Updated by Ian Buckley on September 19, 2017.

Learning electronics with an Arduino is fun, but using it to scare the lives of kids who do tricks or cures is just monstrous. Watch your back when they come to beg this year — and if they go through scary things all the way to your door, then at least you’ll know they really deserve candy.

Considering how long it can take us to complete a project, it’s probably best to start planning your Halloween fears right now. If you’re really comfortable, you might have plenty of time to do one or two of these before the onslaught kicks in.

If you’re looking for something to scare the kids, why not take a look at these futuristic costumes for kids.

1. Creepy giggling cauldron

Complexity : complex
Fear factor : 6.5 / 10

You enter the witch’s lair and slowly approach the glowing bubbling cauldron. As you approach, an evil screech from within rises with every step towards the feverish current as the murky mist on the dark surface consumes you forever.

Sounds like a big horror story, right? Well, this nightmare is real — and you can do it!

This impressive build takes an old boiler and equips it with Arduino, soundboards and speakers, as well as lights, distance sensor and fogger designed for use in pods or aquariums. On the code side, everything is already taken care of thanks to Barton Listik, who provides a sketch along with assembly details for this witchy project.

This project has a lot of parts and requires little assembly, so start this project sooner rather than later!

2. Talking skeleton

Complexity : complex
Fear factor : 7/10

Tired of hailing this gimmick or healers in person? This talking skeleton will take care of it for you, with many of your pre-recorded phrases. IR sensor detects motion and Adafruit’s Wave Shield stores files .wav, ready to be output to a pair of hidden computer speakers. A simple servo motor is used to move the articulated jaw, and some super-bright LEDs in the eye sockets complete the look.

3. Demon Mask Costume

Complexity : medium
Fear coefficient : 5/10

Does your face look too human? This is a problem — children are used to people, so any attempts to scare them will be somewhat softened when they see your familiar face. Use a demon mask to fix this.

Using the I2C communication protocol and small LED arrays for the mouth and eyes, the Adafruit Wave Shield and microphone give real-time voice-changing effects.

4. Monster in a box

Complexity : Bonkers
Fear factor : 7/10

8 Amazing Halloween Frigits You Can Make With an Arduino Monster in a Box

A box marked as dangerous and with good reason It’s alive! This growling, spanking, smoking box is activated with an IR sensor and an Arduino. This project uses the Adafruit Wave Shield again and the motion and smoke comes from the wiper motor and smoke machine. Due to the large size, builder Craig Jameson was also able to install a large speaker inside. This box is loud!

Of course, the scale of this project may be a bit large for some builders, but the entire project can be scaled down with a smaller engine and fountain fog rather than a smoke machine.

5. Moving skull

Complexity : easily
Fear factor : 7/10

A simple non-articulated skull attached to a single servo with multiple LEDs in the eyes. Placed on the ground and camouflaged with a mesh, this is the type of prop you don’t really expect to start moving, so the effect is all the more horrendous. The approach taken by this Adobe team is a bit odd and requires interaction with a computer, but you can just as easily control it all on the Arduino as there is no complex processing involved.

6. Automatic Candy Dispenser

Complexity : easily
The Magnificent Factor : 5/10

Made more to avoid having to deal with little ticks than to instill permanent memories of sheer horror, which means they will probably never sleep again. The candy dispenser uses two servos to open the chute and stir the contents, preventing clogging. Bonus points if you can get the kids stuck around long enough to get hit over the head with candy!

7. Laser maze

Complexity : easily
The Magnificent Factor : 8/10

Fill the room with smoke, then challenge your Haunted House visitors to navigate without the alarm going off. This laser maze is actually a pretty simple project to hook up, but aligning the laser beam with the light sensors is a tricky task. Consider adding small mirrors to take the lasers further, adding complexity to the maze. When a dip in the light signal is detected, turn on the alarm and flashing lights. In fact, I did a similar setup but without the lasers some time ago. The dog was not impressed.

8. Fire-breathing gourd of death

Complexity : medium
Possibility of real injury : very high
Fear factor : more than 9000

From panic master Rick Osgood, this probably shouldn’t be used on children, although it does have safety features that prevent this from firing when people get too close. The core of this dangerous flashlight is the Glade automatic air freshener; grounding one wire provides a manual trigger. Add an Arduino and a proximity sensor to detect distances and you have the most truly terrible project ever.

Seriously though, you shouldn’t burn tricks or treats — not even a little. Candy can be thrown; singeing eyebrows is a completely different matter.

Once you’ve mastered the basics with Arduino, why not take a look at these Raspberry Pi Powered Halloween Props ?

Did you use Arduino magic on your Halloween this year? Let us know what you did!

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