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Jennifer Gensch

How to Celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day

Original image
Jennifer Gensch

Photograph by Flickr user Jennifer Gensch.

Friday, September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Time to get your sea legs and gather your mateys and practice your “Arrr”s! Here are a few ways to mark the occasion.

1. Talk Like a Pirate

Photograph from Talk Like a Pirate Day.

After all, that’s what the holiday is for! The International Talk Like a Pirate Day website has resources for helping you get the talk right. And you can even learn to talk like a German pirate or a French pirate. And if that’s all too complicated, or if you live online like I do, you can use their simple translator.

2. Attend a Pirate Party

Photograph by Flickr user Scott Vandehey.

The Faust Hotel & Brewing Company in New Braunfels, Texas, invites all you scurvy dogs Friday, with a costume contest and a pirate talk contest.

The Cure Lounge in Louisville, Kentucky, presents Party Like a Pirate Day with music from Drunk & Sailor.

The Waldorf Beer Club in Scranton, Pennsylvania, will celebrate their 5th annual TLAP Day party. There will be prizes for those showing up in pirate costume.

If you want to find out what’s happening near you, check the Google map of Talk Like a Pirate Day events.

3. Play Putt-putt Free

A park called Blackbeard’s Cove has to celebrate this auspicious occasion, and the park in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, will award a free game of putt-putt to anyone dressed as a pirate, and there’s a book reading for kids featuring pirate books read by …police officers. It was too difficult for them to find real pirates who can read.

Come in to any location of Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf Friday and get $2 off if you talk like a pirate.

4. Watch a Pirate Movie

Take a look through the 50 saltiest and rummiest Pirate Movies listed in chronological order, and chances are that you’ve seen quite a few of them. Maybe you’ll want to rewatch one or two, or select a new film to enjoy of TLAP Day. There are hundreds of pirate movies, but sadly, not all of them are available at RedBox or Netflix.

The Berwyn Public Library in Berwyn, Illinois, is having a party for kids, featuring a triple feature of pirate movies, headlined by Muppet Treasure Island. Since this is for kids, the party will be on Saturday.

5. Change your Facebook Language

Under the general settings of your Facebook page, you can select “English (pirate)” as your language for the day. Arr!

6. Read About Pirates

May I suggest these enlightening articles from the mental_floss archives?

11 Rules From an Actual Pirate Code

Democracy on the High Seas: How Pirates Rocked the Vote

Did Pirates Really Make People Walk the Plank?

6 Famous Pirate Ships

10 Pirate Myths and Surprises

Or you could read a book about pirates, fiction or non-fiction. A group of authors is staging a pirate book giveaway, open for entries through Friday.

7. Eat and Drink Like a Pirate

Photograph by Flickr user Dave Morris.

Considering that classical pirates were sailing for months at a time, a meal heavy in seafood makes sense. Pirates also stowed pickled and spiced food supplies that would last a long time. And there was hardtack when everything else was gone. But after a looting, food could be sumptuous. Salmagundi was a kind of pirate stew that included everything in the galley. There are also plenty of drink recipes, many featuring rum, for your celebration. 

8. Do a Good Deed

Hft, an organization that provides service to those with learning disabilities in England, is using Talk Like a Pirate Day to raise funds for their programs. There are plenty of ways you can join in the fun and help out!

Tampa Bay is using TLAP Day to raise funds for LifePath and Suncoast Hospice. The party starts at 5 at The Getaway in St. Petersburg.

The Ship Inn in Weymouth, UK, is fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support during a TLAP Day party starting at noon.

9. Eat a Free Doughnut or Twelve

As they have for years now, Krispy Kreme is giving away doughnuts on September 19th. Go into any Krispy Kreme outlet and talk like a pirate for a doughnut. If you go in dressed as a pirate, you can snag a dozen doughnuts! The bakery also has some tips for celebrating TLAP Day in other ways in their Pirate Academy. 

