By Trae Jacobs,
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While many people seem to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, my smart home spidey senses begin tingling this time of year. Few things are more satisfying to a smart home aficionado than coordinating all your smart gadgets for Halloween!
Here are eight different ways you can use smart home gadgets to make this Halloween the best one yet.
1. How Spooky is Your Device’s Manufacturer?
Many smart home companies lean into the holiday festivities, so it’s worth checking if your devices have anything built into their software for Halloween.
For example, Ring provides seasonal Quick Responses for their Video Doorbells. When someone rings your doorbell, they’ll receive an eerie response:
- Open the Ring app.
- Tap the settings cog above your Ring Doorbell’s preview.
- Select “Smart Responses,” then “Quick Replies.”
- Toggle “Quick Replies” on and set your Response Time. You can play the message as soon as they touch the button, or up to 20 seconds later to really spook them!
- Select “Quick Reply Message,” then select “Halloween.”
- Choose your creepy quick response and tap “Save.”
This is just one example — a lot of smart device manufacturers have seasonal features like these, so play around with your device’s settings and see what you can find.
2. Someone’s Watching! Motion-Activated Scenes
When trick-or-treaters make their way up your driveway, you might decide they need to earn their sweet reward — and motion sensors help you do just that.
Most smart bulb manufacturers also offer motion sensors to trigger lights automatically. For example, Philips Hue offers smart bulbs you can change to millions of different colors and outdoor motion sensors to pair them with.
You can change each smart bulb around your house to a different spooky color or use one of the pre-configured spooky scenes in the Hue Scene Gallery:
- Open the Philips Hue app.
- Select the room you want to add your Halloween theme to.
- Under “My Scenes” select “Hue Scene Gallery.”
- Select one of the scenes under “Halloween.”
Use the Hue Bridge to link everything together and automatically light up your dark yard as costumed children approach.
Want to take it a step further? Link everything to Alexa and create a Routine. Using Alexa, you can link even more to your Halloween scene, including:
- Speakers playing spooky sounds
- Inflatable or animatronics connected to smart plugs
This doesn’t just work outside, either — pick up an indoor motion sensor to bring the Halloween vibes into your annual Halloween party!
3. Level Up Your Jack-O-Lanterns with Colorful Candles
Jack-O-Lanterns are a Halloween staple. But, tea lights don’t burn very long and can be a fire hazard if left alone.
Instead of going with the standard, battery-operated flameless candles, try putting some rechargeable color-changing votives inside your pumpkins!
You can control the color and set a timer using a remote control, and each charge provides you with 20 hours of use.
4. Turn Your Roomba into DJ Boo!mba
We’ve all jumped at an unexpected Roomba vacuum cleaner popping into the room. Why not take advantage of this on Halloween?
Here’s how you can use your Roomba to pick up candy corn dropped by guests and freak them out at the same time:
- Get a styrofoam ball and stick it on top of a broomstick or wooden dowel.
- Attach the other end of the handle to your Roomba. Make sure to use something you can remove so you don’t damage your vacuum later!
- Put a sheet over the broomstick — just make sure it’s not long enough for your vacuum to suck up.
- Put your favorite freak-out mask over the top.
- Place your Echo Dot or another small smart speaker underneath the sheet and play your favorite Halloween playlist.
Your guests will gasp when DJ Boo!mba rolls up mid-conversation!
5. Mix Up Your Usual Halloween Playlist with Alexa
Alexa can connect to almost every music streaming service out there, meaning you can use your phone to change the song whenever you want to.
While your guests are listening to Monster Mash on repeat, sneak off into the corner and look up “Halloween sound effects” on Spotify or Apple Music (trust me, there are plenty of pre-made playlists available).
There’s no better way to give people a quick scare than a sudden scream or the sound of maniacal laughter!
6. Emulate The Ring with Smart Routines
It’s something of a party foul to make your party guests watch scary movies all night. But, that doesn’t mean your smart TV or streaming stick needs to be left out of the party!
Whatever smart assistant your TV is connected to, it’s possible to create a routine. So, why not find a “scary TV static” video on YouTube and set it to go off at random points during the evening?
Here’s how you can do it using Alexa Routines:
- Open the Alexa app.
- Tap “More” in the bottom-right corner.
- Select “Routines, then tap the plus sign in the top-right corner to create a new Routine.
- Under “When,” select Add an event > Schedule.
- Select the time you want the event to occur.
- Back at the “New Routine” menu, tap “Add an action” under “Alexa Will.”
- Scroll down and tap “Fire TV,” then select the TV you want to use.
- Select “Play content.”
- Enter the search conditions, such as “Play Scary TV Static on YouTube.”
Repeat this process as many times as you want the static to come on screen.
7. Poltergeist (or Smart) Plugs
We’ve touched on this outside, but using smart plugs means no end to the seemingly unscheduled mayhem popping off at your party.
TVs, animatronic Halloween decor, toasters, pretty much anything with a plug could be set to randomly go off throughout the evening — just plug the device into a smart plug and use your app to schedule “random” times for the device to turn on.
8. Keep Halloween Fun Scary with AirTags
Spooky is fun, but there can be some genuinely scary elements to Halloween. Your kids probably beg you to trick or treat by themselves every year, but a lot of parents are reluctant to let them.
After all, you’re literally sending your children to strangers’ houses to ask for candy.
To give your kids some freedom and yourself a little peace of mind, give them an AirTag to bring along. There are lots of inventive ways to have your child wear an AirTag in a way that won’t “ruin” their costume. You can put them:
Should your kids get a little over-enthusiastic and stay out past curfew, you’ll at least know where they are — even if they’re not in a Wi-Fi zone.
Bonus Ideas: Energy Saving Tips for Fall
Automating Halloween decorations might seem like an energy bill disaster. But, once the last of your victims leave your party, you can use your newfound smart home skills to prepare yourself for the expense of winter and save energy around your home.