Pirate Parade Float Ideas

Written by stephanie kelley
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Pirate Parade Float Ideas
The "Jolly Roger" is a recognisable pirate symbol. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Pirates have made their way into various aspects of popular culture. There are pirate toys and movies. There is birthday party gear and even a "Talk Like a Pirate Day." With all the interest in pirates, there is no wonder that some people might choose to create a pirate-themed parade float. Pirate parade floats can be used to represent a school, business or group.

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A pirate parade float can take many different directions or smaller themes. Consider building a pirate ship by folding a large piece of cardboard into an "A" shape to create the bow of the ship. Create the stern of the ship by folding a large piece of cardboard into a "U" shape. Use a black marker to create wood grain in the boat. Other possible themes include a large treasure chest, a treasure map or a "Jolly Roger."

Other possible themes include famous pirate characters from literature and movies. Consider a float featuring "Captain Hook" from "Peter Pan." A Peter Pan-themed float can include the captain's ship and characters and scenes from the story, such as pictures of Neverland and Mermaid Lagoon. Another possible pirate float theme is the "Pirates of the Caribbean" story featuring Captain Jack Sparrow.

Material and Construction

All parade floats must start with a base. Use a flat trailer, such as a hay trailer or lowboy trailer. Use cardboard boxes for large structures on a float. Sheets of cardboard and a foam core can also be used to construct a float.

Another method of constructing a pirate float is to use chicken wire and paper-mache. Make a large treasure chest out of chicken wire and cover it in paper mache. Use paint to cover large areas of the float's surface, such as painting the treasure chest with gold paint. Other decorative materials include silk flower buds, vinyl pom-poms and vinyl or metallic floral sheeting.

Constructing a float doesn't have to be expensive if you use everyday items for your pirate-themed float. Use stacked round oatmeal canisters to create a mast for a pirate ship and a white cotton bed sheet to create a sail.


Props are what give a float visual interest. You can find some pirate-themed props at home, such as a wooden bucket and mop that pirates can use for swabbing the deck and toy swords and knives. Create other props, such as items you would find inside a treasure chest. Paint a drinking glass with gold paint to create a golden goblet for inside a chest. Make a pirate flag by cutting a skull and cross bone out of white fabric and gluing or sewing it to a piece of black fabric.

Purchase pirate parade float items, such as murals, wall hangings and full pirate kits from a website, such as Stumps

Other Pirate Parade Float Ideas

There are many ways to construct a pirate-themed float. One way is to create an animated float. Buy or create a talking parrot for your float. If building animated, robotic elements for a float is not practical, have actors on the float who are dressed in pirate and related costumes.

Use music and sound effects on youra pirate float. Have a loud speaker projecting the sound of waves and someone saying pirate phrases, such as, "Walk da plank!," Arrrgghh!!" and "Shiver me timbers."

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