Halloween-proof your house with the Internet of Things

A ghost is seen on a laptop computer screen

October doesn’t just bring fun-sized candy bars and topical Halloween costumes; it’s also the spookiest month, leading to many a close call with the supernatural. How can you prepare yourself when ghosts and ghouls come calling?

We’ve assembled a helpful list of Internet of Things devices so you can Halloween-proof your home against every spooky situation. (We assume many of these devices may also have a more practical use for the other 11 months of the year.)

A Halloween illustration of vampires.

“Alexa, turn on the UV lights.

Spooky Situation: It’s midnight, and you’ve got a real hankering for a snack. The only problem? You just heard a disembodied voice whisper your name from the darkness.

The Solution: Voice-activated lights. Say good-bye to fumbling around in the dark for a light switch before the monsters pop up behind you. There are a couple of different products on the market right now that promise voice-activated lights (see this article for more). You can pair devices like Amazon’s Alexa with smart lights, and then turn them on with a simple command. Great for avoiding stubbed toes in dark hallways, and shining the spotlight on boogie monsters hiding in the pantry.

 

An illustration of werewolves

“Mom, Billy’s shape-shifting again!”

Spooky Situation: Your kid had a supernatural encounter on a full moon, and now he’s constantly turning into a werewolf. You’ve always liked dogs, but you could do without all the shedding. It turns out that werewolf fur sticks to everything, and your colleagues are starting to wonder if you’ve adopted several huskies or a bear.

The Solution: A Roomba. These friendly little robots zoom around your home, vacuuming up any fur or dirt your werewolf son might have tracked in after a midnight romp. Just press a button and the self-cleaning robot takes off – no more effort required from you.

Wi-Fi connected Roombas even let you control and monitor the vacuum cleaner from a smartphone app.

An illustration of ghosts.

“GEEEEEEET OOOOUUUUUUT… but first, can we get the Wi-Fi password?”

While the name-brand Roombas tend to be a little pricey, you can also find lower-end versions at places like Wal-Mart and Amazon. Say good-bye to your werewolf shedding problem! (Or, you know, standard household mess.)

 

Spooky Situation: You recently moved into a new house and have a sneaking suspicion there might be something – or someone – in the basement. After all, how many otherworldly moans can you really blame on the wind? So how can you be sure that you need to spend the cash for an exorcist or a ghostbuster or whatever?

The Solution: Wireless webcams. Today’s webcams come with a host of convenient bells and whistles, from motion-detection alerts sent to your phone to a built-in video light that illuminates dark rooms – perfect for monster hunting. Many of them also provide free video storage, so you can show skeptical friends and family proof of closing doors, swinging lights, and other bizarre behaviors you find from an angry ghost or a rather cranky raccoon.

 

Spooky Situation: You’ve labored over your jack-o-lanterns – but the neighborhood kids are notorious for smashing pumpkins to pieces.

An illustration of trick-or-treaters.

Halloween’s scariest creatures.

The Solution: A Ring doorbell. The Ring is a connected device that combines a doorbell with an HD camera, which pairs with your phone. After downloading the app, you can get a live audio and video feed of your front porch – and those precious pumpkins – no matter where you are. Its motion sensor notifies you when hooligans are creeping up the stairs. Big plus: The included microphone lets you scream, “Get off my porch, you dang kids!” through the doorbell and scare the bejeepers out of them.

 

Maybe it’s true that the Internet of Things is making the world a little less spooky, but you can always offset that by adding some of those electronic zombies, vampires and ghosts that seem to have taken over Home Depot these days.

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