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The leaves are changing, cool weather is blowing in. Children lie awake at night wondering what to choose for their costume and dreaming about the legendary candy hauls of yore. They also remember the coolest houses. You know, the ones whose owners went all-out decorating for the season. Scarecrows, cobwebs, and jack-o-lanterns startling and delighting trick or treaters — especially excellent were those spooky props rigged to move, or to light up, or howl out spooky noises.

To that end, MAKE and Jameco Electronics have dreamed up a cool Halloween-themed contest. Your assignment is to create a work of DIY animatronics — the most spine-tingling, diabolical, and downright creepy Halloween prop possible, making use of lights, sounds, and movement to scare the kiddies. The contest is open to all skill levels and we’ll be doing weekly newsletters and posts walking you through a project to build an animatronic tombstone. So even if you’ve never done anything like this before, you’ll be able to follow along with this weekly step-by-step build.

Wow the judges with your amazing mad scientist mojo, and praise and admiration — not to mention cool prizes — will be yours! First prize package includes a Parallax Stringray Robot and the second prize bundle includes a Lego Mindstorms kit! See the contest landing page for all of the goodies available.

If you’re interested in participating in the contest, or would just like to be kept in the loop, enter your particulars in the form below and you’ll be signed up for the official contest newsletter (for this contest and for future contest project newsletters). The newsletter will show contestants how to build a computer-controlled Halloween tombstone, with lights, sound, and movement. And we’ve put together a parts bundle with Jameco to make the build process even easier (the bundle is NOT required to participate in the contest).





The first newsletter will go out tomorrow. See the DIY Haunts landing page for full details on the contest.

This is Jared Martin’s Mr. Bones and the Gourditos prop. Jared was last year’s contest winner and will be acting as a judge for this year’s contest.

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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