Halloween is a favourite time for both young and old. For kids, the fun comes in dressing up in costumes, going trick-or-treating and then gorging on free candy. And as adults, the recent surge in compact, personal, mobile and even wearable tech has allowed many grown-ups to indulge in their fun side and incorporate technology into their Halloween plans.
And don’t forget the office, as many Halloween-themed work parties can benefit from a dose of tech creativity to make it extra memorable. Scare yourself silly in virtual reality, make the most of your smartphone to keep your kids safe, or invest in some tech including motion-triggered sounds and sights to make your office cubicle or haunted house stand out from all the other macabre mansions on the block.
Here are five of our favourite innovations and new tech gadgets, costumes and ghoulish gizmos for this Halloween.
1. Discover Your Own Ghosts
One of the easiest ways to get into the Halloween spirit is to go on a real-life ghost hunt. Okay, so maybe the ghosts you’ll find won’t be real, but it’s still fun to explore your community and seek out some spooky paranormal sightings.
Ghost Radar, and app available on iOS and Android, detects paranormal activity by “making various readings on the device.” The app analyzes your environment and detects interest patterns, which may be indicative of activity from beyond the grave.
And as a throwback to the old Nightmare board game, Ghost Radar will occasionally speak to you, letting you know when you’ve stumbled upon the ghostly remains of a person’s memory. Don’t be surprised when you hear a raspy whisper or unearthly growl while on your search.
At the office, take a ghost tour as part of a team-building exercise or group outing. The Ghost Radar Classic version is available for free, and if you’re passionate about the paranormal, check out their Legacy and Connect versions for advanced features.
2. Use Motion Detectors to Terrify with Technology
Have you ever dreamed of building your very own haunted house? Thanks to advancements in technology, creating a chilling, thrilling haunted house is now a reality for the average homeowner and tech geek.
Home automation company Control4 introduced ‘Scared Haunt,’ a fully automated haunted house which uses motion sensor technology to initiate a series of terrifying traps and ghostly triggers to frighten those brave enough to enter.
Even if you don’t have a home automation system, you can still purchase a variety of motion-sensor activated decorations to adorn your home and automate everything from screams, to fog machines and slamming doors. Or build them yourself using a Raspberry Pi, if you’re feeling particularly innovative, which can also make for some cool devices set up around the office or desk. Everyone will want to attend your meetings.
3. Get Virtually Spooky in VR
Virtual reality is making big waves this year, and you can pick up a Google Cardboard or two for a steal at your local tech hardware store in order to immerse yourself in some scary, Halloween-themed virtual reality experiences.
Some popular VR experiences that we recommend you try out are: Catatonic, Black Mass, Sisters, and House of Terror VR. Just make sure to keep your screams to a minimum and remove the headset if things get too (virtually) real.
These can also make fantastic work party gadgets. If you’re on the party planning committee, set up an office room as a Halloween-themed virtual reality haunted house complete with VR headsets.
4. Create a Hologram Ghost Illusion
This tech idea can range from fun and friendly to spookily scary. Consider reserving this one for later in the evening when the younger kids have gone home to count their candy.
Warning: If you aren’t a fan of scary apparitions and ghostly noises, skip the video and keep scrolling.
Projectors can be used for more than just PowerPoint presentations. How-to Geek shows exactly how to set this illusion up in a doorway — sure to startle any passerby. But once they clue into what’s going on, they’ll be amazed at the awesome magic at play.
Using a projector, a sheer screen, some dark mesh fabric and creative ghostly projections, you can create your own real-life phantoms like this right in front of your eyes. Combine the projection with some creepy audio files, and you’ll have a Halloween sensory overload.
You can also pull off similar illusions using a projector and your front window. Hang a drape over the window and shine a projector with haunting images in that direction. Trick-or-treaters on the street will crown you the coolest (and scariest) house on the block.
5. Set Up a Wireless Trick-or-Treat Route
If your kids are old enough to go trick-or-treating on their own, but you still want to make sure they stay safe while out and about, coordinate with other parents in the neighbourhood to text one another as your kids make it from house to house.
You can even set up pre-defined scavenger hunt points for your kids to make sure they go to the right houses, stay in the neighbourhood and don’t wander too far. Set up those pinpoints and map highlights if they carry a connected device with them, and they’ll have to make it to each spot to collect special treats from your neighbours-in-the-know, or report back to you when they’ve reached a particular pit stop. It will be a fun game for them and a safety measure for you.
For added protection, install the RedPanicButton app. This app, which is available for free on iOS and Android, sets itself as your phone’s screen saver and features (you guessed it) a bright red button that kids can push in the event of an emergency situation. Once pushed, the button will immediately send a text message and email with the GPS location to all of your emergency contacts. The information syncs with Google Maps, allowing you to quickly and easily locate your children in a time of need.
For the adults and work crowd, you can set up a similar style scavenger hunt for a Halloween-themed office adventure and team building exercise. Add pinpoints for customer and partner office locations and you can deliver treats to create a surprising wow moment. And don’t forget to snap pics along the way to post on your company Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles, as this will be a fantastic way to show off your company spirit.