How To Be A Pirate
"Ye be in search of salty old pirates, eh?" Then you've come to the right place. The HalloweenCostumes.com How-To! This guide will help you assemble a unique pirate outfit, because let's face, it your mom was right: You should always be yourself... unless you can be a pirate. Then you should TOTALLY be a pirate. Why? A pirate's life is awesome!
We think there's something to be said for long days following cryptic treasure maps, sailing the high seas, or lazing ashore of a remote island just waiting for the tide to roll in. Total awesomeness. Maybe us rat racers could use a more modern day version of the classic pirate to show us the beauty of excitement, relaxation, and swashbuckling all blended harmoniously together. Sure, there is the whole pillaging and plundering part, but there's a reason why pirate festivals (like Gasparilla) and "Talk Like A Pirate Day" exist – we are fascinated by these rogue, seafaring adventurers. Perhaps that's also why we have so many pirate Halloween costumes, since pirates knew how to throw down a barrel of rum like no other they arrr invariably a favorite choice for going to a party!
So whether you're attending a swashbuckling soiree or just taking the tots trick-or-treating with eyepatches, we'd like to do everything and anything we can to help, so that's why we've created this How-To guide. We'll go over a "Love your Look" photo session that we set up, retread some of our favorite buccaneers from history and film, and be tellin' ye a delightful tale of what happens when a lady in mermaid costume and dashing gent in a pirate costume meet on the high seas. We've also got a DIY printable to customize your accessories, pirate quotes so your talk matches your pirate clothing, and for good measure a women's make-up tutorial to help the lady buccos get the look just right. We never said being a pirate was easy after all, so study up on 'tis precious info, and we be sure you'll be ready to set sail in no time!
Love Your Look As A Pirate
If we had to impart some all-important knowledge on you for your upcoming costume experience it would truly be just one thing. It's a simple take on going in costume, but being the costume experts we are, it's also totally our mantra: love your look. Three words, simple to understand, but sometimes it can be just a little difficult to execute. Sure, shopping and ordering your costume is a big part of the equation (and we're positively ready to help you with that) but sometimes a few finishing touches can make all the difference in your escapade and take the fun to a whole new level.
So carefully browse and digest this Pirate Love Your Look section! We set up this awesome pirate photo shoot at a local gully, and while we didn't have time to look for treasure, our motley pirate family proved truly worthy of the costumes we donned them. From accessories to details to poses to scenery, this pirate shoot is one for the history books. Check out our favorite images to take a look at the details that matter to us, because those are the same details that are going to bring your pirate adventure to life. The seven seas are beckoning after all!
Too Cool For School
Our Captain Jack might not be as effusive as the character of pirate movie fame, but that doesn't mean he doesn't exude confidence and coolness at every opportunity he gets. When he takes a moment on shore, the details of his Caribbean pirate costume really stand out. The long roughhewn jacket, the scarf sash tied around the waist, and of course, a VERY important compass attached to his waist… not to mention a trusty flintlock locked-and-loaded!. A close-up gives you the details that helped us seal the deal and transform this everyday Joe into a pirate captain. Rich makeup tones give him an olive-like complexion, and while he already happened to have just the right amount of facial hair, a faux goatee can complete the effect. Beaded braids complete his dreadlocked style, and all-together he's just truly worthy of a trip to Tortuga. You can hit the books to help you create your backstory, or just brush up on your favorite pirate flicks to get the details fleshed out. Just remember you don't actually have to imbibe rum to get that drunken swagger just right—practice makes perfect!
She's A Lady... A Pirate Lady
Skirting the high seas in our exclusive Pirate Flag costume might be enough for most landlubber ladies to break up their normal routine, but if you're considering conscripting with a pirate crew, we suggest outfitting your new costume with some premium finishing touches to create a sexy pirate costume worthy of boarding the Queen Anne's Revenge. The first step? Adding a sword, naturally! A cutlass is sure to be a trusty weapon, and while not as useful at range as a set of pistols, holding one just right makes any photos you take look ten times cooler. Plus, we suspect carrying a cutlass when you approach the bar at the watering hole is sure to ensure you receive premium service. Of course, we only carry prop swords, because we can't condone carrying steel out in public… unless you're actually planning on hitting the streets of Tortuga. And if that's the case, we recommend having both a blade and a flintlock backing you up! Finish this elite look my mussing up your hair just a bit to give you a ragged edge, adding costume jewelry, and you will want to complete the style with high definition makeup before you leave your Captain's quarters. Because you're going to want to make sure your enemies can see your face on the deck before you launch your broadside attack. Fire the Cannons!
