Trunk-or-Treat Idea: Turn Your Car Into a Pirate Ship

Ahoy, matey! Set sail with this DIY pirate ship decoration that's sure to steal the show at your next Halloween trunk-or-treat event.

September 12, 2020

Photo by: Brittney Gazaway, Styling by Jill Tennant Design

Brittney Gazaway, Styling by Jill Tennant Design

Trunk-or-treat events are a great way to offer kids a safe, fun-filled night of trick-or-treating. However, the most fun part may be getting to decorate your car and competing for the most creative trunk award. ARRRRGGGGGH! You may have just struck trunk-or-treat treasure with this DIY pirate ship idea.

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Trunk-or-Treat Pirate Ship
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Materials Needed

  • large cardboard box
  • duct tape
  • wood grain bulletin board paper
  • (4) 1/2” x 5’ PVC pipes
  • (3) 1/2” PVC cross connectors
  • metal file
  • brown, yellow and gray oil paint
  • rag
  • (2) 4’ x 5’ canvas drop cloths
  • floral foam wreath form
  • craft sticks
  • brown spray paint
  • PVC cutters
  • measuring tape

Make the Bow

Begin by cutting the top flaps off of a large cardboard box (Image 1). Separate one corner and lay the box out flat, then reinforce the remaining flaps with duct tape (Image 2). Cover the box with wood grain bulletin board paper, wrapping like a package and securing on the backside using duct tape (Images 2 & 3).

Create Mast Frame

To create a realistic mast, start by cutting four pieces of 1/2-inch PVC pipe to these measurements: one 48-inch piece, two 30-inch pieces, three 24-inch pieces, three 19-inch-pieces and one 6-inch piece (Image 1). Once cut, rough the surface of the pipe up with a metal file and paint with oil paints to resemble wood (Images 2 & 3). When the paint has dried, assemble the frame using cross connectors to create a Christmas tree shape (Images 4 & 5).

Tie on Mast

Cut 5-inch slits on one side of each drop cloth and use the created strips to tie the drop cloths onto the top and middle tier of the PVC frame (Images 1, 2 & 3).

Build Steering Wheel & Port Holes

Create a steering wheel worthy of a true pirate ship with a floral wreath form and craft sticks. To do so, just push the craft sticks into the wreath form's outer edge in the style of a ship steering wheel and coat all parts with brown spray paint (Images 1 & 2). Add as many coats as desired, leaving ample drying time between coats. To make the port holes, glue small round buttons onto a flat chipboard or wood wreath form, then spray paint black. Glue a piece of translucent parchment paper to the back and attach to the outside of the bow (Image 3).

Set Sail

To set up your parking lot pirate ship, drape the back of your car in fishing net, then simply lean the mast against the back of your car and place the bow around it.

Take the theme up a notch by bringing along some pirate-themed decor and sporting a hat and eye patch as you steer the ship toward trunk-or-treat treasure.

Photo by: Brittney Gazaway, Styling by Jill Tennant Design

Brittney Gazaway, Styling by Jill Tennant Design

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