Turn Your Smart Home Into A Haunted House For Halloween

Tod Caflisch
8 min readOct 17, 2023

October 17, 2023

A couple of things that most people don’t think about together is smart home technology and Halloween. I’m not one to go all out for Halloween and build a graveyard in my front yard but I have played Halloween-inspired music some years. But with the introduction of smart home technology a new door opens to really get into the spirit. And even better, you can leverage that same tech for other seasons or Holidays during the year.

Halloween is one of those ;holidays’ that some people take to another level. I’ve already seen homes decorated weeks in advance of the end of October. When do people find time for all this? Not to mention the investment in things like 12 foot skeletons and grave yards in their front yards. I’m not that neighbor but I do see where smart home tech can take Halloween decorating to the next level.

Products like smart bulbs, speakers, and fog machines are right in line with Halloween decorating so going ‘smart’ makes sense. And as a bonus, you can use the smart products throughout the year for other events and Holidays.

The good thing is we have smart home tech already in place to leverage and there are lot’s of ideas spinning around in my head. Let me know what you think of these:

A Creepy Sound for the Video Doorbell

The standard Ring Doorbell chime or Google Nest ringtone will definitely not do for the Halloween season. Instead, there are a variety of frightfully fun sounds available for both devices. From bats, ghosts and howls to a creepy laugh, a screeching cat or a creaky door, you can choose the sound that best fits your haunted home. Plus making the switch to a spooky sound is easy to do on both devices.

Here’s how to change your Ring Doorbell sound in the Ring app:

  • Tap the three lines on the left
  • Select Devices
  • Pick the doorbell you want to use
  • Tap the Audio Settings icon
  • Under Audio Settings, tap Chime Tones
  • Choose a Halloween Sound
  • Hit Save Changes
  • Wait for the sound to download to your doorbell

Here’s how to change the sound on your Nest Doorbell in the Nest app:

  • Select your doorbell
  • Tap Settings
  • Select the option to change ringtone and choose your sound

Play a Haunted Playlist on Portable Speakers

Grab your Bluetooth speakers and move them outside on Halloween. Position a speaker behind some of your larger decorations or hide it in a tree or bush and play scary sounds on repeat throughout the night. From Thriller to The Monster Mash, your Bluetooth speakers will inspire your Halloween soundtrack.

Devices like Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini already have haunted soundtracks ready to go. Move the devices around your home or hide them outside in your Halloween decor. When you’re ready for the music, simply say “Alexa, play a Halloween playlist” or “Hey Google, get spooky.” The music will play until you tell the devices to stop. There are many Halloween-related skills, such as Spooky Halloween Sounds, Scary Monster, and Spine Chilling Halloween Sounds.

If you’re looking for the other perfect horror sound effects or a playlist of Halloween-themed songs, then you will find loads of suitably scary options on Spotify. YouTube has some equally appropriate stuff.

Alexa is a Spooky Storyteller

Get the whole family ready for Halloween with a few spooky stories with the help of your Amazon Echo. For a kid-friendly Halloween story, just say “Alexa, tell me a spooky story” and you’ll hear funny and not-so-scary stories that are perfect for the entire family. However, if you want to spice up the story when your little ghosts and goblins aren’t around, simply say “Alexa, ask Boo Bot for a scary story,” and you’ll hear a reading from Short Scary Stories from Reddit.

A Smart Fog Machine

Give your outdoor Halloween decor an eerie upgrade by adding a fog machine. Normally you would add “fog juice” and just let the machine run on its own. While the fog creates a ghostly Halloween ambiance, adding a smart solution will make your fog last longer and make the effect more fantastic. Start by using a smart plug to control the power on your fog machine. This will give you the ability to adjust the billowing fog from an app on your phone when trick or treaters arrive or leave your home. Another option is to attach a motion detector to the fog machine so as people approach your house, the fog will begin to pour out and your visitors will get a fun surprise. Adding smart rope lights will also add to the effect and can be triggered by a motion detector as well.