See also:
17 Swashbuckling Facts About Talk Like A Pirate Day
The Late Movies: Pirate Talk
Your Pirate Home

8 Awesome Halloween Displays From Around the Country

Looking for some Halloween decorating inspiration? Look no further than these spooky displays. From New Mexico to New York, here are eight creepy homes worth going out of your way for each All Hallows' Eve.


C-K AutumnFest—an annual fall festival thrown by the West Virginia towns of Kenova and Ceredo—offers scarecrow-building contests, tractor shows, and home-canning competitions, among other activities. Its highlight, however, is probably the Pumpkin House. The historic Victorian abode once belonged to IRS commissioner Joseph S. Miller, a friend of President Grover Cleveland. But when Ric Griffith moved in, he put it on the map with elaborate jack-o'-lantern displays.

Each year, in late October, the onetime Kenova mayor festoons the home’s yard, porch, rooftops, and gables with 3000 glowing pumpkins, some of which sit on specially built displays with music and lights. The laborious project begins in earnest around a month before Halloween, when Miller and his daughter start drawing faces on the gourds. Then, around five days before AutumnFest kicks off, local volunteers help the duo scoop, carve, rinse, and arrange the jack-o'-lanterns into tiered rows around the house and yard.

You can check out the Pumpkin House in person at this year’s festival, which runs October 27-28. “Due to the shelf life of a carved pumpkin, carving will not begin until October 23,” organizer Kim Layman tells Mental Floss. “Once the pumpkins are carved and set into place, they remain lit 24/7. The best time to see the greatest number of pumpkins lit is the weekend of AutumnFest. Weather permitting, the pumpkins will remain lit through Halloween.”


The annual Halloween display at 69 Darrow Drive in Warwick, Rhode Island is so over-the-top that it has its own Facebook page for local fans. Past iterations have featured Halloween props designed by homeowner Mike Daniels, spooky interactive figures, and multi-colored lights synchronized to more than 14 songs. This year’s clown-themed yard show won’t be complete until around mid-October, but there will be “new designs and props and music,” Daniels tells Mental Floss. “We’ve added some awesome new stuff!”

Proving that Halloween isn’t always about tricks and/or treats, Daniels typically leaves out a bin for charitable donations. This Halloween, the collection will be donated to the Spirit of Children hospital foundation, which funds art, music, and other therapeutic projects for children receiving medical care.


In 2006, Stanley Norton of Wells, Maine, began competing with his brother to see who could build the best Christmas light show. The winner gained bragging rights, and the loser was required to hang a portrait of their sibling in their home with the words “I wish I was my brother” underneath. Norton got so into the challenge that eventually, the satisfaction of beating his brother was no longer enough. About two years after the inaugural lights contest, he also began regularly decorating his home for Halloween, an endeavor he’s since dubbed “OPERATION: Scare ‘N Share.”

Norton’s annual display runs the week before Halloween, and features spooky props and thousands of lights synced to radio music. (They're erected with help from the local Wells Soccer team, which Norton used to coach.) The tunes and lights change each year, but visitors are always asked to bring canned goods to donate to a local food pantry. In 2015, Norton’s Halloween house had so many visitors that they collected close to 1000 pounds of food.


When a prospective career in the haunted house industry didn’t work out for him, Darrell Cunningham, a software programmer in Farmington, New Mexico, decided to turn his passion into a hobby by decorating his own home for Halloween. The project soon morphed into an ongoing tradition that's now six or so years running.

Today, Cunningham, with help from his father, constructs elaborate Halloween displays at his parents’ more spacious abode. The Cunningham Haunt House, as it’s called, features handmade props that Cunningham builds himself. (They've included grim reaper, witch, and angel statues fashioned from chicken wire, plastic pipes, paper mâché, and "monster mud," a special mixture of paint and drywall compound.) There are also plenty of spider webs and fake tombstones, as well as projectors that play music videos like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller."

