Hosting a Halloween party is always a scary prospect and there is no greater task than spooking up your home with decorations. But while carving pumpkins and hanging up giant cobwebs might look the part; it’s never exactly going to have people jumping out of their skin.
If you really want to freak out friends and family this Halloween, it’s time to get 21st century with your scares and terrify your house guests with these simple smart home tricks.
Whether you’re looking for an excuse to acquire your first piece of smart tech, or you’ve just never asked Alexa for anything beyond the time, Halloween is the season to truly get the most out of your new gadgets.
Alexa… I’m scared
While you might think Amazon’s line of Echo smart speakers are just for weather updates and playing music, it turns out that nobody gets more into the Halloween spirit than Echo’s virtual assistant Alexa.
From bona fide frights to family fun, an Amazon Echo offers plenty of surprising features for the Halloween season:
Alexa’s Spooky Skills for Amazon Echo
If simply scaring the pants off your friends and family is your goal this Halloween, then look no further than Alexa’s Spooky Scream feature. Just say “Alexa, start Spooky Scream” to let the nightmares begin.
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, this bloodcurdling oddity allows you to tell Alexa the number of minutes or seconds to delay before it starts playing bone-chilling screams. But make sure to remember your timings otherwise you’ll be getting as big a fright as your guests!
For those who like a Halloween boogie, the Echo’s also got your party music covered. After a couple of doses of Ray Parker Jr. and the Monster Mash, you and your pals will probably realise that classic Halloween tunes are few and far between. But there’s no need to fear, simply say “Alexa, open Halloween Music” to start a super scary soundtrack full of unnerving instrumentals to really set the mood.
There’s also plenty of games on offer if bobbing for apples isn’t your thing, with Alexa’s Ghost Detector and Haunted House features being particularly good entertainment for kids.
The former is a fun ghost-hunting activity with unlockable gadgets and missions, while the latter is an interactive Halloween story with different creepy outcomes depending on the choices you make along the way. Just say “Alexa, launch Ghost Detector” or “Alexa, open Haunted House” to start them!
It’s important to note however that most of these spooky features are device add-ons known as Alexa Skills and you’ll have to enable them if you want to use them on your Echo.
But don’t let that frighten you off, as getting new skills for Alexa is so quick and easy – it’s scary!
You can search for skills by browsing the Amazon Skills portal online or by selecting the Skills tab in the menu of your Alexa companion app for iOS or Android device. Once you’ve found a feature you like, just hit Enable on your chosen skill’s page and you’re ready to go!
But if even that’s too much hassle, it’s easiest to just say “Alexa, enable [skill]”.
Scaring’s never been so simple!
Leaving the lights on…
There’s probably no greater fear than being left alone in the dark on Halloween, however abandoning your guests in a pitch black room never makes for a fun party.
But for those of you with Phillips Hue smart lighting, you have the perfect opportunity to haunt up your home in a very different way and be the only party in town where friends are begging you to turn the lights off, not on!
With a Phillips Hue Smart Bridge hub, you can control and customise timings for up to 50 smart lights in and around your home, creating freaky effects using the Hue companion App on your iOS or Android device.
You can also connect your hub to a smart speaker to activate your lights with a simple voice command, so secretly startling your friends with an impromptu lights show couldn’t be easier!
Add some Phillips Hue White and Colour Smart bulbs into the mix and you’ll also be able to choose from over 16 million shades of colour for your lights and lamps using the Hue App, which means there’ll be more than enough horrifying hues to get pulses racing.
We realise organising a whole lighting sequence can be pretty daunting though, so don’t worry if you’re not much of an evil mastermind either, as there’s plenty of apps for iOS and Android devices to help you if you’re struggling:
App-auling Light Effects for Phillips Hue Smart Lights
In the Hue companion App, go to the Explore tab and select Hub Labs to search for pre-set lighting sequences. There you’ll find some spooky sequences to install for free, such as the Halloween Living Scenes Formula, which will automatically transition through a dynamic series of colours for a haunting effect.
But if you’re lights are connected with your smart speaker, your best bet is to download the separate Hue Haunted House App from your app store, a sounds and lights effect board which will play terrifying sound effects in sync with your bizarre lighting set-up.
Best of all, you can even synchronise your Hue lights to films and music so they adjust colour according to mood or rhythm. It’ll seriously rack up the tension for your horror movie screening and could provide the perfect synchronised light show to your Thriller dance off!
Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead
Spooking up your doorbell is probably the last thing on your mind when decorating for Halloween, but given how many people are going to be at your front door asking for sweets, perhaps it shouldn’t be – especially if you own a smart tech doorbell!
Ring Video Doorbell’s provide a fantastic security system which allows you to view and interact with doorknockers from your phone, but they also provide bags of fun on Halloween with their customisable doorbell tones.
These tones play loud and clear for all to hear with Ring’s wi-fi operated Chime speakers, and can give your Trick or Treaters a really fun surprise when utilised properly.
Ring are known for releasing lots of new and unique doorbell chimes depending on the time of year, and have even announced a special Addams Family themed one for this month which is bound to get everyone’s finger’s clicking!
If you’re not a whizz with Ring systems, changing your chime to a haunting melody is fairly straightforward, so if you own Chime speakers, there’s really no excuse for not getting in the spooky spirit:
Hell’s Bells for Ring Video Doorbell & Chime
To choose a new tone, open the main menu of your Ring companion app for iOS or Android device and select Devices, then select the Chime or Chime Pro option on your account.
From here select Audio Settings, and then choose the Chime Tones option. You can now browse and preview a long list of doorbell tones to match any occasion, and you’ll find there’s plenty of unsettling ones to shock your arriving guests.
Once you’re happy, select your new chime and then tap Save Changes, before waiting a few seconds for your new doorbell ring to update.
Now all you have to do is sit back, relax and wait for some terrified Trick or Treaters to come calling before watching their reaction live on your phone!
And if you wanted to add some extra eeriness to your doorbell sound, you can even link your Ring doorbell to the Phillips Hue Smart Bridge hub to trigger a gruesome lights show that will really freak people out.
But you’re surely not that cruel… are you?