Cheap trunk-or-treat decorating ideas for your car

Trunk-or-treating is a fun, safe alternative to going door to door on Halloween. Even though Halloween candy is the highlight of the event for children, trunk-or-treat decorating ideas set the atmosphere for the event.

The usual suspects

Fake spider webs are perfect trunk-or-treat decorating ideas. They are inexpensive, quick to apply, easy to remove and can cover a small or even large surface. The material also makes it possible to entangle candies, which adds a bit of hands-on action as children may try to untangle them. Augment the decor with plastic bats -- hung from fishing line -- and a few pumpkins you place around the wheels. Depending on your trunk's setup, you can actually add a lot of the decor before leaving home.

Christian trunk-or-treat ideas

If trunk-or-treating will be a church-sponsored occasion, go for Biblical themes that the children are familiar with. Cut out large plywood sheets to resemble two fish; attach one fish to each side of the car with bungee cord through the window. The trunk is its mouth. Color it to look somewhat cute -- not overly scary, especially when dealing with preschoolers -- and dress yourself in typical prophet garb. You and the car are now Jonah and the big fish.

When plywood and paint are out of the budget, pick up a cheap green indoor/outdoor rug. Borrow your child's stuffed animals. Deck out the trunk's interior with the green rug; if you have enough rug left over, cover the outside of the car as well. Place the stuffed animals all over the car. Dress up as an old man; you are now the creator on the sixth day.

Trunk-or-treat themes

Thematic trunk-or-treat decorating ideas allow for a lot of creativity and the use of items you already have in the home. For example, if you want to do a "Hey Diddle Diddle" theme, hang dishes and spoons from the trunk lid. Attach paper legs to them to make it clear that they represent the dish running away with the spoon. A jumping cow can be as simple as a cardboard cut-out jumping over your car -- if it is yellow. The little dog may be your own pet, which accompanies you to the event. If you play the violin, dress up with cat ears to complete the theme; play simple melodies as the children arrive.

Another option is a Western theme. In this case, trunk-or-treat decorating ideas call for cowboy boots, large hats, ropes, hay bales and country music blaring from the radio. Trick out your car's exterior with removable cling-on cow patch stickers. Apply temporary window paint to the glass of the car and detail a desert scene or a Western town.

Last-minute suggestions…

Decorate a car that you do not mind getting dirty or scratched. This is not the time to bring out the collector car. Avoid the use of duct tape when attaching cardboard items to the vehicle; the tape leaves a sticky residue. Painter's tape, bungee cords and wire are frequently better choices. Keep it age-appropriate and minimize guts and gore displays; trunk-or-treating is usually done by younger children.

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