In the age of mom-wars and pinterest shame, I feel like a disclaimer is necessary. This was not a picture perfect party, but it was a really great, fun party. It suited my son perfectly, which should be the goal of any child's party. Everything inside of me loves throwing these types of parties, and directing games with the kids. The mother part of me wishes that I could sit back and watch and take it in, but the cruise-line-director-wanna-be in me gets a certain high from games and cake and hype. In no way is this party a comment on how I think everyone should throw a party. This party is based on my kid and my wild energy. There were times during the preparation that I felt stressed, but mainly this was extremely exciting for me. Shall we move on...
Burl chose a pirate party even though we never play pirate. He had an idea of what he wanted: red and black stuff (two colors that I don't really know much about) and dueling sword fights with his friends on our couches in the den. The couch part wasn't going to happen but better stuff did. I drew inspiration from one of my brother's parties when we were younger, pinterest, and my mom, who got really into the pirate theme.
We ordered a plain pirate cake, and we let Burl put the people and details on there himself. If you look closely, you will see a hockey player on there that he thought looked like a pirate. Kids are awesome like that. When I let Burl put the figures on the cake or take his shirt off for the entire party, it helps relax me and remind me that this party is for him, not perfection.
Next up, the kids and I built this really awesome cardboard pirate ship. I asked a local furniture store for large cardboard, and they let me have free access to their dumpster. I WENT DUMPSTER DIVING FOR CARDBOARD FOR A 4 Y.O. PARTY. I be crazy. We recently purchased some used climbing pads (for another crazy project) that served as the "water," which were fun for the kids to fall on. My mil let me borrow a huge pirate flag that she had, that helped pull off the look. To say that we were excited about this ship is an understatement. It.was.grand.
Most of the party was dedicated to the kids sword fighting and chasing each other through the ship and around the yard. To me, having family and friends over and kids running and playing is a little bit of utopia.
Besides the sword fighting, I had three games planned that were perfect for this age:
1. Scavenger Hunt. I had a photo scavenger hunt for two teams. Basically, it started at the front door and went around the yard to end at the front door. My mom bought each kid a plastic sword that came with an eye patch (Oriental trading, I think) that served as the prizes at the end of the hunt. The kids did well with this. It was fast pace and rowdy and crazy and exciting, all things I love about a good game.
2. Dig For Treasure. John buried 100 pennies in our little sand box and the kids gathered around it and started digging until we stopped. It was easy and the kids were electrified when they found their pennies.
3. Pin The Mustache On The Pirate. This was a classic game with a pirate twist. I dressed up Burl as a pirate and he made a pirate face, and I took a picture of him to use for the game. It cost $2.49 to have the 11x14 size printed and $1 for the mustaches. Now the mustache picture is hanging above his bed.
As soon as the games were over, I wanted to do them all again but we went inside for cake instead. Burl's embarrassed face during the happy birthday song was so sweet.
Once our friends left, we had some family time. We had dinner and opened gifts.
Since the family was there, it just made sense to feed them dinner. Like my counselor said, I love to be hospitable with food and that's not a bad thing. Shrimp bisque for the adults and fish sticks for the kids, because pirates.
My kids love eating at a kids table, especially with their cousins.
By the end of the evening, Burl put his shirt back on and my sil took a family picture of us. We were all full and happy from the day we had and sad that it was over. Just like his mama, Burl started to talk about next year's birthday. Burl is stuck between wanting a camping birthday and doing the exact same pirate party again. We took that as a good sign that the pirate party was a good success.