My son wanted to be Thomas the Tank Engine, but not liking the costumes on sale, we decided to make our own Homemade Thomas the Tank Engine Halloween Costume.

We began with some boxes. There is one box for the body of the train, one for the coal and curved roof portion and another for the front buffers. I used hot glue to attach the boxes together. The back box was positioned vertically so that it would be higher. I opened the flaps on the boxes (so flaps face down) to be a background for the wheels.

The main body of the train is a horizontal box that has a hole cut out for my son to fit into, his back right against the vertical box. Then the tube box is attached to the front. I used scrap pieces of cardboard to make a curved portion of Thomas behind the face and over the vertical box. (both curved pieces are painted black in picture). I made them curved simply by bending the box at 1″ intervals so it would roll. It was then hot-glued in place.

For the back box, two half-moon pieces of cardboard were cut to fit and glued in. The front curve was made to fit against the Styrofoam face. Painter’s tape will cover the seams to make them smooth and paintable. The funnel on top of the front curve is another portion of the tube box with a piece of craft rope to add to the funnel rim.

The front buffers are a Styrofoam ball cut in half and glued on. The wheels are painted paper plates with two strips of silver-painted cardboard glued on top of the plates.

The face was the hardest and best feature of our Thomas. It consists of two Styrofoam disks from a craft store glued together for thickness. Then I cut a styro ball in half to make the eyes. The cheeks and eyebrows are made the same way i.e. slivered portions of the styro ball. The mouth is the reverse; it is carved into the face. The nose is made of scraps of styro glued into the form.

Once everything was glued on I used a lightweight Spackle to smooth out the styro and make it paint-able. Its not as wet as regular Spackle and is almost sculptable itself. It required two coats and some sanding. Once dry, everything was ready to paint. We did prime the styro pieces but I would suggest priming the boxes too because it took many coats for the blue to look good.

The whistle (not seen behind my son) is a toilet paper tube cut in half and glued onto the box. The steam in the funnel is some batting glued on and then pulled apart to be more textured. We used acrylic craft paint for everything. The straps are made of red craft ribbon 1-1 1/2 ” wide, and should be quite short. At first I made them too long and my son had trouble walking.

Overall, I would say the best part was my son. He loved making it and we let him help a lot; he had such joy in wearing it and showing it to his friends.

  Thomas the Train Costume