When most people think of Smarthome, they think of voice-controlled lights and video doorbells. But the gadgets you may already have can be used to take your Halloween decorations to the next level.
When building Halloween decorations, you probably have one of two problems. Either you have to leave the plugged devices always on, or you have to rely on analog timers, which are complicated to set up and lose time quickly. This is particularly troublesome when trying to keep everything in sync. And one of Halloween's best decorations, the Jack-o-Lantern, can be the most tedious and keeps shining.
Make your Jack-O-Lanterns ever sharper and safer
When most people build a jack-o-lantern, they cut a round opening in the top of a pumpkin, dig up the inside, and then carve a funny pattern in the side. This makes it difficult to place a tealight, let it light from above, and hope it's bright enough to make the pattern shine.
This year you look at it from below. If you cut the opening from below rather than from above, you benefit from having a larger hole to work with, and you put the pumpkin on top of your light source instead of a light source in your pumpkin.
This trick works even better with a smart light. It's easy enough to cut a notch in the back of the pumpkin for a power cord. Then you can put in an intelligent light, like a Philips Hue Go. With a Philips Hue light you can do some things that are not possible with a conventional light bulb or a candle.
For example, you can turn the light into any scary color or even set different colors as you rotate. If you love the flickering of a candle, you can use an app like OnSwitch (for Android and iOS) to have a similar effect on your Smartlight.
With a little more work, you could even activate a Smart Motion Sensor or Motion Detection capability of your smart video doorbell or change the jack-o-lantern light when people are approaching.
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Put Spooky Music right where (and when) you need it
You could spend Halloween as the best werewolf dj on the street, but if you have a music streaming service and a house full of Amazon echo or google home devices, you should consider them the Have hard work done. Find a Halloween playlist you love and set up multi-room audio for all your devices. Both the echo and the home support this, and if a song is not to your liking, all you have to do is say it should skip it. When you enter a Google Home "Spooky Creep," a Halloween soundtrack will be played and any Smart Lights it access will be activated.
If you place a smart speaker outside, make sure that you place it in a separate room or group and give a descriptive name, such as a porch or outside. Then you can just control this speaker and wait until trick or treater approach to start the music. You can talk to a smart speaker in the house and tell him to play scary music on the external device. You can use a mount with an echo point or a Google Home Mini, so you better hide the device from a greater fear, or even put it in a spare jack-o-lantern to sing scary songs!
And do not just stop with music. Plug in Spotify or Google Music or the service you're using and look for "scary sound effects" to find all kinds of fun stuff.
Make sure you do not miss a trick or treat
If you have a video doorbell, you'll use more on Halloween than any other day of the year, so take the best part of it. Make sure you have adjusted your sensitivity to movement and you will not miss a trick or treater.
Extra Credit: Go to IFTT and connect the doorbell with your smart lights. When trick-or-treaters ring the bell, it can change the colors of your lights or bleach them when you start the spooky music.
RELATED: How to Blink Your Lights When Someone Rings Your Doorbell
Stop Your Porch Light (But Make It More Entertaining)
If you're doing Trick-or-Treater, you'll need your light on the porch. You could replace your light bulb with an intelligent outdoor bulb to get funny colors (or, if you do not have bad weather, a smart bulb would probably be fine for the evening.)
If you already have a wink or Smartthings Hub, you could also switch the light switch for a Z-Wave or ZigBee Smart Switch. You benefit from automation and voice control and do not have to worry about someone turning off the light switch instead of using an app or voice assistant. Buy a cheap, colored LED light for a spooky color and use it for the holidays. If you make a scary house, you can secretly kill the lights for a quick fright.
RELATED: Which intelligent light switch should you buy?
Make your other rooms even scarier
You can also use many of these ideas in the other rooms of your home to give your home a small boost of horror (or the inside, if that's your thing). If you have windows or other items by the window, place some smart lights nearby. You can use fun colors and dim lights to create horrible window scenes. Even if you have no window decorations, a flickering red room alone can be terrible.
You could even create a routine that dampens your outdoor light while boosting the window lighting and sets up a fun little show. A sudden, unexpected light can cast the shadow of your bats-filled window when the kids least expect it.
If you have lights with changing colors, Halloween is the perfect night to use those less-used options. Turn the room orange or red. Set up some routines to slowly change the light colors during the night to add them to the atmosphere. If you have any smart plugs in the house, connect them to turn devices on and off to enhance the haunted house feel.
RELATED: The Best Smart Plugs
Have Fun Outside
Halloween fairy lights, strobe lights and sensor-controlled witches and goblins are great fun – except at 3am when an animal drops them and the house is too bright. Instead, use smart power outlets to control your plug-in devices. Outdoor Smart Outlets are offered in the form of ZigBee, Z-Wave or Wi-Fi. Most ZigBee and Z-Wave outdoor sockets control only one device (sometimes with a second plug that is always on). Some wireless outlets often have two smart plugs, but instead of synchronizing with your hub, they have their own app and usually connect to Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Exactly as with the Verandabetterung you can take over the stealth control the devices and switch them suddenly for a good scare.
Use sensors and routines to automate your manual work
Once you have everything set up, do not leave it to manual control. Your hub and voice-enabled device support routines (or robots, etc.) to automate your work for you and synchronize your devices. If you have motion detectors, connect them to the routine so that your music starts to play and the lights start to flicker and change colors when trick or treaters come along.
If you have multiple smart lights, turn some off while others turn off and others fade. Now is the time to throw a bright orange light against the window, which has scary decorations. This will free you to the treats or the tricks as well as your imagination allows. The final part of the routine should end in a well-lit light on the porch so younger trick or treaters can easily find their way to the candy.
When you tie everything together, you can have the most fun with the least amount of effort. With everything done by yourself, you can concentrate on distributing sweets or finding the best hiding place to jump from when the show starts. Make sure your video doorbell or smart cameras record all the fun!
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