Sure, you could do yet another pirate birthday party for your little one this year, but, instead, maybe you’re ready to expand your child’s horizons and throw a party that neither your child nor your guests will soon forget. It’s time you took the stress out of birthday-party planning and let your child celebrate this special day aboard the famed whaling vessel the Pequod.
Send invitations two to three weeks before the party. You can make your own postcards on cardstock and mail them out, or, even better, nail gold doubloons, along with the postcards, to the front doors of friends’ homes to notify them they’ve been selected. Tip: Any local harbor should feature at least one colorful character who won’t stop making cryptic remarks about your soul but who will eventually offer you authentic-looking doubloons. Make sure the invitations include the party location, date, and start time. End time is less crucial.
Make sure you have enough of the following items on hand for each guest, along with a couple of extra in case of the inevitable mishap: a whaling spade, a liter of lamp oil, waterproof shoes, some Bactine, an unquenchable thirst for either adventure or revenge, several changes of clothes, and plenty of sunscreen.
A Pequod Welcome
When the guests arrive, harpooner Queequeg will be on hand to give face tattoos to anyone who’s interested! Other members of the crew will introduce themselves and everyone will be heartily reminded that whalers aren’t big on introductions. Children will then learn the names for all the sides of a ship, after which they’ll be asked to choose which one they’d like to monitor for the duration of the voyage. Once posts have been chosen, Ishmael, whom kids would be wise to stick close to, will order the kids to take a good look out at the sea and will ask them what exactly they expect to find out there. Complimentary juice boxes will be provided at this time.
It’s best to use common sense here. For instance, children may hear the sounds of ravenous sharks thumping their tails against the hull of the ship as the sharks feast on the remains of the previous day’s haul. Don’t allow the children to lean over the railing to get a better look at this scene. Also, don’t inquire too much about the background of the crew. Yes, one of our first mates is named Starbuck. No, he will not appreciate that you find that amusing. Under no circumstances—and this is of utmost importance—is anyone to go near the captain’s cabin door. Should Captain Ahab emerge during the course of the party, do not ask him if he has a treasure map and/or a parrot. He’s a whole lot quicker on that leg than you’d imagine. Above all else, try not to dwell at length on thoughts concerning what kind of day trip this really is, or on heftier questions, about the heartless voids and immensities of our palsied universe and the total metaphysical nothingness at its center. After all, this is a party, folks! If you feel it’s absolutely necessary, you may bring life preservers—though we’re not really sure what the point would be.
Games and Activities
There will be games and activities galore! One favorite is known as What’s Inside the Bucket of Heated Ambergris? Everyone sits in a circle with eyes closed and reaches into the bucket, trying to identify what’s been submerged. Kids get a kick out of discovering that the “mystery objects” are, in fact, bite-size Twizzlers, and there’s plenty for all. In response to questions we’ve already received regarding this activity, no, the Pequod does not have an on-deck hose or washbasin.
The Whiteness of the Birthday Boy
Another year is upon you and your mother has dressed you in a starched and collared short-sleeve, whose color is the very absence of all color. Is it any wonder, then, that you can’t shake the visions of the yawning chasms ahead? Of course, you know what that disturbance in the water is. If fortune turns its unfeeling gaze toward us, we may reach the great albino beast before the day is through. As we secure the lanyards, look away if you must. But look not to a chocolate cake, nor to its carcinogenic icing, for this will but distract you from the perilous plight of the Pequod, whose lonely death rattle the mighty leviathan has already sounded.
For legal purposes, we cannot confirm or deny the presence of an actual monstrosity of a fish in the water, nor are we responsible for anyone’s insistence on symbolism.
Many guests will expect to go home with a bag of loot of some sort. Whatever is left of the ship upon returning to shore can be distributed and taken home as mementos, with specific keepsakes reserved for the birthday guest. After spending a birthday with us, it’s normal for there to be a period of letdown marked by feelings of morose emptiness and general restlessness with life on land. We feel this amounts to all the party favors one would ever need. However, we assume it’s understood that the child’s parent or guardian will be liable to pay for all damages incurred to the Pequod. Take heart, though, that by next year your child will look back on this whole experience and chuckle, finally dismissing it as hopelessly romantic.