Project a Halloween Classic

If you’re host Halloween parties like our Daughter-in-law, or just looking for a spectacular, large scale show for trick or treaters, projecting a movie onto your house, or a DIY screen, will make your home the creepiest and coolest on the block. All you’ll need is a portable smart projector set up outside to project the movie onto your home or garage. You can also create a movie screen by hanging up a white sheet or attaching the sheet to the outside of your home.

Options for movies are practically limitless as it seems all the streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Paramount+, Disney+) have added horror or Halloween themed movies to their lineups recently. You can set the movie to play on a loop throughout the evening and control the projector with a smart plug as well.

Serious Halloween fans looking to take things to the next level should check out digital decorations. Atmos FX sells MP4 files that you can play on a monitor or copy to a USB drive to play on your TV, but they work best with projectors. You can play ghostly apparitions, rambling zombies, and many more things that go bump in the night. They come with or without backgrounds and in horizontal or vertical formats to suit your specific need. The talking jack-o’-lanterns are great for kids and can even be projected onto real pumpkins. If your Halloween crowd is a little older, try the Night Stalkers collection. The animations are top quality, with sound effects and music included.

Obviously a little discretion is called for in your choice of movies or other content. For the benefit of your neighbors and the Trick-or-Treaters, remember to keep the content family-friendly. You don’t want to become ‘that’ neighbor.

Create a Halloween Smart Light Show

Add some smart bulbs and smart rope lights inside and outside of your home to add to the spooky ambience. From changing the colors of your lights to match your Halloween decor to set the mood for watching scary movies, smart lights will help take your home’s spook factor to the next level. With the touch of a button, your regular lights can transform into a variety of Halloween shades like green, purple, or orange. While dark and spooky is a Halloween staple, turning up your smart bulb to the brightest white can also create a startling effect and backdrop for your Halloween setup. This can be achieved with a motion detector to give the effective of lightning.

If you want to recreate some of the scary movie special effects, try backlighting your Halloween decor. Start by placing the smart bulbs behind the decorations you already have hanging up and choose different colors to illuminate your monsters, skeletons and witches. Spooky backlighting can be done inside and outside your home. This works best if the area around the decorations is dark. The shadows and light will transform your regular Halloween decor into glowing creatures and leave a frightening effect.

Automate Your Décor with Smart Outdoor Plugs

If you’ve gone to all the trouble to set up light displays and Halloween inflatables outside of your home, take one last step to make life easier. Add smart outdoor plugs to turn everything on each night when the sun goes down and turned off at an appropriate time. By plugging all of your outside lights and gear into an outdoor smart plug with a timer, your haunted house will be powered up and down without you having to worry about it.

Best Jack-o-Lantern Ever

After carving your pumpkins, you’ll want them to shine on Halloween. There are better lighting options than the traditional candles due to safety and wind (if you’ve read many of my posts, you know Amarillo is statistically the windiest place in the US). This is another opportunity to deploy smart bulbs and smart rope lights inside and outside of your home to change up the colors inside your pumpkins. And they can also be controlled with a smart plug or smart outdoor plug. Adding a motion detector can also add a scarry effect in a dark area.

And no doubt you probably have some ideas or great smart home applications around Halloween I haven’t mentioned here. Don’t keep them to yourself! We’re all about sharing and collaboration here. My hopes are that I’ve inspired a little Halloween spirit to get you thinking of ways to ‘win’ Halloween on your street.

Let Debbie and I know in the comments, DMs and emails how you’ll be leveraging smart home for Halloween as we really enjoy hearing from you. Thanks again to all those following Debbie and I through our home building journey. It’s great to hear your success stories and suggestions as we move through the process. And if you like the content I’m posting each week, don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow.’

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Tod Caflisch

Smart Home technology visionary with passion for out of the box solutions for home technology integrations, focusing on efficiency, safety and sustainability.