What are the must-have decorations for a pirate party for kids?

decorations for kids pirate party

Hosting a pirate themed party for your little one? While the amount of decorations you get will largely depend on your budget (and I do recommend you have one because the number of pirate decorations for kids parties is practically endless!) there are some essentials that you absolutely must have in order to set the tone right for the party.

Before you start thinking of what you’re getting though, I suggest that you first establish where the party is going to be held. I feel that the size of the room (backyard, patio or wherever you’re having the party) are very important. You really don’t want to get too many big decorations if the room is small, leaving no space for the kids to play in. On the other hand, if you have a big room you don’t want your pirate decorations to be “eaten up” by all the space. In this case, consider using only a part of the room for the party. Perhaps section the room temporarily by adding a curtain (or some sort of room divider) to indicate that the party will take place in that section only.

OK, now that you’ve established where the party’s going to be held, it’s time for the decorations. Yaaay! I’m going to first list the items below and then go into more detail about each item.

Pirate Decor For Kids Parties: The 12 Essentials!


  1. Skull and crossbones centerpiece or focal
  2. Pirate ship
  3. Treasure chest
  4. Pirate coins
  5. Pirate themed banner & flag bunting
  6. Pirate photo props
  7. Skull and crossbones balloons
  8. Pirate goodie bags
  9. Pirate themed signs
  10. Pirate flags
  11. Pirate hats
  12. Decorative net

1. Skull And Crossbones Centerpiece Or Focal

One of the most important elements that you’ll have in your pirate party will be the skull and crossbones motif. This symbol is associated with pirates because in the old days pirate ships would have this symbol when they were about to attack a target. [Pirate Party Hack: If your child likes pirates but is scared of skulls and crossbones, substitute anything with a skull and crossbones motif with images of kids wearing a pirate hat and an eye patch.]

There are many ways in which you can feature this symbol but having one centerpiece or focal point with a good sized skull and crossbones would immediately set the tone for the pirate party. The symbol could be made from various materials and it doesn’t need to be pricey. For example, you could have a big skull and crossbones cardboard cutout and hang it on the wall that is most visible from all angles of the room. A big pirate flag would be great for this too. If you like DIY projects, you could easily make a simple ship mast and hang the pirate flag on it.

2. Pirate Ship

A pirate ship is a must. Here you have a couple of options too. You could get a somewhat elaborate wooden ship which you can use as a centerpiece on one of the tables. (If you like nautical decor, after the party the ship can be used as a standalone display).

Alternatively you could get a cardboard pirate ship (possibly a better option if most of your decorations have “cartoon like” features and the party is for really small kids. They will probably like a simple cardboard ship more than an elaborate, more realistic one). If you fancy making one yourself, there are loads of easy to follow tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest.

3. Treasure Chest

No pirate party is complete without a treasure chest. This can be used solely as a prop (i.e. open with lots of “gold” coins, etc) in a central location or as a storage box for the favor boxes/bags and party games. A smaller treasure chest can be used as a centerpiece on the table.

A big, realistic treasure chest can be a bit pricey but after the party is over, it can be used as an awesome storage box for your kid’s toys. Besides, you could always put it in your own bedroom in front of the bed to store pillows, sheets, etc. This really depends on the style of home decor you like though. A treasure chest will go well with nautical themed decor, bohemian, rustic and farmhouse decor to name a few.

4. Pirate coins

Pirate coins are a fun way to sprinkle more pirate magic all across the area of the party. You could decorate the table with them, put them in a treasure chest together with other treasures or bury them in sand for the treasures hunt (You are going to make a treasure hunt, right?). The kids will go crazy for chocolate pirate coins, guaranteed!

5. Pirate themed banner and flag bunting

If the party area is small, you could probably get away with just the pirate themed banner. I must admit though that a pirate flag bunting adds so much more cuteness to the area. (You could also use plain ones in the popular pirate party colors: red, black and white, if those are the colors you’re going for).

6. Pirate photo props

Pirate themed photo props will not only be super fun for the kids but it will also produce many cute photos for you and the other parents to cherish. There are various types of props to choose from. A large inflatable sea creature like a shark for example, can also make a great photo prop.

7. Skull and crossbones balloons

No kids party is complete without balloons. They come in all shapes and sizes and you can find lots of cute pirate themed ones. (If you wish, you can just use plain ones in your chosen party color scheme too. Especially if you think there are way too much skulls and crossbones on things. Or mix things up and just use a few with skulls and the majority plain).

8. Pirate goodie/favor bags

I’ve included goodie bags as decorations, even though they’re not essentially decor. However, depending on the style of bags you choose, they can definitely double up as a decoration. For example, small cardboard treasure chests would look great all laid out on the table.

Here’s a cute hack for you. Have any plain goodie bags left over from previous parties? Make them pirate themed by printing some related images and glue them to the bags. Add some multi colored ribbons and you’re good to go. You can find lots of free pirate themed images online which are in public domain (meaning that you are free to use them however you wish). For example, I downloaded the cute images you see below from a website called Pixabay. I love this site. Sooo many photos to choose from! What I love most about it is that you can download the image in various sizes. This is great for when you want to print a large image.

pirate party printables

9. Pirate themed signs

Pirate themed signs placed in strategic places can really complete the whole piratey ambience. The first ones are usually placed in a few spots leading up to the main party area. This will start getting the kids excited. Although just the mention of having a pirate party should get them pretty wide eyed with excitement.

pirate party signs

Again the sky’s the limit here. So many places where you could get adorable and hilarious pirate signs from. If you dabble a bit with graphics, you can easily make these yourself too. Plus, if you do a quick search on Etsy for “pirate party printables” you’ll find plenty of sellers there who sell these packs. These kits usually contain downloadable images/graphics to make your invitations, banners, flag bunting, signs, favor boxes, the works. Really worth looking into them if you’d like to make some of the decorations and accessories yourself.

10. Pirate flags

And of course, you’ll need pirate flags. Use a large one on one of the walls as a backdrop and/or photo prop and small ones placed strategically throughout the party area. If you’re having a pirate ship mast, a pirate flag will complete it.

11. Pirate hats

Hang a few adult sized ones on the wall (if you feel you don’t quite have enough decorations) or place one on the table as a display. Hang the kiddos pirate hats on their chairs.

12. Decorative net

I’ve listed this as an essential even though you can probably get away with not having one. I love using decorative nets though because they’re so versatile! You can totally use it again for a nautical themed party, an under the sea party or a mermaid themed party. Plus, you can cut parts of it in small pieces and use it for various nautical themed DIY projects.

You can hang a piece of net in front of a curtain for an instant nautical feel. Paint a few cardboard boxes, put them on top of each other and cover with the decorative net. Place a small treasure chest on top, together with some pirate coins sprinkled around it and you have yourself a quick corner display. So many things you could do with decorative net.

And there you have it. The 12 most important decorations you need for a pirate themed party for kids. Of course, there are a host of other decorations that you could get, but I feel that these twelve will help set you up for a fantastic party that the kids will remember forever. 

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