Every year on 19 September, all around the world ordinary people become pirates for 24 hours in honour of Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Talk Like a Pirate Day began unofficially in 1995, when two friends – John Baur and Mark Summers – were playing racquetball and quite randomly began encouraging each other using pirate slang.
After some discussion, Baur and Summers – or Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy, as they're now known – decided it would be a good idea to dedicate a special day every year to speaking like pirates. They settled on 19 September, and for seven years they and a few friends would dedicate this day every year to speaking in pirate slang.
Then in 2002, after Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy enlisted the help of journalist Dave Berry, Talk Like a Pirate Day went global. Since then, this silly but fun holiday has gained popularity all over the world, with a growing number of people each year pledging to talk like a pirate for the day, either to raise money for charity or just for the pure joy of saying "arrrr" at the beginning of every sentence.
While it's not mandatory to dress like a pirate on Talk Like a Pirate Day, or to hold a party, it's certainly a lot of fun. Businesses are realising the PR potential of celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day, encouraging employees to take part and raise money for charity, while pubs and restaurants are taking advantage of the holiday's growing popularity to host pirate themed nights and parties.
If you're planning to hold a pirate party in support of Talk Like a Pirate Day, you'll want to make sure you get the ambience just right – so here's a selection of piratey accessories to help you create the perfect pirate party.
Look the part
Creating a pirate costume doesn't mean spending a fortune on fancy dress hire – the basic costume can be created by wearing baggy trousers tucked into boots, topped with a loose shirt and a wide belt.
To complete the look, you could add some pirate tattoos, an eye patch and earring, and a pirate bandana.
You could also carry a skull and crossbones wallet or a bag of fake coins (plastic pirate booty can also be used in treasure hunts and other pirate-themed games), a pop gun and a telescope.
Grub and grog
Use a pirate toast stamper to emboss a skull and crossbones motif on bread before toasting it on an open fire using a BBQ sword, which looks just like a pirate's cutlass and can be used for cooking all sorts of food on a barbecue.
You could leave a tin of pirate mints on every table – pirates are renowned for their bad breath, after all.
High jinx on the high seas
Keep the pirate theme going with some piratey games – you could even have prizes for the winners.
A pirate attack catapult is a fun game for a pirate party. This plastic gun-come-catapult flicks tiny plastic pirates a fair distance – you could offer a prize for the furthest shot, or for the pirate that lands closest to a target.
Clockwork pirate pencil sharpeners can be raced against each other (as well as sharpening pencils the pirate pencil sharpener, once wound up, walks across a table top or other flat surface). For a more watery game, more fitting to the high seas, try floating a few pirate devil duckies in a paddling pool and getting guests to sink them with missiles or catch them with nets (this is an excellent game for tiny pirates).
You could also devise a pirate-themed quiz, print out question sheets for each table, and for added effect add pirate pencil toppers – or devil duckie pencil toppers – to the tops of the pencils your guests will use to write down the quiz answers.
Set the scene
Old fishing nets, plastic fish, jolly Rogers and inflatable seagulls all help to add to the atmosphere at a pirate party.
Decorate tables with skull and crossbones drinks coasters, a nodding dashboard pirate and a battery operated talking Polly Parrot, who will repeat back anything your guests say.
You could also use chain bottle holders on each table; add a bottle of wine – or rum – and top with a sprinkling of dust for added effect. Use wine cork candles in empty wine bottles to provide atmospheric lighting, and add some pirate toilet rolls to the smallest room to keep the theme going.
Harrr, me hearties
Finally, make sure you learn the pirate lingo so you're not limited to saying "harrrr" all day – see http://www.talklikeapirate.com/howto.html for some useful pirate phrases and links to instructional videos.