Halloween Tricks and Treats
Want to be a trendy parent or the coolest kid this Halloween? Look no further than your smartphone to point you in the right direction.
Halloween is fast approaching, and if you agree with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that "where there is no imagination, there is no horror," put on your thinking cap and take a look at some tech innovations, which can help you brew up some cool holiday tricks to treat your friends.
From giving your costume that cutting-edge technology, to haunting seasonal music and mobile games for the young and not-so-young to enjoy and share, there are a variety of options for just about everyone this spooky season.
Dressed for Distress
Use your creativity, smartphone and the DigitalDudz website to craft a horrific tale about how you came to have a bloody, gaping hole in your chest. The iWound is a prosthetic-like piece of latex specially designed to hold your mobile device snugly inside a t-shirt so that the screen displays through a cut-out in a shirt.
In addition, the website boasts all you need to do is buy one of the 20+ specially designed t-shirts, and with your mobile device, the company's free app, a little duct tape and four minutes you can create other creepy costumes, building on the same basic idea.
The shirts are all designed with special cut-outs so you can tape your smartphone on the inside and display your phone's screen from the cut-out. All you have to do is launch the app and select the animation you want. You can ravage the outside of the shirt with blood and gore, and by double tapping the "beating heart," you can toggle through more videos like snakes, maggots, gears and a tarantula, to mix up a personal story of woe.
Some animations include a spinning disco ball, a pounding wound, and a beating heart. Even if you had planned to dress as a zombie or a wounded solider, adding the beating heart effect to the rest of your costume can take it to the next level.
The company designed it for iOS, but it's also available for Android, but there are bugs to work out. DigitalDudz offers shirts that range from downright gory to silly cartoons to even Romney and Obama, so you have good options this Halloween. The shirts range in price from $25 to $35 each, and the app is free, making it fairly inexpensive proposition.
All Hallow's Eve Apps
Both Apple and Android have a slew of apps to give you a taste of All Hallow's Eve for a price that won't gobble up your pocketbook.
The free "Scary Sounds" App for iOS can add an audio feature to your trick or treating adventures. By looping the selected sequence, which includes deep laugh, howls, barking, growling and night sounds, you can create the perfect horror sound environment to give your costume some added grit, or set the perfect soundscapes for a holiday bash.
On a lighter note, you or your kids can design your own virtual pumpkins with thousands of design combinations in the iOS "Pumpkin Maker" app. The free game also lets you share your scary or goofy creations with Facebook friends, taking the game to the next level. The app is a fun way for kids to get into the holiday spirit, too.
Taking the holiday decoration urge a step further, there is the free iOS app "Halloween City," where you can build your own virtual city filled with animated witches, monster plants, ghosts, ghouls, zombies and vampires. You can even channel the mad-scientist within by cross-breeding the characters and enjoying their evil offspring. In the game, you collect coins to level up and unlock more items and you can take pictures of you city to share with friends.
For the more advanced in heart-stopping scariness, there is the "200+ Horror Stories, Sounds, And Scares" app for $1 on iTunes. This huge collection of scary stories and ghost novels, haunting sounds, tips on fun pranks, and creepy animations will give the family some entertainment this Halloween. To keep everyone on their toes, the app also has an auto-scare feature which randomly plays sounds and scares anytime.
The stories include classics like Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and Henry James' "Turn of the Screw," to name a few. Parents take note: the app is rated 12+ because of some of the content.
To complement your mobile device's eerie Halloween sounds, you may want to add some Halloween wallpapers, like the free "Halloween 3D Live Wallpaper" for Android. The glowing 3D Jack O'Lantern follows your every move and includes haunted scenery including 3D images of ghosts, bats, witches and pumpkins.
In addition to freaky sounds and wallpapers, you can also equip your Android smartphone with the free "Scary Ringtones" app. The description promise you will "jump out of your chair on every call with these 59 frightening ringtones," which can be set as ringtone, notification, alarm or assigned to specific contacts.
At least one person found a practical use beyond getting into the festive fall season: it keeps his young daughter away from the device because she is afraid the phone might ring in her possession.
"ZombieBooth: 3D Zombifier," available for $1 at Google Play, offers a ghoulish way to "zombify" any portrait taken with your device's camera. If you've ever wondered how you, or your cheating ex-boyfriend would look as a 3D-animated zombie, this app will give you a good idea. You can make 3D images using several zombie variations to make your dead ringers, complete with blinking, scowling and breathing functions. As an added kick, they will even try to ravage the unsuspecting finger that gets too close to the screen!
If you'd rather shoot zombies than create them, the "Dead Trigger" app, free on Android, lets you be a deadly zombie-killing machine in a fast-action shooting game, which increases in difficulty as the levels progress. In this future world, where people have risen against ignorant, corrupt politicians and a deadly virus wiped out billions and disrupted global economies, you are one of few survivors tasked with stopping the zombies that are left ravaging the earth.
In the game, you can smash hordes of bloodthirsty zombies, secure vital supplies, save other survivors and explore the city while you protect the safe haven.
The "Mystery Manor" app, free for both Android and iOS, is a gaming challenge to find hidden objects and complete puzzles in the haunted mansion and on your way to solving the mystery of the disappeared master. The ruined manor and its ghoulish inhabitants are counting on you to divine strange messages, complete new quests and unlock rooms. The game, unlike Halloween itself, is literally never-ending.
More in the category of just for kicks, you can also take a gander at the free "Ghost Radar Classic" app from Android and iOS. Hunt ghosts and spirits by picking up energy fields with your phone's sensors and view your results with intriguing words and images. The app has a disclaimer that is doesn't detect EMF or gravity and is intended for entertainment use.
Beyond apps and costumes, other products aim to bring a touch of seasonal sensibility to your gadgets, too.
For example, Think Geek offers a skull hub for $25, featuring a resin skull which accommodates four USB hubs inside to add a ghoulish element to your workspace. Along the same skeleton lines -- but with a cuteness element factored in -- you can browse a variety of glow-in-the-dark 8-gigabyte flash drives at Mimoco, the same people who produce the Mimobot drives.
If the Halloween stock is low, you can pick up your favorite superhero character, like The Joker, for $15, get in on the holiday fun and show your style throughout the year.
And, for the dismemberment-inclined, head over to Brando for its thumb drive, an obvious choice for Halloween with a built-in season pun on the thumb-drive moniker. There are many thumb drives with flash memory to store your data on the go, and this literal thumb-designed 8-gigabyte drive costs $40, but its shock value might be worth the price. ♦
Categories: Beyond Technology