Shiver me timbers! Young hearty lads and lasses love a real treasure hunt, and they love to dress up in proper pirate costumes when they search for the loot. With a little preparation your next party, whether for a birthday, Halloween, or any excuse, can be one they will talk about for a long time. All right me lads, let's BOARD 'EM!

Boy named SparrowCredit: ghoulgoods.comCredit:


things you might need as you plan:

  • a treasure of treats

  • a map and clues

  • cardboard, wood, or plastic swords and pistols

  • compass, or 2 for competing crews

  • shovels?

  • costumes

  • (maybe) a boat

    • A

      Get lots of materials for costumes for every guest. Bandanas for their heads, large belts to wear across their chests holding play swords, colorful oversized shirts or striped tee shirts, lots of costume jewelry that can be lost (Some will be),cardboard tubes from paper towels to make "telescopes", cardboard and paper sacks to make three-cornered "Captain hats", shoe laces with cardboard patches for the one-eyed, scraps of black or white cloth to make pirate flags, old striped pajama pants and tops, old boots, Cardboard to cut out swords, knives, and pistols, and one or two real working compasses.

    • B

      Black spray paint will make quick work of the paper hats, telescopes, and the flags if you make a skull and crossbones template. Perhaps the "crew" can make their own if there's drying time during a movie or story about pirate legends. Just keep to the sailing era. Silver paint for the blades, with red tips perhaps? If you live on a lake commandeer an old row boat or two. If you're a land-lubber, just get two refrigerator boxes, some twine, two 8 foot 2x4s, 2 broom sticks for yardarms, and 2 old sheets. Two crews can compete at rigging their own ships, and naming them.

661 Fenix Flash Full Face BMX HelmetCredit:


      Oh, yes! The treasure chest! Any old box will do. Fill it with chocolate foil covered "coins" and jewelry, loose change, or toys. Now-- the MAP. A large paper sack cut open and burned around the edges, with a drawing of the "island" of your property. In a corner is the first of a series of CLUES to the treasure. A 2 or 4 line poem? An object on the horizon? There is a second clue at that location! Climb the main mast (a tree) for another. Can the pirates read a compass? Use the compasses for 2 crews racing to the treasure with separate clues written on bits of burned brown paper. "Three p'ints Nor' by Nor'east!"

    • D

      I got the "Black Spot!"

      What if there's MUTINY among the crew? The Captain gets the "BLACK SPOT", a vote of "no confidence" among the crew, and another becomes Captain. There's a game afoot. Close your eyes and guess who has the "BLACK SPOT."

    • E

      But on to the FOOD! Hard bisquits, lemon or orange slices (to prevent scurvy!) and jerky for a sailors meal. Wash it down with "grog" punch. Follow this crew's mess with a CAKE shaped like a ship with a tall candle for the mast, wood skewers for yardarms, and a paper sail. More simply, make a sheet cake and decorate it with a treasure chest design, or with the "Jolly Roger" on it.

    • F

      If you are lucky enough to have your own PIRATE SHIP, don't forget to make someone WALK the PLANK! Just be sure they can swim. Was there a clue to the treasure in Davy Jones' Locker?

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep any food in the hidden treasure chest well wrapped to protect it from insects or animals until the pirates find it.

  • No sharp or pointed weapons. Boys can get in enough trouble with cardboard!