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The sponsors of this year’s Halloween contest will be providing us with a number of product samples to give away throughout October. First up for grabs is a PIC32 Starter Kit, shown above, with a retail value of $50, together with a PIC32 I/O Expansion Board, shown below, which sells for $72. To enter, leave a comment describing what cool Halloween-themed project you’d make with it. The winner will be announced next Friday, October 9.

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Make: Halloween Contest 2009

Microchip Technology Inc. and MAKE have teamed up to present to you the Make: Halloween Contest 2009! Show us your embedded microcontroller Halloween projects and you could be chosen as a winner.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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Comments

  1. StefanJ says:

    I bought a cutesy ornamental birdhouse from a craft shop a few months back. I had Halloween plans for it from the beginning:

    1) Using LCD shutters, or servos, to make miniature monster figures appear at the windows and front door.

    2) Rig a “liquid smoke” unit from a model train locomotive in the chimney.

    3) Use a servo to make the front door open and close.

    4) Put in a voice chip to play haunted house music.

    The microcontroller would coordinate all of this.

  2. samkash says:

    i want to remake the word clock that was shown on here.

    i will probably just follow the instructions shown on the instructables site, which everyone might think is lame, but i’ve never done anything like this, or any diy project for that matter.

    my gf absolutely is in love with clocks, she probably has 30 clocks all over her place, but nothing like the word clock, it would mean so much for her to have something as unique as that. especially considering she would never expect something like that from me since, again, i’ve never done anything like this before.

    also it is fate that i might win this because i just opened 2 google search tabs: PIC programmer, and program a microcontroller, and i had just learned i need this program

    its fate!

  3. Markus says:

    I’ve never done any micro controller programming so my project would probably be pretty lame and simple, but I’d love a chance to learn something new!

  4. Neil says:

    I had an idea to use 3 or 4 stepper motors each connected to a winding drum with fishing line on it such that the amount of line can be increased or decreased by winding / unwinding the drum.

    The drums would be mounted on poles and the string run over a pulley system so that a prop tied to all the strings could move around over a large area. An example would be a floating skull or ghost.

    The stepper motors would have to work in coordination so that as one let line out, the other would reel some in. Some relatively complex math would be required to map the motor commands into the location of the prop. Sort of like drawing a circle on an etch-a-sketch.

    I have some experience with other microcontroller architectures, mostly 8 bit versions, but they don’t always have the horsepower to do the floating point math, I am wondering if a PIC32 might.

  5. Bryant says:

    I could hook a motion detector to it and use it to turn on a strobe, scary sound machine, and even use a pwm to drive motors on some flying monter. The possibilities are many.

  6. Sean Michael Ragan says:

    So, this post was down for a little while due to an error on my part. Turns out Microchip sent us a PIC32 I/O Expansion Board that was supposed to be bundled with this giveaway, that I did not include in the original posting. Good news for you entrants, anyway! But we had the post down to make the changes, so apologies if you came looking and did not find it. Note, also, that we’ve had to specify Halloween-themed projects from entrants, which was also not stipulated in the original post, so only those from here on out, please. If you submitted a non-Halloweeny idea before the change, don’t worry, you’ve got a pass–your comment still counts.

  7. Robert Liesenfeld says:

    I tried to submit this before the halloween-related clause was added, so I’ll throw my hat in the ring anyway.

    I recently purchased a duplex, and as part of some plumbing renovations, I will be putting in separate water meters for the unit I live in, and the unit I will be renting out. One advantage of this is that I can charge tenants only what they use, instead of some fixed rate (which in my experience as a renter, was usually higher than my actual usage).

    One problem with this idea is that I’d have to go to the (dark, musty, spider-infested) crawl space every month to read the meters. A bit of research revealed that many water meters output their flow rate as logic pulses, with more pulses per second indicating higher flow rate. Connect a controller – such as this PIC32 – and I can count the pulses over time and produce data from which I could make graphs! I could even make this wireless, perhaps with an XBee module or something similar, which means fewer visits to the crawl space – the spiders can have their space, I can have mine.

    So, even better than being able to give my tenants a fair deal on their water usage, I can monitor my own usage (and give my tenants a way to see theirs as well). Where I live (SF Bay Area) there are frequent droughts and water use is a significant concern. I believe having a graphical representation of my usage would be very useful in reducing my water use.

