For string lights and regular lamps inside pumpkins or decorations, use smart plugs to schedule your display, or have lights turn on or off in response to triggers.
Consider setting up a motion sensor or creating a trigger from another device, like your smart doorbell or security camera, to kick off your chosen lighting effect. But if you want to give visitors a real jump scare, you must add sound.
Photograph: Simon Hill via Spotify
If you’re looking for the perfect horror sound effects or a playlist of Halloween-themed songs, then you will find loads of suitably scary options on Spotify or YouTube. Strategically hidden Bluetooth speakers inside decorations, or even pumpkins, can add a lot of atmosphere.
All the best smart speakers can help you frighten guests or create the haunting ambiance you are after. If you have any Alexa speakers, simply say “Alexa, let’s get spooky.” and it will run through different options. There are many Halloween-related skills, such as Spooky Halloween Sounds, Scary Monster, and Spine Chilling Halloween Sounds.
Say “Hey Google, get spooky,” and you’ll get some sound effects and spooky music on any Google speakers or smart displays you have. You can also ask Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri for costume ideas or to tell you a scary story.
Ring, Nest, and some other smart doorbells offer Halloween sounds and chimes that can replace your regular ringtone. Take a look at your app and see if you have seasonal options. In the Ring app, choose your device and tap Chime Tones. In the Nest app, look in Settings, then Doorbell Theme.
For best results, create a trigger that sets off lighting and sound effects when someone approaches. You can use IFTTT to link devices together and create a terrifying sequence. When someone presses the doorbell, for example, you could turn off all your front lights for a second, have them come back on in red, and then play a blood-curdling scream.
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 stick on a USB drive to play on your TV, but they work best with projectors. You can play ghostly apparitions, shambling zombies, and many more things that go bump in the night.