4 Tips to Automate Your Halloween Scare Tactics

Most of the time your Connected Home tech is busy lighting your home, pinging your phone when there's a water leak, and letting you know who is at the front door.

While any Halloween supply store will gladly sell you something that will flicker a strobe light from a remote control while you're hiding in the bushes dressed as a murderous clown, some of your Connected Home tech could help you have a lot more fun. Here's a quick list of ways you can freak out Trick or Treaters with your smart home!

Drop in on trick-or-treaters remotely

One of my favorite things about the Amazon Echo devices is the paging/calling feature that enables me to 'drop in' on the Echos in my kids' rooms to let them know dinner is ready. Well, you can also use this to your advantage to scare the neighborhood children when they come up to your door begging for candy.

For this you'll need:

This is super easy to set up. All you need to do is have one of the Echo Dots in the front hallway or front room near your porch, and hide the other somewhere on your porch. Then, sit behind the curtains and wait for an unsuspecting trick-or-treater to knock on the door. While your partner is playfully passing out candy, you ask Alexa to drop in on the Echo Dot on the porch and startle your visitors with the spookiest cackles and voices you can muster!

Setting your front porch lights red when someone walks up to the door

Is there anything creepier than things changing when it's not clear no one is around? When people walk up to your front door, make the porch lights turn a bright red to greet them!

For this you'll need:

This one is real easy, since the Hue motion sensor is wireless and can be set up anywhere. Place your motion sensor somewhere sneaky and set it to activate the lights on your front porch when motion is detected, and set the Hue lights to red as the command trigger. When someone trips the motion sensor the lights will turn red automatically and everyone will wonder what they have gotten themselves into!

If you're looking for more ways to have Halloween fun with your Hue bulbs, the Philips Hue labs includes a whole section on Halloween-themed scenes for your home.

Triggering a scream when someone presses the door bell

Some people can't be scared by smoke and lights. That's what loud noises are for! This setup lets out a loud scream once someone presses your doorbell, guaranteed to make people jump for their treats.

For this you'll need:

This is a little tricky to get right, but so worth it. Set up your Echo Dot on your front porch, but hide it so it doesn't stand out. Bonus points if you hide it inside a carved pumpkin, but it's not totally necessary for this. Set up your SmartThings Hub to fire up a scary sounds playlist on your Echo, and configure an IFTTT trigger to make SmartThings start the playlist when someone presses your Ring Doorbell. It's one hell of a surprise, even for people who think they aren't scared of anything.

Don't have an Echo Dot? No worries, this same trick works on Google Home!

Turn all the lights off when you open your door

Loud noises and flashing lights not enough? Show off your acting chops by demonstrating how haunted your house is. When you walk through the front door to get people their candy, make sure all the lights go out and scream as the door slams shut!

For this you'll need:

Sit outside your house and tell everyone you're afraid there's something happening in there, but you'll reach in real quick and grab your visitors some candy. Place the SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor on your front door so when it opens, IFTTT can tell your Hue bulbs to all turn off. All the lights will go out when the door opens, leaving you ready to scream and slam the door to save everyone waiting for candy!

Got any other connected home tricks you're excited to pull on visitors this Halloween? Share them with us in the comments!

Updated October 2019: This post has been updated with new tech so you can have tons of smart home fun this Halloween. Or, you know, any day of the week. No judgment here.

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter