Trunk-or-treating—where the backs of cars and minivans (especially minivans) are transformed into virtual Halloween candy dispensers—is fast becoming a Halloween tradition.

Held in parking lots and neighborhood driveways, the festive events offer a spooky but safe space for kids to fill candy sacks, play games and be embarrassed by their parents' wayyy-too-enthusiastic holiday spirit. Want to start one in your hometown? These tips from veteran trunk-or-treaters will get you rolling.

trunk-or-treat themes
Credit: Courtesy of Lynlee Beckett

Pick a Spot

"A playground, park or church parking lot can offer plenty of space, good lighting and, hopefully, bathrooms. Try to work with your local PTA or school district. They can be key players in drawing kids and residents to your event." —Tara Kennedy-Kline, Shoemakersville, PA

Choose a Theme

"We did a pop-up bake shop [above], an apothecary and a fairy tale-themed trunk. We also try to match the trunk to our daughter's costume. One year, she dressed like a clown, so we did a carnival theme. We also decorate the area in front of the trunk to make the experience even more immersive." —Mariah Leeson, Dallas

Make it a Party

"We have a local DJ who plays Halloween music and brings a fog machine and special lighting to add to the spooky atmosphere. We also offer games like corn hole and tin can alley and ask local businesses to donate prizes for the best trunk. It definitely encourages people to bring their A-game." —T.K.K.

Dress the Part

"When I did The Great Pumpkin trunk [above left], I dressed in orange and wore pumpkin sunglasses. When I did a Day of the Dead trunk [above right], I wore a Mexican dress and a mask." —Lynlee Beckett, Las Vegas

Use the Buddy System

"Man your trunk with a spouse or a friend. One person can entertain while the other passes out candy. And if you need to take a bathroom break, you'll have someone to watch your car!" —Chelsea Keesler, Arlington, TX