  8. Chad Oliver says:

    Hello, my name is Chad Oliver and I’m a 17-year-old high school student in New Zealand.

    For a science fair project this year, I attempted to make a haptic compass A basic example of this can be found at http://www.exothermia.net/monkeys_and_robots/2009/02/04/on-the-haptic-compass/. In essesnce, a haptic compass is a device for giving humans a sixth sense, that of magnetoreception, or the ability to sense the direction of magnetic north. This is a revolutionary device in that it directly expands the human experience.
    The basic design I followed wasn’t original. Both Eric Gradman and the feelSpace Group have made similar devices. However, both of these devices were prototypes and proofs-of-concept; what I wanted to make was a dependable device that could be worn all day, every day, for many years. I wanted to experiment with how such long-term stimulation would influence the brain and how I see the world. For this purpose, the belt needed to be small, unobtrusive (both to the user and others), and durable.
    I spent four months working on this design, as this was my first ever electronics project and I had a lot to learn. I managed to get the electronics to fit on a 2.5 x 5 cm printed circuit board, and everything was going sweet … but then I decided to outsource the soldering of all the smt parts (I’d never even soldered through-hole parts before). It came back looking wonderful, but the soldering company basically ruined the board by breaking traces that were underneath chips – there was no way I could salvage this. My project was ruined, through no fault of my own. However, I also acknowledge that such events do occur, and it is not my job to complain, but rather to ‘stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools.’

    If I won the PIC32 starter kit, I would use it to make a new, improved, and hopefully *working* prototype of my haptic compass.
    Furthermore, using a 32-bit microcontroller would allow me to quickly process and integrate additional data using kalman filters. In my first design, I only used a 2-axis digital compass to provide direction data; winning this kit would allow me instead use a 3-axis digital compass, 3-axis gyro, and (perhaps even) a 3-axis accelerometer. I would not be constrained by slow 8-bit microprocessors, and so would be able to create a device that is far more accurate. More dependable results would mean the brain would integrate the sensory imput from the haptic compass faster and more completely, resulting in greater perception and utilization of this sixth sense.

    In conclusion, I believe I should win the PIC32 Starter kit because then you would not only be supporting a young maker in their dream to make a difference, but you would also be supporting a young maker’s attempt expand the human experience and truly work towards transhumanist goals.

  9. Armandas says:

    I’ve been thinking of making sounds using a microcontroller, so I’d go for some creepy motion detecting/screaming project.

  10. Dr. CroW says:

    Hello, I’m from Argentina.
    I want to build a light activated red eyed (LEDS) and cackling shaking (servors) hands monster to hide in my office toilette to scare my coworkers :)

  11. evinande says:

    I’d use the development kit to interface to a motion detector I’m extracting from one of those “auto-spray” fragrance bottles. As kids came up the walk to our house, I’d have various noises and characters actuate when they get close (and walk away).

  12. david says:

    i have an excellent idea for this. it’d be the brains behind all the lighting and effects for our annual haunted house for the kids :) high power LEDs synched to thunder and water pumps for the rain. activation of moans, groans and screams based on motion sensors. etc, etc :D

    -david

  13. vaulterjoe says:

    With this kit, I would rig up some motion detectors to flicker lights and play scary music as people approach my front door. And once someone knocks or opens the door I would set up some sevro motors to shoot silly string at them from my windows above the door.

    Also this kit would be very handy with my upcoming design projects in school ;)

  14. SolamenteDoug says:

    I would use the kit to create several different projects:

    1) Using a piezo, I would create a door knock sensor that would record the knock pattern of a trick-or-treater and play it back with an mp3 player and speaker. Heavy duty castle door knock playback of course.

    2) With a 120V relay I would trigger random lightning with a strobe light (and perhaps add some heinous thunder sounds).

    3) With a relay, pneumatic actuator, and a photo sensor, I would trigger any number of events to swoop down, spring up or generally frighten would be trick-or-treaters when they cross a point on my lawn.

