Trunk or Treat – Monsters Incorporated

It has become a recent tradition of ours to create a one of a kind “trunk or treat” display for our car. For those of you that have never heard of a “trunk or treat”, it is an opportunity for kids to trick or treat, in a safe, controlled environment, where people get creative and decorate their car trunks in fun or spooky ways. The kids, dress up in their costumes and go from trunk to trunk, trick or treating, usually set up in a church or school parking lot. Our church has been doing this for as long as I can remember so we are fairly accustomed to the idea. Recently my kid’s school started doing it.

When my husband and I first started participating in trunk or treats we used the same standard decorations most people use. We did a basic scary scene. We had a Graveyard with some skeletons, a fog machine, strobe lights, etc. We did that for about 12 years or so.

Three years ago, and our first year at our kid’s new school, we dusted off our old decorations and were once again, proud of our standard work of art. Shortly after arriving to their first annual trunk or treat, we immediately realized that we were not in “Kansas”  anymore. Beings that it was a competition, we soon realized that our 12 year old decorations were just not going to stand out, or set us apart from the 25 other cars, with the same decoration concept. We accepted our 1st year defeat and went home.

Year two we decided to get a LOT more creative. We made a GIANT nose out of paper mache’ and called It “Pick for Treat.” Kids would have to reach into the nose to get candy. Occasionally we would spray green silly string out of the nose for effect. It was an immediate sensation and became a HUGE hit!!!! We took home first prize easily and our kids had a new found level of respect for mom and dad and their EPIC abilities. Now here is where the real problem began…. We set the bar way too high. We were at the top and we got there too fast. The pressure was now on us to stay there. Not only did our kids expect us to deliver again this year, but the other competitive parents had acknowledged the new expectation.

So first, we had to come up with another good idea and it had to be interactive. My first idea was to paint the nose a different color and do it again, and settle for maybe 3rd place. I mean bronze ain’t bad, right?  You can imagine the look on our kids faces when we said, lets just have fun and use the nose again. I should mention that last year the prize for winning first place was a pancake breakfast for their entire class. Our children reiterated to us that third place received no such pancake breakfast.

Ok, FINE, lets do this! We bounced around our ideas. We thought about Alice in Wonderland and how cool it would be to make the small door she went through. The only problem is we couldn’t think of a way to make it interactive. We continued with the door ideas and said why not make it a monsters inc. door.  I mean, is there a more iconic halloween door concept? We could flip it and have the trick or treaters do the scaring. We all agreed, lets do a Monsters Inc. door!!!!!

First thing we did was to look online for inspiration. Next we had to decide how much work would we put into this. Would we just make a door opening and paint the outside or would we build depth? Would we add lighting or leave it plain. I will say that as we started working the original plan was very bland. As we continued we decided to add more and more. We didn’t take many photos of the creation process, however there were a few. Below is the top of the door after we put in the door light. You can see that we decided to build depth on the project by using different thicknesses of wood. We also made the decision too add two lights. We put one above the door and we put one in the scream tank.


Below is the door with one coat of primer and without the scream tank or floor. You can see the depth. Everything was made out of wood at this point accept the light and the door hinges.

Below is the finished door. You can see the “the scream tank has now been installed. We used pvc pipe for the tank. For the key pad I found an old supersize tv remote from goodwill and cut it apart and glued the numbers on. We added some rubber hose for the connectors and one more light inside the scream tank.

MI3To top it all off we added some Monsters Inc. employees and a few odds and ends. Our daughter made the sign about an hour before the event. She did a great job, especially in such a short time.

MI4Don’t forget about “Boo”


MI6After you swipe the door key card, you must activate the door by pushing the button. To light it up we used battery powered Christmas lights, wired to a switch. (the same for the scream tank). The kids are then instructed that we need them to scare the little girl inside because we need children’s screams for power to run our monster city.

MI7Kids then push open the door and find a girls room. They then roar like a monster to scare the girl. My husband used his cell phone (with a pre recorded scream sound) to make the sound of a child screaming. After which he pushed the button for the light on the scream tank. Indicating they filled the tank, for a job well done!

MI8To give it a finished touch I decorated the inside to look like a little girls room with a doll house, bed, dresser, and picture.

Overall it was another huge success and we now have a another large halloween decoration taking up space in our basement.

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