Friday, November 1, 2013

'Pirate Camp' Birthday Party

Pirate Party! 

We just celebrated my kindergartner's 6th birthday!  He has been talking about and planning a Pirate Party for months!  We had so much fun preparing for such a fun theme.  Try to include your children in the making of many of the party props, invitations and even the menu!  The party was a huge hit and we had a beautiful day to enjoy all of the outdoor activities!   However, you could do this party indoors if needed.  I have outlined the party and menu for you and I hope you enjoy the post and gather lots of fun ideas for your little pirate's next party!  Let's Set Sail!...     

 Party Outline:

Treasure Hunt ~ Pirate garb in Treasure chest: 

Swords, eye patches, earrings and bandanas

Pirate Coins ~  Every activity completed earns 1 Pirate coin, used for purchasing lunch at the Tavern

Treasure Hunt ~ Hide the treasure chest and let the kids search with or without a map.  Now they can dress like a pirate.  And begin Pirate Camp!
Tattoo Parlor
Mustache Face Painting
Three Legged Races
Sack Races
Bobbing for Apples
Dig for Treasure (Pirate coins and pennies for gumball machine)
Pirate Lunch Tavern ~ Buy drumsticks, root beer, sliced apples, corn salsa, root beer ice cream,  
 Pirate Flag cupcakes

Tent~ Story Time:  "How I Became A Pirate" by  Melinda Long
Tent~ Sing Happy Birthday and Open Presents

Roast Marshmallows on Fire pit
Take Home Treat: Caramel Apples and Pirate garb

Crinkle Dyed Pirate Invitations

My friend Rebecca Bateman shared this fun paper aging method with me.  The invitations turn out adorable!  They have a great look and feel and are so much fun to make!

1.  Print desired amount of party invitations written in your best 'Pirate lingo' on regular 8 1/2 x 11 white copy paper.  Rip straight edges off invitation to give it a worn look.

2.  Wad each invitation up into a ball~  Let your little pirate help you with this!  He or she will love it!


 3.  In a small glass bowl, mix about 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce and 1/8 cup water.  Dunk each crinkled up invitation in Worcestershire dye and saturate paper. Gently remove.  Gently unfold and lay on a old beach towel in a safe spot to dry.

4.  Once invitations are dry, roll up and tie with a string or seal with wax seal. You could also fold it to fit in an envelope. ( It would be really fun to crinkle-dye the envelopes too. ) I rolled up our invitations and attached them to a root beer bottle so they could be left at the door easily if someone wasn't home when we delivered them.

Invitations are ready to deliver

Pirate Cupcake Toppers
Fold a piece of  8 1/2 X 11 " construction paper as shown

Cut down the center of the paper

Leaving two creased halves

Cut each half into 8 equal pieces

Cut into edge of each flag to make it look ragged

Add a piece of double sided tape

Stick a tooth pick to the tape in the center

Fold flag in half

Place a Pirate sticker on each side of flag

30 Chocolate Cupcakes
 The first reason I love these cupcakes is because they are super yummy.  It's just a great chocolate cake.  The second reason is because the recipe makes enough cupcakes for a big party. I thought the black and white cupcakes would make a fun Pirate color combination.  The third reason is because taste even better when eaten the next day, so go ahead and make them the day before you set sail! 

2 cups flour
2 ½ cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Prepare 30 muffin cups with paper liners.  In bowl of electric mixer add all of the dry ingredients and whisk together with a hand held whisk.  Add all of the wet ingredients and beat on medium with electric mixer until thoroughly combined, for about 3 minutes.  Pour ¼ cup of batter into each muffin cup.  You may be able to get 31 cupcakes from the batter if you scrape your bowl really well.  Bake at 350 for about 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Remove cupcakes from pans.  Frost with Chocolate Buttercream frosting.

Seven Minute Frosting

3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
3 large egg whites

Separate eggs and place whites in bowl of electric mixer.  Whip egg whites with whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar and set aside.  In small saucepan, combine sugar, syrup and 2 tablespoons water.  Heat gently over low heat until sugar is dissolved.  This may take 5 minutes.  Raise heat and bring to a low boil.  Wash sugar crystals down sides of pan with wet pastry brush.  Put candy thermometer in place and bring to 230 degrees...NOT ANY HIGHER!!!  This will just take a minute or two, so no multitasking right now!  Remove pan from heat and with mixer on LOW begin whisking egg whites.  With mixer running on LOW speed, pour hot syrup into egg whites.  When syrup in all incorporated into egg whites, whisk on MEDIUM speed for 5-10 minutes.  Frosting will be thick and shiny.  Spoon into decorators bag with a wide mouth and pipe a small dot in the center of each cupcake.  Pipe a ring around the dot and keep winding the frosting around the cupcake and finish it off at the top, center.  And voila!  Allow to set a little before placing Pirate Flag Cupcake Toppers in cupcakes.  

