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Special Section: Princesses and Pirates

Robin Quackenbush


• Decorate for your dinner using brown wrapping paper or burlap as tablecloths and tin cans with jewels and coins flowing out of them for centerpieces. Use pie tins as plates and ripped muslin cloth for napkins. For an unbeatable atmosphere, add a fog machine and creaky-ship sound effects (you can find downloadable sound effects at Block off a room that'll be your main deck by taping the door shut with silver masking tape and attaching locks requiring keys.

• Provide party favors such as stickers, miniature flashlights, or gold-foiled chocolate coins* for all pirates (

• Set up a photo station with barrels, fishing nets, a treasure chest, and jewels overflowing. Decorate your entrance with a sign that says, "Enter...If You Dare."


Follow these steps to make your Pirate Dinner a smashing success.

• As pirates arrive, have each one complete a registration card that gathers information for follow-up, such as their name, age, address, phone number, and email. Before heading into the main galley, pirates can take their photo with the Pirate Captain. Then adult mateys escort boys into the pirate galley and assign them a first mate for the evening festivities. When all young pirates have arrived, the first mates can pray with their boatload of pirates and thank God for the food they'll be foraging.

• After all pirates have consumed their evening grub, first mates can set the stage for the remainder of the program with discussion-worthy questions such those listed below.

• What do you think pirates are afraid of?

• What do you do when you're scared?

• How do you find courage when you're afraid?

• What makes someone courageous?

• How was Jesus courageous?

• How does Jesus help you be courageous?

• Boys move to the main deck (the room you've taped off) for the remaining activities. Each boatload of pirates must find a key that corresponds with a location clue at their table to help unlock the gate. (Number the keys and corresponding locks so when boys find them all, the Captain can quickly open the locks and the gate.)

The Captain must announce there's a problem-the pirates are locked in the galley and can't get to the main deck until the gate is unlocked. Here are suggested clues.

Buy-For preschool-age boys simply hide large silver coins in the room and give them small bags to find three coins each. When they find enough coins, they can buy a key from an adult pirate.

Search-For older kids, provide them with a treasure map with one or two simple clues for locating a key.

When they find all the keys, the Captain can open the locks and tear away the tape so young pirates can enter the room to watch the movie The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (Big Idea).

• Set sail, ye scalawags. After the movie, remind young pirates that God gives them the strength and courage to pursue their wildest adventures, and that he alone provides the greatest treasure of all-Jesus.


Use these ideas to follow up with the boys who attend your high seas adventure.

• Captured memories-Send or email the photos you take of boys with the Captain as a thank you for attending the event. Include upcoming opportunities for boys to get involved in your ministry. You can load photos into a pirate template by clicking here.

• Swashbuckling adventures-Offer events and activities geared for boys only. Events such as laser tag, rock climbing, or a trip to a bug exhibit will feed boys' sense of adventure and help them build quality relationships with each other and adult male mentors.

• A pirates' life-Help boys connect with each other and with God by forming small groups just for boys. Discuss topics that'll help them as they enter adolescence, such as courage, fear, or trust. Find opportunities for boys to get dirty while serving others, such as planting trees for a local park or painting a house for an elderly resident.

Robin Quackenbush is director of children's ministries at Leptondale Bible Church in Newburgh, New York. She's also a speaker and MOPS Mentor.

*Note: Due to recent recalls of candy and food products from China, please check for current recall information at

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