It’s almost trick-or-treating time, and the spooky vibe of your home is, well, just the opposite. Here’s how to quickly turn the gear you have — like your TV, smart speakers, and smart light bulbs — into some near-instant Halloween decorations and spooky vibes.
Don’t have everything listed here? don’t worry
It is very likely that you do not have as many technological things in your house as we do. Not only is it our job to play with these things, but for all of us on staff, it’s also a lifestyle.
So if you don’t have all the different bits and pieces, don’t worry. Even some of the elements, used creatively and together, can produce quite a large effect.
The most important thing to remember is that you can get a lot out of it by freeing up something from the usual place it’s parked in your home and using it temporarily for Halloween night or a party.
For example, you might have a smart speaker or smart display that sits in your kitchen all year long, but for Halloween, you can move it around to deliver spooky sounds from a hidden location.
With that in mind, let’s dive in and look at some fun ways to take your everyday smart home tech and gear and give it a last-minute Halloween spin.
Smart home assistants have Halloween treats
If you use Alexa or the Google Assistant in your home, one of the simplest ways to get in on some spooky Halloween action is to take advantage of their Halloween-centric features.
Between the two, Alexa has a bit more potential for Halloween thanks to the robustness and variety of skills and routines the platform supports. And you’re certainly not out of luck if you have a Google-based home because Google Assistant has plenty of Halloween tricks, too.
Even if you’re not feeling overwhelmed by the two platforms’ Halloween deals, read on because smart speakers are pretty handy for Halloween, even if you’re freaking out.
If you have a Ring or Google Nest doorbell, go to the doorbell app and explore the doorbell menu. There you’ll find options to switch from the default ringtone to a spooky Halloween option, like howling werewolves or Dracula-inspired greetings.
In addition to custom doorbells, depending on your smart home platform and devices, you can even temporarily set the doorbell as a trigger for other smart home devices, like lights.
Digital projectors are pure Halloween magic
Not everyone will have a digital projector laying around, but it’s almost criminal not to take advantage of it if you do. Using a projector to power up your Halloween is practically a Halloween cheat code. You don’t need a cutting-edge 4K projector with all the bells and whistles, even an old business-class projector will suffice.
At a minimum, you can use it to project spooky loops pulled from YouTube on the side of your house, or you can set it up in a dark room (with the windows open to the street) and play loops of dancing ghosts or fire on the walls to give your house a haunted look.
If you want something a little more sophisticated, you can get some really nifty loops from companies like AtmosFX. I have used her loops in different ways over the years and have always been impressed.
Whether you have a projector in your basement rec room or can borrow one from the office for the night, there’s a lot you can do with it. Seriously, you’re a few feet of tulle fabric away from being a Halloween legend in your neighborhood.
No projector? use your tv
Turning on a digital projector to project ethereal ghosts through your curtains is definitely a dramatic and spooky effect. But if you don’t have a projector handy, you can temporarily move your TV closer to your window to great effect.
If you leave the window wide open without sheer curtains or material to diffuse the TV, it will end up looking a lot like a TV sitting in the window. But even placing something like a cheap sheer cloth from the craft store or even a plastic paint cloth that has a milky opaque appearance over the window will blur the image and make it creepier.
Covering up black netting (seen above) or cottony fake cobwebs found in stores this time of year might also do the trick.
You can use loops from YouTube or some of the cool loops from AtmosFX, although a lot of their loops are meant for projectors, a lot of them work great on TVs.
Smart speakers are a free and portable environment
Smart speakers are a very easy way to get music or sound effects anywhere you want. They’re small, easy to hide, and perfect for hiding under a piece of furniture on the front porch or placed on a window sill near the front door.
There are a plethora of spooky Halloween vibe tracks on YouTube, and most major music services like Spotify have playlists dedicated just to spooky sounds and vibes. Hide a speaker out of sight by playing one of those playlists and you’ll add just the right amount of spooky retrospective music to the night.
Better yet, pair your Echo speakers in stereo mode (or do the same with your Google Nest speakers) and place one speaker on each side of your porch. Most of the creepy ambient tracks are in stereo and the effect of the creaks or whispers moving from one side of the porch to the other is quite unsettling.
Smart Light Bulbs Really Help Set the Mood
We’re big fans of smart lighting in general, but we especially love how easy it is to make smart lights decorate parties.
In my house, I have a mix of Philips Hue bulbs in my outdoor fixtures and Govee spotlights in the front and backyard. Not only are they great for automated, fine-tuned outdoor lighting, but they’re also fantastic for parties.
As well as simply changing your bulbs from a more neutral warm white to something a bit more seasonal like fiery red or deep orange, you can really lean into the dynamic effects that smart lighting provides. Take a look at your particular light setup and you’ll find all sorts of benefits.
Philips Hue lights support a “candlelight” mode that simulates fire, and you can do even more by using third-party apps for Halloween effects. Govee has an extensive menu of effects in their app that includes everything from Halloween color schemes to effects like fire and light flashes.
Many Govee light sets will sync to ambient sound using a small built-in microphone, and if you’re using your Philips Hue lights with Spotify (or sync them with your TV or computer), you can pair the lights to music for dynamic sound. . effects, too.
Smart sensors and plugs create automated scares
In our guide to incorporating your smart home technology into your Halloween décor, we talk about using sensors and smart outlets to automate Halloween scares.
If you already have some low-power motion sensors that you’re using for things like automatically turning off lights in the basement or the like, now is a good time to reuse them for the night.
Maybe you never thought to use them for anything more than making sure your basement or garage lights didn’t stay on all night, but you can link motion sensors to new tasks like turning on your smart light bulbs or turning on a smart plug that controls a strobe light or spooky Halloween decoration.