Create a nautical theme with navy blue decorations, and hang a net from your ceiling for added ocean flair. For a dramatic touch, nothing screams "pirate" like a black pirate flag. Buy a giant one and hang it outside your windows or beside your front door. You can also make your own using black and white construction paper.
Once your room is shipshape, decorate with gold-wrapped coins and gaudy costume jewelry — beads left over from a Mardi Gras party would be perfect. A treasure chest can be easily fashioned out of a cardboard box. Paint it or cover it with paper, adorn it with jewels, and line it with richly colored fabric before filling it with your stolen booty.
For some Caribbean flavor, add lush greenery like palms, tropical flowers and coconuts.
Party favor bags should look like bags of loot. Use small burlap sacks or brown paper bags and tie them shut with twine. Fill them with chocolate coins, candy necklaces and fake jewelry.
The films Peter Pan and Pirates of the Caribbean can be terrific starting points for finding an ensemble.
Black pants, an untucked white shirt, clip-on hoop earrings and a colorful scarf around your waist will instantly transform you and your guests into pirates.
A toy parrot tied to your shoulder will look great, as will a hook or an eye patch from a costume supply shop. No pirate is complete without a fancy mustache or an intricate beard. Both can easily be painted on with black or brown eyeliner.
Be sure you have extra accessories for guests who want to add on to their own costumes.
Clothing and accessories to have on hand for guests:
Scarves as sashes
Big, black belts
Eyeliner for drawing facial hair
Planning a treasure hunt? Give each guest a map as they arrive. Hand out clues right before the hunt so no one cheats (although cheating is very piratey). To make it more challenging, write the clues in rhyming couplets or be deliberately confusing.
Pirates are known for being tough, so resolve minor (or made up) disputes the old-fashioned way: Make the offenders walk the plank! You can create a plank by laying down a towel or wooden board. Tie a scarf around the offender's eyes and carefully send them on their merry way.
Kids' party tip: For a more sedate experience, have story time, and read passages from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, or J.M Barrie's classic, Peter Pan.
Pirates lived on the sea, so their diets were rich in seafood. If your guests are adventurous, serve fish tacos or fish and chips with tartar sauce or malt vinegar. Pickier eaters may prefer fish sticks and tater tots. Get tropical by adding coconut and other tropical fruits to the menu in savory or sweet forms.
Gold-wrapped chocolate coins are a must-have snack. For a healthier treat, and to prevent scurvy, make a citrus-packed fruit salad or serve wedges of pineapple garnished with maraschino cherries and tiny mandarin orange slices.
Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie (serves 2)
2 cups diced peeled seedless watermelon
1 1/2 cups diced strawberries, frozen
1/4 cup chilled guava juice or guava nectar
2 small strawberries, for garnish
Combine diced watermelon, frozen strawberries and chilled guava juice in blender. Puree until smooth. Pour smoothie into 2 glasses. Top each smoothie with strawberry.