At Ozobot, we believe everyone is creative. With Halloween quickly approaching, we’re sharing ideas and inspiration to help you hack the traditional haunted house. That’s right, it’s that eerie time of year when horror movies are at the forefront, morbid costumes and masks cover the streets, and homes are transformed into haunted houses. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 69% of Americans celebrate Halloween each year, and 48.6% of us plan to decorate our homes into a frightening dwelling.
In this day and age, it’s not enough to simply scatter a few skeletons and bats on the lawn. People are starting to go all out with their decorations, most of them using the latest technology to seriously scare their neighbors and trick-or-treaters. With Americans spending a total of almost $2.4 billion on decorations, the new high-tech options come at a price, but people are willing to pay it to have the bragging rights of being the scariest house on the block.
What’s one of the most popular new trends in Halloween decor? Window projections. Purchase a digital projector and choose from various digital downloads or DVDs containing chilling scenes and characters. The costs for projectors range anywhere from $60-$300 and digital downloads are sold separately. For a player, a DVD player, laptop, or even Raspberry Pi can do the trick. Get more tips about set up from the folks over at How-To Geek.
Now for the really fun part. Check out these realistic digital decorations from ATMOSFX. We’re not going to lie: the zombie ones had our hearts pounding. You can project onto windows, walls, TV monitors, doorways, or even specialized materials to get hologram-like effects. For the artists, animators, and GIF-makers among us, making your own digital decoration is the best route to go! Just be sure to loop it and make it HD-quality.
Animatronics are also becoming creepier and more authentic. These lifelike figures from Grandin Road are sure to amaze even the bravest of souls. Or, make your own animatronics using servos, micro switches, and more with these guides on Instructables.
Remember being a kid and going trick-or-treating? There were always those few houses that had the lifelike (which, back in the day probably weren’t so realistic) figures in the walkway leading up to the door. That feeling of dread would come over you as you slowly walked by, pretending to not be scared when, in reality, you were hardly breathing from terror. Will it move? Will it grab you? Are you going to make it to that candy bowl? Even as adults, we still get those feelings on Halloween, and we’re pretty sure these high-tech animatronics are the reasons for our fear.
A Living Jack-O-Lantern
This last one isn’t “spooky” but it is a fun way to incorporate tech into your Halloween decor and you can include the kids!
Pumpkin carving is one thing that kids love to do during the Halloween season. Jack-O-Lanterns are usually proudly displayed on doorsteps or in windows with candles lit up inside to illuminate the chiseled artwork. What about making those Jack-O-Lanterns come to life?
“Throwie” lights are button cell batteries with LED lights attached, and they’re a great way to incorporate tech to make your pumpkin come to life. Simply tape the pieces together and place them in your pumpkin for that glowing effect. Want to get a little more technical? Check out how the team at PCWorld used “throwie” lights, a micro-servo, and an Arduino Nano to bring a Jack-O-Lantern to life!
What are some ways you are utilizing tech in your Halloween decor? We’d love to see your photos and ideas!