Halloween Doorknocker Decoration Hack

halloweenDoorHack

If you’re new to hacking, Halloween is a great excuse to get started, and [Chuck] has put together an inexpensive animated Halloween decoration that you can show off on your front door. After scoring a $5 plastic Halloween doorknocker from Wal-Mart, [Chuck] gathered together a small pile of components and then set about breathing some life (death?) into its scary but motionless face.

Though he opted to use a Digispark, you should be able to use any Arduino that is small enough to stuff inside the plastic head. [Chuck] cut some holes in the eyeballs and glued in two RGB LEDs, then cobbled together a quick-and-dirty mount in the mouth area to hold a small servo. The lights and the servo are wired to the Digispark, which turns the lights on and instructs the servo to slam the ring against the door. It’s is battery powered and currently has only two settings: on or off. This should be good enough to scare the kids for this year, but [Chuck] has plans to add a much-needed motion sensor and sound via a Bluetooth connection. 

As simple as this build is, it could be just the thing to get you in the holiday spirit, or to introduce the young hacker in your home to the world of electronics and coding. Check out the short video of the doorknocker after the break, then swing by [Chuck's] website for detailed build instructions and his Github for the source code. If you’re having trouble finding this doorknocker at Wal-Mart, [Chuck] recommends a similar one on Amazon. Don’t stop now! Make some Flickering Pumpkins too, or if you want a challenge, hack together your very own Pepper’s Ghost illusion.

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Halloween Hacks: An evil R/C clown car for terrorizing the neighborhood

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terrifying-clown-car

If you had a few too many trick or treaters hitting up your house this year, [phwillys] has a solution guaranteed to keep them from coming back. He was looking for a way to scare the crap out of the trick or treaters this past Halloween, so he constructed a remote-controlled evil jeep to terrorize the neighborhood.

The jeep was built from an old PowerWheels car, and uses a bunch of different motors to get the effect [phwillys] was looking for. He bought a linear actuator on eBay to let him steer the jeep, which is controlled using some motor controllers he had left over from another project. A salvaged car window motor was used to allow evil clown driver to turn from side to side in his seat, while a pair of car seat motors activate the giant claws built into the sides of the vehicle. The jeep’s hood was even turned into a chomping mouth with large teeth using yet another small motor.
[phwillys] also added a water sprayer to the clown’s mouth, soaking any kids in the immediate vicinity, though he was nice enough to mount a leaf blower on the opposite side of the vehicle to help blow them dry.

It really is an awesome creation, we’re sure the neighborhood kids (and parents) got a big kick out of it. Continue reading to see a short video of his scary clown car in action.

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Halloween Hacks: Motion sensing fog machine

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motion-sensing-fogger

[monkeysinacan] wanted to add a fog machine to his Halloween display, but he says that the cheaper consumer-grade models are pretty unruly beasts. He cites short duty cycles and tricky fog control as his two biggest gripes with these sorts of foggers. He decided make the fogging process a little more manageable, and modified his to only generate fog when someone was walking nearby.

One obvious concern with this sort of setup is the warm-up time required to get the device ready to produce fog. If it were to only turn on when someone walked by, [monkeysinacan] would miss his mark each and every time. To ensure that his machine was accurate, he rigged it so that the heat exchanger stayed powered on, triggering the fog juice pump as needed.

To do this, he used an ultrasonic sensor similar to, but cheaper than a Parallax Ping unit. Paired with an Arduino, the sensor triggers the fog machine’s pump for 20 seconds whenever anyone gets within 6 feet of it.

While he hasn’t posted video of the modified fogger at work, it sounds like a solid plan to us.

Halloween Hacks: A Jacob’s Lantern sure to win the carving contest

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jacobs-ladder-pumpkin

[Matt] entered himself in a pumpkin carving contest this year, even despite the fact that his artistic skills were a bit…lacking. He knew that he had very little chance of winning the contest unless he had a great gimmick to make his creation stand out, so he started brainstorming.

[Matt] figured that since his design would have to be somewhat simple, he needed something eye catching that he could add to the pumpkin after it went under the knife. Like a bolt of lightning, inspiration struck, and he set off to fetch an ignition transformer along with some wire coat hanger.

He built a makeshift Jacob’s ladder that would fit perfectly inside his hollowed out pumpkin, and proceeded to carve the pumpkin with the “Caution, risk of electric shock” logo, familiar to most anyone that works with electronics. You can see the final result in the video below, which we think looks pretty neat. If he didn’t end up winning the contest, we’d be shocked!

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Halloween Hacks: The Headless Dogman

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headless_horseman_dog_costume

Typically, when people hear that you’ve made a Halloween costume for your dog, the statement is met with the eye rolling and polite lies about how cute the outfit is. There are few exceptions to this rule, and [Dino’s] latest creation is one of them. For this week’s entry in his Hack a Week series, he created a “Headless Horseman” costume for his dog [Sophie].

The costume borrows parts from one of his previous hacks, the Hexababy. Reclaiming the dismembered head from the disturbing crawler, [Dino] reattaches it to the doll’s body, just not in the traditional manner. He screws the baby’s head to the arm of the doll after fashioning its outfit from some scrap cloth. The doll’s head retains it’s beady red LED eyes from the previous project, but [Dino] added a tilt switch to the setup so that they light up sporadically as the dog runs about.

Be sure to check out the video below to see the final result of [Dino’s] work. The doll looks great, though it seems that its saddle needs some reinforcement to handle [Sophie’s] bountiful energy stores.

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Halloween Hacks: A radioactive display with more trick than treat

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radioactive_barrel_display

[Shawn] was looking for a way to shake up his decorations this Halloween and decided to build a new prop for his front yard. He had a pair of old oil barrels in his garage and thought they would look great with a little bit of work.

He bolted the pair of barrels together, then slapped a fresh coat of black paint on them before adding a bright yellow radiation trefoil to each one. One barrel contains a pneumatic piston that opens the lid, revealing a light up pumpkin, a fog machine, and a set of water nozzles that spray the area. The second drum houses an air compressor, a wireless router, and an IP camera for recording the action. A web-enabled Arduino triggers the lid and sprayer, both of which can be controlled from the comfort of his house.

We think it’s a creative use of some old scrap barrels, but we’re hoping he doesn’t plan on wetting trick-or-treaters that pass through, as it seems  like a good way to get your house egged or otherwise vandalized on Halloween. If the water sprayer were perhaps swapped out with some other cool effects, [Shawn] is far less likely to be the target of some angry, wet teenagers.

Be sure to check out the video below to see the display in action.

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Color organ tiki-o’-lantern

The Halloween parties this weekend are over, but that doesn’t mean there’s not time for a few more to finish a build before children start knocking on doors tonight. [formori] at Lakehead University wanted to do something spectacular for a pumpkin carving contest, so he and a few other EE students came up with a tiki-o’-lantern with music.

The guys at Lakehead figured a color organ flashing LEDs in the eyes and mouth of the tiki would be a very good and easy project. The circuit they used is a simple Op-amp setup like one we’ve seen earlier. The entire pumpkin is powered by a 9 V battery and the music is played with an iPod. There are two colors of LEDs – high frequencies flash a blue LED in the eyes and low frequencies flash a red LED in the mouth.

Aside from the added A/V stuff, [formori]‘s pumpkin is one of the best we’ve seen on Hack a Day this year. Check out the Youtube of 1st place winner of the Lakehead pumpkin carving contest after the break.

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