My two year old granddaughter, Chloe, lives for cars, trucks, tractors and trains so it was a natural that she should be Thomas the Tank Engine for Halloween. Her daddy told me six months ago that I must make her a train costume for Halloween this year. He also insisted that Mom (9 months pregnant) needed to be a train car and he was going to be the caboose. I tried to talk him out of it for six months but he was determined.
So in the middle of October I started the project. First was the engine. I found a strong cardboard box just the right size and cut, folded and hot glued until I got the right shape. I used a gallon size ice container for the boiler, reinforced it with cardboard and painted it black. I made the little arches in front and larger ones in back (to make the rounded roof) with cardboard and painted them. The wheels were cardboard, painted blue. I created a stencil and used black paint to make the spokes. I used a plastic yo-yo broken in half and painted black to make the bumpers in front and back.
For Thomas’ face I first made one out of Model Magic but I wasn’t happy with it so I got a face on line, printed it to size on card stock, covered it with clear contact paper and glued it to cardboard. The windows were black paper, clear plastic and yellow foam sheets for the frame. I used a very thick cardboard tube for the smokestack. I covered all the raw cardboard edges with painters tape and used acrylic paint (2 or 3 layers) and sponge brushes (never used them before – love them) to paint everything. I added cloth straps fastened with Velcro.
To make Mom and Dad’s cars I used cardboard boxes to size and cut and hot glued to shape. All the painting and windows on the caboose were done like the engine. I used square basewood dowels to make the railings and ladder on the caboose and foam letters for the railway name. For Mom’s circus car I printed out animals and glued them on the car. I used black rug yarn for the cage bars and glued black foam on the top and bottom to secure the yarn. Straps for Mom and Dad finished off the costumes.
Even though I began this project with a lot of concerns, I was quite pleased with the final result. Of course, everyone loved Thomas and his train and we got a tremendous reaction while out trick-or-treating. Everyone loved the costumes and couldn’t believe grandma made them all.