pirate ship silhouette against blue background

Set Sail for a Pirate Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

Ahoy, me hearties! It’s that time of year again when we celebrate our hardworking teachers and school staff during Teacher Appreciation Week in May. This year, let’s add some excitement to the celebrations with a Pirate theme. Here are some ideas for a Pirate-themed celebrations perfect for the occasion!

Decorate the Ship to Set the Stage for a Spectacular Staff Appreciation Event

Help everyone get into the theme by setting the stage for fun all week long with some fabulous pirate-themed decorations!

Hang a fishing net in a corner and then layer on some additional decorations, or add to a table over a tablecloth.

Next, string up some pennant banners throughout the space. Good places to add banners is over doorways, across walls and along tables and counters. This red and black banner is theme perfect.

Add on a striped bunting for a fun pattern layer.

Top off the banner trio with a Jolly Roger version!

If you can, add some ceiling swirls to make the decorating plan feel more complete, from ceiling and down.

This next vintage map wall decoration idea also can serve as an activity for staff to do throughout the week. Add a basket of pushpins and a note asking staff to mark the map with all the places they’ve “sailed” to.

Add a few Jolly Roger flags throughout the space too.

Add a balloon garland to the decorating mix. Balloons are a cost effective way to make a big statement in the room, especially when grouped together into a garland or an arch. Balloon arches are pretty easy to make, I’ve put together a post about how to create balloon arches in this post. The key is the balloon air pump and garland tape!

Decorate the Table

Put a tablecloth down on any table space where you’ll be serving food or guests will be eating. This protective layer makes clean up a snap since you can remove any reusable decorations or other items and then roll up the table cloth and toss. One less thing to worry about for end of the week clean up!

Sprinkle a bunch of doubloons and gems across the table for a fun decorative accent.

How about stacking up a set of treasurer chests on one side of a long counter?

Daily Ideas for the Perfect Staff Appreciation Week Celebration

Why confine showing the love and appreciation to teachers and staff to one day when you can spread it out throughout the work week? Here’s a plan you can follow to celebrate all week long!


Set sail on a lunchtime adventure with a Pirate-themed spread. Encourage staff to dress up in pirate-themed attire. Serve up some hearty grub such as fish and chips, crab cakes, or clam chowder. And for dessert, have a pirate cake decorated with skull and crossbones.

Opt for plain black plates for meals throughout the week since patterned ones can stray into feeling a little too juvenile. The square shape adds something a little out of the ordinary without having a kiddie pattern.

Red striped napkins fit the theme and don’t skew too young and won’t make staff feel like they’re attending a kid’s birthday party!

Keep drinks cold and serve them stylishly in this inflatable treasure chest cooler.

Another fun cooler idea is this palm tree beverage cooler.

Serve up some Pirate’s Booty in individual bags for a end of the meal treat or snack for later.


Get your staff’s day off to a swashbuckling start with a Pirate-themed breakfast. Transform the cafeteria into a pirate cove with pirate banners, balloons, and pirate treasure chests.

If you can swing a hot breakfast, serve breakfast dishes with a pirate twist like “eggs on a raft” (eggs on toast), “captain’s oatmeal” (oatmeal with toppings), and “peg leg pancakes” (pancakes with sausage links for legs).

Keep items warm with these chafing dishes.

Label all dishes, especially for allergens that might not be so obvious with food labels. This plain black label set would be good for several themes, making for a pretty decent low cost investment. Staff with dietary restrictions will love the thoughtfulness of the labels!


Who doesn’t love a good dessert bar, especially to give a sugar rush to power through the rest of the work week?

Set up a Pirate-themed dessert bar in the staff lounge, with pirate-themed cookies, cupcakes, and candies. Pop some mini Jolly Roger flags into a few of the treats to add a piratey touch.

Bake cupcakes in these striped liners or use them to serve chocolate covered strawberries.

Add some black, red and white sprinkles to cupcakes for a nice finishing touch.

Include some healthier options too, such as fruit kabobs on skewers to resemble pirate swords.

And help everyone avoid developing scurvy by providing some orange “fruit” slices.


End the day on a high note with a Pirate-themed dinner to go. Serve a buffet-style dinner with dishes such as “pirate stew,” “scurvy salad,” and “pirate’s booty” (chicken nuggets or fish sticks). For dessert, have a chocolate fondue fountain with a variety of fruits and snacks for dipping.

Have a big stack to go containers at the ready for staff to load up their containers and take home to enjoy.

Don’t forget about a separate containers for dessert!

You can also pre-package the fondue in individual small lidded containers to make it easy for teachers and staff to grab and go!


Besides the Pirate-themed celebrations, it’s nice to show your appreciation with some thoughtful gifts for the staff on this last day of the work week. Here are some gift ideas to get you started:

  1. Personalized pirate-themed mugs or tumblers with the school logo or staff member’s name.
  2. A gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop for a much-deserved break.
  3. A gift card to a spa or massage service to help staff unwind and relax after a long school year.

Package smaller gifts in this gift box.

Candy is always a fund gift idea since the teachers can enjoy at their leisure. These fruit gems are another good way for your staff of pirates to avoid scurvy and enjoy some fruits of their pillaging.

Gold coins / chocolate doubloons are a yummy option that fit the theme as well.

Over to you!

Teacher Appreciation Week is an excellent opportunity to show our hardworking teachers and school staff how much you value them. With a Pirate theme, you can add some excitement and adventure to the celebrations. Whether it’s a Pirate-themed lunch, breakfast, dessert bar, dinner, or a thoughtful gift, be sure to show your PTO’s appreciation to your educators and staff. Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!

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