Evan’s Vintage Train 4th Birthday Party

Vintage Train Party

Sometimes when you ask your almost-four year old what kind of birthday party he wants, he says “Goats!” and you panic. And sometimes when you ask again he says “Choo choo trains!” and you’re super happy about it because you can DO trains. Trains are awesome. You also happen to have a massive collection of electric trains in your basement from both your childhood and your husband’s childhood, so a theme is born. BOOM. Vintage train birthday party it is!

I will do this mostly in pictures, since that’s the best part. HUGE post, apologies, feel free to skip if you hate parties, etc etc etc. I’m going to put a truly insane number of photos on Facebook and Flikr too.

Decorations:

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

I printed banners and food labels on brown cardstock and cut pennants out of scrapbook paper (some new, some leftover from previous party supplies). The vintage stuff lying around (suitcases, globes, lanterns, etc) is from my own supply of junk collectibles or borrowed from my parents. All the train and sign clip art I made using a free fonts from dafont.com – Eisenbahn is the vintage train; old seals tfb and PostageStamps are on the water bottle labels; wmroadsigns, wmthe50s and wmtransport1 are the rest (for the record, the old fashiondy font on almost everything is CM Old Western Shadow, also from dafont.com).

My dad made the railroad crossing sign out of scrap wood in my basement and I painted the letters using a stencil I bought at A.C. Moore. Dad also built the wood table to set up the electric trains. Evan and E painted the Melissa & Doug wooden train on the food table together. The tablecloths are a collection of sheets/fabric I keep in a box just for occasions like this.

I made the Arrivals/Departures board out of just a piece of composite board painted with chalkboard paint. I made up trains and times based on family names and dates.

Food:

vintage train birthday party food

vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food

vintage train birthday party food train party drinks fueling station chugga chugga water bottles vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food

Choo choo train birthday-15

I made train cars with disposable aluminum trays and black cardstock to serve the food, including a coal car, veggie car, and a berry boxcar. I served lemonade in glass “milk” jars (actually Target frappuchino bottles I used for Caroline’s last two birthdays) with fancy straws, old fashioned root beer in bottles, “Chugga Chugga” water bottles and juice in Take’n’Toss cups for the kids.

Here’s my train inspired menu –

Steam Puffs – coconut macaroons
Coal – Krispie treats make with Cocoa Puffs
Train shaped cookies
Train shaped cucumber sandwiches
Rails – black licorice (courtesy of the American Licorice Company! Happy National Licorice Day!)
Railroad ties – vanilla sandwich wafers
Soft pretzels
Switch Cheese Sandwiches – grilled ham and swiss on wheat bread
Cheddar-nooga Choo Choo Sandwiches – grilled cheddar cheese on pumpernickel-rye swirl bread
Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Southwest Dip – Heluva Good black bean queso dip (REALLY delicious)
Veggies
Berry Boxcar – Fruit
Conductor Cubes – cheese cubes
Stoplight Kabobs – watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon
Short Line Shortcake – mini cups of pound cake, strawberries and whipped topping
Golden Spike(d) Lemonade – I left the spiking up to my guests so no one accidentally got their kid drunk

And the cake is a good old-fashioned super sweet grocery store cake from Big Y. It was a Thomas cake until I took Thomas and Percy off and put a little Amtrak train on it. Boom! Custom vintage train cake.

Games:

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

I made the child-sized trains out of cardboard boxes I’ve been collecting for a few weeks. I covered the boxes in plain paper (the kind you buy at Ikea to go on their art easel) and cut out construction paper shapes to make them look sort of like trains. The tracks all over my house are electrical tape purchased at Home Depot. We used approximated 8 60-foot rolls (they come in packs of 10) and E free-handed all the tracks.

As a craft, I bought cheap paint, brushes and wooden cars at the craft store and let the kids decorate their own wooden trains.

My dad worked really hard to set up both model train sets so the kids could run them. That was all stuff we/he already owned but the Tyco HO gauge electric trains are really inexpensive on Ebay. The kids also played with the Thomas/Ikea/Brio wooden tracks and trains.

The kids took home their painted trains, conductor hats and train whistles as favors.

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

Sources & Supplies (if I missed something you’re looking for just ask!)

Vintage travel posters (plus a calendar I dismantled) – AllPosters.com
Train whistles – Oriental Trading Co.
Conductor hats – Oriental Trading Co.
Wood trains for painting – A.C. Moore
Train lollipops – Oriental Trading Co.
Train car serving dishes – ShopRite
Train shaped cookie cutter – A.C. Moore
Train shaped sandwich cutter – gift, available on Amazon
Sisal twine – Home Depot
Tiny clothes pins – Amazon.com
Photo book & prints – Shutterfly.com
Brown burlap – Home Depot
Orange burlap & fabric – Joann’s

Whew! That was exhausting but super fun. Now please come over and eat all this leftover cake before I do.

So so many thanks to my parents for their help and to Kim for letting me borrow some of her photos!

Related posts:

Wordless(ish) Wednesday: Tall Ship in Norwich
My Week(88) in iPhone Photos
How To Make Robot Shaped Crayons

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32 Responses to “Evan’s Vintage Train 4th Birthday Party”

  1. Rebecca says:

    So cool!

