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.
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 or smart display like the Nest Hub or an Echo Show 8. You don't have to use a smart display, but the option to tap and manually control your connected decorations if you want can be helpful at times.
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) and 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.
With the right gear, from smart lighting to speakers and plugs, you can get everything going with one tap on your phone or this smart display's screen.
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.
There are plenty of great smart lights out there that allow you to edit the colors and create specific scenes that you can activate using the app or a smart speaker. Of course, you can also automate the lights to come on at set times so you won't have to remember to turn them on or off.
The new Govee Permanent Outdoor lights is one option for festive outdoor lights. These are great for any holidays or adding exterior illumination to your home.
These ultra-bright and vibrant lights are meant to be permanently mounted to your home so you never have to install them again. The app is full of preset scenes for holidays and more do you can set it and forget it.
Kids and parents will thank you for providing sufficient illumination for making it up the walkway or stairs.
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.
Able to stand up to just about anything and lasting up to 15 hours, the powerful sound is enough to keep the neighbors entertained.
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.
Transform a single outdoor outlet into two, plus be able to control non-smart devices with your phone or even voice.
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Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. 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.
- Chris WedelSmart Home Writer