Last year, I decided to be super ambitious and make a Train Conductor costume for Halloween. I must admit, I had an inappropriate amount of fun making it, and was incredibly proud when I saw how happy this colorful little box of cardboard made not only my son, but every little Thomas the Tank fan we passed while Trick or Treating. Seriously, some kids lost their minds!! It was adorable and awesome (despite me feeling a slight bit of shame for being so very blatantly “that mom” – you know, the one with WAY too much time on her hands.) Hey, we all have our mom talents…mine is most decidedly NOT cooking gourmet meals. Turns out I have a special little talent for making stuff out of cardboard – who knew?!
Here’s what I did.
I took an Honest Company diaper box (because we had just gotten a shipment of diapers AND it was the perfect size) and another random shipping box my dad had sent some things to me in, and got to cutting.
First, I cut out the basic ‘shape’ of the train. I did this by cutting the bottom out completely and then an opening in the top that would also serve as the front of the train.
Next, I used the extra pieces of cardboard from the bottom of the box and the other shipping box to cut out a long thin rectangle piece to be rolled into the smoke stack, a large circle and larger rectangle to be rolled into the front of the train.
Then, I took a kids’ bowl and traced six circles that I cut out to be the wheels of the train.
Once everything was cut out, it was time for painting!!
I chose primary colors and used Thomas as inspiration for the paint.
I taped off the top portion with painters tape so that I would have a solid line between the blue and red. Then I used a primer on all the pieces first.
After that I painted the top blue and the bottom red. I did two coats of each color. The yellow line is yellow painters tape that I doubled up.
Then I painted the pieces for the smokestack and front of the train black. The front bottom portion red, and the wheels blue with black ‘wheel’ stripes on them.
Time for Assembly and DETAIL!
I used clear packing tape to assemble all the parts – except the wheels that I glued on. For the smokestack and the front parts of the train I used a VERY generous amount of duct tape underneath and inside where it can’t be seen, and then reinforced with clear packing tape on the top parts of the box. Then I cut a hole the size of the smokestack on top of the front black part to put the smokestack down into and then again taped with duct tape on the inside and reinforced with clear packing tape on the outside.
I used painters tape and sharpie markers to do all the detailing.
I made stripes down the back with yellow painters tape, red painters tape to make the “Thomas” inspired markings on the train side, and yellow to make the number 1. Then, I used a black sharpie to make the two black circles in the front.
The final (and most awesome detail) was using wall mount tape to attach this closet light to the front of the train. The light turned on and off by pushing it. Even though, with a 2-year-old, we weren’t out on the street late at night, this light was AWESOME when it did start to get a little darker out. And the kids loved turning it on and off!
Finally, I found little black suspenders at TJ Maxx and used those as the ‘straps’. I simply clipped them onto the box and then tied them in a knot at his shoulders to make them short enough that the box wasn’t dragging on the ground.
As for his conductor ‘costume’ I got a pair of railroad striped overalls, and a blue t-shirt along with the custom train engineer hat we had made for his Choo Choo I’m Two birthday party by All Aboard Whistle on Etsy.
All in all, I’m super proud of how it turned out…he LOVED it…and he still plays with it a year later!
The only problem is now I feel like I have to make something special every year (whoops!) should have thought about that one!!
Good thing I’m not going to be 40 weeks pregnant at Halloween this year…oh wait…I am (eek!!)
Wish me luck!