A Scary Pumpkin Pi

headless-scarecrow

What do you get when you combine motion sensors , a Raspberry Pi, and a pumpkin? When it’s Haloween, a headless scarecrow with a light-up carved pumpkin in its lap! The execution of this hack is really great, and the resulting effect, as shown in the video after the break, should be extremely scary to any kids that come knocking.

One neat effect of this hack is that it uses X10 home automation modules to turn off the porch lights for an extra scary effect. After this, the jack-o-lantern lights up and says “help me!” If you’d like to duplicate, or build on this hack, instructions are provided as well as source code for everything on the page. While you’re there, be sure to poke around on [Insentricity] as there are quite a few other hacks available for your perusal! Don’t forget sure to send us any other Halloween hacks that you come up with.

Halloween Props: Monster in a box

This furry Halloween decoration proves to be a simple build, but it’s still quite popular with the little ones. [Chris] had a Halloween party for a group of 2-5 year olds and this monster that peeks out of a box was a huge hit. The trick really isn’t in the complexity of the build, but in the interactivity.

The enclosure is just a shoe box which has been covered in synthetic black fur. The lid was hinged on the back, and a hobby servo with a bit of an extension on the arm is used to lift the front which reveals the monster’s paper eyes. Inside you’ll find an Arduino, breadboard, and battery pack. It’s not visible above, but a distance sensor on the front of the box is monitored by the Arduino. When it detects something in front of it the servo fires up and pops open the lid. The firmware includes a timer so that the monster waits a bit before taking its next peek at the party.

Pumpkin Tetris inspired by our own LED Jack-o-lantern

The kids (or maybe their parents) are going to be lined up at [Nathan's] front porch to get their turn at playing pumpkin Tetris. That’s right, he built a game of Tetris into a real pumpkin. We thought this looked quite familiar when we first saw it and indeed he was inspired by our own LED Matrix Pumpkin from two Halloweens ago. We love seeing derivative works and [Nathan] definitely make few great improvements to the process.

The matrix itself was wired in very much the same way we used, but he added an additional 58 LEDs to nearly double the size of the display. He used a paper grid and power drill to make room for the holes, but improved the visibility of the lights by sculpting square pixels in the skin of the fruit. But how does one control the game? The stem of the pumpkin is actually a joystick. One of the most innovative parts of the physical build was to use drywall anchors on the inside to mount the joystick hardware.

Don’t miss a demo video after the jump.

[Read more...]

Halloween Props: Ghoul in the box puts on a pretty good show

[Tim's] ghoul in the box project has all the elements of a classic Halloween prop. He built it for last year’s display but we’re sure it will be a perennial favorite.

As the name implies, it’s modeled after a Jack-in-the-box toy. Fittingly, it’s decorated with bright, happy colors and includes a crank on the right side of the box. But you don’t need any man-power to make it work. Hidden in the red circle at the center of the front panel is a motion sensor. Walk in front of the box and one of two modes will be triggered. The crank may start up and a happy rendition of Pop Goes the Weasel plays. But as it nears the end of the song the tempo slows and the pitch drops as if running out of steam. It’s perfect foreshadowing for the vigorous bursting forth of the ghoul inside.

The demo after the break gives you a look at the operation, as well as the components used in the build.

[Read more...]

Metroid helmet takes Halloween costuming to a higher level

Hackaday writer [Ryan Fitzpatrick], aka [PlatinumFungi], recently put together this amazing Metroid Power Suit helmet as a prop for a [Mike n Gary], on youtube. How amazing is it? This image is an actual photograph of the helmet! It’s being modeled by [Kelly Johnson], who built a power suit costume for a previous Halloween. But she never made a helmet, which makes sense to us. After all, how are you supposed to talk to anyone while wearing a helmet? Practicality aside, it is a delight to walk through the fabrication process.

[Ryan] started with a motorcycle helmet, making paper templates based on images from the game. After he had a reasonable road map for the work that needed to be done he started cutting away the parts which he didn’t need. The ‘beak’ on the front was then fabricated from paperboard, with the fins on the side sculpted from rigid foam. But there’s still a lot of work to be done from that point. Sure, the internal lighting and colored visor are necessary touches, but it’s the paint job and ‘distressing’ steps that make this look so realistic.

Looks like we’ve exceeded his bandwidth due to the tons of pictures he had of the process. Check out the video after the break.

[Read more...]

Singing pumpkins

This Halloween table will sing a sweet serenade to spook your guests. Each of the animatronic pumpkins were quite easy to build, but you may end up spending a bit more time choreographing the performance.

Inside each Jack-o-lantern you’ll find a custom Arduino compatible board called a Minion board. These include a wireless connection which lets the system sync with the computer playing the audio. The pumpkins are fake, which means that can be reused year after year (unlike our LED matrix inside a real pumpkin). The mouth is connected to a servo with a short piece of bent wire, allowing it to flap along with the words of a song. You can see a performance of the Ghostbusters theme in the clip after the break.

A custom GUI was written in C# to aid in the choreography. It handles the playback of the song, with a few buttons that can be used to record the light and mouth effects. This ‘recording’ is then used to drive the pumpkins during a performance.

[Read more...]

Halloween Props: Pumpkin battery

This one would make a nice centerpiece for your Halloween party. It’s a battery with tiny pumpkins serving as the cells. [EM Daniels] shows us how to clear out the pumpkins, fill them with some freshly mixed electrolyte, and he even throws in the directions for baking the pumpkin seeds.

Each pumpkin will need a pair of conductors made of dissimilar metals to serve as the anode and cathode. Copper wire is used for one, aluminum for the other, and both wires have a spiral pattern bent on one end to increase the surface area that contacts the electrolytic solution. Now just boil up a slurry of vinegar, gelatin, and salt, then let it sit in the fridge over night. [EM Daniels] was able get 1.5V out of this project (enough to light one LED) for two hours, and 1.4V for six hours by using seven of the pumpkin cells in series.

[Thanks Karen]

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