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How to prepare your front porch for trick-or-treaters this Halloween

Halloween Front Porch
Halloween Front Porch (Image credit: Christine Persaud / Android Central)

Whether you want to go the spooky or fun route for Halloween, preparing the front porch is a delightful affair that all the neighborhood kids will appreciate. Every year, we go all out with several Halloween-themed inflatables, decorations, lighting, and more. We even set up a projector and screen in the window with a companion speaker on Halloween night to provide the kids with a fun and immersive experience. While you don't have to create a full-on scary set-up, there are some handy ways to simplify a frightening front porch display for trick-or-treaters before curling up with some of the best spooky movies to watch once the kids go to bed.

Control everything with a smart speaker and app

Get everything Halloween-themed outside, from lighting to inflatables and music, set on a schedule and remotely controllable using a smart speaker and complementary apps, like a Google Nest Mini and Google Home. This will come in particularly handy for the days leading up to Halloween. For example, you'll want to keep the lights and inflatables going for a while after dark so those walking or driving by can enjoy the view. But with a smart speaker and other smart devices, you can ensure everything turns off automatically at a specific time each night (say, midnight) then comes back on again at the same time each morning or late afternoon.

This would also allow you to have some fun with older trick-or-treaters, remotely controlling lights, music, or other smart devices from inside the house to scare them as they approach.

Set up the proper lighting

The primary indication kids trick-or-treating have that your home is giving away candy is the light being on. So, you want it to be bright and illuminate enough area so the kids get a good view of the front door and aren't startled by any spooky décor items that they can't see until they get up close (unless, of course, that's your intention!)

Pathway lighting is a good idea if stairs lead up to your porch, especially if they are steep, to ensure no one trips, falls, or gets hurt. Having them on a motion sensor prevents you from using energy when you don't need to but will illuminate the way only when someone approaches. You can also set these up along the walkway leading up to the house, whether you have stairs or not. Both kids and their parents will appreciate it.

If you opt for smart lighting, it will be possible to control everything via a smart speaker or app.

Complement the look with music

Music, or even spooky sounds, can really add to the experience for kids, getting them excited for the night. This is simple to accomplish on the porch with a portable Bluetooth speaker tucked away in a corner. Ideally, you'll want one that offers long battery life, so you don't need to worry about it dying halfway through the night. One with weatherproof housing is also helpful if it starts to rain and your porch isn't covered. But there are pretty decent portable Bluetooth speakers you can get for under $100 as well. Want to go all out? Grab two that can work as a stereo pair and set them up on opposite sides of the porch. This way, no matter which way trick-or-treaters are walking from on the sidewalk or street, they'll hear your music or audio accompaniment loud and clear.

Use smart plugs

For non-smart devices, like Halloween-themed inflatables, you can make them part of your smart system via smart plugs. Make sure to choose from the best outdoor smart plugs that come in weatherproof housings so they can withstand rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. Plug one into the outlet, then plug the device into it, and voila! It's now possible to control it from your smartphone using the companion app.

Since you likely only have 1-2 outlets on the porch, look for a smart plug that has multiple outlets so you can plug everything in without having to run extension cords.

Christine Persaud is a freelance writer for Android Central who has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's probably working on her latest fitness program, binging a new (or old) TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets, or spending time with her school-aged son. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.