7 Ideas for Automating Your Halloween Porch Display

Fun & Games Furniture & Lighting Home Technology

Usually it’s considered impolite to purposely scare people, but one night of the year it’s actually encouraged. You could buy a skeleton or other scary device and simply place it on your porch, but for something truly unique, here are seven options that you can build yourself.

LED Pumpkin Eyes

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Putting a candle inside of a pumpkin is interesting enough, but for a unique take on this idea here’s one that uses LEDs instead. Expressive LED matrix eyes are controlled by an ATmega328 chip, and an RGB LED is embedded inside the pumpkin so that it can light the mouth different colors.

Raspberry Pi House Lighting Control

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This Halloween you could light up a pumpkin and call it a night, but Noel Portugal instead decided to turn his house into a light and music display using a Raspberry Pi. The display looks interesting on video, but was even more entertaining in person!

Acrylic LED Lighting

LED Acrylic

Here’s an interesting technique that could be adapted for other scary purposes as well. An etched piece of acrylic will glow mostly where you’ve scratched it. This means that any sort of drawing can be reproduced, in this case a glowing ghost.

The Pumpkin Pi

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If we are going to talk about adding electronics to Halloween decorations, “Pumpkin Pi” certainly seems like an appropriate pun for the occasion. Puns aside, this pumpkin lights up via LEDs controlled by a remotely mounted Raspberry Pi, and uses a passive infrared (PIR) sensor to respond to its environment.

Ping Pong Pumpkin LED Holders


If you want a simple way to dress up your LEDs, this instructables article goes over how to put them in Ping Pong balls to diffuse the light. As also shown there, you can color the outside of the orange type in a pumpkin shape for a “spooky” effect.

Dropping Spider

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If the light display shown earlier wasn’t enough of an accomplishment, in 2009 Noel Portugal decided to hook up a fake spider to drop down on unsuspecting guests. He used a VHS tape  as a clever way to physically winch the spider up and down.

[via Planet Arduino]

Marty the Pumpkin Automaton

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Love Halloween? Love making? Check out our special Halloween issue for more projects to scare and delight! Available now online and in print at fine retailers everywhere.

Though not electronic, I couldn’t help thinking of this clever mechanical pumpkin called “Marty.” You can see how it was made on its Intructables page, or we featured it here last year.

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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook
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