When I was younger, Halloween meant carving a scary face into a pumpkin or asking neighbours for sweets wearing some sort of creepy costume. Now, though, Halloween traditions are getting smarter than ever before. In fact, there are some incredible technologies out there that are changing the way we celebrate the annual event.
With the spookiest day of the year just around the corner, I’ve covered the tech that will ensure Halloween is as scary as ever — however you’re planning to celebrate.
- Devilish 3D disguises
Back in the day, if you wanted to dress up or decorate for Halloween, it was a case of getting creative with the face paints or buying some plastic spiders. However, you can now use the power of 3D printing to build your own props, accessories, decorations and costumes.
As 3D printing becomes more affordable and accessible, this trend is growing. Searching for ‘3D printing Halloween ideas’ already brings up over 34 million results, with everything from demonic goat masks (yes, really) to cute cauldron candy buckets. PC Mag even created a roundup of the best models out there, should you be tempted to take up the hobby.
As someone who is seriously committed to fancy dress (I once painted myself green and have been known to spend hours on my costume), I can see the merit for props and decorations, but personally, I’m still old school when it comes to my reliable face paints and fancy-dress box.
- Ghostly goings on
Forget Ghostbusters, what about tech that actual paranormal investigators use? From capturing eerie voices on digital audio recorders to detecting sudden temperature drops using thermal imagers, there are many gadgets out there to help you become a real-life ghosthunter for the night.
While every horror movie ever explains why visiting haunted houses is a terrible idea, it could be a devilishly different way to spend the evening. Just plug a thermal imager into your smartphone (such as this one from Seek) or use an inexpensive full-spectrum digital camera like this one from Full Spectrum to capture any spooky sounds and images and wow your friends the next day. That is, of course, if you survive the night (muahaha)…
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, technology could hold the key to proving or disproving the phenomenon once and for all — and what better time to try it out than Halloween?
- Alarming animatronics
When it comes to throwing an epic Halloween party, decorations are key. But, while pumpkins, candles and streamers are Halloween staples, there are easy ways to incorporate technology into your spooky shindig.
Embedding automation and motion sensors into decorations is an easy way to make sure your Halloween decorations are both horrifying and hi-tech, whether it’s statues that spring out on unsuspecting guests or spooky sounds that are set off when they walk by.
Home automation company Control4 used its tech to create a fully automated haunted house experience a few years ago. From freaky fog machines to lurid lighting and petrifying puppets to a bubbling ‘blood fountain’, everything could start, stop, move, or be controlled by automation.
So, whether you want to blow £250 on a six-foot ‘lunging’ Grim Reaper (I mean, payday is coming up) or keep budget-friendly with a caged skeleton for just over a tenner, you can use automation to make sure your guests have a night they’ll never forget.
- Techy trick or treating
Last year saw the appearance of ‘virtual trick-or-treat’ apps, such as Treat Town, that helped stop the spread of Covid-19. While in-person is back this year, your mobile phone can still make going door to door safer.
Nothing puts a dampener on the frightening festivities more than visiting a house where nobody is home (or they’re hiding behind the sofa with the lights off). Online community hub, Nextdoor has come up with a techy solution, creating a digital ‘trick-or-treat map’ to help plan your route, find the best “streets for treats” and check which neighbours are open to receiving visitors.
Your phone can also help keep everyone safe when they’re out and about. Parents can get some peace of mind by downloading apps like ‘Find My Friends’ or using GPS to locate family members. That way, you can concentrate on more important things, like getting the best sweets before they all go.
- What’s your favourite scary movie?
If you’re not planning to go out and about this Halloween, a frightening film night is a perfect alternative. Scary movies are, of course, best viewed in the dark — and what better way to make it even more atmospheric by pimping your setup with a projector?
A home theatre can help you enhance your favourite horror film with a bigger screen, brighter colours and an overall more immersive experience than your traditional TV. For example, Epson’s EF-12 EpiqVision Mini laser projector gives a full cinematic experience at home, scaling up to 150 inches and providing impressive 3LCD technology for a clearer picture. It also comes with powerful Yamaha speakers built in to ensure the spooky soundtrack gets you on the edge of your seat!
Whether you’re out and about or cosying up at home, technology has the power to bring some frightening fun to your activities, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing this Halloween.