Pirate Halloween Costumes
Ahoy there matey! Did you know that there is an unofficial holiday called, “International Talk Like a Pirate Day?” It’s in its ninth year and running, falling on September 19th every year come hell or high seas!
The mere mention of the words “pirate” conjures up images of savage swashbucklers, cutthroat scoundrels and fearless rogues of the sea. Hollywood’s likeness of pirates portrays them as either incredibly romantic and dashing heroes or heartless villains.
Since ancient history, pirates have plagued sailors. In the 16th and 17th centuries, monarchs frustrated by Spain's dominance of the Caribbean, dispatched privateers to harass the Spanish fleet. This helped to usher in piracy's golden age, when ruthless buccaneers like Blackbeard (Edward Teach) prowled the tropical waterways, pillaging silver and gold.
The pirate flag or Jolly Roger as it’s called is the most recognizable symbol of piracy. The mere sight of the infamous black and white skull and crossbones pirate flag strikes fear into the hearts of seafarers, sending chills down the spines of many a captain and crew. Although the black flag was not as feared as the red flag since on a pirate ship, the sight of a red flag meant that no mercy would be shown in battle.
Before pirates set out, they appointed their captain (by majority vote) and drafted a document that included unacceptable behaviors and the consequences for engaging in them. The buccaneers called them codes of conduct; the pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy called them articles of agreement. Since most pirates came from mutinous crews of naval warships and merchant vessels, they had no desire to return to the often barbaric rule of a ship’s captain. Once these rules were set down on paper, each pirate made his mark and swore an oath to abide by them. He placed his hand on a bible or a pair of crossed pistols or axes and pronounced his solemn pledge.
While Blackbeard was the most legendary pirate to fly the Jolly Roger centuries ago, today’s popular swashbuckler has to go to the fictitious character and lead protagonist, Captain Jack Sparrow of the film franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean. Captain Jack definitely falls under the “incredibly romantic and dashing heroes” category of pirates in Hollywood.