I’m often asked how I come up with ideas for things I design—invitations, parties, costumes…trunks. Yes, I said trunks! If you’re a follower of ours, you know that we participate in our church’s Trunk or Treat event each Halloween. It’s our favorite way to give back to our community by sponsoring a safe and fun alternative to trick-or-treating. The idea is that you decorate the trunk of your car and pass out candy.

Trunk or Treat events are starting to pop up everywhere and are often sponsored by churches and schools. One of the biggest obstacles for most events is getting people to decorate their trunks. I know that many people struggle with how to turn their theme into a reality. Today, I’m going to show you how I turn a theme into a design.

It’s time for another installment of….

I usually start a design by grabbing a piece of paper—sometimes a napkin depending on when inspiration strikes—and a writing utensil. When I know I’ll be emailing a design, I pop on the computer so I don’t have to scan my sketch and then format it. I also like to use the computer when I’m designing around an object like a van. Since I am a visual person, I download a picture of the object so I can see how my design will look on it.

My family asked me to come up with some ideas for their Trunk or Treat theme, “Jonah: A Whale of a Tale.” They have a blue van which they thought would make a perfect whale. My sister, Nora, came up with the idea of buying a silver spray from a party store to represent water shooting out of the whale’s spout—genius! Here’s the actual design I sent them…BUT remember…these are my sketches…

I normally only design the back of the van, but they wanted to add a tail so I designed side and front views as well. I haven’t been able to talk my sister, Dort, into wearing the boat costume but she is making a 2′ x 3′ boat to hold a tub of “Goldfish” treats. I also created a wave banner for them but the waves can be cut from cardstock or posterboard.

As you can see, I use simple and inexpensive materials and I always shop my house first. I recycle cardboard boxes, office and leftover party supplies and then I utilize purchased supplies that are affordable and readily available. When creating items for outdoor events, use items that can withstand most weather conditions. This year I used recycled cardboard boxes, large brads, packing tape and leftover plastic tablecloths to create our design. Even if it sprinkles, the decorations will hold up beautifully!

Hank’s Hint: When working with cardboard, attach pieces together with large brads from the office supply store—the kind you use to make your own spinners for board games. Besides a sturdy closure, the large brads can add a little to the design!

I can’t share this year’s theme yet because it’s always a secret! We will reveal it to our local friends on Thursday night at Trunk or Treat. They’re all waiting to see what we unveil this year since we’re going for the Triple Crown! If you’re looking for more inspiration for creating a trunk of your own, click here and here to see entries from the past couple of years. Due to your requests, I’ll be sharing a tutorial on how to make the faux cupcakes and cookies from our Trix-n-Treat’s Bake Shoppe this week.

I hope you enjoyed a lil’ peek Behind the Pig!

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