Ahoy matey! You’ve found our list of creative Talk Like a Pirate Day ideas.
Talk Like a Pirate Day is on September 19. The purpose of this holiday is to celebrate pirate culture and mythology. This occasion is an opportunity for celebrants to act silly and blow off steam. The date is also known as International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
This article includes:
- Talk Like a Pirate Day activities
- virtual Talk Like a Pirate Day ideas
- Talk Like a Pirate Day games
- Talk Like a Pirate Day jokes
Here we go!
List of Talk Like a Pirate Day ideas
From treasure hunts to jokes to tropical happy hours, here is a list of fun ways to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day at work.
1. Buccaneer Bingo
Buccaneer Bingo is one of the easiest Talk Like a Pirate Day games. To do this activity, first give each participant a Bingo card. We made a template you can use for the game:
Throughout the day, players chat with each other in hopes of finding teammates who fit the description on the squares. Players cannot reuse the same coworkers’ name in one single line, row or column.
The first player to mark five squares in a row wins a prize.
For more game possibilities, check out this guide to online team building Bingo.
2. Treasure Hunt
Pirates are treasure hunters, and you can send your own crew off on a hunt for clues and hidden fortune.
To play a Pirate Day scavenger hunt, divide players into teams and give each team a list of riddles to solve, tasks to complete, and objects to retrieve.
Here is a template you can use for your game:
3. Swashbucklers of Slack
Altering Slack profiles is one of the most fun virtual Talk Like a Pirate Day ideas. To honor the holiday, you and your remote teammates can change display names to pirate names, switch your job positions to crew positions, and upload profile photos of yourself in your best pirate garb.
Pro tip: To ensure that colleagues can still find and tag you as needed, you may want to keep your first name intact and add the pirate name in parentheses. Also, be sure that your name is set back to normal if messaging a client.
For more activities on this platform, check out this list of Slack games.
4. Marauder Movie Night
Most folks’ knowledge of pirates comes primarily from movies, and you can set up a team building film night to honor the holiday.
For in person gatherings, set up a large screen and a projector and provide snacks and drinks. For virtual movie parties, use a group watching app like Teleparty or Watch2Gether to sync video, and hop on a Zoom call for a sense of togetherness.
Here are our best swashbuckling suggestions:
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Captain Phillips
- Muppet Treasure Island
- The Goonies
- The Pirates of Penzance
- Treasure Island
For more film fun, check out this list of team building videos.
5. Pirate Flag
Designing a flag is one of the most creative Talk Like a Pirate Day activities. To do this exercise, first split the group into teams of four to six. You could separate participants by department, or mix teams up to give workers the chance to interact with unfamiliar colleagues.
Then, give each group 15 to 20 minutes to design a fearsome pirate ship flag. For an extra challenge, you can give each team one symbol they must use on the flag. Or, give teams the creative freedom to use whichever design elements and graphics they prefer.
Participants can design the flag using fabric, paper, or a digital whiteboard.
At the end of the activity, ask each team to present the flag and explain the logic behind the design.
For more craft-type team activities, check out this list of online art classes.
6. Avast Ye Icebreakers
One of the simplest ways to commemorate Talk Like a Pirate Day is to ask nautical and swashbuckling icebreaker questions at the beginning of meetings.
Here are some starter questions:
- Besides gold, silver, and jewels, what treasures would you love to find inside a buried box?
- What would your pirate name be?
- What would be the funniest phrase to teach a parrot to say?
- If you had a secret treasure, where would be the best place to hide it?
- What is your strategy for defeating a sea monster?
- If you were a pirate, what would be your weapon of choice?
- Say something in pirate lingo.
Check out our icebreaker questions list.
7. Buried Treasure Care Packages
Pirates and buried treasure go hand in hand, and you can celebrate by giving your staff a treasure chest full of pirate-themed goodies.