  15. SoLasVegas says:

    I would interface this kit with a scale or pressure sensors and a display. The scale would hold a candy bowl. First you would weigh a single piece of candy. This weight is stored in memory. Then, just dump the rest of the candy into the bowl. The program will calculate and display/store the number of pieces of candy. The device will analyze each change in weight, recalculate the number of pieces left, and could be interfaced with other devices to provide additional functionality.

    Some possibilities:
    - Play a sound or flash lights when more than X pieces of candy are removed.
    - Send an alert when the bowl is nearly empty (perhaps using a WiFi interface module)

  16. Devcoder says:

    i’d make a coffin that a zombie would pop out of whenever someone walked by

  17. MShoemaker says:

    I think this would be a great device to work with. I have used several of the PIC programmers from Microchip and all have worked great. With this I think it would be fun to have it connected to a motor controller, a motion sensor, and have it connect via wireless, probably XBee, to pop something up out of my bushes to scare the kids and take their picture as they walk up to the house! Then upload the pictures someplace, Twitter, flickr, etc….

    Matthew

  18. Allen says:

    Oh, I know zombies are becoming mainstream, but with a couple of steppers, LEDs and some expanding foam intestines – i think we have a shot at Romero greatness

  19. Huy says:

    I will use the PIC and the I/O expansion to detect movement by motion sensor, release the smoke, have it play a scary sound, and control a motor for a skeleton to fly back and forth (or just fly in a circle).

  20. Shadyman says:

    I would have the PIC32 trigger the following by a passive infrared sensor (as well as at random intervals):
    - activate prerecorded (onboard) spooky halloween screams and howls,
    - trigger fog machine and/or strobe lights and/or spooky, disembodied glowy eyes (predictability really gives away the surprise… You see (and hear) what the last set of people got, so you know what’s coming to you)

    Activated by touch sensor under the doormat:
    - Cat’s howling (like when you step on their tails… By accident, of course!)
    - and/or Jack-o’-Lantern lit up with LEDs that PWM to a creepy MU HA HA HA HAAAAAAA voice.

    Activated by door touch sensor/magnetic reed switch:
    - Creaky, haunted house door sound, indoor red lighting and various screams from speakers downstairs

    - capture a picture via USB webcam (As USB Master) of terrified (and possibly fleeing!) visitors on the approach and at various stages
    - Run a webserver on port 80 (With the help of an ENC/ENJ…?) to display the last captured webcam screenshot (Store a backlog on SD card/thumbdrive for compilation of the best scares/costumes/etc at a later time)

    (And the whole system will sleep for a random interval, when it plays random spooky sounds or is woken up by sensor input.)

  21. Vodnik says:

    I think that I’d like to use the same tech that they use for capacitative touchscreens (basically, I would let a cap discharge whenever someone touches the handle), to make a “has someone touched the door handle”-sensor, and then connect that with a microcontroller to a pneumatic trigger that throws out a big skeleton from a barrel, and lets it make a scary sound with the PWM-output.

  22. Tom A says:

    How about a device attached to the ceiling of the porch.
    When it senses a trick-or-treater arrive, it drops one piece of candy (something small or soft, of course).
    The kid looks up to see where the candy came from and BLRRRP a blast of silly string is delivered.

    1. Mike says:

      Does this really need more explanation?

  23. Hugo says:

    Inputs/outputs:
    1. A mic attached to the inside of your front door
    2. A light beam just outside the door, around 5’5 off the floor.
    3. A servo-controlled candy-dispenser that pours sweets out the letterbox
    4. A speaker
    5. An LDR

    Process:
    The mic attached to the inside of your front door detects knocking. If knocking is heard AND it is dark AND the visitor is under 5’5, candy is dispensed through the letterbox and an evil laugh is heard through the speaker. There is a time-out which makes sure the clever kids don’t just stand in the porch receiving candy all night.

  24. Buzz says:

    Recently me and my friends figured out the combination to locker 666 in my school. We planned a great halloween week prank including smoke machines, red flashing leds, and a motion sensor. We were missing one more thing and that was a micro controller. Think you can help?
    Sincerely,
    Buzz (your favorite Maker right?)

  25. RonW says:

    I’ve done this by sitting inside the machine, but if I could automate it – even partly – it would be a lot easier (especially if it’s a cold night this Halloween).

    1. Microphone connected to laptop running Speach to Text software listens for “Trick or Treat”.

    2. (if reliable) Light beam and light sensor to limit height of visitor.