    You do really great parties!

    Though I still say a goat party would be awesome.

  2. Sarah says:

    Wow. Just… Wow. I know EVERY time you do a party post someone tells you you need to be a party planner, but seriously – you should be. Also, you should know I plan to shamelessly steal a ton of these ideas if Cole let’s me use trains as a theme for HIS party in August.

  3. Amy says:

    Chedder-nooga made me laugh out loud even though I knew it was coming. Why are Spencer and I never invited to your parties? They seem to be worth the airfare.

  4. eversmommy says:

    OMG! I am so impressed with your parties! My son is so into trains right now (he’s 3), and was loving looking at these pics!

  5. Kimberly says:

    I don’t think the boys will ever stop talking about this party. You really outdid yourself! Almost as amazing as your dad’s patience level ;)

  6. FourInchHeels says:

    As always, I am in AWE of your parties! I wish that I enjoyed going above and beyond (I’m so jealous that you love doing this!) so the parties I throw looked even remotely that awesome. You have a gift, m’lady :) And it looks like the kids had such a fun time!

  7. Brigid Keely says:

    What adorable decorations! Your guests all look like they are having fun, too. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. Stacia says:

    So much to love. Seriously great job. Also I bet you could pull off a goat party:)

  9. Tara says:

    What an awesome party! And I love that you had pre-filled juice/sippy cups at the drink station, what a genius idea with all those little ones around.

  10. Erin says:

    OMG!!! I can’t say enough about how cute this is!!! I’m so bummed that we missed it! Beautiful!!!!!

  11. Dang. Amazing.

    I will never post another party pic again lest mine be compared to yours!

  12. Kristi says:

    Okay, so I will say it again. You need to make this a business. You can consult from afar… You are magical with parties and themes and bringing ideas to life! So amazing…

  13. p. says:

    W-O-W, this is absolutely amazing!!! I envy Evan! :)

    the biggest respect from Czech republic, Europe

  14. Miranda says:

    AMAZING. Just amazing.

  15. […] off before he ate them he was so busy shoving them into his face. Luckily I saved some of the black licorice for Evan’s birthday (I called them “rails”) and let the kids try […]

  16. Miranda says:

    Question: Did your train whistles work from the Oriental Trading Company? I read mixed reviews

    • bebehblog says:

      Ehhhhhh. They didn’t work particularly great but the kids didn’t seem to care a ton (and the parents probably appreciated that).

  17. […] are a few different creative activity ideas in this Train Party on bebehblog.com. This craft would also make a great party favor for the kids to take […]

  18. Amie says:

    Hi! Your party is great- I’m totally using it as inspiration for my son’s 3rd birthday. By chance- do you know what font is on the labels/banner? I have a similar font, but I really like the one used in your party stuff! Thanks!

  19. Jennifer says:

    This is the cutest train party! I found you on pinterest while looking for ideas for my son’s 2nd birthday that I’m also doing a train theme! I love your idea of the craft station with the wooden trains for the kids to paint! I’ve been looking online but haven’t found any I like or that doesn’t cost a fortune! What a craft store did you get yours from and if you don’t mind me asking how much were they? We have a Michael’s & a Hobby Lobby here and I haven’t seen any.

  20. Jennifer says:

    Oops sorry! Just saw where you listed the craft store!

  21. Sandy says:

    Hi! Awesome party! I especially love the stop light fruit kabobs. If you have them saved, could you possibly make them available to download or tell me where I could? Thanks so much!

  22. […] can find lots more great train party food ideas over at Bebeh Blog.  I love these ‘Rails’ and ‘Conductor Cubes’ so cute and such a great […]

  23. […] Be Beh Blog put together an adorable Vintage Train Party for her son’s 4th birthday and I love all her ideas. You can read more at her great blog here. […]

  24. […] project that can be done by all ages is to decorate wooden trains with acrylic paints as shown on Bebeh Blog. These wooden trains can be found at most craft stores and are very inexpensive. Once the paint has […]

  25. Renee says:

    Thanks for all the great ideas! I found my way here from pinterest because I’m planning a party for my(about to be) 2 year old who is in love with Thomas. I burst out laughing at the goat party idea and can totally commiserate! When my oldest was 4, he was obsessed with a travel channel type show about Disney World- particularly the Yeti on Expedition Everest. At his insistence, I had to come up with a snow-covered Himalayan yeti themed party… in the middle of July!

  26. Lauren says:

    Do you have a printable for the stop light kabob printables? Everything is SO cute!!

    • bebehblog says:

      I don’t think I still have the file, since it was just a font I found on dafont.com. But I’m sure you can still find them! Just try searching for either train or transportation?

  27. Michelle says:

    Wow, this is such an amazing party for a 4 year old! My son would love this so I am going to take some of your amazing ideas as inspiration. I prefer your ‘vintage’ theme but my son is Thomas the Tank obsessed and so I guess I will have to be guided by him :)

  28. […] This is a great idea from Hostess with the Mostess – give the kids a quiet break by offering Wooden Trains to paint. Bonus – they can take their creations […]

  29. Hope says:

    Ever thing was so well put together!I’d like to know where you got the stop light skewer
    Thank you

  30. Maria says:

    This is amazing, your such a great party planner. :-)

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