Pirate Lass At The Top Of The Class
Sure she gets straight A's, but can she set the rigging on a mizzenmast and find the "X marks the spot" on a remote desert isle? She can start her pirate training out right by having a tip top look for the first day of school, and when she chooses this Brown Coat Pirate Costume, she'll be ready to hit the books for pirate preparations or to sign up for a scourge at sea with the next crew leaving port! This costume has all accessory pieces needed to finish the look and with the printed bandana, striped leggings, and faux leather boot tops and belt. After that, all she'll need is a wicked curved cutlass to ensure she's properly armed. She'll also have to complete the look with a scouring stare of course but if that lesson's not in the textbook, she can just watch some YouTube videos to get the facial expressions just right. When she disembarks the ship, and descends an ancient set of steps in search of fabled pirate gold, we’re sure she'll be ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
A Pirate's Life For Ye!
You might take a break from plundering every once in a while, or you might just want to look great when you spring the booby trap, but either way, when you make your presence known to your would-be victims, you're going to want to look cool, fearsome, and 100% pirate-ey. This family of scallywags turned a momentary break on a log into a photo op, a chance to show off their swords, and the opportunity to hang out and just look just all-around cool. Our captain is content to relax while the Mrs. and lil Ms. look deadly but sweet. The whole band looks merry in their pirate attire — but with those swords at the ready, we're not going to assume they're content to just chill. They might be taking a break from the treasure hunt, or just waiting around for their band of buccos to do the dirty work of digging for them. But we're guessing that if you happened to be a passerby to this gang of marauders, you'd probably drop your gold at first sight of 'em. Or, at least try to take a really great selfie with them!
Teachin' Her The Ropes
So having a young lass is sure to be a great addition to your family's pirate posse. But she might not know the first thing about pirating. Normally a ship is full of scallywags and sea scum, so she's going to want to know all the ins and outs of buccaneer life before she signs a contract to set sail. And it takes more than just choosing a really great girl's pirate costume! When you take your little one out to search for treasure (or trick-or-treat plunder from the neighborhood) be sure to take a few moments here and there to teach her all the Captain's wisdom you've acquired from your expeditions. If you have time to take a snapshot near the "X marks the spot" be sure to to break out your pirate stare. She of course, can look cute and smile, since she has many more years left to build up her fearsome reputation!
Just Wanna Have Fun!
Taking a break from searching for buried treasure is all fine and well, but you just never know when another batch of potential victims might round the bend with sacks of gold ripe for the plundering. You can look inviting and altogether not too devious when you pose on a rock at the oceans edge. You might be a sight for sore eyes for a wayward batch of salty sailors, but when you show your steel, they'll know that their pockets are about to get a whole lot lighter. Just perch your leg up and plant your boot while you survey the shore scene. Take it all in, and enjoy the sea breeze and mist from the tide rolling in. If your mind starts to wander, just think about all those doubloons you'll have acquired by day's end!
A Pirate Family That
Sails Together Stays Together!
We like to let our imagination run wild and fantasize about setting out across the Caribbean outfitted in our signature Halloween Costumes. But short of acquiring a time machine, that's just not too likely to happen. In all seriousness, a pirate theme is one of the most fun and most creative ways to deck your family out in a family group theme. Whether you create an elaborate backstory, or actually go on a treasure hunt with your young buccos, there's sure to be plenty of treasured memories created. In fact, we highly recommend setting up a treasure hunt, just substitute candy for the gold, and your little ones will love it! With just a touch of extra effort (and great costumes!) you too will be able to take your pirate costume experience from ordinary to extraordinary.
Pirate Costume Ideas
Since you can't quite set out for the sea without the right gear, naturally you're on a quest first to arm yourself to the hilt and make sure you have the scruffy sea look to match. Since pirates have a pretty distinctive look , you'll never have to worry about someone misinterpreting your costume, but it's pretty fun to have a backstory, too. If you're looking for pirate costume ideas, look no further than these four infamous pirates to set up your swashbuckling story. These sailors ruled the Seven Seas, so brush up on your history with these iconic looks and create a pirate Halloween costume worthy of the ages.
