The trick or treat greeter

Do you have any Halloween projects you’d like to share? Get them to us before the end of the month by mailing me at liz@raspberrypi.org, and we might feature them here.

The village I live in is small enough that all the families with kids know each other, so a few parents take charge of all the village children every Oct 31. They all visit each other’s houses in a huge scrum dressed in bathrobes with accessory scythes, skipping all the houses with no kids, in order that old ladies are not perturbed. It took me a few years to cotton on to this (as a relatively young lady with no kids), which meant that every Halloween, I was left on my own with no visitors, a lonely pumpkin and a giant bowl of sweeties.

If you are looking to tempt trick-or-treaters onto your porch (and then have them run, screaming, off it), I can’t think of a better way to do it than Chris Osborn’s solution.

Chris’s original intention was just to have the setup make a scary noise at intervals, but he quickly found himself adding a motion sensor and lights. The motion sensor, positioned at the street end of the driveway, detects when a trick-or-treater is approaching, and triggers a sequence of events: the porch lights turn off, and unearthly noises start being played from a speaker under a stuffed, headless scarecrow with a carved pumpkin in its lap. A light in the pumpkin gradually becomes brighter, and the head whispers “HELP ME!”. When the sequence ends, the porch lights come back on. (No mention is made of whether the householder should provide a new pair of trousers for the terrified trick-or-treater at the end of the sequence.)

Build instructions, audio files and code are available at Insentricity - and this project just cries out for your adaptations and embelishments. The site has a good selection of other public domain scary noises for your Halloween projects. “Cemetery Sounds for Halloween” is the current office favourite, and I am trying to work out how to embed a home-made tin-foil contact switch (there’s a nice example here at Hackaday) in the seat of one of the chairs we put visitors in without ruining it.