Here are suggestions of items to include:
- Pirate Booty popcorn
- Plastic or chocolate gold coins
- Gummy sea creature candy
- Paper pirate hats
- Costume eye patches
- Toy telescopes and compasses
- Skull and crossbone flags
- Mini toy swords or inflatable swords
- Pirate toys and knick knacks
- Message in a bottle
We suggest sending the care packages in a box that resembles a treasure chest, or at least decorating the packaging with pirate stickers, phrases, warnings, or a treasure map.
For more present ideas, check out this list of employee gifts.
8. Talk Like a Pirate Translator
Talking like a pirate does not come naturally for most. Your staff may be eager to celebrate the occasion, yet may struggle to actually find the words to sound like a swashbuckler. To make it easy for team members to participate in the holiday, send your staff links to a talk like a pirate translator so that celebrants can compose and interpret holiday messages.
9. Jolly Roger Joke Off
Talk Like a Pirate Day is a joke holiday meant to make celebrants laugh and smile. To increase the merriment, you can add jokes into the mix.
For instance, the team can use a pirate insult generator to come up with colorful taunts, or can use these examples as inspiration to write their own devastating digs.
For a gentler touch, here are some Talk Like a Pirate Day jokes you can use in emails or events:
Q: What is a pirate’s favorite letter?
A: The other person will likely answer “R”, at which point the jokester responds, “you would think that, but it’s actually “Q.”
Q: What happens if you take the p out of pirate?
A: He gets irate!
Q: Are pirates good students?
A: They are decent students. They get high C’s (high seas.)
Q: Why couldn’t the pirates play cards?
A: Because the captain was standing on deck.
Q: What do you call a pirate with two eyes and two legs?
A: A rookie
Q: How much did the pirate pay for his piercings?
A: A buck-an-ear
For more comedy material, check out this list of icebreaker jokes.
10. Cannon Ball Dodgeball
Cannon Ball Dodgeball is a pirate-themed version of the beloved playground game. Simply obtain a few black dodgeballs or soft rubber balls and split the group into two teams. Be sure that you play in a wide open space where there is no chance of knocking over or breaking any objects. When the whistle blows, players let the cannonballs fly and try to strike out opponents. The game ends when only one team remains.
For added fun, if one team has many more players than the other, the referee can yell “mutiny!” at which point the game becomes a free-for-all with every player out for himself.
11. Sea Shanties
Sea Shanties are songs that pirates and sailors sing to pass time on the ocean. In honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, you and your crew can compose your own buccaneering ballads.
Simply split the group into teams of three or four, and give each team 10 to 15 minutes to come up with a short song. For an extra challenge, give teams words or topics to use in the songs.
A finished song might look as follows:
I am a pirate and I am irate,
Tried to warn those scallywags, but it was too late.
Log into my inbox, and what do I see?
Twenty unread messages waiting for me.
Now I’m seeing red, and not just from the notification symbol,
But because my coworkers hit “reply all.”
Now these teammates are no longer my friends,
And all because they didn’t look, before they hit send.
At the end of the activity, ask each group to sing the songs. Participants can make up their own melodies, or put the lyrics to the tune of famous songs.
12. Hearties Happy Hour
Pirates are known for their love of the drink, meaning that a themed happy hour is an ideal way to celebrate the occasion. To host these events, mix up tropical and pirate-themed cocktails and mocktails, and encourage attendees to mingle with fellow scoundrels. Examples of featured drinks include spiked fruit punch, daiquiris, Bahama mamas, and shark bite cocktails garnished with gummy sharks, yet any drink with rum fits the occasion.
To make this activity more hands-on, you can kick off the event with a mixology lesson where guests learn how to make these fancy buccaneer beverages.
To keep in the spirit of the holiday, happy hour chit chat should be in pirate speak.
For more tips, check out this guide to virtual happy hours.