    3. Activate dispenser servo to drop candy down chute.

    4. If visitor says “Thank you”, play wave file of “You are welcome”

    5. Use motion sensor to verify visitor leaves

    6. If visitor does not leave, activate a vacuum cleaner for 15 seconds.

    7.Goto step 1.

  26. Alex says:

    With this, I think it would be really cool to use a CMOS camera module or other sensor and, each time somebody rings the doorbell, have the PIC32 run an algorithm to determine how many people are at the door, and then upload a public Twitter post containing the current time, as well as basic data, including a running total of the number of doorbell presses, and total number of trick-or-treators.

    I’d also love to simultaneously use this to control flickering sets of LED’s inside jack-o-lanterns, eliminating the fire hazard of candles.

  27. Drew Dominguez says:

    when i think halloween, first thing i think of is Harry Houdini, who died on halloween of 1926. in his final years he traveled far and wide to so called ‘psychics’ and pretty much just called them out. rude, some would say, this action was, but Mr Houdini could spot the charlatans from the ‘real deals’ and didn’t want to allow people to profit off false hope of those just wanting to know if their loved ones are alright.

    so what does this have to do with any of this contest? simple, i’d create my own seance. from ringing bells, to ‘ghosts’ flying around, to even glass shattering in front of your very eyes. all this can be achieved simply with some technology and some knowledge in field of illusion. mind you if this does go into effect i wouldn’t be able to expose all the secrets, in fear of persecution by the magic gods (and/or my magic circle giving me a talking to, it doesn’t help already that i’m the youngest one in it by about 20 years)striking me down with horrible wrath. but in the end i will prove that so called paranormal activity can be imitated, if not reproduced with a little know how and some secrets the spectators don’t get to see.

    so pick me, the sr-year-of-high-school-mystify-er in this quest into the unknown.

    drew d.

    p.s. if anyone from my circle is reading this, you’re not old….

    p.s.s. grammar/spelling might be terrible, but i’ve been playing wow for the past 8 hours and am running on a monster import, a potbelly clubie, and the hope of getting a sweet micro-controller.

  28. Helvetica says:

    Monsters need to have ominous, booming voices…but I’m only equipped with a squeaky nerd voice. I’ve been looking for a decent quality, affordable realtime voice changer for some time now, but unfortunately it seems you can’t get both in a single package. The inexpensive toy store ones (in Transformers masks, etc.) sound like absolute garbage, while a good-sounding voice changer can cost hundreds of dollars. My hope is that the PIC32 would be fast enough for realtime audio processing…forward and inverse FFTs needed for pitch-shifting, for example.

    And if that doesn’t work…well then, uber LED sequencer for a Daft Punk helmet!

  29. locknload1 says:

    I’d use it in a sign project as part of a voice recognition system that react differently for each user based upon user defined settings.

  30. avvie says:

    Halloween Sounds!

    My idea is to make it play some pretty classic horror scifi sounds and walk around it at hallowen. I ll use a switch to rotate between the playlist, so according to the mood I can have a different tune… Also I was thinking of using a coil to make a small theremin, so i can do some customizations ffor fun …!

  31. Jason M says:

    I’d love to try out some more Microcontroller projects. I’ve seen some neat PIC projects out there.

  32. desNotes says:

    I am building a device that will be comprise of a LED array which will provide light to a high ceiling room based on the amount of light already present. A light sensor will determine the brightness of the room and adjust two LED arrays to bring the overall light up to a specified amount. In the middle of the day the LEDs will be low or not on, while during the evening the LEDs will provide more light to the room. The PIC microcontroller will take readings from the light sensor and adjust the brightness of the LEDs through their associated BuckPuck LED driver. There will also be a temperature/humidity sensor attached to the micro controller to send data via a wireless or Ethernet connection to the main computer for the house.

    This is what I would use the PIC32 Starter Kit and I/O Expansion board for.

    Michael Fisher
    desnotes@gmail.com

  33. Tim S. says:

    If I were to find this arriving at my door, I’d use it to prototype Halloween Wishes across an LED display! Depending how much gear I had, I would also use it to flash or trigger some sort of drive to ‘Scare’ those peeping in for a closer look!

