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Make your house the spookiest on the block with digital Halloween decorations

From Zoom costume parties to drive-thru trick-or-treating, it’s clear that Halloween is going to be a little different this year.

The good news is that adapting to 2020’s new normal doesn’t have to be a complete bummer. Tap or click here to see one dad’s genius DIY that makes social distancing on Halloween more fun.

One thing that doesn’t have to change is decorating for the spooky season. Here’s how a little tech can take your Halloween décor to the next level.

Digitize your Halloween

As the News Director of Komando.com, I see all kinds of reports from the digital world every single day, from new gadgets to innovative ways tech makes life more convenient and fun. That brings me to Halloween.

For years, go-to Halloween decor has involved Styrofoam tombstones, plastic skeletons, fake spider webs and massive inflatables. That goes for my house, too, minus the inflatables.

But last year, I decided to mix things up with eye-catching digital special effects that make it seem like I’ve got a family of ghosts running around the inside of my house. It was easier than I expected.

It’s easy to bring ghosts into your home

Take a look at the GIF below. That’s the front window of my house, and it only took me about an hour to make it look like that.

First, I’ll give credit where it’s due because it only looks that cool thanks to Seattle-based AtmosFX, which has been producing digital decorations and supplies for more than a decade. For Halloween, AtmosFX produces videos of creepy ghosts, skeletons and other random undead characters that you project onto special material.

To create my Halloween effects, here’s what I used:

  • A window (seems pretty obvious, right?)
  • Projection material to cover window
  • Budget projector
  • Camera tripod
  • DVD player
  • Portable Bluetooth speaker
  • Bluetooth transmitter

To start, push the curtains off to either side and pull up the blinds. Most houses in Phoenix (where I live) have sunscreens installed on windows to keep things cooler inside, so I removed this specific one temporarily.

Now you need material to cover the window. AtmosFX’s own projection fabric is sold out, but you can use something that’s semi-translucent such as light-colored sheer curtains or mesh netting.

Here’s a set of RYB Home curtains that should work, or you can get what you need at your local fabric store. Just make sure to stretch the material as flat as possible or the projected image will be distorted.

You don’t need an expensive home theater projector to make this work. I have this Crenova Mini Projector that my family uses to watch movies in the backyard sometimes, which works well for this, too. Another solid option is this Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector.

No matter which projector you choose, it’s best if you find one with basic HD resolution (720P) for a clearer picture.

If there’s no dedicated screen size setting, make sure you have enough open space to move the projector closer or farther away to get the right size. Set it up on a table, or attach it to a basic camera tripod (if compatible) like this AmazonBasics 60-inch model.

As far as the video, you can either order an AtmosFX digital decorations DVD like Ghostly Apparitions and connect a DVD player to your projector. If you don’t have one, an affordable option is this Sony DVD player.

Again, taking into account that you might not get those in time for Halloween, your other option is to buy downloadable digital decorations through AtmosFX’s website. Then, load them up on an SD card like this Lexar Professional 32GB that you can insert into your projector.

Just keep in mind that it’s usually cheaper to buy the DVDs if you have the shipping time to spare.

Don’t forget about the spooky sounds

Once you have your screen, projector and digital decorations good to go, now comes the part about the scary sounds. Unless you have a window open, no one outside is going to be able to hear the video’s creepy soundtrack.

For that, I placed a small, discreet Bluetooth speaker (this Anker Soundcore) on top of a ledge on my front porch. For my projector to be able to wirelessly connect to the speaker, I added this small Bluetooth transmitter.

Last but not least, here’s another tip if you don’t want the projector to stay on all night: Connect it to a smart plug. Connect your projector to one such as this Amazon Smart Plug and set up a time that it shuts off each night through the Alexa app.

Then you’re all set to be the creepiest house on the block — but creepy in a good way.

If it’s too late to order some of this tech for Halloween, you can always get an early start on preparing for Christmas. AtmosFX also has quite a few Christmas-themed digital decorations, like Santa’s Visit. Happy holidays!

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