The frightening reality is that Halloween will be a little different this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic far from over. But it’s not entirely canceled! While we’re advised to stay away from indoor parties, door-to-door trick-or-treating, and walking through haunted houses, there are still a whole host of fun ways to get in the spirit.
And it all begins at home. Get ready to trick out your place into a Halloween masterpiece with some of the same smart devices you rely on to make your life easier.
With the tap of a finger, you can transform your home into a spooky haunted house—or scare the pants off your neighbors. Cue evil laughter here!
Ready to get started? Here’s how to use the latest apps and tech to transform your home into the spookiest, most festive place on the block.
1. Spooky indoor lighting
Lighting sets the mood for any celebration, whether it’s creepy and haunting or fun and whimsical for the younger set.
“They are so easy to install, set up, and control with your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant,” says Perotti. “You can change the everyday white glow to orange, purple, or slime green.”
If you prefer to use Bluetooth options, try the new Philips Hue smart LED bulbs. Download the Hue Bluetooth app to control up to 10 lights. Create your own lighting scenes or use the ready-to-go Fright Lights formula just for Halloween.
Choose your lights to cycle through bright, festive colors or moody and spooky hues that brighten and dim for a spine-chilling haunted house effect.
Take this one step further by getting your hands on the Nexlux LED strip lights, Perotti suggests.
“These lights are really easy to roll out and install,” he says. “Line your front door frame and windows to cast an eerie glow on the walls. Use them inside your fireplace, under furniture, and anywhere that will create a fun, spooky mood.”
2. Spine-chilling curb appeal
Instead of handing out treats this year, the Centers for Disease Control recommends a one-way, take-and-go treat line with individually wrapped goodie bags, placed at the edge of your front yard or end of the driveway.
Let trick-or-treaters know you have candy by illuminating your home with Philips Lily spotlights. Help your trick-or-treaters find the goods by lining the underside of your treat table with festive Halloween colors using Philips Hue outdoor lightstrips.
3. Howling sound effects
Nothing scares the daylights out of unsuspecting passersby like a blood-curdling scream or an eerie howl. Luckily, you don’t have to set up a sound system to do it these days.
Perotti likes the Braven Brv-Mini speaker.
“It’s no larger than a can of Perrier, yet it’s fun and powerful—and most importantly for Halloween, loud,” Perotti says. “You can easily hide it in a pumpkin or behind a planter.”
Just think of the fun you’ll have when you pair it with your Google Nest Mini to transmit your best witch’s welcome or devilish cackle. Use it inside to enhance your haunted estate with sounds of creaking wood, howling wind, or rattling chains.
4. Crumb-eating ghost
Send shivers down their spines, and clean up pretzel and potato chip crumbs at the same time with a bit of creative ingenuity.
“For those who like to play and tinker, how about using your iRobot Roomba?” suggests Perotti.
Take a simple and lightweight PVC pipe, mount it on the center, add a lightweight Styrofoam wig head or sphere. Then drape a ghost costume over it and let it float around the party.
5. Creepy and scary doorbell ringtones
If you’ve been thinking about getting a video doorbell, there’s no better time to install one, says Dan DiClerico, a home expert with HomeAdvisor.
“Not only will it allow you to keep tabs on trick-or-treaters, but you can also choose a special Halloween-themed chime,” DiClerico says.
Google Nest Hello doorbell owners, for example, can program their chime to play the sound of a vampire, ghost, or monster. (The ringtones are typically released a week or two before Halloween and offered for a limited time.)
6. Motion-sensor fright night
Another way to program devices to go off just as unsuspecting trick-or-treaters approach the house or a family member enters a dark hallway is to use a Wyze smart plug with a built-in motion sensor.
Anything can be plugged into a smart plug with a motion sensor (like the Westek MLC4BC plug-in, motion-activated control) so you don’t have to worry about compatibility, says DiClerico. Smart plugs are often sold in a package with a motion sensor, like the Wyze Sense kit, he notes.
And now your fright night options are practically limitless. You can program fog machines, strobe lights, path lights, outdoor projectors, and more for a spooky—and properly social-distanced—Halloween.
Lisa Marie Conklin knows a little something about moving. She’s moved eight times in the past 10 years but currently calls Baltimore home. She writes for Reader’s Digest, Family Handyman, The Healthy, Taste of Home, and MSN. Follow @cornish_conklin