    ~Tim

  34. Purduecer says:

    For my Halloween embedded project, I would use the PIC32 Starter Kit and I/O Expansion Board to create a CNC Laser Pumpkin carver. For this project, I would need stepper motors to control the X, Y, and Z axes, an emergency killswitch, as well as a high-power laser diode that can be used for cutting into the pumpkin. The device would also feature a motor control board and an ethernet board to network to a computer to receive CNC files (wouldn’t want your computer anywhere near the mess with a USB connection, would we?). Pumpkin designs could be created in AutoCAD, Google SketchUp, or a similar program, then run through a converter to produce the necessary output file format.

    The PIC32 would be needed to parse the data sent over the internet, apply floating-point math to convert cartesian coordinates to spherical coordinates, plot points on the XYZ-matrix, then drive the motor control circuitry to place the laser at the correct coordinates and adjust the laser power to carve into the pumpkin at the depth called for by that point in the design.

    George Hadley
    purduecer@gmail.com

  35. maarten says:

    I would use the controller to operate 5 or so servos to control the rods that would have a classic frankenstein monster scene. it would be displayed behind a white screen in front of the window. All of it would be triggered by a motion sensor outside hidden in a tree.

  36. LoneStranger says:

    If I knew what the hell I was doing when it came to micros (complete newbie, hey a dev could help with that problem…), I’d probably try to make a Jack-o-Lantern choir. Or maybe a barber shop quartet. Probably a Jack-o-Lantern barber shop quartet. Well, it’d probably start as a quartet and then I’d see about scaling it up.

  37. Marrz says:

    We decorate a bank for Halloween and I would Like to build a series of terrors to trigger when a car pulls into a drive through. the highlight of which would be a body popping out of a garbage can

  38. sburlappp says:

    I was thinking of making a Halloween-themed slot machine that paid out candy. Y’know, like a one-armed bandit, made with a real arm?

  39. Juan Cubillo says:

    I’d love to make an indoors aerostatic ballon glider. It would probably be made with a clear plastic baloon and will have bue, green, and red SMD LEDs inside connected to very thin wires attached to a uController that makes them blink randomly in a “lightning” sort of way. make a few of these along with a couple propellers to have them roam around the house (UAV style?) and entertain the kids at halloween :D

    You can even hang some plastic spiders from the ballons for an added spooky effect.

  40. daelan says:

    So last year I managed to fabricate a pretty awesome Tron outfit that was a hit amongst my friends. I was thinking that with this starter kit, I could rig up some SMD LEDs around the costume, and have some sort of sequence to them. Not only would it be a great introduction to the PIC platform for me, but I’m pretty sure I would absolutely floor my friends!

    And no, I’m not Tron Guy, but going for a similar effect =P

  41. David says:

    With the Pic32 I would build a “moving pumpkin snake”. Basically bunch of (smaller) pumpkins tied together that slivered like a snake, remote controlled.

  42. KoryBricker says:

    I’m working on a live Snow White talking mirror style project in which an a large gothic mirror frame is combiined with and LCD screen attached to a PC as a secondary monitor (through a long cable so it can be set around the corner). A small camera and microphone are embeded and hidden inside the mirror frame as well to provide visual and audio feedback of what is in front of the “mirror”. The PC captures and transmits video of the operator in costume mixed live with special effects (so it looks as if the operator’s face is floating in smoke). This allows full 2 way communication and appears to the visitor as if they are talking to a real person “floating” in the mirror.

    I would use the PIC32 to add some additional features such as being the primary controller of some additionl lighting effects and smoke effects etc so the operator could basically control other realistic effects at will giving the vistor an even more immersive and realistic experience

  43. Ben says:

    I’d leverage the considerable computing power available in the PIC32 to create a real-time decoder for any one of several popular media formats to provide a spooky soundtrack. The soundtrack could be either stored locally on an SD card or streamed to the board over an Ethernet connection.

    The chip, of course, would still have several dozen I/O lines left over, so there would have to be the obligatory motor and/or light sequencing. It could use a timer (or PWM channel with a relatively low frequency) to drive a few servos to make animated figures move around.

  44. anonymous says:

    … An animatronic evil squirrel that launches fruit rollups at trick-or-treaters with a compressed air powered bazooka before high-fiving a gecko and laughing hysterically.

