Glowing eyes project keeps it simple this Halloween

Halloween’s on its way and we want to remind you to get started early so you can show us what you’ve got in store for the little ones this year. [Pete] already finished a simple project to spice up the bushes in front of his house. His trio of glowing and blinking eyes will make a nice addition to the bushes in front of his house. Each is made from a pair of over-sized LEDs mounted on popsicle sticks. After passing the leads through holes in the wood, they are soldered to some resistors and cat-5 cable. The conductors are covered in hot glue to help protect from moisture, and then they’re ready to be driven by the ATtiny2313 which uses random numbers to help ensure the blinking doesn’t look timed. Check out the video after the break to see how he did.

This is a great example that you don’t have to take on the most complicated project in the world to be appreciated. But if you’re looking to be remembered for years to come you might want to aim high by building something like the trash-can jack-in-the-box, or a puking pirate.

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Halloween Props: Trash can jack-in-the-box

Last year [Bob] didn’t let the little kids get some candy and continue on their way without giving them quite a fright first. His modified trashcan lures you in and then scares the bejesus out of you.

He calls it Oscar the Trash-bot. The image on the left shows a ghoulish-looking head peeking out of the partially opened lid of the trash can. It has some movement, but is slow and quiet. The small, slow movements catch your eye and seem safe enough. Until you get a bit closer. A range finder triggers when the unsuspecting victim draws near, causing a much bigger, faster, and bloodier beast to pop up and stick out a claw. Check out the two videos after the break. One of them shows the claw mechanism, which is made with the help of a brake cable and shows very realistic and blazingly fast movement. The other is an overview of how the entire setup works.

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Great junk-yard find leads to a reclaimed control panel project

Having the “can you believe somebody threw this away?” mentality has gotten us into some trouble through the years, but look what [Joshua] found at the scrap yard! It’s a door from a power conversion station and it contains fourteen indicator lights and a lot of other doodads. But since this is just the door, he needed a way to monitor the controls and drive the indicators. At the heart of the hack he used to get this up and running is a PIC 18F2550. It has no trouble driving the indicators thanks to a pair of ULN2803 darlington arrays which switch the higher 24 volt levels.

His writeup doesn’t mention the method used, but the panel also has a couple of meters at the top. In the video after the break you can clearly see that he’s got them both working. We’d bet there’s a plan for each of the buttons as well, since this will be prominently featured in their alien-invasion themed Halloween display this year.

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An odd little box

Here’s an odd little box that might get those creative juices flowing for the upcoming Halloween season. [Jeremy's] creepy glowing box has a pair of ping-pong ball eyes which diffuse the red light from a pair of LEDs. Both the lid and they eyes move, and the whole thing is set up for wireless control.

The majority of the parts came from a toy RC helicopter that [Jeremy] had sitting in his junk bin. After close inspection he found that the electronics included to motor drivers for the two rotors, as well as two servo motors which worked to steer the aircraft. One of those servos has been repurposed to aim the gaze of they eyes left and right, the other servo is used to lift and close the lid of the box. This leaves the two motor controllers, one of which switches the LEDs on and off. The other doesn’t really have a purpose yet. He tried adding one wheel to the box, but turning that on just makes the whole thing crash to the floor. Check out what he’s done so far in the clip after the fold.

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Halloween hangover: talking heads

Here’s a Halloween prop leftover; [Chris] built his own version of singing heads from Disney’s Haunted Mansion on his porch for last year’s ghoulish decor. A projected image of actors singing a spooky song gives each of the four Styrofoam mannequin noggins its own digital life. There’s an optical sensor on the porch stairs that is tripped by unsuspecting candy-seekers. An Arduino monitors the sensor and uses AutoHotkey to start the video clip on a netbook. Check out the video after the break to see the finished display do its thing after dark.

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Halloween Prop: Mario Bros. with full sound effects

Creativity abounds in putting together this pair of Super Mario Bros. costumes. [Rob] and his wife didn’t stop with a well-assembled troupe of familiar wardrobe items, but decided to go for authentic sound effects as well. It started by finding a few of his favorite Mario sounds on the Internet. From there he grabbed a greeting card that allows you to record several message. He recorded each of the sounds and removed the electronics from the card. From there an Arduino mini was connected to the playback buttons and to a Wii nunchuck. After the break you can see that when the kids press a button, the card plays back the sound of jumping, shooting fireballs, etc. So far it’s the best use of an audio greeting card that we think eclipses its intended use.

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