13. Ships and Sailors
Ships and Sailors is a listening game where players respond to orders, similar to Simon Says. A leader calls off a list of commands, as follows:
Ships- Step left
Sailors- Step right
Hit the Deck- Drop to the floor
Seasick- Pretend to throw up
Man overboard- Players pair up in twos, with one laying on the floor, and one standing while holding their partner’s arms
Rowing- Players gather in groups of three and make a rowing motion
Eating- Players gather in groups of four and make eating motions
Due North- Players gather in groups of five and point towards the sky
Captain’s Coming- Everyone freezes and salutes. Participants cannot move until the leader shouts “at ease.”
At Ease- Players can drop the salute and respond to other orders
Players who do the wrong motion, fail to join a group for the multiplayer commands, or move out of turn during Captain’s Coming are out.
For more theatre games, check out this list of group improv activities.
14. Desert Island Game
The Desert Island Game is an example of a problem solving game that works well for Pirate theme Days. The scenario is that players are hypothetically stuck on a desert island and must rank survival steps.
- Find food
- Find water
- Build a shelter
- Look for life on the island
- Find shade
- Start a fire
- Make weapons
- Signal for help
- Delegate duties
- Look for shipwrecked supplies
- Gather medical supplies
You can either give participants a pre-made list of actions, or ask players to list the tasks. To complete the game, all members of the group must agree on the order of these behaviors. This exercise teaches cooperation and communication.
15. Swashbuckler Slang Game
The Swashbuckler Slang Game is one of the most fun and easy Talk Like a Pirate Day ideas. To play the game, have players guess the meaning of slang pirate phrases.
Batten Down the Hatches (Tie down everything on deck for a storm)
Bring a Spring Upon ‘er (Turn the ship in a different direction)
Grog Blossom (Someone with a red nose from enjoying too much alcohol)
Hang the Jib (Frown)
Hornswaggle (Cheat Someone)
Old Salt (An experienced pirate)
Poop deck (The part of the ship above the captain’s quarters)
Run a Rig (Play a trick)
Scourge of the 7 Seas (The worst kind of pirate)
Son of a Biscuit Eater (An unpleasant person or SOB)
Splice the Mainbrace (Give a round of drinks to the crew)
Take a Caulk (To nap)
Thar She Blows! (What you say when you see a whale)
You can either read prompts verbally and have players answer in the chat, or make the questions into a fillable and scorable form.
Often, the wrong answers are funnier and more inventive than the real definitions.
16. Costume Contest
The point of the holiday may be to talk like a pirate, however the dedicated dress like a pirate as well. To encourage your coworkers to don their most fabulous swashbuckler attire, you can host a costume contest. Simply ask staff to wear pirate costumes, snap a picture of all entrants or ask participants to “walk the plank” in a fashion show, and pick a winner. You can either ask a judge or panel to name a winner, or allow employees to vote. If holding the costume competition online, then ask contestants to upload submissions to social media, Slack, or a shared folder, and have the audience vote via likes and comments.
Check out this guide to virtual costume contests.
17. Treasure Trove Trivia
Trivia is a team game that is easily customizable for any occasion. For International Talk Like a Pirate Day, you can create a themed quiz competition to test your teammates’ knowledge.
Here are some starter questions for your game:
Q: This buccaneering lady is considered to be America’s first female pirate.
A: Rachel Wall
Q: What is the name of the crocodile that bit off Captain Hook’s hand in the Disney version of Peter Pan?
Q: Who wrote Treasure Island?
A: Robert Louis Stevenson
Q: Contrary to popular belief, many pirates did not wear eye patches because they were missing an eye, but rather, for this practical reason.
A: To help their eyes adjust more quickly to darkness under deck, particularly during battles.
Q: Blackbeard’s ship was named what?
A: Queen Anne’s Revenge
For more tips, check out these virtual trivia ideas.
Sometimes staff can use a party even if there are no work wins or national holidays to celebrate. Talk Like a Pirate Day gives employees an excuse to get silly, be creative, relax, and bond with colleagues. This occasion is the perfect nonsensical holiday to bring a sense of levity and excitement to the work routine.
If the big bosses are skeptical about observing the occasion, then insist that the holiday will help staff improve their communication skills!
For more unexpected work holidays, check out this list of take your dog to work day ideas.