticker gem on each chest.

- After each child was dressed as a pirate and had a treasure chest, we played games. The first game was walk the plank. We used one of our benches that we use for seating for our performing group. They are real sturdy for the kids to walk across. The kids each took turns “walking the plank” and trying to avoid falling off and being eaten by the large stuffed crocodile that was lying underneath.
CANNONBALL TOSS- We used my mom’s large inflatable pirate ship. It is quite large, large enough that 3 kids could sit in it. I had these colored soft play balls and we gave one "cannonball" to each child. My husband brought the ship in and I said,” Oh no, it is an enemy pirate ship- they are trying to steal our treasures and we need to defend it from the other pirates. The teams throw the balls at the ship and try to get their balls into the ship. If we get enough balls into we can sink their ship. This game can be played several times as kids love throwing the balls. I gave a prize to each child for playing. I had large rings for the girls and sticky wall walker men for the boys. The kids put their prizes into their treasure chests.
CROWS NEST – We split the group into 2 teams. We had a bowl of pretzels. 2 kids wore plastic hooks on one hand and 2 more kids were at the top of the balcony (the crows nest) with small pails attached to a long length of yarn and a bowl. The object was to scoop a pretzel with the hook, put it in the pail, and the kids on the deck pull the pail up over the balcony and put the pretzels in the bowl. Whichever team got all of their pretzels in their bowl up on the deck first won. We always give prizes to every child. The prizes were party stencil rulers for the boys and cute birthstone earrings for the girls. (The earrings were $1.36 w/free shipping for 6 pair from eBay)
While the kids were playing this game, we took the kids treasure boxes and put them onto a cookie sheet. My husband who dressed up as a pirate came down and STOLE the kid’s treasures. He made a big deal of it and the kids were shocked.

He “dropped” a note, and the kids were all excited and pointed to it. This started our treasure hunt.
TREASURE HUNT – (These clues were found on
1st CLUE to read:
Ahoy me hearties-Your "treasures" have been plundered. Just follow yer clues and the treasure chest ye will have won. Jack me monkey may have a clue. He's just hangin' round waitin' fer you.
(I had the next clue attached to a stuffed monkey we had hanging from the ships mast.)
2nd Clue:
To figure out where your next headin' There's somthin' ye have to assume. What should ye use to swab the poop deck. Is it a vacuum, a mop, or a broom?(The next clue was on a mop we had just hanging around in the ship area)
3rd Clue
Arrrr I be hungry-me stomach's a growlin'-Better catch me some grub or there'll be some howlin'(The next clue would be have to be CAUGHT as the kids went fishing like at a fish pond.)
My son, stood on the other side of the ship. We gave the kids a fishing pole and the kids threw the line over the ship. They got little bags of Swedish fish. The next clue was attached to the last kid’s package. (Could also use goldfish crackers)
4th Clue
Yo ho ho yer getting' closer Hurry before ye end in Davey's Locker Go find the cannon balls- Don't forget to pop them all.Earlier we had blown up black balloons and hidden one of the clues inside. My son dropped them off the balcony, and the kids squealed with delight, as they popped the balloons looking for the next clue.
5th Clue
All pirates abide by the code Alast we're sometimes too bold. We stole some gold - it might be cursed We better find every last piece or things'll get worse.We have a very large sand box and we had hidden jewels and gold in there. The kids loved finding all the jewels and we gave them little snack-size ziplocs to put them in. (I bought colored stones at the $store and little pebble rocks. I painted the rocks with metallic gold spray paint and they looked like gold pieces. ) I also printed a Treasure Map, and it was buried in there as well.

Treasure Map:
It had clues like” take 3 giants steps forward, turn to the right, jump forward 10 times, etc,” until the kids got to where they needed to be which was “Blackbeard’s Treasure Cave.” We took a small section under our deck and enclosed it in black plastic. Inside the “Cave” we had a gold throne, (from my sister’s princess party), gold plates and cups, colored gems, some of the gold rocks, gold coins, and beaded necklaces draped everywhere. (I got a large bag of beaded necklaces from the thrift store). We had a piñata treasure chest I there too. This is where my husband hid all the kids treasure boxes.

The kids went into the cave and retrieved their treasure boxes as well as more gems and gold from the floor.
PINATA-My husband hung up the piñata ad the kids took turns breaking it open.

CAKE & CUPCAKES- My mom made a pirate ship cake for the family to eat, and I made cupcakes for the kids. They also had pirate punch (Capri Suns.)

