Ways to Decorate Your Car for Trunk or Treat

A 'trunk or treat' makes a wholesome way to bring a community together for Halloween, particularly if, for example, members of a religious organization live far away from each other. As kids and kids-at-heart move from car to car in what amounts to one big tailgate party, they can visit a wide range of imaginative themes, all within a safe, secure space. And it's always fun to dress your family to match your car!

Children's Literature

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard

  • Green paint

  • Brown paint

  • A large round basket, or cardboard bent to form a basket

  • Yellow cloth

  • Black cloth to form the letters

Take inspiration from your favorite classic children's books. A "Winnie The Pooh" trunk could feature cardboard cut-out trees surrounding a big jar of "hunny," which would simply be a big, cloth-covered round basket with the word "hunny" stitched on. You could put the candy in the jar, and the family could dress as Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore and company.

Childhood Games

Things You'll Need

  • Construction paper, various colors

  • Balloons

  • Cellphane

  • Cardboard

  • Paint

  • Plastic buckets

  • Glitter spray-paint

A young child's favorite -- and certainly appropriate for Halloween -- the game Candy Land is a perennial favorite. Cut out squares in different colors and place them on the pavement leading up to your trunk, and fill your trunk with oversize candy pieces, as well as the real thing. Use balloons wrapped in cellophane, large cardboard chocolate bars and plastic buckets spray-painted with glitter to serve as gumdrops. Dress as Gramma Nutt, and call everyone over to play.

A Trip to the Zoo

Things You'll Need

  • Stuffed animals

  • Baby gate

  • Straw

If your house is filled with a variety of stuffed animals, it's time to bring them out. Scatter some straw and place your zoo animals behind a baby gate, if you have one, or simply secure some long wooden dowels. Dress the kids as wild animals and yourself as the zookeeper and set them free.

Go Back in Time

Things You'll Need

  • Sixties or 70s paraphernalia

  • Shag carpet

  • Cardboard

  • Paint

  • Beaded curtain

  • Boombox

Pull out all your old lava lamps. Throw down some shag carpet pieces, draw up some peace signs, and hang a curtain of beads. Play some Simon & Garfunkel and dress in your bell-bottoms and tie-dye and get groovy.

I Spy

Things You'll Need

  • Solid color table cloth or sheet

  • Small recognizable items

With a lot of little ones around, it can be fun to fill your trunk with recognizable items for a quick game of I Spy in exchange for candy. Lay a number of items on the floor of your trunk, or tuck them here and there for a more challenging game. Start with, for example, a plastic apple for "I spy something red." You could dress as the movie character James Bond.


Things You'll Need

  • Poster board

  • White paint

  • Pillow

  • Red cloth

For cars with less room in the back, like sedans, turn your trunk into a mouth by taping poster board cutouts of teeth around the top and the bottom of the open trunk. Attach a piece of red cloth so that your trunk is sticking out its tongue, and dress yourself as its dentist.

Arrgh, Matey!

Things You'll Need

  • Sand

  • Chest

  • Chocolate gold coins

  • Costume jewelry

  • Skeleton (optional)

Fill your trunk with sand and place a treasure chest in it. Scatter chocolate gold coins, costume jewelry and even plastic bones and skeletons if you're not worried about scaring the children. Dress as a pirate and share your booty.


Things You'll Need

  • Spider webs

  • Bat decorations

  • Toy Cauldron

  • Other Halloween decorations

Break out the spider webs, the bats and the cauldrons, and turn your minivan into a haunted house! Dress like witch and lure the kiddies in.

Haunted Train

Things You'll Need

  • Poster board

  • White paint

  • Black paint

Turn your car into a train by attaching wheels and a smokestack. Create a white ghost wisping out of the smokestack, and dress as the engineer.

Baby Nest

Things You'll Need

  • Sticks

  • Leaves

  • construction paper

  • cardstock

  • green paint

  • brown paint

If you have a baby, create a nest in your trunk out of sticks and leaves, either real or made out of card stock and construction paper, and place the car seat in the center. Dress your baby as a chick, cover the car seat with construction paper leaves, and dress yourself as the mama bird.

References & Resources