Spooky Winners Of The Halloween Hackfest Contest

It was a tight race, but the results of the Halloween Hackfest contest are in. We asked you to scare up a terrifying build in one of three categories, and as usual, you didn’t disappoint! These three hackers have each won a $150 shopping spree at Digi-Key to fund their future frights.

Best Undead Tech: 3-Axis Skull Mod for a 12-Foot Skeleton

Nelson Bairos

Skelly the 12-ft Home Depot skeleton comes alive with servos.[Nelson] has been in the Halloween-based animatronics business for more than a decade, but always gets beaten to the punch when it comes to doing the really fun stuff like making things move and speak. Once [Nelson] got their hands on a 12-foot skeleton from the big box hardware store, it was time for the gloves to come off and the fun to begin.

The three axes of movement come from a rotation servo, a tilt servo, and a nod servo, all of which are connected to each other and the skeleton with 3D-printed supports. Lucky for us, [Nelson] documented this first build quite nicely and provided the 3D models, should you suddenly get the urge to go see if they have any of these magnificent skeletons left on clearance.

Best Haunted Smart House: Safety Coffin Grave Bell

Glen Atkins

What’s scarier than the undead? How about people who were buried alive, whether accidentally or not. Can you imagine hanging around in a graveyard, innocently doing tombstone rubbings or some ritualistic sacrifice when suddenly you hear someone ringing a bell and/or a terrified, muddled voice screaming for help?

[Glen Atkins]’ Safety Coffin Grave Bell build forgoes the body part, but in the dark, it’s easy to let your imagination run wild. It looks like a bell on a post, but pass too close and the ultrasonic rangefinder detects unsuspecting trick-or-treaters and gives them a scare by frantically ringing the bell with a big servo hidden inside. We hope they brought spare underwear.

Best Crazy Costume: Computer Head

Skye Rutan-bedard

Holloween costume with an old computer screen for the head[Skye] won a lot of people over last year with their computer head costume that featured a lone blinking eye and a voice. What those people didn’t know was that it suffered from three big problems: it had poor ergonomics from a heavy monitor shell, the blinkenlights matrix used to display emotions was underutilized, and using a keyboard proved to be an inconvenient UI for running the voice. This year, [Skye] set out to fix all the problems and make the costume even more awesome and comfortable to wear.

The brain of this computer head costume is a Raspberry Pi 4. As for [Skye]’s actual head, it is safely enclosed inside a hard hat that’s epoxied to the inside of the case. A wide range of emotions dance across the 16×16 RGB LED matrix that looks great behind some mirrored film, and they go great with the new voice method — [Skye] speaks softly into a small microphone, and the Raspi uses Mozilla’s DeepSpeech to repeat whatever they say in a robotic British accent.

Hack-y Halloween

Congratulations to all the winners, and a big thank you to all 45 entrants for your hair-raising hacks. Thank you also to Adafruit and Digi-Key for sponsoring this contest. We hope you had a great Halloween!

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 Hackaday.io. 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.