How to create your own smart haunted house this Halloween
How to scare trick-or-treaters when they come knocking at your door on Halloween night.
Halloween is almost upon us, and now is the time to break out the decorations and horror-flick marathons. While spiderwebs, pumpkins, and costume makeup are great ways to decorate your home for the night of fright, why not change things up this year by adding new technology to provide over-the-top experiences for the soon-to-be trick-or-treaters? Here are some ideas we came up with to make your smart home the talk of the neighborhood. Check out these new smart devices and systems, which are easy to set up and get you into the Halloween spirit this year.
If you own a Ring video doorbell or Google Nest Doorbell, you have options to help you get ready for Halloween. For Ring users, you have three ways to get into the spirit; the company has themed face plates, chime tones, and quick replies to your Ring Video Doorbells. Ring Video Doorbell owners can purchase or add Halloween customizations to their Ring devices via the Ring app. If you don't know, Quick Replies are part of Ring video doorbells' interactive answering machine experience. Every time someone pushes your Ring Video Doorbell, and you can't answer the door, a quick reply can play. For Halloween, Ring has created three new preset Halloween-themed responses for users to choose from and play on their Ring Video doorbell. The three new sounds are "children trick or treating," "werewolf howl," and "a witch fire burn and cauldron bubble" chime. All instructions on changing your Ring chime tones are available in the Ring app or on Ring's website. You can also buy Halloween-themed faceplates or replace the famous Ring "Ding Dong" sound with a scarier chime tone, like a screeching cat or creaky door all in the Ring app.
And for those of you who don't have a Ring Chime, an Amazon Echo speaker can be adjusted to make a spooky sound when the doorbell is pressed. Go to your Alexa app, find your doorbell, go to settings, and choose a "doorbell sound." It's that simple.
For Google Nest Doorbell owners (this includes Nest Hello and Google Nest Doorbell - battery or wired), you can get Halloween-themed tones like a skeleton dance, a spooky raven, a ghostly boo, or, my favorite, a howling werewolf. Just go to your Google Home app and tap on your doorbell. Then select settings and doorbell theme. Then you can choose your seasonal doorbell therm. Note you need to make sure your Google Home app is version 188.8.131.52) or newer, and the Halloween theme is only available until November 1st.
Lastly, Vivint offers fun, temporary features to its Doorbell Camera Pro (2nd Gen) that allow customers to use limited-time, themed chimes that change with the season. Vivint has you covered from spooky to Santa with chimes like Spooky Laughs, Witches Laugh, Howl at the Moon, Scary Organ, Creep Bells, and Trick or Treat. Just go to your Vivint app and select the chime for your home. Note that these Halloween chimes will expire automatically at 5:59 AM on November 2nd.
Nothing says spooky like dark and decorative lighting. Install some Philips dimmable color light strips in the living room and outside to amp up the mood. You can choose from 16 million colors — including purples, oranges, and reds — all of which you can control with timers, smart controls, and voice control. Don't forget to purchase some individual smart lights as well to place inside your jack-o'-lanterns and other decorations to take them to the next level. Also, Hue has an array of smart outdoor lighting products, including spotlights, light bars, spotlights, wall light extensions, and pathway lights. These can be linked together using the Hue app or voice commands using compatible Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant-enabled smart devices. (Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility find engine, to see the other compatible products that work with Philips Hue smart lights.)
Another company that makes smart outdoor lights is Govee. Their Govee Outdoor LED Strip Lights provide outdoor light strips that are IP65-rated waterproof, 32.8ft in length, and offer RGBIC Color Changing Outdoor Lights perfect for Halloween. You can control them via their free Bluetooth App Control and install them in the eaves, garden, or along your path. They cost only $69.99 and are available on Amazon.
Halloween can't get too far along without eerie fog seeping out of the woodwork. If you want to add ghostly appearances to your living room and/or doorstep, a wireless DIY fog machine is the way to go. There are hundreds of great options for this particular product, but if you want to control your hauntingly decorated home from your smartphone, consider a fog machine like the Antari WiFi 800 fog machine or Theefun 2500CFM Fog Machine with Wireless Remote Control ($45.99 on Amazon.) Antari is compatible with iPhones and Androids, and Theefun comes with a remote control so users can determine how much fog they want to produce and for how long.
Alexa is the ultimate sidekick for Halloween this year. She not only plays just about any creepy tune, from "Monster Mash" to the sounds of ghouls and goblins for your Halloween party, but she can also help you create the scariest atmosphere yet. Alexa's skills have been upgraded to play pranks on the other people in your home, provide fun facts and games, yell spooky screams, tell scary stories, and even help you pick out the perfect Halloween costume.
Halloween is all about expecting the unexpected. With the Philips Hue Motion Sensor, you can sync up your Philips lights, Alexa, and many other devices to set off a startling show when trick-or-treaters arrive at your door. You can also time sounds, lights, and other effects to turn on and off at various moments if you don't plan on being home Halloween night or control their intensity and frequency straight from a hiding spot indoors.
And for those who are creative, check out Govee Neon LED Rope Lights. These smart rope lights are thicker than standard smart lights and can provide a brighter experience. Govee Smart Neon Rope Lights come in 10-foot lengths and are made of flexible and bendable material. For Halloween, users can brighten up a wall with a creative Halloween design or light up the area behind a scary skeleton or Halloween decoration on the outside of their smart home. (Read more about Govee Smart Neon LED Rope Lights. here.) Govee Neon LED Rope Lights cost $99.99 and are available on Amazon.
You can control your decorations all night regardless of where you plan to set up your haunted shop on Oct. 31.
For more interactive Halloween effects, try getting ahold of a wireless projector, such as the NEBULA by Anker Mars 3 Outdoor Portable Projector. You can download various moving graphic videos to the device, such as howling ghosts, that you can then play around with various parts of your home. Project the Halloween creatures on your walls, hang up a sheet in the doorway for an entryway addition, or even project through the inside of your window and turn off the lights for people on the street to see your home's hauntings. The NEBULA by Anker Mars 3 Outdoor Portable Projector has a list price of $1,099.99 and is available on Amazon for $1,049.99, 5% off. If you want something a little less expensive, you can pick up NEBULA by Anker Capsule II Smart Portable Mini Projector with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. for only $499.99 on Amazon.
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