Pirate Party / Treasure Hunt
Berkeley Parents Network >
Pirate Party / Treasure Hunt
My soon to be 5 year old son wants a ''Pirate Party'' does
anyone have any suggestions on hiring a non-expensive Pirate?
Also, one that is Male and not Female? When I showed him some
of the pirates I have found he said to me that he knew that
there were girl pirates but, he really wants a boy.
One idea that I had was that since my Sons B-day is the day
after Halloween ... maybe Daddy could be the Pirate but, if we
go this route any suggestions on what he should ''do'' for
Thanks In Advance for Suggestions!
Plannin' A Party Mommy & Daddy
We had a pirate party for our 4 yr old son this past July. We held it a a
great park in Albany which had bbq pit, tables, grass and a play structure.
The kids played in the kid area, and we also brought other things to play
with-kites, balls, frisbees, etc. The activity was a treasure hunt. My
husband made a small chest (but you can buy one at Michael's for $20)and I
filled it with treasure I got from Oriental Trading company (necklaces,
rings,beads, etc)-www.orientaltrading.com-Just type in pirate and you will find
tons of pirate booty to make everything fun. We added pirate flags, and had
tasty grub fit for adults and kids. The goodie bags were also pirate themed.
There is also a helpful website if you want games-www.deadmentellnotales.com
Good luck matey!
Argggggg! I have no pre-packaged party recommenadtion, I say throw it yourself!
Pirate parties are incredibly easy with a little creativity and a very little
expense. Some ideas we've used (and I'm no Martha Stewart!):
1.have the kids make paper swords by rolling up stiff paper at an angle, tape
to close, make a handle at the end
2.since it's close to Halloween have the kids and grownups come in costume
3. come up with a short treasure hunt with your kid as captain.
when the x marks the spot, the pirate-themed goodie bags or assorted hooks and
patches (heck, cupcakes could be the treasure)are inside (btw pirate stuff is
very easy to find: target, party supply houses, even pre-made goodie bags
on-line sent to yr house)
4.get the grownups in yr family great costumes, use loud and silly pirate talk
to corral the kids. believe me the kids don't need much to get them going on
5. pirate themed cake (also very easy to buy or make yr own at home and put
some cool little pirate toys on top)
6. have the party at Emeryville or Berkeley Marina (the atmosphere, sea breezes
and boat lined view are free)
WHY HIRE A PIRATE? BE ONE!
Start by checking the archives
(http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/birthdays/pirateparty.html) for some fun
ideas. If you want to hire a pirate, Fire Pixie
(http://www.firepixie.com/parties/) rents out pirates of either gender who can
sing, paint faces, etc. Or if dad is up for it, I think using him is a great
idea. If he's remotely musical, have him learn some sea chanteys to sing with
the kids (check out Dan Zane's ''Sea Music'' CD) and lead a treasure hunt.
There a lot of fun activity, invite, decoration and cake ideas out there if you
Google around - we just did a pirate party ourselves, so I'm a mini-expert.
Two great resources:
Yar!! Have fun!
Harbor Shoreline Park near the Oakland port would be a great place
for a pirate party -- there's a beach, boats, observation tower
with free viewing binoculars, and a big sidewalk (suitable for
bikes and scooters) making a giant X (marks the spot!) in the
middle of a big flat lawn. Plus it's not too crowded and there's
lots of parking. More info at
http://www.ebparks.org/parks/middle_harbor and there's a link here
to check availability and reserve a picnic spot online -- Site C is
the best IMHO: http://www.ebparks.org/registration#picnic
Help! My son, who is turning 6, wants a treasure hunt birthday
party. I have no idea how to figure out the hunt, or make up
clues, or come up with prizes. I'm imagination-challenged.
Does anyone have treasure hunt ideas or supplies I can use -
such as clues, rules, ideas for how to run the hunt, ways to
make it fun for the kids and not too much work for the party-
giver or parents? Thanks!!
Treasure Hunt Challenged
A friend of mine gave our family a gift of a game called The Around-the-House
Treasure Hunt. It's great -- it explains how to place all of the clues and provides a
Treasure Chest for you to hide the prize(s) inside. (It comes with fake gold coins,
but I've always added something edible or crayons, small toys, etc.) It's usable at
home, not really away from home (all the clues are related to a residence). You can
find it at this web address: http://www.toystogrowon.com/sku859. If that link
doesn't work, just do a google search for Toys To Grow On, and search their site for
I'd let you borrow ours, if not for the fact that it's pretty trashed after multiple
I did a pirate themed party for my son's 5th birthday years ago
and we had a treasure hunt. Because we lived in a one bedroom
apt., I had the party outdoors at Live Oak Park in north
Berkeley. I ''cased'' the park a week in advance and worked out
about 8 places to hide clues (7 kids were invited to the party).
