22 Aug 2014

Crazy Housewife - Pirate Party Part 4 - All the Other Stuff

Greetings from The Crazy Housewife.
And welcome to a week of posts on Planning Piratical Festivies.

Today's final Post is on All the Other Stuff. Which is normally the part that ends up driving me round the bend. So let's sit and tackle it together.

Location. Best idea is have it at someone else's house. They sort out the decor and music and they have to deal with the mess. But if you can't then take the following advice.

  • Try for a summer party and keep everyone outdoors. Put up a flag and some blow up Swords (which can be found on Amazon) and that looks pretty festive.
  • If you have kids coming and some of them are your friends kids and they live close enough then arrange for them to help you with bringing over some outdoor toys. Paddling pools and sandpits are in keeping with the theme and are lots of fun. Just remember to remind parents to bring swimming costumes.
  • Have gazeebo's (preferably waterproof ones) If you barbeque in the summer then it WILL rain.
  • Don't worry particularly about Pirate Music, people will chat over it. But if you must then Amazon have a selection and all the Pirates of the Carribean soundtracks are on Spotify. Just in case.
  •  Here is a link for more decoration ideas. Try them if you want.
Food. Again, get someone else to do it. No, seriously YOU CAN ASK FOR HELP! We all wanted to spread the cost so we all brought something. Those who wanted to spend more did, those who were on a budget could still contribute and those that were hosting didn't end up feeding everyone, which was fair as it really was my idea! Some of it was pirate themed, some of it was Carribean themed (I did Pulled Pork), some of it was not. But its more important to have really good un-themed food than rubbish but well themed food. That goes for any party. And if in doubt fill your guests up with Chocolate coins!

Authenticity. When I was originally thinking of doing this party 3 years ago I got very bogged down in things being properly authentic. Which kind of misses the point. But if being accurate is your thing, here are some links to pirate stuff. Plus a funny name generator.

Ships parts
Nautical Terms
Treasure Chest Construction
Pirate Maps
Name Generator

Plus I cannot push the website for International Talk Like a Pirate Day enough, there is so much good stuff on there.

Divide and Conquer. If you can, get help planning. Its ok to ask. People like to help, really they do! Planning the Games was my responsibility. And it was a lot of fun when I wasn't worrying about food or decor or how clean my house was. I had so much to do before the party anyway that if I'd had it at mine then it wouldn't have happened.

Selecting what to Play. I wanted my evening to be reasonably flexible so catergorised my games into "Runny Roundy" and "Sitting Downy". I had my list and could then judge the mood of the moment to suggest the correct game. True we did a lot of "sitting downy" but on a different day with more people we may have managed at least 1 "Runny Roundy". I am also pretty sure that every game that I planned could have been turned into a drinking game. If you wanted. Just saying.....

Preparation is the Key. I had my list of games as mentioned above. Then I copied out all the rules into 1 word document and themed them. Next I listed next to each game what I needed for that game, which helped me whittle out the ones that were going to be too much or too expensive to worry about. At that point I started to gather my bits and pieces into 1 bag so that all I had on my overall packing list for the weekend was "Pirate Game Stuff". This process helped me easily identify more games that we wouldn't bother playing, plus write the shopping list for the things that I felt would be cheap enough to buy or could be re-purposed later if we didn't use them. So on the night I wasn't stressed because I knew I had everything I needed.

Ask People What they Want to do. If you want people to have a good time then making them play stuff that they don't want to play isn't really a good way to acheive it. Bear in mind that at an adult party adults like to sit and drink and TALK. So will you if you haven't seen these friends for a while. So all games must be optional and just available to give the party a nudge in the right direction if there is a suitable pause and people seem interested. When we knew that we were just going to be sitting, I gave a few examples of the sitting games and we picked the ones that we wanted to play and everyone had fun. And it is a good idea to bear this in mind when you are planning so that you match the time that you spend on organising the games accordingly. Otherwise you just end up resenting everyone and that isn't much fun either.

Some people don't want to play. So let them off politely at the time (and talk about them later) 

Oh and something about having fun. Apparantly that is de rigeur at parties.

So I hope that you found this all useful. I have posted it at a point when I have planned a LOT of parties but only just managed to acheive a good balance between planning and what happens on the night. I did forget stuff, it just happens, and maybe 20% of what I did could have been left off the list. But I get a lot of fun from the planning which is why I offer to do it, and I know a few more things now for some parties that I could hold in the future so its not really wasted knowledge. And I came to the end of this specific party with no resentment that things weren't used, the feeling that people had enjoyed the theme and that I had enjoyed it, which is the most important. 

Plus I never have to do it again if I don't want to.

Lots of Love
The Crazy Housewife xx

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