Since Halloween props are expensive, the father-and-son duo is always soliciting either online cash donations or crafting materials—“decorations, webs, pumpkins, wagons light posts, poles, wood, anything that could make cool props,” according to the Cunningham Haunt House’s Facebook page.


Trick-or-treaters in the greater Syracuse, New York region visit the town of Camillus to admire (and score candy from) Mickie and Bill Hendrix’s house on 84 Main Street. The homeowners are fans of classic horror films, so each October they transform their residence into a spine-tingling attraction complete with a fog machine, orchestral music, a giant barrel of "toxic waste" that pumps out green goo, and life-sized figures of skeletons, clowns, mummies, and vampires.

The display surrounds the house, and trick-or-treaters are forced to navigate their way through a sea of monsters and ghouls to receive candy at the back door. There, they're greeted by jumping motion-sensor creatures. (Some kids are too scared to come to the door, in which case Mickie Hendrix will toss candy out the window, or go downstairs and hand it to them personally.)

The couple have been decorating their home for more than 16 years. "It started out small and just got bigger and bigger," Mickie Hendrix told "It's getting out of control and we're getting older. Thank God for our grandchildren. They helped us get everything out." However, the display might be in its final years, as the couple is planning to eventually move to Florida.


Halloween is a community affair in Romeo, a tiny 19th century village in Macomb County, Michigan, where residents transform a single two-block street into a spooky wonderland each October.

It’s said that the seasonal spectacle on Tillson Street began with longtime homeowner Vicki Lee, whose birthday falls on Halloween. To celebrate the occasion, she always decorated her home with pumpkins, corn stalks, and scarecrows. Her enthusiasm for the holiday spread, and as more families with young children moved into the area, other neighbors began building handmade Halloween scenes in their own front yards. Ultimately, around 30 homes joined in on the fun, resulting in the street-wide affair that the village knows and loves today.

Today, an estimated 80,000 visitors are said to visit Tillson Street each year to experience the spectacle—nicknamed Terror on Tillson—for themselves. On Halloween, the street is blocked off so kids can safely trick-or-treat under the watchful eye of a makeshift security team of high school athletes. (In a separate event, Tillson Street residents also team up with the Kids Kicking Cancer organization to provide a safe daytime trick-or-treating event for around 50 children with cancer.)

Terror on Tillson has become so famous that it’s spawned souvenir T-shirts, a neighborhood cookbook, a food drive, and a scholarship fund dedicated to Lee’s late husband, Buzz Lee, who passed away from a brain tumor in 2002. Paying the street a visit, however, is always free of charge.

For more information, visit Terror on Tillson’s official website.


For the past seven years, Brandon Bullis of Leesburg, Virginia has created a musical Halloween light show, covering the front of his house with thousands of lights that are synced to blink along with popular tunes. Past examples include Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “Handclap” by Fitz and the Tantrums, and "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” by Norwegian electronic group Ylvis, the last of which caused the home to go viral in 2013.

The show—which Bullis has branded “Edwards Landing Lights”—is technically silent, but viewers can listen to its tunes by turning on their car’s radio. They can also add money to a driveway donation box, the proceeds of which are donated to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

To see Edwards Landing Lights in person, drive along Woods Edge Drive Northeast in Leesburg, Virginia after dark.


Ricky Rodriguez constructs Halloween displays that look like movie sets. In 2013, the Lorain, Ohio resident teamed up with his brother Tony to built a giant two-story pirate ship, designed to look like it was crashing through the side of his home. The pirate ship returned to East 30th Street and Tacoma Avenue in 2014 (and presumably 2015), but last year, Rodriguez replaced the vessel with a fabricated steam-powered locomotive, inspired by the final scene of Back to the Future Part III.

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12 Halloween Traditions From Around the World
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Although most Americans spend Halloween dressing up and trick-or-treating, other countries have their own celebratory rituals. Here are 12 Halloween (and Halloween-like) traditions from around the world.


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