  45. cap60552.pip.verisignlabs.com says:

    For years I have wanted to create a multi-axis talking skull, that would be programmable. I would like to make the eyes able to move as well as the head it self. I think this controller kit would be the perfect learning kit to try to do this. One of the ideas I have for this rig would be to connect the controller to the internet, using an Ethernet module, and setup a mobile accessible website. After posting the websites address on a sign in my yard, parents could access the site and could control the skull to tailor the scares for their kids specifically…

    Just a thought, I would love the opportunity to try to make a reality. Thanks!

  46. CRAusmus says:

    I have never experimented with this line up before so I am not exactly sure what I would make. Which is why it is so awesome that this is a starter kit. My mind is racing with the possibilities this kit would offer.

  47. frian says:

    For halloween theme I wold like to make a singing jack o’ pumpkins. A series of jack o’ pumpkins lets say about 5 of them aligned. Using a super bright LEDs to light up the pumpkins. then there are some scary music or halloween theme music stored in the project. The music played by the project will change if the current music ended. The lights of the pumpkins follows a pattern depending on the music playing to make it more beautiful. This project is good for horror house decoration or party decor.

  48. XsavioR says:

    My best memory was of a guy dressed up as a scarecrow in a chair in the lawn with a sign “no ones home please take one” I thought it was more efficient to take all of the candy in the bowl on his lap…. Needless to say I nearly soiled myself when the scarecrow grabbed me for trying to take all of his candy.

    here is my vision:
    Pic32 webserver driven control system to control lights sound etc etc. Then a mechanical candy dispenser. A web cam so you can see whats going on.

    The idea here is to be able to log into your web server from afar and scare the children and still be a part of the holiday , even if you are stuck at work. A simple pa system would allow you to actually speak to the people enjoying your display, or in my case the little kid who tried to take all of your candy.

  49. Topher_ says:

    I would use the USB features of the PIC32 to control the flow of water AND the location of the drips of water (via 3 servos) from a small spout to slowly build a pumpkin out of ice. For the initial design of the pumpkin I would use another cad’ing program for the geometrical references. I could use these pumpkins outside my dorm as decoration, or as ice sculpture’s with dinner.

  50. Steven says:

    Although quite an over kill to control LED’s, I would make gloves and head gear with hi-bright LED’s position in various places, like behind ear-lobes, under fingers, any “thin” body part where the light would shine through.

    Then modulate to control the brightness and give the effect of glowing body extremities.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Wow, with the power of this single kit alone, I could not only make all of Halloween animatronic, I could provide the computational disposition of the event as it pertains to the general relativity of all parties and or entities that partake in such surreptitious Annam, and display it on a cool LCD. :)

  52. Robert W Gallop says:

    Wow, with the power of this single kit alone, I could not only make all of Halloween animatronic, I could provide the computational disposition of the event as it pertains to the general relativity of all parties and or entities that partake in such surreptitious Annam, and display it on a cool LCD. :)

  53. dj says:

    I already have a pneumatic piston-activated lift with remote control that I made a few years ago. Now I’d like to make it motion controlled with a reset delay so it works without me being there.

  54. jeeger says:

    I’d probably do something to my mailbox.

    Whenever someone opens the lid:

    - Make a sound
    - Vibrate?
    - Smoke?
    - Lights
    - Make it close itself (like the most useless machine^^)

  55. Nate says:

    …thinking that I might make something cool with it.

    She then joked about me making it shake and howl at children who come to our door.

    This PIC would help me to make her eat her words.

    And scare some kiddies in the process, of course! :D

  56. princewally says:

    I would orchestrate some scare props for yard haunt. Make them a little better than “on/off”.

  57. Steele Smith says:

    I would use it to automate servo controls to allow dome and sound interaction on my R5 astromech!

  58. MD_WildCard says:

    Rather than have the lid just pop open and the head jump up, I’d give the audience a little show. I’d set up a few servos to raise the lid a little and let two sets of claws come out and grip the edge of the can. After that, I’d add a little heavy breathing/growling sound effects along with a couple of glowing eyes that blink and move side to side. Maybe even add a small motor to give it all a little shake and shudder. Give the victims a few seconds to see what happens next, then the pop-up! Build the suspense a little! That PIC32 could control all of the timings!

