Trunk or Treat: A New Halloween Tradition for Today’s Busy Families

If you’re new to parenting, the term Trunk or Treat may be unfamiliar. It’s basically organized trick or treating out of the trunks of people’s cars. Trunk or treat events have become more and more popular in recent years, giving kids a safe and fun alternative to trick-or-treating door-to-door in their neighborhoods.

Halloween Trunk or Treat

The Event

Parents, grandparents, kids, and teachers arrive at the designated parking area. They park, pop their trunks to reveal a Halloween cache of candies, and invite the costumed children to walk from car to car, filling their bags with goodies from each trunk.

Trunk or Treaters

Trunk or treat is the perfect Halloween activity that works well for group organizations such as preschools, Sunday schools, Hebrew schoosl or CCD classes, mommy and me groups, scouts, or just an organized fall event sponsored by the town or city where you live.

Easier for Toddlers

It’s a great option for moms of toddlers or preschoolers who may not be ready for the long walk through the crowded and dark neighborhood on Halloween night.

Trunk or Treaters

Tips for Hosting a Trunk or Treat Event

Select a location where you’ll be able to arrange for a private, invite-only event. Be sure to obtain permission if the trunk or treat is to be held in a public area, such as the town’s municipal park or the school parking lot.

Send out an advance notice that a Trunk or Treat will be planned for a specific date, time and place during Halloween season. You can briefly explain what a trunk or treat is, for people who aren’t yet familiar with the concept.

Trunk or Treat Decorating

Avoid hosting your Trunk or Treat at the same time as regularly scheduled trick or treating.

Let Trunk or Treat participants know that they will be expected to contribute wrapped candy treats to pass out to the children.

Encourage parents to make their cars look festive using simple, low-cost Halloween decorations.

Trunk or Treating

Remind parents that kids should wear costumes. You might want to suggest that parents keep their own Halloween garb to a minimum, so that everyone can be easily identified. Although we’ve always had fun getting totally decked out in our adult Halloween costumes.

You can make it a contest, with prizes for scariest, silliest and most creative costumes, or Best Trunk Decorations.

At our preschool, each “grade” would come out and “parade” in a line, showing off their costumes, and then parading past the trunks to collect their Halloween treats.

Trunk or Treating

More Tips for Making Trunk or Treat Festive and Fun

This is a great opportunity to clean out your car. Make sure the trunk is clear of clutter and you’ve vacuumed up the dust and dirt.
If you don’t have time to empty your trunk, you can always throw a dark colored blanket over the clutter and add a few jack o’ lanterns.
Find out how many guests are expected to attend, so that you’ll know how much candy to buy.
Make sure treats are purchased pre-wrapped, for the safety of all.

Trunk or Treat Monster

Trunk or Treat Decorating Ideas

Decorating your trunk for Trunk or Treat is a great part of the fun. You can decorate with inexpensive Halloween decorations, or encourage your kids, and maybe even their friends, to help decorate the trunk of your car. Let them be creative and come up with their own homemade decorations using recycled items from around the house. Here are some ideas.

Trunk or Treat Decor

Pumpkin painting and parent-supervised pumpkin carving
Baskets of gourds and colorful dried corn
Creepy creatures made from a modeling compound such as PlayDoh
Spooky scene dioramas made from shoe boxes, popsicle sticks, construction paper, and cardboard tubes
Haunted Happy Meal house
Homemade ghosts cut out of old sheets and curtains
Mini “hanky haunts” – little ghosts made from old handkerchiefs

Trunk or Treat Decor

Low-cost Halloween Decorations

You can find a lot of great low-cost Halloween decorations, for your trunk, available at your local dollar store. Here are a few ideas.

Battery operated strobe lights, battery-powered “candles,” and flashlights
Plastic bats and skeletons
Spider webs
Light-up jack o’ lanterns (best to use flashlights or battery powered candles, not real candles)

Trunk or Treat Decor

Ideas for a Halloween Trunk Liner

Vinyl Halloween tablecloth
Black or dark colored blanket
Spooky Halloween themed sheets
Burlap bags

Trunk or Treat Decorations

Even your dogs can get in on the fun! Just be sure they are kid-friendly and are on a leash.

Trunk or Treat Dog

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  1. Reply

    Accordingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines on how to celebrate Halloween safely. No big surprise: Classic door-to-door trick-or-treating and crowded, boozy costume parties are not recommended.

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