Then I went home and wrote the clues, with the name of each child
on a clue. The first clue pointed to where the second was hidden,
the second to the third, etc. The final clue told where the
treasure was hidden (under a picnic table). This was a box I'd
decorated with a skull and crossbones and which contained
eye-patches, plastic hand hooks, red bandanas, and gold foil
wrapped chocolate coins.
For his 8th birthday, I did a similar thing, although by this
time we were in a small house. I wrote a series of clues in very
rhymed quatrains (with the benefit of self-discovery: it's very
easy for me to write very bad poetry). The final treasure in the
dryer, was a bunch of those whistling tubes you can either blow
through or swing around to make a noise. Again, the kids just
The kids just adore these hunts and are surprisingly adept at
working out clues. I often thought I was being too obscure, but
they got the clue very quickly every time. The clues can say
things like: look for three trees together, look for the bench in
the middle of the park, look under the wooden rabbit on the
Good luck on your party.
We just had a pirate party for our son who just turned 5. The
treasure hunt was the hit of the party. The key is that we had
it at a park that had a sand volley ball area and we hid a
''treasure chest'' with Pirate booty in the sand. We gave out
pails & buckets to the kids that they used to dig for the
treasure chest. My husband werote up about 5 clues to
things right around where we had the party, like a bridge, a
statue, the pails and then the sand pit. I also got a great
pirate treasure cake made by a fellow mother that is doing
custom cakes for kids birthdays. It was great!! Her e-mail is
Andrea.Weinstein at delmonte.com- Have fun! Tracey
I love to do treasure hunts, probably because my mom used to do
them for me and my brother...I just did one for my husband for
For a hunt: you start out by handing the kids a piece of paper
with a clue on it. It doesn't have to rhyme, and you can take
photos or draw pictures of the hiding places instead if the kids
can't read or you want them to do it all theemselves. But it's
fun if you can rhyme the clues. Some we just used are: ''Mommy
loves to bake us cakes; she mixes day and night. Go to where she
keeps her bowls--can you get it right?'' There was another clue
tucked inside one of our mixuing bowls. Another one : ''Our
little baby brother likes to sleep a lot; go to where he takes
his naps--that's the next secret spot!'' (clue was in the baby's
For 6 year olds, I would have at least 5 and no more than 10
clues, and at the end there should be a little gift for each kid
(at my 5 year old daughter's birthday party we had little boxes
with a hair band inside each--each wrapped in fancy paper.)
Another treasure-type idea (to do outdoors): get a cardboard
box, and cover it or color it to look like a treasure chest (you
can use gold shiny wrapping paper.) You don't need a top on it,
and the inside doesn't need to be wrapped. Fill the inside with
birdseed--large bags are available at Costco. Then bury little
toys and have the kids take turns digging. Have enough things
buried so each kid gets 2 or 3 turns to pick one. Afterwards you
can give each child a ziploc bag of birdseed to take home so they
can feed the birds too.
Where to get ''treasure'' party stuff and lots of little toys:
Oriental Trading Company. Try this link:
I love treasure hunts! What I did for my five year old was to
draw a map showing where the treasure (a bunch of gold foil-
covered chocolate coins) was hidden (under a bush in the front
yard). I then cut the map into 6 big puzzle shaped pieces.
Write a clue on the back of each piece and hide the pieces (each
clue has to lead to the next piece). You could also tape photos
of the hiding places to the back of the map pieces, but for me,
that would have been harder. A grownup has to accompany the pack
of kids to read the clues aloud, but the kids were pretty much
able to find the clues themselves (''You use this to water the
plants''). I think for a couple of them I drew a picture (a
simple drawing of our front loader washing machine - the next
clue was inside in a baggie). Anyway, when you find all the
clues, the kids have to tape the puzzle together, turn it over
and find the map to the treasure. It was a big success.
We did a Scooby Doo pirate adventure last year for my daughter's 5th b-day with
about 15 kids in our smallish house, and it was a lot of fun. I think the extra
''themes'' (Scooby Doo and Pirates) actually made it easier because there was more
to work with to make it fun. To start with when people arrived we welcomed them to
''Treasure Island'' and had them decorate little treasure chests to keep their treasure.
