Nothing shrieks Halloween Spirit like scaring the daylights out of trick-or-treaters. The trouble is, modern brats are pretty smart these days. It wasn't like that when I was a kid. Back then, some guy jumping out of the bushes waving a rubber axe was enough to send me running home to mommy, with or without my precious bag of goodies. Luckily, Halloween tech is getting more sophisticated, too, which makes it a useful ally in your worthy mission to freak out the neighborhood youngsters—and their parents.
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One word of warning: the gadgets in this article are genuinely terrifying. Carefully consider if they're appropriate for your neightbood.
Install the Sitting Scarecrow, and kids who want a treat have to go through him. This animatronic scarecrow sits with its head lowered and a candy bowl in its lap. And anyone who's ever seen a horror movie knows to be very wary of anyone sitting with their head down.
When a child reaches into the bowl and takes out a candy, the scarecrow's head pops up and emits an earth-shattering scream. I tested it in the store and can confirm that it performs as advertised. The store manager assured me that the pressure-sensitive bowl will work even when a light-fingered lad or lass removes just one piece of candy.
The Sitting Scarecrow definitely combines trick with treat.
The scarecrow's dimensions are 54 inches (high) by 15 inches (front-to-back) by 17 inches (wide) and it weighs 6 pounds. Volume control is included. The Sitting Scarecrow normally retails for $150. This item has proved to be so popular that it's currently sold out, but if you need one right away, you can find it selling for a premium on eBay.
Floating Ghost Girl
The things any particular person finds frightening are admittedly subjective. In my case, Floating Ghost Girl had my number. Maybe she reminded me of an ex-girlfriend. Or perhaps she recalls vivid memories of The Exorcist. Whatever the reason, this Floating Ghost Girl gave me the chills.
She starts out innocently enough with her head lowered wearing a white nightgown. But things get weird when she says, "Oh no, they're here again—they possess me!" or "What is happening to me?" Then she rises off the floor, and her head and arms pop up revealing a terrifying visage as she screams in a demonic voice.
You won't need to buy a lot of candy this year, because everyone under the age 18 will be too afraid to come near your house with this thing floating around. Floating Ghost Girl is 62 inches (high) by 14.5 inches (front-to-back) by 9 inches (wide). She weighs 5 pounds (possessed) and retails for $150.
And you thought the presidential debates were as scary as TV were likely to get. The Terror TV is a really cool animatronic device, partly because it doesn't appear to be an animatronic at all. Don't be fooled. It has a Poltergeist-like trick up its sleeve, giving it a great "wow" factor.
The TV starts off playing snow. Then a voice says, "It's coming for you, your soul is mine," and a skull-like face literally emerges out of the TV bending the screen. It is about the election, isn't it?
Anyway, I appreciated the cleverness. And apparently so do a lot of other people as this product is currently sold out. The Terror TV normally retails for $70.
Scariest. Button. Ever. Eviltron isn't an animatronic. But it's so insidiously unnerving that I have to include it. It's a tiny button-size device that plays scary sounds.
The volume is low so that at first you'll think you must just be hearing things. Then it repeats again... and again... until you lose your mind and go running through the nearest window.
Imagine being home alone late at night and hearing "something unsettling creaking," or "unidentifiable scratching sounds," or "eerie whispering of 'Hey, can you hear me?'" If you're already the high-strung type, Eviltron will have you packing your bags and moving out of the House of Usher within the hour. Much of the creepiness factor derives from the fact that people won't be able to figure where the sound is coming from. The button includes a magnetized base that makes it extremely easy to hide.
Thinkgeek sells Eviltron for just $9. It comes bundled with two Annoy-a-tron buttons, which are for pranking and aren't scary.
For other cool Halloween tech ideas, check out our story "15 Killer Ways to Spook Up Your Porch for Halloween."
Credits: Spirit of Halloween, Thinkgeek.