Office Antics: 20 Ideas for International Talk Like a Pirate Day

International Talk Like a Pirate Day swept across the world in 2002. John Baur and Mark Summers, also known as Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy, wrote to syndicated columnist Dave Barry about starting the holiday. Once Barry wrote the column piece, it became an instant hit. Now, every year on September 19th, millions of people dedicate an entire day to swash buckling décor and pirate lingo. Here are 20+ ways your office can climb aboard this year!

1. Provide your work force with Jolly Roger flags so they can really get into the spirit of things. String them across a wall or give them out as individual gifts to welcome the pirate spirit into your office space. Include a printout of the history of the Jolly Roger flag on vintage style paper.

2. Send your team on a “Talk Like a Pirate” crash course. Give out a list of pirate words and their definitions. Encourage your crew to transform their speech for the day. Seeing who really takes this challenge to heart is part of the fun.

3. What is a holiday without the proper snacks? Place some fish and chips (goldfish and potato chips), or twiglet pretzels in a bowl on the break room counter as an inexpensive and quick way to provide refreshment for ye hearties. Add to the festivities by including an assortment of Chips Ahoy cookies for a sweet treat.

4. To keep your crew from committing mutiny, give them a fun break during the day. Make your own pirate scavenger hunt list or find one online. This is a terrific way to create team unity in a fun way. Take pictures and post them in the office for a keepsake of the day.

5. Print and pass out this simple formula so everyone can discover their pirate name. Have everyone refer to each other by their pirate names, no matter how silly, throughout the day. 

6. Everyone wants to take home some plunder on a day like today. Take an empty water bottle and wrap it in a printable Jolly Roger flag. Fill it with candy or other fun prizes. Consider putting together nicer gifts like tumblers or gift cards to give away as door prizes.

7. Get some of your crafty teammates involved and have them make fun signs to decorate the office. A popular sign that mixes piracy with a modern-day phrase is “Keep Calm and Say Arrr.”

8. Encourage your team to liven up their wardrobe with outfits and accessories that are reminiscent of the pirate theme. Large gold earrings and rings, eye patches, red and white stripes, and puffy white sleeves are subtle ways to add a little pirate charm to an outfit. You can also allow them to come in full costume if it works for your office.

9. If you are encouraging costumes for your International Talk Like a Pirate Day office celebration, turn it into a competition. The best costume wins some loot from the ol’ coffer.

10. Keep the memories alive for years to come by setting up a photo booth in the break room. Since we live in the era of the smart phone, people love to take pictures for social media, profile pictures, and sharing with friends. This is sure to be a hit!

11. Have your crew share their corny pirate jokes and puns throughout the day. You can also send out emails with pirate cartoons and jokes throughout the day. See if you can get a thread going to promote team unity.

12. Use this day to raise money for a good cause. Pass around the coffer for the charity of your choice. Maybe have your office vote on a specific cause, so they feel more connected to the giving process.

13. Have some relaxing games around the office for troubleshooting ideas and break time. Captain Hooks ring toss is a casual and fun thematic game that is easy to put together for this special day.

14. Hand out pirate activity sheets for those moments when your coworkers need a break from using their brains. Studies show that taking a brief break from the computer will increase work productivity. Besides, who wouldn't want to learn how to draw a pirate?

15. Tell pirate stories and folklore. Year to year, you may have different employees share about their favorite pirate. Have them give a little history, fun facts, or scary tales that may or may not be true.

16. Watch a pirate movie. Extend the lunch hour and play a film that matches the theme of the day. This is sure to get everyone in the pirate spirit of things, and who doesn't enjoy a longer lunch break?

17. Take your team out to a ropes course or rent a “walk the plank” team-building kit for the day. Capitalize on the opportunity to bring your coworkers closer together as a team with this thematic exercise.

18. Take orders for International Talk Like a Pirate Day t-shirts. Allow your crew a casual work day in the shirts they order for this special occasion.

19. If you haven't heard, there is a steep competition between pirates and ninjas. Have your coworkers enter a debate on which is truly better. They must explain why they have chosen pirates or ninjas and give all the pros and cons for each.

20. Use fishnet as an affordable way to decorate the office for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Drape it over an old chest or hang it from the ceiling if you are feeling ambitious. You can also use old cardboard boxes along with the fish net and write things like “tea,” “crackers,” and “rum” on them.

21. Grab a few boxes of Oreos and coat them with edible gold spray paint, so they look like treasure. Leave these in baskets or treasure boxes in the break room for a mid-afternoon treat. These will be a great pick-me-up for your crew.

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