Trunk-or-Treating: Halloween in a Pandemic

Trick o trunk. White car trunk decorated for Halloween. Autumn fall decor with red pumpkins and yellow leaves for traditional October holiday outdoor. Social distance and alternative safe celebration

Halloween is around the corner, can you believe it? With all the curveballs that 2020 has thrown at us, we’re all looking for ways to celebrate our favorite holidays and keep a bit of normalcy in our lives. A great socially distanced way to celebrate this year is Trunk-or-Treating! Many communities have trunk-or-treats (check your local churches and schools!) and they’re a great way to celebrate while taking the suggested precautions during COVID-19. Bonus: it’s a fun crafting project for the kids (virtual or home learning arts classes – I’m looking at you!) and something the whole family can get into together! You can’t let those adorable costumes go to waste!

Here are some ideas for decorating your automobile for a fun Trunk or Treat in your neck of the woods:

S’mores Around a Campfire

Get some brown cardboard, cotton, black string and a black marker to make costumes for each of you. Then, all you need is a white shirt and jeans. Make a “fire” with red, orange and yellow tissue paper and put it in the trunk. Add brown cardboard “logs” or paper towel rolls at the base of the fire and print out camping signs to put along the sides of the trunk for more decoration. Do you have the space to make a real bonfire? Even better! If so, decorate your trunk up as the campsite and warm your hands by the fire. Don’t forget the tent! Real s’more treats are always optional, but always appreciated.

The Addams Family

This is a great and easy group costume! Just decorate your trunk like a spooky Addam’s family mansion, complete with spider webs, candles and all! Don’t forget to add Ansel Addams’ tombstone to your decor! Get a bale or two of hay to set up easy seating areas. Download the soundtrack on your phone to add some fun music to pull it all together. Make sure to beware of the thing!


Dress that trunk up like a circus bigtop using wire hangers and white and red paper or fabric! Make a popcorn container using cardboard and red and white paint, and add popcorn by spray painting some cotton balls yellow. Make sure you have a ringleader and circus peanuts. A little tightrope walker (use some rope and a kids toy) will complete your theme!

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This is the most fun arts and crafts project for kids. You can make your rainbow with either balloons or paint one yourself. Get appropriate colored balloons and organize them in a banner to attach to your trunk, or paint a banner the appropriate colors. Don’t forget the order, ROY G BIV! Use cotton or foam to make clouds for the ends of the rainbow. Make a yellow brick road as the path to the rainbow. Decorate the sides of the path with sunflowers. Throw in your own Glinda the Good Witch. We’re not in Kansas anymore!

Under the Sea

Cut white paper or card stock into tooth shapes to add around the trunk so it looks like you’re entering the mouth of a shark. Add pretty corals and seashell decorations around the edges of the trunk to spice it up. Stuffed animals make the best decor for your fish and other nautical characters. Your little mermaid or baby shark will love this one!

A Haunted House

Grab some spiderwebs, some tombstones, skeletons, and anything else you can think of to make your trunk a haunted house. Make some ghosts with chicken wire and white sheets. Use window paint to draw ghosts on your windows, and remember to be very careful when removing window paint so you don’t scratch the glass. Add a spooky soundtrack for extra scares!

Your Favorite Superheroes

Batmobile to the rescue! If Batman is your favorite, decorate that trunk like a Batmobile, Batcave or Gotham City. Dress the family up as all of your favorite Gotham City characters – Robin, the Joker, Catwoman. Don’t forget to send a bat signal! If Frozen is more your style, get some silver streamers and purple, white and blue balloons to make a winter backdrop. Make paper snowflake decorations with white paper and silver glitter as a family. Then send your Elsa and Olaf in to save the day!

Candy Shop

This is a fun one to do with balloons! Get a bunch of multicolored balloons, put them in a clear plastic bag, and put them in the trunk, resembling the inside of a gumball machine. Add red paper around the edges and use foil and cardboard for the “exit” hole of the machine. Dress your characters up like their favorite candy, and be a candy store!

Your Favorite Store (Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, etc)

I know I have a favorite store (hint: it has coffee!) Dress up like your favorite barista or server and transform your trunk into your favorite drive-thru or walk up window. Get bags, boxes and cups from your choice of store to use as extra decor. Make your own golden arches! Would you rather dress up as the food? No problem! Turn your family into cheeseburgers and fries. It will make you hungry, but that’s what the treats are for!

A Castle

You can go spooky, princess-y, or have a roundtable of the most noble knights with this one. Make pillars using cardboard and white paint. Find small flags to put on the top of the “towers.” Add a drawbridge using cardboard and string. Spray paint some trinkets gold and make the trunk your throne! Dragons are always optional. Put on your best crown or tiara and robe and go dazzle your loyal followers.

Make sure you add a treat bucket to each scene, because everyone knows that the treats are the best part! There are so many different ways to dress your trunk up so you can still have a festive, yet socially distanced Halloween this year.

Get creative!

Don’t let a pandemic cancel your Halloween tradition – just modify it! And always remember to stay safe!

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