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A Buccaneer Bash

When her 2-year-old daughter Zaida began cavorting around the house, proclaiming “aye matey” to anyone who would listen, Brandi Thompson knew a pirate theme would be perfect for the soon-to-be 3-year-old’s upcoming birthday party. 

Putting her craftiness to use, the master do-it-yourselfer spent nearly five months perusing Pinterest and gathering materials from Hobby Lobby for the buccaneer-inspired bash.

On the day of the party, Brandi transformed her Plano home into a pirate paradise, opting for a red, black and white color scheme paired with a plethora of skulls and crossbones. A banner declaring “Ahoy Mateys” greeted guests, who were directed to stop by the pirate sign-up station to grab an obligatory eye patch, decorate their very own pirate hat and pick a pirate name.

With Jack Sparrow-ish garb firmly in place, it was time for a snack. Brandi kept it simple, opting for pizza and Pirate’s Booty (but, of course), along with chocolate dipped pretzels displayed in a treasure-worthy chest, cupcakes, birthday cake and cookies, which Brandi made from scratch and decorated by hand. “Cookies are my thing every year,” she says, “trying to decorate them and do the piping.”

With full bellies, Zaida and friends were ready for an adventure, so Brandi led the rowdy bunch outside where they embarked on a treasure hunt brimming with fodder for active imaginations. To mimic shark-infested waters, Brandi strategically placed shark fins circling the perimeter of the house, which was decorated with kid-friendly but creepy pirate ware.

Before braving the waters, each child was handed a goody bag containing a treasure map. To access the highly coveted buried treasure, little pirates were asked to complete a number of tasks, such as walking the plank and launching cannonballs (i.e., rice-filled black balloons) at a cardboard pirate ship.

The brave souls who survived their time at sea were rewarded with a shot at the buried treasure, plastic jewels and tokens buried in a baby pool filled with sand. After digging up their share of the booty, the pint-size pirates met where X marks the spot to compare loot and exchange tales of their time at sea. “They really seemed to get into it,” Brandi says of the pirate adventure, which she says was her favorite part of the party. “They were acting like they were scared of the sharks and really using their imaginations. I thought that was a lot of fun.”