How to use your smart home apps to increase the fear factor


The scariest part of Halloween this year might be how much we spend on it. Americans spend more than $ 10 billion, which is $ 2 billion more than in 2020. We buy everything from “Squid Game” costumes and sweet corn – the top two Halloween searches via Google – to TikTok staples trendy as vintage decorations, spooky movies, and even good old-fashioned greeting cards.

If the high cost of it all is more of a trap than a treat for you, here are several ways to turn your already smart home into a spooky genius haunted house.

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Is there an echo here?

It is estimated that one in four people in America owns a smart speaker, and 70% of them are Amazon Echo devices, according to analysis site eMarketer.

If you already have an Alexa-enabled smart speaker – or want to buy a cheap one – a 3rd generation Echo Dot costs around $ 25 right now – you can use it to play spooky sounds, scary stories or start a petrifying playlist.

Just say “Alexa, let’s be scary” and it gives you a bunch of options like Spooky Halloween Sounds, Scary Story, or Ghost Detector.

Spooky Halloween Sounds plays a continuous loop of sounds straight out of the torture chamber until you tell Alexa to stop. To add it, open the Alexa app, tap “More”> “Skills & Games”. Next, tap on search and enter the name of the skill, then click on the blue bar “activate use”. After that, just say “Alexa, start Spooky Halloween Sounds,” and it’s gone until you tell it to stop.

If you’re throwing a TikTok video, be sure to try Spooky Scream. You can ask Alexa to play a random, blood-curdling scream at a set time, such as “in 30 seconds” or “in 10 minutes”. It’s always fun for unsuspecting visitors.

Most of these skills are also available in attenuated kid versions and on other smart speakers.

For all Google devices, just say “Hey Google get scary” and you will get spooky music and sound effects on any Google smart speaker or display you already own. Any smart helpers including Siri can tell you a scary (or funny) story or help you with costume ideas as well.

The best part? All of these features and skills are free.

Since we’re talking speakers, check out Spotify’s Halloween 2021 Playlist All The Greats Are Here, From “Monster Mash” to “Ghostbusters” – OMG Theme, Check Out the Pentatonix version of this list! – and even the theme of “The Addams Family”. So good.

Lights of dread

If you have Philips Hue lights, the company has free Halloween scenes on the app that can create all kinds of different effects indoors and outdoors.

Why let smart speakers have fun? It’s easier than ever to add smart color changing bulbs to the fear party at home.

If you have Philips Hue lights, the company has free Halloween scenes on the app that can create all kinds of different effects indoors and outdoors. Some interesting gifts include Blood Moon, Fright Lights, and Haunted Glow.

But if you’re in the “bigger is better” camp with your Halloween decorations, consider the OnSwitch app (iOS and Android) which is free for three days, then charges a subscription fee. about $ 3 per month, according to the developer, to unlock all the features. The HueDynamic app (iOS and Android) also offers some very spooky animated experiences, such as “Passing Ghost Effect” or even “Undead Heartbeat”.

Another inexpensive way to add a funky vibe to any light or decor you already have is to use smart plugs – I’m using this $ 20 pack from Wyze – to program the lights to turn on and off. or create responses to specific triggers, such as when trick-or-traitors are walking nearby.

I also have a GED LED + Speaker bulb (around $ 35 on Amazon) that plays music and scary sounds and the outdoor GED LED + Motion Sensor bulb (around $ 11) that I use together to trigger lights and sounds. loud noises. (Again, perfect for TikTok videos.)

One of the easiest ways to integrate this into your already smart home is to use a smart doorbell or security camera.

Ding-Dong, is boo there?

Ring added a Quick Replies feature earlier this year for anyone who can't - or won't - answer the door.  They have six predefined answers for Halloween.

The Ring and Nest doorbells offer Halloween sounds and chimes, as well as other new features that are cool enough to (a) scare anyone who dares touch the device, and (b) keep you a safer distance from people, because we’re still in a pandemic and everything.

You can change the Nest Doorbell ringtone to a “Halloween” theme to greet your guests with ghoulish ringtones. These include an evil laugh, a skeleton dance, a ghost, a howling werewolf, a cackling witch and more. Go to the Google Home app for Nest Doorbell (battery operated) or the Nest app for Nest Doorbell (wired). Make sure you have the latest version of the app. Select your doorbell, then tap Settings. From there, you should see the option to change your ringtone. It should automatically revert to normal ringing on November 1.

For Ring, you can change the normal “ding dong” tone for the sound of bats, ghosts, howls, screams, scary organ sounds, scary laughs, cat screams and creaking doors. . To do this, open the Ring app> tap the three lines at the top left of the dashboard> select the chime you want to set (like upstairs or in the kitchen)> tap Audio settings. There you can choose Chime Tones and you will see a list of tones including Halloween inspired sounds.

Ring also added a quick responses feature earlier this year for anyone who can’t – or won’t – answer the door. They have six predefined answers for Halloween, including:

“Tell us what brings you here … or we’ll bewitch you!”

“Boo! Leave us a message if you dare [evil laugh]. “

“Just a minute! Don’t hesitate to park your broom.

To add a quick reply, return to the Ring app:

Tap the three lines at the top left> Devices> Select the doorbell you want to set up> tap the Smart Assistant tile below the doorbell image> Quick replies> Tap the blue Turn on auto-answer button at the bottom of the phone ‘screen. Then select your preferred default message from the list> Set your message delay time from “Right now” to “20 seconds”. Finish by pressing “Got it!” To complete the configuration.

Real (Haunted) New York Housewife

Dorinda Medley, alumnus of The Real Housewives of New York, shows off her technical prowess in the Blue Stone Manor estate of her Berkshires.

Medley shared her entire Halloween Alexa routine, which you can get without doing the dirty work yourself by pointing your smartphone camera at this QR code.

It’s complete with smart bulbs that change color, spooky Halloween sounds, an autumn-themed Ring doorbell faceplate, Halloween music she plays via her Echo Show 10 and more. .

Tik or treat!

Okay, this is your spooky smart home, but if you’re a TikTok fan, be sure to see all the Halloween hijinks happening there this year.

My favorite thing so far is the new Ghostface Text-to-Speech feature. If you love #ScaryStories – and we all love it, right? – TikTok has ditched a text-to-speech option featuring the iconically creepy voice of masked killer Ghostface from the “Scream” movie franchise, which turns 25 this year and has a new movie coming in 2022.

You can also head to TikTok’s Halloween tab and choose ephemeral effects like “Ecto Pumpkin”, “Spooky Eyes”, “Paranormal Cam”, “Cursed TikTok” and many more. Hashtag with #HorrorTok and you might even go viral this year.

How do you plan to have your smart, safe, and always super spooky Halloween this year? Do not hesitate to let us know on our social networks!


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