*This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for this year’s Halloween season.
Plastic bats, goofy Jack-o-lanterns, and creepy spiders. Sound familiar? These have been staple Halloween decorations for years. And while there is nothing bad about these ideas, sometimes it’s fun to do a little more. This year, we have some ideas to help you tech-up your Halloween!
1. Use Lighting and Sound to Help Build the Ambiance
Think back to any scary movie you’ve seen. What aspect of the experience scared you the most? Whether it’s Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, or Carrie; I’ve found what scares me the most aren’t the monsters or killers themselves, but the suspense and anticipation that precedes the scare. One of the most effective of these suspense-builders is lighting and sound.
Because I can’t see each suspicious noise or distant scream, it chips away at my courage until I jump in my seat and cover my eyes at every slight rustle of leaves. It’s actually pretty tiring!
This year, do the same to the trick-or-treaters. With a mini strobe light and a little strategic planning, your guests will soon find themselves covered in cold sweat with chills running down their spines. And if you’re feeling extra devious, some strategically placed LED skulls will take the spookiness even further.
Once you have your lighting in place, it’s time to add some sound. The easiest way to do this is with a Bluetooth speaker but a hidden surround sound speaker system will seal the deal. Want to move the sound outdoors? While it’s not recommended to setup indoor speakers outside, make sure you take necessary precautions and weatherproof your audio equipment.
2. Spook Your Neighbors with Projected Animations
While a good set of well-placed speakers and lighting can go a long way in spooking your guests, it’ll seem out of place if you don’t support it with some visuals. One excellent idea is to project animations on your windows. There are a wide variety of downloadable animations ranging from axe killer silhouettes to eerie house interiors (which can actually look pretty realistic). Find the animation that’s right for you.
The concept is to project an animation onto a shower curtain or other such material that is draped over the window from the inside. If done correctly, these projected animations will give your place an excellent haunted house effect. And with the lighting and hidden speakers in place, you’ll have the perfect way of creeping out your neighbors!
If you’re looking to buy a new projector, make sure you read our excellent and in-depth Projector Buying Guide. There, you’ll find everything from brightness considerations to instructions on how to clean the projector’s lens.
3. Use Your Smartphone to Enhance Your Costume
Before you let the trick-or-treaters into your haunted house, you’re going to want to look the part, which means finding the right costume. Costumes are obviously a major consideration when Halloween rolls around. And sometimes it can be hard to decide which costume is best. Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to make sure your costume doesn’t fail to impress.
With your smartphone, you can download an app that will give you a simple answer to your costume woes. For example, take the Digital Dudz app. This app will play a video of a beating heart, glaring eye, or a variety of other objects, to enhance your costume. All you need to do is cut a hole in your shirt (obviously not your favorite one), secure your smartphone on the inside, and you’ll instantly have an open, beating heart as part of your costume that is guaranteed to frighten anyone that looks at it.
For those of you without a smartphone or looking for something new, Newegg’s got your back. While not the most compelling reason to cross over into smartphone territory, it can’t hurt to upgrade! Our selection includes the affordable Blu Studio D630u or the much-anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus.
And if you’re still stuck trying to find the perfect way to send chills up people’s spines, just get this: