New Contest: Halloween Hackfest

It’s as if Halloween was made for hardware hackers. The world is begging us to build something cleaver as we decorate our houses and ourselves for the big day. And one thing’s for sure: the Hackaday crowd never disappoints. This year we’re fully embracing that with the Halloween Hackfest, our newest contest beginning today along with the help of our sponsors Digi-Key and Adafruit.

The animated video combined with the 3D-printed prop makes for an excellent effect.

Wait, isn’t it the beginning of August? Why are we talking about Halloween? The procrastinator’s dillema, that’s why! Start working on your build now and it will be epic by the time the day actually rolls around. Decorating for trick-or-treaters is a good place to start. For our money, projected heads are a really cool party trick, like these singing Jack-o-laterns, or these disembodied heads inspired by Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Or maybe you’re more of a flamethrower-hidden-in-pumpkin type of person?

It doesn’t take much tech to bring a good costume to life — a few LED strips make a plain old princess dress light up the night and builds some permanent memories for the lucky little one who’s wearing it. Speaking of memories, we doubt the little one will remember this mechwarrior family costume, which is why you’ve always got to make a video of these things.

Over the year’s we’ve seen claw machines for candy delivery, and even a pumpkin piano. Of course pumpkin carving is an entire category unto itself where five-axis CNC machines are fair game. Look around, get inspired, and build something!

Three top winners will receive $150 shopping sprees in Digi-Key’s parts warehouse. If your build happens to use an Adafruit board, your prize will be doubled. We’ll also be awarding some $50 Tindie gift cards to the most artistic projects.

Get started now by creating a project page on In the left sidebar of your project page, use the “Submit Project To” button to enter in the Halloween Hackfest. You have from now until October 11th to spill the beans pumpkin seeds on what you’ve made.

4 thoughts on “New Contest: Halloween Hackfest

  1. I’ll take this opportunity to encourage folks to take a look at XLights, and open source Light control system. It is an incredibly powerful tool and really is a fantastic show runner. It obviously does light strings, but you can easily add mechanized props and sound as well. Coupled with a Raspberry Pi, you can automate your whole show.

    It is an amazing piece of software, and if you have any desire to be “that one house” on the street, this is the way to do it.

  2. I’ve been doing a lot of edge lit for halloween, which the adults like, but if you fill your front yard with bubble machines and smoke machines and some sort of light show against the smoke the kids will lose their minds.

  3. If I can ever get a proper video of it, I had a lot of fun with my Stranger Things Christmas Lights alphabet wall at my former employer.

    I made it out of WS2812b LEDs I hand-soldered to wires stripped from cat-5 cable. I wrote a sketch for the Arduino that took serial input and watched via webcam from the next room and wrote custom messages based on who was in the room. It was fun.

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