We then opened presents.
GOODY BAGS & SWORDS – As the kids left they got an inflatable pirate sword (I got these from US Toy) and a goody bag. I bought pirate goody bags at US and filled it with: Blow-up squeaking lizards, compass, sticky foot, noise blower, pirate sucker, bouncy ball, candy bracelet, gum balls, pirate tattoo, pirate gummy teeth, and gold and silver gum coins. Most of the stuff I got at the $store. I also printed the Thank You card and put it inside the bag.

The party lasted 2 hours and the kids had sword fights while they waited for their parents.
The kids had a blast!
This was such a fun party to plan!
Thanks Mateys!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jungle Room

My 3 year son has a jungle-themed room, along with some of his favorite characters right now-Dora and Diego. I wanted to create a fun-whimsical jungle grass to go behind the jungle animals on the shelf. This is something the kids would not be touching (hopefully), and isn't seen up close.

I bought green and yellow wispy things (not sure what they are called) in the flower section of the dollar store. I had my husband cut some particle board into 3 inch x 4 ft pieces. I used green craft foam and stuck the "grass" into it. I then glued moss over the craft pieces to cover it. I glued the entire piece to the particle board and put up on the shelf. I really like how it turned out. I decorated the rest of the shelves with jungle animals. I got the ceramic ones at the dollar store, and the plastic ones at Walmart. I glued some cute wooden animals onto the shelves with hot glue. These are available at most craft stores.

I put a tree in the corner and hung animals in the tree. I used lots of stuffed snakes and intertwined them in the branches.

I have monkeys hanging from the shelves. I like to use wall stickers that come off easily when you are done and don't leave marks because what kids like change so fast. (The Jungle/Diego stuff use to be his older brothers theme until I was informed that Diego is for babies - he is 5!)

I lucked out and got a fabulous Diego set on eBay for .99 with $2 shipping. It worked out great because I could use them on the dresser too. He has Diego sheet set and comforter to to complete the room. I used the leftover stuffed animals from the Diego/Dora party to also decorate the room. (That birthday party idea is coming soon!)

Monday, September 5, 2011

ANOTHER Harry Potter Party - Adults and Children

Since the final movie of the Harry Potter series just came out a month and half ago, and because my mom is a huge Harry Potter fan - or "Potty" as we call it, I decided to throw her a Harry Potter Party. I did one for my son and also helped my sister throw one for her older son, but his one needed to be different. We had invited adults and children so it needed to be fun for both. I decided to go on the premise that everyone coming would be Hogwarts Alumni, rather than the tradition house sorting and Hogwarts classes. The wizards and witches would arrive by floo powder rather than the Hogwarts express. So here is a breakdown of the party.

INVITATIONS: I found examples of the Daily Prophet online and turned it into my own. Icreated it on Scrapbook Max.

Since my mom was going to be going as Professor McGonagall, the headline read: Professor McGonagall celebrates 60th birthday! It then read like a newspaper article on a celebration dessert feast at Hogwarts, and invited everyone to come to the bi-centennial Hogwarts Wizarding Tournament, and included the time and date. I found a great article about the heros who lost their lives during the final battle with Voldemort and I used that as the second page. The 3rd and 4th pages were made of of little articles I found online as well as classifieds. It was 11 x 17 and printed double-sided and folded.

I then used some small glass bottles (syrup bottles from the Cracker Barrel, washed out) and made a floo power label and mod-podged it onto the bottle. I made some gray sugar candy to fill it with.
These were delivered with the daily Prophet invite.

Sugar Candy Recipe:
Put 1 cup sugar into the blender and blend on high until it is a fine powder. Add 1 koolaid packet, and blend in. (I used grape because I wanted a grayish powder ) Add a few drops food coloring to get the desired color. (I used 3 drops od red and 3 drops of blue.)

DECORATIONS: Because we wanted people to arrive by "floo powder" we built a fireplace to the side of our house. We covered it in stone plastic, added a mantle (a wall shelf we had) and put books, candles, and a cauldron on the mantle. This was the entrance to party and the guests walked into the fireplace. I used the Hogwarts sign I had made from my sons previous party. I printed a large banner for my mom's party. It read, " Happy 60th birthday to a truly magical lady."
We had invited the guests to dress up in their favorite Harry Potter Characters. Upon their arrival we took pictures of them in front of the fireplace.

