Theme Ideas for Trunk or Treat


Trunk-or-treating is an excellent way to engage the entire family in a safe and creative activity. Get together as a group to paint, glue, sew, saw and otherwise construct a Halloween-inspired theme in the trunk of your car. Then gather with other families in a parking lot and let the kids trick-or-treat from trunk to trunk in a protected and entertaining environment. Keep your budget in check by combing through closets, attics, and thrift stores for inspiration. Consider themes that the whole family can represent through their costumes. And don't be afraid to incorporate dry ice or Christmas lights to add to the spooky atmosphere.

Fall Harvest

Halloween under the Sea

  • Create a background of blue using sheets, curtains, tee-shirts or table cloths and cover with a fish net or similar object. Cut lobsters out of construction paper or cardboard and top them with witches hats and small brooms in their pincers. Do the same for crabs but use ghost costumes with their legs and eyes poking out. Paint small pumpkins blue and add a goldfish or two swimming around. Scatter rocks, shells, sand and drift wood across the floor (contain sand in a cookie sheet or two for easy clean-up). Fill a treasure chest with treats and place it in the center. String a "Happy Halloween" banner across the top.

Action Figure/Movie Inspiration

  • Use action figures as inspiration and build your set around Star Wars, Transformers or other movies. Dress them in costumes as if they are attending a Halloween party. Create small dioramas out of shoe boxes to set the different characters in different rooms. Some could be standing around a punch bowl while others are in the kitchen. Or perhaps some guests are chatting in the backyard around a barbecue or pool.

Zoo Theme

  • Put those stuffed animals to good use. Dress as a zookeeper or an animal. Offer animal face-painting, particularly for the curmudgeons who did not come in costume.

Vampire's Coffin

  • Depending on the age of the trunk-or-treaters, consider lining the trunk with satin and dressing as a vampire. Use the trunk safety latch to pop out and surprise visitors with a hearty "Mmmwa-ah-ah!"

Fairy Tales

  • Seek inspiration from favorite children's stories and set the scene for a Mad Hatter's tea party, a dollhouse bedecked as the cottage belonging to Goldilocks' three bears, Prince Charming's castle, or a bedroom set for seven dwarfs.

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  • Photo Credit Steve Allen/Stockbyte/Getty Images pumpkins and fall flowers image by MAXFX from treasure chest image by .shock from dtuffed bears 2 image by Gale Distler from
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