We only had 3 or 4 ''clues'' because each clue led to an activity before they could get
the treasure and the next clue. The activities were ''freeze dancing'' to confuse the
ghosts (it doesn't have to make perfect sense, it's just a good excuse to do a fun
freeze dance), putting together a Scooby Doo puzzle, and throwing ''cannonballs''
(black water balloons) at paper ships (this was the biggest hit of the party), also
''walking the plank'' over a wading pool. Along with beads, ring pops, and chocolate
coins, we had spray-painted pebbles gold, and everyone got a few gold nuggets
which they really liked. We even had a neighbor pretend to be a pirate ghost who
was trying to scare us away from the treasure, and in the end the kids pushed him
into the wading pool and he got to say ''I would have gotten away with it if it weren't
for those pesky kids!'' But not everyone has such a good spirited person to play that
part. Anyway, you can get tons of ideas for decorations, activities, and actual clues
at www.birthdaypartyideas.com or google ''treasure hunt'' party ideas.
--parents who admittedly go a little overboard on our parties
First, I gave my son a pirates party when he was 5 and it was the best
birthday party he's ever had. For the treasure hunt I held it in Live
Oak park, went to the park to scope out various hiding places a week
in advance, then wrote the clues for the treasure hunt so that they
pointed to each other, then went to the park an hour before the party
and hid them in the appropriate places. The clues were in envelopes
and each child had a clue with his or her name on it. The kids raced
around in a group from place to place, and did the whole thing a lot
faster than I thought they would. It's a public park, so there were
other people around, but they all seemed amused by watching this gang
of excited 5 year olds.
The treasure, which I had concealed under one of the picnic tables,
was in a chest I'd made of an old cardboard box and decorated with
skull and cross bones, etc. It consisted of plastic hand hooks, eye
patches, bandanas, and gold coins (chocolates). I also had clues in
cupcakes about a mysterious hidden treasure on the party table, which turned
out to be eyebrow pencils I used to draw mustaches on the kids.
All in all a great success.
Our kids had a "trail of clues" (to find the goody bags) for almost every
birthday party until, sadly, they outgrew the birthday party notion. We
always had enough clues so that each kid could read one out loud (or be
helped) and always did them as a pack---the entire group running off
together to the next point. Chaotic but not too chaotic. The kids made
sure that each guest got a chance to read the next clue. On Mother's Day
this year, my 13 year old daughter put together a trail of clues for me to
find my homemade gift certificate, redeemable for a pair of socks (she had
noticed my big toe pointing through an old pair). So, if you do enough of
them, they'll get to be a real family tradition! (6/99)
We did a treasure hunt for my son's 6th and 7th birthdays, and have attended
parties with treasure hunts too. They are fun but totally chaotic no matter
what you do, so grouping kids should be dictated by things other than
avoiding chaos. A few things to think about:
(1) Some kids run faster than others, so the quick kids tend to find the
clues. If there are different ages or sizes at the party, you might group
kids by size or age so the slower ones don't end up collapsing in puddles of
misery when others find all the clues before they get there.
(2) Reading differences can make the clue-reading a challenge. In the
6-year-old age range, reading and comprehension skills can be quite
disparate. The more consolidated readers will read clues so fast that no
one else gets it. The newer readers will struggle to sound out words so no
one gets it. Everyone wants to read, but the others tend to get impatient
no matter what the reader's style. We found it helped to have a grownup
reader. We told kids the grownups will read, and then wrapped clues in tin
foil to give the grownups time to get there and wrest the clues from
(3) Be prepared to guide the kids with questions about the clues; they will
be inclined to run off before talking to each other and figuring out where
to go. (Maybe this is less of a problem with girls; as a Mom of boys, I am
unfamiliar with the other species.)
One of the favorite party theme was a "pirate" treasure hunt in the house.
Hide the party loot in a "Chest" (cardboard chest and accessories can be
purchased. Devise a set of ten to fifteen clues (riddles) which lead to the
All party goers can be given bandanas to wear (and used for
blindfolds in a pin the X on the treasure map game). Eye patches are tempting,
but kids lack depth perception while wearing them, and may fall down stairs.
Chocolate coins make great treasure. Cheap plastic bead necklaces make good
And, lest you think that this is only for boys, let me assure you that
our girls both had great fun with this.
Party dad dressed up as a pirate, and gave all the new recruits a pep talk
about the fabulous treasure hunt. Each clue can be read out loud to the
group if they can't read yet, but our girls were reading themselves.
this page was last updated: Sep 23, 2012
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network