You've probably heard of all these infamous pirates because of their exploits during the golden age of piracy. But not all pirate stories and characters are part of true history, but instead have become legends in their own right. Our culture has, in turn, idolized these legends, and proof of that is in celebrations like "Talk like a Pirate Day," and giant movie franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean. So whether ye be in search of a throwback look to form a privateer crew worthy of the history books, or you prefer Disney-based adventures with your favorite characters, check out these ideas to help you choose the perfect costume and craft the story that "ye'll be rarin' t' be tellin' all th' wenches"!
Captain Kidd Costume
William Kidd was a pirate from Scotland, so we're pretty confident in making up the story that he preferred whiskey to rum. This guy had a reputation for piracy (and was subsequently executed for those crimes), but it was later discovered that he was merely a privateer... in layman's terms, a legal pirate that was sent on missions that were actually approved and funded by the government. Evidently, no good deed goes unpunished! Howard Pyle's famous painting of the brutish buccaneer helped us create this Renaissance pirate costume ensemble. A red sash along with a Wild West Sheriff's hat completes the look, but you can really bring it to life with unique pirate accessories and maybe even a pair of flintlock pistols!
Captain Morgan Costume
He wasn't just a rum bottle mascot; Captain Morgan happened to be a real dude as well – Henry Morgan was actually pretty great! Maybe not "great" in the traditional sense of the word, but as an admiral in the Royal Navy, he had privateer written all over him. In fact, he became one of the most successful buccaneers in history. All the folks at your Halloween party, however, will recognize you as "the rum guy," so just go with it. Not only will you have the best pick-up line ready to go, you also have a pretty amazing pose in your arsenal. This costume will let you achieve the iconic style that's been popularized in pop culture, but if you have something more historical in mind, all you’ll have to add is some gritty accessories.
You can't have a list of famous pirates without Blackbeard. Also known as Edward Teach, he was one of the most ruthless and dangerous pirates on the high seas, and he started off his career innocuously enough as a privateer out of the Royal Navy. Once he got a taste of the wild blue yonder, however, well... he basically lost his mind. Which is the real reason why every person knows his name today. Legends say he actually had a lit flint in his beard during battles to appear even more like a demon and intimidate people. So naturally... he was wildly successful at pirating! Get this pirate outfit on lock by layering black on black on black. But do NOT set your beard on fire. Chicks hate the smell of burning polyester hair. Trust us on that one!
Jack Sparrow Costume
We know that Jack Sparrow isn't a historical pirate, be we feel like he's done a lot for pirate awareness and popularity and it would be absolutely criminal to leave him off this list. Savvy? Whether for Halloween or a trip to Tortuga straight from the movies, not only is Jack fun to portray, he's a crowd pleaser as well. Johnny Depp brought Captain Jack Sparrow to life, and his popularity hit an all-time high. Part gypsy, part pirate, ALL sarcasm – all you'll need to finish this look is thick dreads, a beaded goatee, and belts. Cause why have one belt when you can have five? Seriously, to create the most authentic pirate outfit of all time, just add rum (but that should go without saying!).
Pirate Costume Poses
Have you ever been caught in a photo while wearing a pirate costume out at the tavern, or wherever, and you don't really look menacing? Or suave? Or particularly dashing? That's because you didn't strike an appropriate pirate pose, lad! Ye be needin' our patented (not actually patented) guide of pirate stances! That way, when you rush on to Instagram after Halloween and check out all of the party photos from the night before, you won't have to worry about how epic you looked in all of the memorable shots. Because when you have these moves memorized, we'll be able to take ye from frat boy to suave swashbuckler with an eye patch in no time! Of course we can't protect you from candid shots, but follow these pose suggestions to make sure that you're the main event (or at least that you stay out of the background). Check out these five poses to make sure that all of your pics are liked and hearted when you're in your new pirate costume!
You're probably asking yourself why sword fighting was even a thing when a couple of flintlock pistols, in theory, would be so much more effective. Well, flintlock pistols still took just a bit of time to reload, so clashing swords was usually how combat went down in close quarters. No reload time meant that battling on the deck of a ship or over the site of the buried treasure could remain fast and furious. But for our money, a pair of flintlocks is the way to pose yourself into pirate history. To achieve this stance, simply keep one toy gun pointed to the sky as backup and the other pistol on your target. Add to that a nasty snarl that lets everyone know you've got two shots … it's going to show everyone you mean business! Pirate business, that is. Avast, ye!
