Choo Choo! Thomas the Tank Engine Inspired Birthday Party

First things first, I can’t believe my baby boy is two years old! OK, now that’s out of the way, the fun stuff: the party.

thomas the train partyThe Theme

Generally, train-themed; specifically, Thomas. I, however, did not want to go overboard Thomas and go overly store-bought and almost tacky, if you know what I mean. I chose to keep it a sweet innocent “choo choo” train theme using red, royal blue and light blue. See my Pinterest “Thomas party ideas” inspiration board.

Thomas and Friends pinterest birthday board

The Invitations

thomas train ticket invitationI had so much fun making these invitations! I’ve seen the train ticket done, but nothing quite like I wanted it. I printed enough to send out one for each guest, so everyone had their own ticket. For example, I sent four tickets to my cousin for her, her husband, and her two kids. My husband gave me this idea and I loved it! Many even brought their tickets to get stamped at the party! Quite fun. My son was walking around in his conductor hat and overalls saying, “Tickets, please!”

You, too, can have this super cute invitation!  See this item in my etsy shop or go straight to the Thomas the Tank Engine Train Ticket Birthday Invitation listing.

The Location and Decor

My house. Nothing fancy, and nothing in my normal home decor especially fit the theme. Blues, I love; reds, not so much. I think the only red you can find in my home decor is my red Fiestaware pieces (and I have all different colors, so that’s not saying much). So, I needed to add a lot of color to get the theme across. Balloons and garlands are my favorite way to add pops of color and detailing for a birthday party. We had three dozen helium balloons and about 20 non-helium balloons. I know, sounds like a lot, but whoever said you can never have too many balloons was definitely right!

thomas party dessert tablethomas train party garlandYou can purchase (and customize!) the above garland by visiting my etsy shop or go straight to the Train Birthday Party Garland listing.

train party garlandThe Favors

train birthday party favorsChild favor bags:

  • Red Chevron bags with “Miles and Friends” on one side and “Thank Chou” on the other. I found the bags at Marshall’s before Christmas for a few dollars. The images I made with an online photo editor and printed on plain white paper, cut out, and rubber cemented on the bags.
  • Train Conductor Hat*– these hats were cute.  Thin material, yes, but they worked out good for our party.  I’ve definitely seen thinner ones sold at party stores, and I was happy with the quality of these one’s I found on Amazon (click picture for link).
  • Thomas and Friends Notepad*
  • Small Pack of Crayons — I found a large pack of red striped boxes of 3 crayons on clearance at Target after Valentines day. Super cheap and in the right color!


Babies (under 1 year) received Freight Train, by Donald Crews board book*.


The Cake

train cakeI used the Wilton Thomas & Friends Cake Pan* to make this lovely cake. I am not a baker. My sister is, and she decided I needed to do this — although she’ll tell the story differently (check out her blog, The Rookie’s Cookies). We did a practice cake the week before, and it’s a good thing we did. The first Thomas was a bit creepy. I am happy with how the real cake turned out!

If you’re going to attempt a cake like this and you, like me, are not a baker, here’s what I suggest:

  • Make and tint all of the icing a day (or up to a week) before you’re going to make the cake and keep in the fridge.
  • Give yourself a whole day to make this cake. Really.

Because the cake wasn’t very large (and I wasn’t going to make a second one!), we also got Smiley Cookies from Eat ‘n’ Park.  If you’ve never had a Smiley Cookie, you’re seriously missing out.  Get them here.

The Drinks

thomas party drinksIn sticking with my color scheme (and to keep things simple), we only had a few drink choices:

  • Our favorite red pop, Red Ribbon Cherry, from Natrona Bottling Company.
  • Juice boxes for little kids
  • Generic blue sugar drink for older kids
  • Bottled water
  • and beer

No fancy label needed to make your drinks look fancy! I made a quick picture on an online photo editor and printed it on plain paper, cut, and taped over labels for consistent party look.

I thought my drink table was very cute, but I only got a photo of the whole table after the party. Sad.


Didn’t have much in ways of party activities per say, but I did tape down these Thomas coloring banners* to some tables for the kids to color.

thomas party coloring

Other thoughts:

I didn’t do anything particularly fancy with the food. We ordered kid-friendly chicken fingers from a local catering company, along with some pasta. We also had lots of little sides, including a family favorite, strawberry pretzel salad.

Best of all, good times were had.  Miles had a blast.  He didn’t sit still the whole time, too busy having fun with his friends and family!  This is the best picture we got of him all day.  Happy Birthday, Miles!




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