We took some more of the stone plastic covering and covered the entire fence, making it look like the grand hall. I printed some large house crests and glued them on colored butcher paper to make the house banners, and hung them on the stone. We made 50 golden snitches and had them hung above (we used these for a game.) We had a broom that moved by itself. The tables were set up with benches, just like in the grand hall.
Shown here with the HufflePuff Banner

I printed up "Wanted" signs and had them posted all over the party. " It read, "Have you seen this -cute little - Witch? It had her birthday in the numbers on the front. It said underneath, "Approach with exteme caution, but don't forget to wish her a happy birthday!'" And at the very bottom it siad in small print, "no need to notify the ministry of magic." I also had someone put this up at the school where she teaches.

I made up 4 teams and crests for the party. They would be the owls, the centaurs, the dragons, and the thestrals. Each team was a different color. Blue, red, yellow, and green. Each table was decorated in these colors from the tablecloths, to the cups, to the napkins. I created a crest for each team and printed up a large sign, along with badges for each team. After the guests arrived they were sorted into teams. I had 4 large glass steins with the team badges taped to them. This was to put marbles into to show who was winning.

Teams could earn points (marbles) - whoever ended up with the most would win the silver cup. I bought a large wooden cup and painted it silver and then I bought small silver trophy cups at the Dollar Store for each person on that team.


I bought golden rod paper from Steve Spangler Science online. This is a special paper used for science experiments. I cut them into small pieces and I wrote the first letters of the 4 teams on each of the different pieces of paper with wax. The guests drew a pieces of paper and squirted it with a spray bottle mixture of water and baking soda. The paper turned red, but where the wax letter stayed white, so the team they would be on "magically" appeared. I put a badge on them and they went to their team table.


1. Hogwarts Test - I printed up a Hogwarts test. It had listed the letters A-Z. They were to think of something from Harry Potter that began with that letter. Each person who completed it won a marble for their team.

2.Door Prizes - I came up with words and scramble them (potions, wizards, and spells) whoever could unscramble all 3 was entered into a drawing for a door prize. They worked on the Hogwart's test and the door prizes while other finished getting sorted.

3. Costume Contest: I made ballots so that each person could vote on the costumes. We had funniest, most authentic, best overall, best couple, and best group. My family went as the Weasley's.

4. Bertie Botts Challenge - I bought 8 different flavors of "jelly belly" jelly beans. 6 people from each team had to eat the jelly bean and guess which flavor it was. They got marbles for each correct guess. Then we moved on to the Russian Roulette Challenge. I bought the real Bertie Bott's every flavor beans. Anyone who was brave enough to reach into the bag and try one, got an instant point. If they got a gross one, they got an extra point. We were lucky (or unlucky) enough to get pepper, soap, grass, and vomit.

We then opened up the Honeydukes store and The Three Broomsticks Inn. This is the dessert feadt buffet that we had prepared.

My cousin's, Jennifer, is super talented and awesome. She made all the food, authentic from the books and movies. We had Butter Beer, Pumpkin Juice, Hagrid's Rock Cakes, Treacles Tarts, Pumpkin Pasties, Cockroach Clusters, Butterbeer Cupcakes, Cauldron Cakes, Treacle Fudge, Ton Tongue Toffee, and and assortment of candy.

Acid Pops - Suckers rolled in pop rock candy.

Cockroach clusters - chow mein noodles and raisins in chocolate.

I purchased several glass jars at the thrift store, labeled them, and filled them with the candy.

I tried to find candy that was a close to possible as the real stuff. Some candy I made up fun names for. We had chips and salsa, popcorn, and gilly -water on the table too. I bought these cute mini cauldrons from and everyone could fill them with the candy.

Next we played FIND THE REAL GOLDEN SNITCH:We made 50 little golden snitches and hung them from fishing line. (forgot to take a pic and they were so cute) They pulled open to reveal a number and one of them had a star in it. (my mom made these to open because of the snitch Harry Potter had that said, "I open at the close") Guests would send a seeker from their team to pull down one of the snitches. They would open it a tell me the number. I had printed up 50 Harry Potter trivia questions and would read the number they chose. If they could correctly answer it their team got a point. If thry couldn't answer it, it was passed to the next team and they could answer it for 2 points. Once they found the one with the star they got 10 extra points and the game was over. (It could also be played until all the snitches are gone.)

COSTUME CONTEST AWARDS and SILVER CUP WINNERS: We had someone tally up the votes for the costume awards. I had printed up award certificates and presented them to the winners. They also were able to pick a prize for the prize table. Then I drew 10 names for the door prizes and awarded those prizes as well.

Here is a picture of the wands my husband made the day of the party for our costumes.
We made these with directions from this cool site.

The party was so much fun.

I hope you can use some of these ides to make a fun party of your own!