First and foremost was where to have it, a decision that was made incredibly easy for us after I noticed a little blurb on the Pump-It-Up website: "Coming Soon: Adventure Parties," with a picture of a pirate and a superhero next to these magical words. A few phone calls later, and we had booked Texas' very first Pirate Adventure Party at Pump-It-Up.
INVITATIONS: I used evite, again. Its just too easy.
I added this text to the evite, in the message box:
Arrrgh you ready to celebrate Ryan Swanson's 6th birthday? The Black Pearl will be docking at Pump-It-Up for a special treasure hunt and pirate adventure party. Ryan needs all his friends to help locate the Dead Man's Treasure Chest before the bad Pirates in the Caribbean can get to it.
Don't forget that all pirates, empresses, mermaids and mateys will need their socks if they want to jump. Otherwise ye'll be stuck as a landlubber for the parrrrrrtay!
The birthday boy was a bit saddened at not having physical invitations to hand out, though, so Carl also made a few of these for us. They work well for grandparents and great-grandparents who don't email very well.
Pump-it-Up did a great job with the Pirate Adventure. Our party hosts wore some pirate gear and spoke in pirate talk for the whole party. Considering that it was for two hours, I was most impressed! The pirates, including Captain Ryan, were given a treasure map. They needed to find three clues, in three different rooms, and as the party moved along, they would have a new clue to find.
They also took a pirate oath, and played a lot of pirate games inside the jumping rooms.
And played a lot of pirate games inside the jumping rooms.
Ryan felt this made his party extra-special (and it relieved some of my mommy guilt that we weren't having his party at home).
DECORATIONS: I couldn't hang anything on the walls at Pump-it-Up, so I did my best at trying just about every other kind of decoration.
Ryan has a lot of LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean toys, and each box has come with its own poster. I framed a few of these and propped up the frames on the party tables. It worked. I would have liked to have used more of them, but space was limited.
We also brought his Black Pearl LEGO ship. Santa had given it to him for Christmas, and made a perfect centerpiece on the table. I also framed one of my recent favorite Ryan pictures - where he is smiling with pride at his LEGO creation - and we put the picture in our new LEGO picture frame. Ryan and I made it ourselves, with a hot glue gun (my favorite new toy. How I've lived this long without using one, I'll never know). You can see it below.
We have a pirate chest filled with gold coins and necklaces left over from Alex's pirate party a few years ago, and we placed it on a table as well, along with the LEGO "RYAN" nameplates and a "6" from last year. It was easy to change the 5 to 6! We also put one of our Captain Jack wigs on the giant LEGO head storage box we have. Carl thought he looked more like a hippie than Captain Jack, though.
Carl's mom made us this Captain Jack cutout, and we used it as a photo prop. We got pictures of just about all the kids, which I'm sending out with the thank you notes.
We used the official Pirates of the Caribbean paper goods. How can I resist Johnny Depp?
One of Ryan's favorite bits from his previous party was that all his friends had some LEGOs to play with at the tables during food and cake time.
I was very, very pleased at how well they came out. Even with the ones Ryan decorated himself, bless his heart. (A note for those who may try and do this themselves: online decorations call for a coat of sealant to be applied after the faces. DON'T DO THIS. We had a few emergencies because of this which necessitated late night runs to HEB to buy more baby food which I sadly washed down the drain, when the sealant caused my perfectly executed jars to have crinkled paint.)
CLOTHING: Ryan wore a new shirt from Old Navy that had a pirate on it. His LEGO Pirates t-shirt from the summer was pretty well worn and ratty looking, so I vetoed that for his big day. Alex's was less worn, so he wore his t-shirt.
FAVORS: I found these treasure chest goody boxes at Party City. Inside, we included some chocolate gold coins, a few pirate gold coins to play with, and some POTC goody favors: the notepad, eraser, pencil and some tattoos. And of course, they had their little LEGO heads full of LEGOs to take home with them. What kid doesn't need more LEGOs?!
FOOD: We didn't serve lunch, just some snacks, and then cake. I loved our cake! The baker is a mom at our school who does this out of her home, and she did an amazing job.
In fitting with the pirate theme, they gave Ryan a special air cannon to blow out his candles. He was so proud of it!
Carl made these water bottle labels for us. I just printed them out on normal paper and taped them over the small bottles. I know that people who sell them on etsy and other places recommend using waterproof labels, but I didn't find that to be necessary.
PRESENTS: Ryan opened his presents from his friends there, and he did a great job of expressing pleasure and happiness at all his gifts, even when he received duplicates of ones he already has. He was especially thrilled to get the one Star Wars LEGO he has wanted ever since Disney World (which I had talked him out of getting).
And then it was time to head home. He carried his own bag of presents out the door with him.
Doesn't he look like Santa Claus?!
(apologies for the rotten last picture. Carl had already spirited the camera to the car so I did a quick iphone shot)