Ribbon of Balloons
Just tie balloons to a looooooong ribbon!  No need to run out for helium!

Pirate Flag 
 Use a large piece of heavy black fabric.  Cut the edges to make it look worn.  Place an old beach towel under the flag, so paint doesn't soak through onto flooring. With white latex paint free- hand a skull and cross bones on the front.   For fun, I let my kids (who are always eager to help with an art project) help me fill in my outline of the skull and crossbones.   

PIRATE TAVERN ~ Pirate Coins accepted here!

Yo Ho!

Dig for buried Treasure!

Pirate treasure!

Three Legged Races

Story Time

'How I Became a Pirate', by Melinda Long

Homemade Caramel Apples

10 small Granny Smith apples
10 wooden caramel apple dowels (I buy these in bulk)
2 pounds milk chocolate
coarse sea salt or sprinkles
batch of homemade caramel

Stick wooden caramel apples dowels into tops of 10 small tart crisp apples.  

Homemade Caramel
 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter

Prepare a flat baking sheet or platter with parchment paper and set aside.  In small but heavy pot, combine sugars, corn syrup, water, vinegar and salt.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Cook to 235 degrees.  Whisk in butter and bring to a boil again.  Boil gently until caramel reaches 245 degrees.  Remove from heat.  Let stand a minute.  Take hold of the apples by the stick and roll apples on their sides through the caramel. Or use a spoon to pour caramel over the top of the apples.  You may need to use both dipping methods to cover apples.  You don't have to completely cover the top of the apples with the caramel.  It's fun to see some green apple showing through too.  Scrape off excess caramel from bottom of apple with a spoon.  Place caramel apple on parchment paper.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until caramel is set.

Dipping Chocolate
11 ounces quality chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

In small pot, or in double boiler, melt ( on lowest possible temperature) milk chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening.  Stir constantly until melted, just a few minutes.  Remove chocolate from heat.  Dip caramel apples in melted chocolate by rolling the sides of the apples through the chocolate. Scrape excess chocolate off the bottom of apples with a spoon. Set on a tray lined with  parchment paper.  Sprinkle fresh chocolate dipped apples immediately with desired sprinkles.  Allow to set in a very cool location until set and ready to wrap or eat.

Root Beer Ice Cream

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

2 liter bottle Root Beer

Pour Root Beer and sweetened condensed milk into a large pitcher or into ice cream maker.  Mix thoroughly and freeze in ice cream maker.  Transfer Root beer Ice Cream to a freezer proof container and freezer until ready to serve. Note: I like to keep a commercial brand of ice cream container ( the round plastic kind) to keep homemade ice cream in.  They are the perfect size!
Face Painting

Honey Mustard Chicken Drumsticks
Perfect Pirate Grub!  No forks necessary!

16 chicken drumsticks
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ground pecans (done in food processor) or substitute breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Melt butter in small sauce pan and stir in honey and mustard.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  In a large bowl season chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper.  Reserve some sauce to drizzle over the top of baked drumsticks and pour the rest over the uncooked drumsticks and toss to coat.  Roll each drumstick in the breadcrumbs mixture and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  Drizzle extra sauce over the top and serve warm.   

Sack Races
~with old pillowcases and burlap sacks~

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa
For this fabulous salsa I combined all the best ingredients from two friend’s recipes...Holly and Tammy.  
 15 ounces black beans, drained
4 cobs fresh corn, or 15 ounces sweet corn, drained
3 green onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoons coarse salt
½ teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

 First, cut the corn off the cob (if using fresh corn) and spread kernels out on baking sheet.  Put under broiler until slightly browned.  If you are short of time use drained canned corn without roasting it.  Chop green onions, avocados, red onion and cilantro.  Set aside.  Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with sweet potato chips, or my favorite, Red Hot Blues.   Serving to a bunch of kids or teenagers?  Serve with Fritos corn chips.  



  1. This is one of the BEST birthdays my girls have ever gone to. Thanks for sharing your darling pictures and absolutely delicious recipes! Can't wait to make some of these foods for my mateys.

  2. Thanks Tracy! You are so sweet! It was such a fun party! Thanks for all your help!


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