Classic Train Party: Chugga Chugga Two-Choo
If your saw our little guy’s first birthday, you know we love to celebrate our favorite dude. He is OBSESSED with trains. We can’t even go over a train track without everyone in the car cheering ‘choo choo’ enthusiastically. So when we were contemplating birthday party ideas… our original thoughts were a fiesta. His favorite is mexican food too, and it’s my favorite party theme. But after thinking about what he really loves, we decided on trains. My sister actually came up with the idea of the pun ‘two choo’ and we loved the idea immediately.
As usual, my party planning consisted of:
- Custom monogram logo
- Adorably themed invitations that include the custom monogram logo
- Custom cups with the logo
- Cupcake toppers
- Snapchat filter
- Party favors
- An activity for the kids… this was the hit this time!
Maybe I’m silly, I’m not denying that. Maybe it’s my graphic design background. But I LOVE branding for a party, it makes everything feel so much more personal. And it cost me nothing except a few minutes of time. So, every year I do a little custom logo for our little guy’s birthday party. I hope he’ll let me do this at least for a few more years until he tells me I’m not cool anymore.. I still have a lot of fun ideas up my sleeve! Anyway, since we went with a train theme, I wanted to use some kind of train + a monogram. I also wanted to do a classic train theme, not Thomas the Train or any other character that’s overdone for a party.
So.. I went with a deep red, navy & yellow. Not really sure why, I almost did gray & navy but thought the use of yellow would tie into using Railroad Crossing signs, so red, navy & yellow it is. This is what we came up with, I thought it was perfect! I put it on his little t-shirt and everything else I could for the occasion! He LOVED this party and still talks about it, so every little detail was so worth it!
If the party wouldn’t have been in 100 degree July heat in NC, I would’ve had him in this little conductor outfit. But in this weather, a t-shirt had to do the trick. This is another cute alternative and I LOVE this one for a 2-year old – if you don’t have the ability or time to DIY a shirt.
Navy gingham + the train logo made the invitation easy. I just threw it all together & printed matching envelopes and mailed them out 🙂 I really like the style of this boarding pass invitation too, I tend to go with the more classic looking train things instead of the cheesy characters.
We usually do custom koozies or cups. This year, my husband wanted to do kegs of our favorite beers just because we knew a lot of people would be coming & it was the first party we had in our new house. So cups made more sense. Yes… we like to celebrate our guy + the village of people who love him and wanted to celebrate him, too. Cheers to a wonderful second year of his life! And the cups were great little take-away favors too. I actually use these for bath time all the time because they’re a great size & I have a lot left over, I ordered a TON. I went with yellow with navy ink to tie in the colors. If you don’t have time to customize your own, these are super cute & help tie in the railroad yellow theme. I also love these little straw toppers.
Because of the crowd, we did cupcakes and a pretty large cake in the shape of a 2 (was not a huge fan of the cake, the bakery did not listen to my color instructions at ALL… but, whatever). For the cupcakes, I designed and printed cupcake toppers that matched his little logo and I was going to make railroad crossing ones until I ran across the most adorable railroad crossing ones on amazon and then an adorable candle holder little train for the cake candles so he’d have candles to blow out. He LOVED the little train! I couldn’t get enough of the railroad crossing picks. I also got the coordinating plates and napkins, too. I recently found these & loved them too. I probably would’ve incorporated this too had I found it in time!
Because I have a love of graphic design, throwing together a snapchat filter is so easy and only cost a few dollars for the duration of the party so I love adding them. This one got lots of use!
Decor & Signs
If you don’t have a chalkboard to personalize, I really recommend getting one. I use ours ALL the time, I think I’ve already warned you that I use it for every party & even holidays.
For easy decor, I just doodle on a chalk board for a little while before the party. Printing a cute little coordinating sign is also one of my favorites. Add a pun, and you know I love it. These were a few signs I threw together as last minute details and I thought it was so cute. The Chugga Chugga by the kegs was the funniest thing for me. Then I thought ‘chew chew’ by the food was even funnier! Doodling the logo onto the big chalkboard easel as a welcome sign in the driveway was easy and I added coordinating balloons. This pic was before I added the railroad crossing balloons but I had those balloons on the chalkboard and also on each side of the front door.
I try to include a door-hanger usually too, even if it’s something I cut out of cardboard boxes and paint. It was hard to get a good pic of this because the sun was glaring on the front of the house by this point in the day. One of my favorite places to order wooden shapes is an Etsy shop that was one of my main suppliers when I was selling on Etsy full-time. They were so great in getting this to me in time for me to paint for the party. I hung it with red and white stripe ribbon and threw it onto our wreath hanger. Isn’t this train so cute!? Wooden Train Cutout with Monogram
This party was a little (ok, a lot) over the top so we didn’t go all out for favors. For kids, we had little cardboard conductor hats/headbands. My only photo of them is of other people’s kids so I’m not going to be sharing those – I’m already feeling weird about sharing my own family. They were SO cute though! And cheap. Aren’t they SO cute?!
I love the idea of photo props too. If we wouldn’t have had so many younger kids, I would’ve used these photo props.
The Main Event
When we settled on the train theme, I was going to make a big huge train for the kids to play on and take photos with out of huge cardboard boxes. My husband saw me on Pinterest and was like ‘omg Sarah, that will be so tacky, let’s just get him a real train for a few hours’ – I immediately was like whatttttt! No, that would be so expensive.
But after looking into it, I found a place locally who rented by the hour. The train is called a ‘Trackless Train’ and I’m sure you can find something similar close to you; it was SO much more affordable than I expected and I got a huge coupon for signing up with my email. It actually cost less than it would’ve to have all the kids at Chuck E Cheese or Monkey Joes or somewhere. And it was worth every. single. penny. Isn’t the little train so cute??
Our dude squealed with excitement from the time the train pulled in, until the next day. Riding on that train with him and our best friends and family was one of my happiest moments because he was just full of pure joy. And as we pulled into the driveway with even more friends and family greeting us, he felt so loved – just waved like crazy and said ‘hey everybody.’ My heart was SO happy seeing him so happy! If you are local and would like the contact info for the train, I’m happy to share it.
We could not have asked for a better day… or night, the party didn’t end until way later in the evening after I put Dude to bed in his matching choo choo jammies. We are SO blessed to be able to celebrate our little family and are so thankful for all of the people who love him just as much as we do.
Hopefully this made you at least smile and maybe even inspired you to throw a cute little train party! I know our little guy loved it. It was the happiest day and I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit of our joy 🙂