You know what's even better than guns or swords? Charm. Being a charmer is one of the most valuable assets in the pirate's arsenal. If you can charm someone, you can get that treasure without taking it by force! Witty comebacks, likeability and an immaculate sense of humor are innate qualities of any charmer, but you can definitely fake it until you make it with this come hither pose. Captain Morgan your boot up upon a treasure chest, display your loot and give 'em all a big, toothy grin. Keep your weapons at your side and relax your body. You'll be oozing the savvy charm that lets everyone know you're definitely a bucco worth his bootstraps, and definitely the sea sailor that they want to be spending their time chatting up.
Not only is "swashbuckler" the best pirate word, but also the pose gives you the best of both worlds: A gun in one hand, a sword in the other. Now we're not certain that swashbucklers were hecklers, but it feels like these bad boys may have had a few "yo' momma" disses up their tattered sleeves. Whether or not you have some witty retorts, just arm yourself and be prepared to back up your sword swing with a kill shot or one vice versa that will send you straight to Davy Jones' locker. This is the perfect pose to accent your pirate outfit, and it will positively let you be prepared for news feed glory!
After you pull a few rounds of The Charmer, you may notice that scallywag after scallywag isn't just looking for conversation, nigh, they're after your booty! (And we're talking loot, not the fact that your men's pirate costume makes you look fantastic in the rear view.) It's time to trade in your smile for a pair of pistols and make sure you have a sword hanging by your side. Prop a boot up on what's yours, and invite any invaders to say hello to your little friends. Bonus: The bad boy approach will likely attract all of the pirate wenches your mother warned you about. You’re welcome.
Dark, shadowy eyes? Check! A bold bandana? Check! A half-laced pirate shirt that showcases your chest hair? Yawrrrr!! This is the profile pic that will take you all the way through Thanksgiving. It says that you're the most confident pirate, and that you know it! Raise ye pistol to the sky with your thumb on the hammer, and cast a smoldering stare down towards the camera lens. The half-cocked gun and a head nod taunt shows that you mean business, and that business is being up to no good. What kind of adventures will be in store for ye when you become "The Smuggler?" Rum, wenches, full-on pirating glory, whatever you set your heart's desire on! Just don't forget to pick up that flintlock pistol (or to stock up on rum).
Captain Codfather and Shellina: A Mermaid Tail
Most studly swashbucklers who set sail on the seven seas ended up spending many moons on the ocean blue before they'd get a chance to set their sights on a slice of shoreline (or a lass with class, for that matter). At first they’d have a good time singing shanties with the crew, getting ship-faced on rum, and trying to teach the parrot dirty words... but it was never too long before they would begin to long for softer companionship. We can't help but think that they would stare at the undulating waves, and wonder just what was lurking in those fathoms below? Dinner? Creatures that might just be salivating at the thought of a man overboard? Submerged ruins of bygone masts and rudders? Sebastian's 20-piece sea band??? The following is the incredible, 100% mostly accurate tale of a captain and his finned fatale, the famed mermaid of lore Shellina.
The only thing Captain Codfather liked more than salty sea air was his rum. And really, the only thing he liked more than rum was a wench by his side. That was the order of priorities for most pirates, actually. You see, lonely sailors the ocean over hoped beyond hope that the tall tales of mystical mermaids were actually true. Because spooning with the likes of Captain Hook was not really an option! By day, Codfather was a legendary pillager and plunderer, but you could bet that he'd always spend his eves peering out over the bow of his ship, longing for a face to emerge from the dark waves of the ocean night.
Everyone knows Princess Ariel's story, but a mermaid by the name of Shellina is the not-so-Disney-friendly princess of ocean who swims up in this tale. She traded hoarding whozits and whatzits for the adventure only a treasure map could provide. Therefore, she was totally pumped to spot Captain Codfather's ship off in the distance, under the star and moonlit Caribbean night. Where there was a boat, there was treasure, and where there was treasure, there would most certainly be men. And men can rarely resist the allure of a sultry lady of the sea! She swam about, struck her fin as hard as she could against the keel of his ship, and then floated to the surface to let her smile be seen.
Captain Codfather could hardly believe his luck – he finally found a mermaid splashing about! He quickly scrambled to the wall and shouted a hearty greeting: "Ahoy there, fair maiden! I bid you to wait while I climb down to bring you aboard." Shellina had no need to be rescued, but as every mermaid knows, you sometimes have to bat a few eyelashes to get your guy on the hook. She even offered a confidence boosting – "Wow, you're a real stair master on this ladder! I bet that's why you’re the boss?" – while she probably knew full well it was because he was the only bandit on the boat who wasn't battling scurvy.
