Day of the Dead Trunk-or-Treat Ideas

This post is spon­sored by Oriental Trading Company, but as always, all ideas and opin­ions are my own!

Day of the Dead trunk-or-treat ideas

October is FINALLY here, which means it’s Halloween time and the first project of the season is a Day of the Dead trunk-or-treat! We started participating in the rather new trunk-or-treat tradition a few years ago when my daughter’s school decided to put on the event for the students. The very first set-up I did was inspired by the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and it has been incredibly popular! Since then, I did Nightmare Before Christmas and Mickey Halloween trunks, so I really wanted to focus on a different theme this time around.

I was super excited to partner with Oriental Trading Company on our trunk-or-treat decor this year. As I was browsing through their large array of Halloween decor and costumes, I came upon the colorful Day of the Dead section, which immediately inspired me! The Dia de los Muertos Mexican custom remembers and honors loved ones who have been lost with beautiful vibrant flowers and decorations and the highly recognizable sugar skulls. I couldn’t wait to incorporate it into this season’s motif!

Day of the Dead trunk decor

To begin, I usually determine what will be the most impactful to convey the theme that will also give me the biggest bang for my buck! I started off with a Day of the Dead cutout banner to string across as a backdrop. Whether you are decorating an SUV or sedan, I can attest that this banner will cover the entirety of the background and you will have plenty to spare to utilize for a party! I also lined the bottom with black tulle to add some interest and hide more of the car.

Day of the Dead Ceramic Skull

One of the most essential parts of a Day of the Dead trunk-or-treat is the incorporation of sugar skulls! I found this DIY ceramic skull that would be perfect for the theme and also allow me to decorate it exactly how I wanted. I started off by drawing the design in pencil on the skull, then used black and various colors of vibrant paint to fill in your design. For the outlines and the teeth, I opted for a permanent marker, then added some bling with adhesive gems. To finish it off, I made flowers with crepe paper by twisting and forming them, pinching the bottom for the stem and securing it with tape. I displayed the sugar skull on a tiered stand and added candy to it.

Day of the Dead Skull Wall Sign

When I saw this Day of the Dead skull wall decoration, I thought it would be a great addition to the decor! I love the design and it’s a substantial wood sign that wouldn’t pose any difficulty to hold it up, as opposed to cardboard. And it has glitter details! In my trunk set-ups, I tend to lean towards larger items that are easily visible to trunk-or-treaters and will take up room and the sign certainly did the trick!

Day of the Dead tombstone

Another poignant piece in any Dia de los Muertos display is the tombstone since it is a celebration of the dearly departed. This Day of the Dead tombstone was a great addition that again, helped to create a big impact on the set-up. I also liked that it was taller than the sugar skull sign, creating varying heights throughout the trunk.

Day of the Dead Skull Hat Banner

In all of the trunk-or-treat layouts I’ve done, I always incorporate a banner on the top of the open trunk lid. Sometimes the banners spell out words or in other cases, such as this one, it’s simply added decoration. I was so happy with this Day of the Dead layered felt garland, as it worked perfectly to add dimension and was just stinkin’ cute!

On some additional tiered stands, I added this vintage Day of the Dead skeleton statue with which I fell in love as soon as I saw it to complement the ceramic sugar skull in the center. I tend to pick a few extra special pieces, then add the supplementary decor that isn’t as costly to balance it out since it can be difficult to fill up the space, especially if you have a big trunk!

Day of the Dead car decor

Day of the Dead mask

Doing make-up for sugar skull costume can be extremely difficult and time-consuming, as I have experienced in the past when I did my daughter’s for our Day of the Dead party a couple of years back! I was a bit nervous about having to do it again because our school’s trunk-or-treat event is actually ON Halloween this year and I didn’t want to have to worry about getting it off for our festivities later in the evening. The solution? These Day of the Dead sugar skull photo props! Not only could they be used for photo opps and handing out candy, but they made perfect additions to the decor! To make them stand up, I inserted them into long candles and spread them around throughout the trunk. To add some different heights, I used some wooden crates {painted dark so they wouldn’t be noticeable} and placed the candles on them.

Day of the Dead tissue flower decor

To finish off the Day of the Dead trunk-or-treat, I integrated a bunch of tissue paper flowers in various sizes and colors to fill up the empty spaces. I made the flowers myself by folding tissue paper accordion style, folding and securing it at the center, trimming the ends, then pulling the petals apart. But to save time, you can easily by them ready-made, like these pretty fiesta flower tissue centerpieces!

Day of the Dead Photo booth Mask

Day of the Dead skull banner

Day of the Dead DIY Skull

Day of the Dead set-up

I just love how the entire Day of the Dead trunk-or-treat turned out! Not only does the theme have meaning and tradition, but the decor itself is vibrant and celebratory and definitely an eye catcher!

And if you are supplementing your celebration with a party, don’t forget to check out the Dia de los Muertos party for additional ideas, as well as my sugar skull fondant topper tutorial!

Day of the Dead Trunk-or-Treat Decorating Ideas ~ Lynlee's


Merci Beaucoup!

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  1. I would so come to your trunk if I saw this display. So creative and fun. You did great job

  2. The skulls are cute and very colorful. What a non-scary way to celebrate the Day of the Dead!

  3. I love trunk-or-treat and it’s so fun to decorate your trunk! This is such a great idea and I’ve never thought to use Oriental Trading for the decorations. Awesome!

    • We just started the trunk-or-treat tradition a few years ago and love it! Oriental Trading is amazing for seasonal and party decor, too! Thanks so much, Stephanie! :)

  4. What a cool idea! :) I always love how vibrant and colorful Day of the Dead decorations are!

  5. Day of the dead isn’t celebrated here in Canada but, I love how vibrant and colourful the decorations are.
    Looks like fun!

    • I was recently introduced to it and just love the Mexican tradition! And I agree that the decor is so pretty!

  6. OMG!!!! Your trunk is so awesome! I love the day of the dead idea.

    • Thank you so very much for your super kind words, Keikilani! I really appreciate it! This theme was so fun! :)

  7. Omg this is epic!!!! We’re going to a trunk or treat Friday! I wish I would have seen this earlier.

    • Thank you so very much, Aaronica! I truly appreciate your sweet words! Have so much fun this weekend! I love this time of year!

  8. Wow! This is a fantastic idea! I’ve never decorated my trunk but we do love to trunk or treat with the kids :)

    • Thank you so very much, Alicia! We just started a few years ago at my daughter’s school and have had lots of fun! :)

  9. That is really cute. I bet its a huge hit at trunk or treat.

  10. I love Dia de los Muertos decorations! Those photo props are a fun way to make the trunk or treat interactive!

  11. You made a great Trunk or Treat with a Day of the Dead theme. My daughter has been wanting to decorate the house like this and I think I will have to pick up some of these decorations.

    • Thank you so much, Kerri! It’s definitely a very fun and colorful theme and in addition, it has meaning! :)