Amtrak Birthday Party

Train birthday cake for Amtrak partyOne sweet boy had a birthday, and requested a train theme; but NOT a Thomas the Train theme, an Amtrak theme!  We did our best to make that happen.

Amtrak birthday party foodHe requested his favorite birthday party meal: chili dogs!  I made the food tags using Inkscape.  People always appreciate knowing exactly what they’re eating!

IMG_2810Seven layer dip; guacamole on one half, and not the other, to please any picky guests. 🙂  Plus guacamole on the side, though it turned out a little spicier than anticipated; less chile in adobo sauce next time perhaps, though I enjoyed the flavor!

IMG_2812Carrots, cauliflower, and chips…excellent food for alliteration.

IMG_2813Ranch dip and dill dip; the latter is our new favorite!  Sour cream mixed with a package of Hidden Valley Dill mix, though I’m hoping to find a good recipe that doesn’t involve the packaged mix!

Amtrak party desserts and water bottlesWater bottles with Amtrak wraps; super easy to print off and put on the bottles, and definitely enhancing the theme!  You can see the backdrop to the dessert area on the left.  Somehow I didn’t get a picture of the whole thing!  It was a bulletin board covered with blue fabric, and a large map of the U.S. on top of that.  I traced the route of the Capitol Limited, which was our theme route for the party, from Washington, D.C. to Chicago.  Around the map we tacked our old ticked stubs and pictures from landmarks along the route.

Amtrak train party dessertsThis watermelon was a good idea that didn’t turn out exactly as hoped; I carved it into a train engine!  You could mostly tell in person.  I scooped it out (you can’t tell in the photo) and filled it with fruit, and served it with our fluff dip.  It’s a party standby, everyone loves it!

IMG_2814No birthday party around here is complete without a piñata!  G decided that he just wanted to keep it simple this year, painting it and gluing on the logo we made.  Since it’s a pretty good copy of their actual logo, I’m not going to share these printables, to stay out of copyright trouble!  We used the same process I described with the lion piñata, with two layers of newspaper, one layer of white copy paper, and the cooked paper mache paste.  It was just right to let everyone at the party have two tries at hitting the piñata before they broke it.

Piñata for Amtrak train partyPiñata fun fact: It should always be moving!  But the person moving it up and down has to be careful to stay out of the way of small children with large sticks!  And don’t let them hit the top of the piñata, or it will fall off, but the candy won’t fall out.

Candy from Amtrak party piñataThey were able to break the piñata, but it didn’t break exactly on the bottom and fell down, so we shook the candy out for them!  There’s nothing like that free-for-all that happens when the candy starts flying.  Be sure to have something for them to use for collecting their candy; we handed out our favor sacks before the piñata for that purpose.

Amtrak train party favorsThat explains why we didn’t get a picture of this suitcase full of all the favor bags.  We used plain paper sacks, and G glued on one of the party logos.  Inside we had bubbles and…something else I can’t remember…and then they filled them up with candy.  We punched two holes and tied them with ribbon; super simple and low key, which is exactly what we were attempting.

Amtrak party trainMy sweet G requested a REAL train for his train party, in which he and his friends could ride.  There is someone in our neighborhood who has a little train like that, which he rents out for $100…but we passed.  We felt it was more than we wanted to spend, and not a good precedent for future parties!  So, we made our own train, using what we had: boxes!!!  Having just moved, large boxes were easy to find.  We used one jogging stroller and our red wagon, and borrowed a neighbor’s wagon.  I was going to paint the boxes, but G said he was fine with just the Amtrak stripes.  Rather than try to paint those, we used colored duct tape!  Cut out some windows and doors, and we were good to go.  The kids LOVED this, and the adults got plenty of exercise pushing it around!

Packing paper funIn keeping with our trend of using what we had, we amassed all of our packing paper into one giant mountain in the basement…and jumped in!  The kids (and adults!) played in the paper for over thirty minutes straight.  No need for elaborate party games when you have a mountain of paper!

This party was fun, relaxed, and made G feel very special: mission accomplished.  Amtrak style.

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