  59. nate-pink.myopenid.com says:

    Hi,
    I would create a set of pumpkins that would automatically light up as people passed by them. The previous pumpkins would slow dim as time passed. I think that would be a cool effect up the sidewalk to my house.

  60. Sure-Shootin' Rex Dandycorn says:

    I’d love to make a fairly simple, quick and dirty servo-actuated laser projector that would interface with my desktop. A program to turn svg curves into control signals would be pretty simple.

  61. andy says:

    I will use this to build an anamatronic witch for Halloween!

  62. Jason says:

    I’d use this to control an interactive garden lighting system to make spooky effects in my garden.

  63. Edward Kimble says:

    Would use to make voice activated candy vendor and guest photographer. Motion activated, the ghostrider would request “trick or treat”. If the user says “treat” it vends candy, otherwise, if the user says “trick” the ghostrider is activated and it would move about, with glowing eyes, and with screeching tones, would laugh menacingly. Picture of trick or treater would be collected. Power for motion would be compressed air.

  64. Brennon Williams says:

    Hi, I’m 15 years old, and having some experience building robots with this microcontroller I would build a robot that would start off with basic movement and collision detection. I would then modify it to be able to scare trick-or-treaters and do a bit of neighborhood exploration. Why stop at halloween? I would continue to build off of this robot all year long (longer?) to make something truly Make-worthy. With slow and seemingly-simple modifications I can use this microcontroller to build a robot capable of achieving much.

  65. T--Fr says:

    I’ve been dreaming of a midi interface that can control my Roland synthesizers and my Gakken sx-150 over wireless so that I can play spooky tunes on my patio this halloween

  66. cyrozap says:

    I would make a 20(w)x5(h) red LED matrix, built in to some sort of visor (like the one Cyclops, from the X-men, has but with LEDs).

    Features:
    * Different display modes, changed by a switch or automatically
    -Larson scanner/cylon
    -Phaser: plays a phaser sound and makes the LEDs light up in an order so they converge in the middle
    -Text: Displays scrolling, pre-selected text such as “Happy Halloween!” or some witty phrase.
    * 4×5 character resolution
    * Awesome red LEDs
    * Audio-enabled

    I am definitely going to make it, but using a PIC would be very handy because I wouldn’t have to dedicate an Arduino to the project (judging by the comments on Hack-a-Day, the readers there don’t appreciate Arduino projects like they used to).

  67. Murali says:

    Jack-O-Lantern is one of the first symbols that come to anyone’s mind when they think of halloween. Every one would want to create different varieties of these lanterns with different faces. Every one understands the effort involved in carving the pumpkins, placing various light sources etc. I would like to use the PIC kit to build a a persistence of vision LED pumpkin display. I would like to programatically change the face on the pumpkin.

    This can be achieved by a 12-inch rotating sphere that would display a orange LED Jack-O-Lantern. I would like to use a magnet to transfer power to the microcontroller
    wirelessly eliminating the use of a slip ring.

    Then I would like to generate scary sounds which can be played back with the help of PIC chip.

    A cool modern day Jack-O-Lantern with the use of latest technology!

    No hassles of burning the pumpkins while using the candles.

  68. Sean Michael Ragan says:

    Thanks to everyone for your ideas and comments. Entries are now closed. Comments which appear below this one will not be considered. The winner will be announced at the bottom of this thread sometime this afternoon. If you didn’t get your comment in on time, don’t worry, we’ve got lots more giveaways coming up throughout October!

    1. drew dominguez says:

      winner??? it’s killing me, i’m checking the site pretty much every hour…. yea that’s how i spend my saturdays

  69. Sean Michael Ragan says:

    …for the long delay announcing the winner. It is XsavioR! Congratulations to him and, for those of you who didn’t win this time, take heart! We’ve got about eight more giveaways coming up before Halloween!

    1. XsavioR says:

      Awesome ! Thank you Microchip and Make!

  70. Terry says:

    I’ve never done any micro controller programming so my project would probably be pretty lame and simple, but I’d love a chance to learn something new!

    I love electronics and your site has taught me so much, now with all the arduino stuff coming out I would welcome the chance to learn about micro controller programming.