Codfather heaved the scaled siren from the foam of the sea and carried her onto the deck of his galleon. He looked deep into Shellina's dazzling blue eyes and was instantly enamored. He knew she was the type of gal that he'd gladly give up the pirate's life up for – the hostile takeovers, the island layovers and even the sun-drenched hangovers. But how could he feel so strongly about someone he had just met? Did she put him under some Ursula-level spell? It didn't matter to him. There was something about this mermaid that gave him feelings deep down in the galley of his heart. The dashing Captain set his mesmerizing mermaid down and fetched his bottle of "pirate poison" to help break the ice.
Offering her the slightly cleaner of the only two glasses on board, Shellina opted to take a swig straight from the bottle anyways. "So, like, what's the deal with all these cannon blasts and fighting and stuff?" As the waves gently rocked the boat, Codfather explained that there were some dangerous scallywags after his rum. "Isn't this stuff just distilled molasses? What's the big deal?" Clearly she was suffering from swimmer's ear and didn't understand a word he was saying, so he got straight to the point. "Shellina, I'd like to make you an offer you can't refuse. How would you like to be my first mate? We'll hit the high seas in search of far off lands and live happily ever after."
Happily ever after?! Ewwww! She could only imagine what his mother was like considering he grew up to be such a moody marauder – talk about a monster-in-law! Shellina knew there was only one thing she could do... "Oh, garsh. Shiver me timbers, Cap. That all sounds swell, but I prefer to be the one behind the wheel." With that, she swung her magnificent fin around to slap Codfather swiftly in the jaw. This unexpected turn of events took him completely by surprise and he fell to the deck like a sack of spuds. Shellina whispered, "I'm the captain now," in his ear, but he was out cold for the remainder of the voyage.
As you may have guessed, Shellina was never one for swabbing decks. Or avasting sails. Or walking planks. Or sleeping in Davy Jones' Locker (though she was a super sound sleeper). All the buccaneer banter was simply a guise to procure barrels upon barrels of the good stuff. Yup, when we think of mermaids in modern times, it's all about seashells and sweetness, but the moral of this story is that mermaids are really just seaside seductresses after only one thing: Your rum. Now you know to guard that sweet, sweet distilled molasses just like you would the rest of your booty.
Talk Like A Pirate
Talking like a pirate is a big deal, so much so that there is even a whole day dedicated to it! We love Pirates around here, and part of the fun is sounding like one. It might seem like there's just a lot of "Yo Ho" "Avast" and "Savvy" but it can get more complicated than that. When you're dressed in a pirate coat as Long John Silver, you can't just walk up to the bar and say, "Yo, gimme a beer." You've got to sell your character! In that instance you might say something like, "Avast, Barkeep! I bee needin' a smidge 'O grog for me and me hearties!" See how much better that is? Add Treasure Island or The Princess Bride into your Netflix queue for even more inspiration. And if you don't have time to study up on pirate talk? Don't sweat it – we've got ye scurvy scum covered. Check out these traditional pirate quotes and commit them to yer memory. But most importantly, don't be a landlubber. Yawr!
Yawr! Looking to set the scene and add just the right touches to your pirate props? If ye be crafty, ye're sure to want some authentic details, and have we got just the thing for you. These printable PDF files feature East India Trading company logos. These companies were a worldwide power of the era and a favorite target of pirates. You can add these signature stencils to a canvas bag for the perfect finishing touch, or apply them to a treasure chest to make it look like you just stole it from one of the company's fastest clippers. Print these custom logos onto cardstock or posterboard, and with some cutting and a touch of paint, you'll be able to create a totally unique style for your accessories or scenery!
East India Trading Company Logo Printable
This East India Trading Company logo was popularized in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
British East India Trading Company Logo Printable
This logo is the historical merchant mark of the British East India Trading Company.
Pirate Costume Makeup
Ladies, it takes a heavy hand to look like a pirate. You wear sunscreen like it's your job, and a vixen of the high seas would spend weeks at sea getting ruddy by spending time in the sun. You stick with simple eyeliner and a coat of mascara, and a true pirate lady would pile it on like a showgirl. If you are search for the perfect makeup addition to your women's pirate costume, look no further matey! Give this pirate costume makeup tutorial a try and top off the look with a great wig and bandana. Voila! Wait, you're not actually a pirate are you? You could've fooled us...