Technology and Halloween might not strike you as obvious bedfellows, but we think they’re soulmates.
Here’s how you can use technology to make your Halloween more…err…spirited this year.
You read on. We’ll just get our coats.
Halloween sceptics may be edified to learn that the jack-o-lantern is a tradition with origins reassuringly close to home.
Based on the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, the familiar grinning pumpkins commemorate the eponymous miser, shut out of both heaven and hell for his misdeeds.
Equally out of favour with the angels and the devil, Jack had no option but to roam the earth—carrying his lantern, of course—until judgement day arrived.
Because there are no pumpkins in Ireland (or at least there weren’t until Darina Allen and her fellow foodies started plying their trade), the original jack-o-lantern was a much more terrifying beast carved from a handy turnip, beet or mangel wurzel.
We suggest you make yours even less appealing by substituting a coloured, battery-powered LED light for the more usual candle. Nasty.
Homemade Poltergeist Manifestation
To unsettle hardcore friends and family not sufficiently rattled by your LED-lit jack-o-lantern, simulate your very own poltergeist using smart lighting like the Hue range from Philips.
Replace your normal lightbulbs with these exceedingly conventional looking smart bulbs, connect them to the relevant phone or tablet app, and make them dim, flicker, or turn on and off when you’re nowhere near the main switch.
Take your spirit manifestation to the next level by using your phone’s voice-operated assistant to dim the lights any time it detects the word ‘poltergeist’ or ‘ghost’.
Caution: this trick may cause complete chaos when played on the wrong people. It’s our health and safety obligation to point out that you should only do it to individuals in good health and with robust nerves.
Scary Movies and Pumpkin Soup
This is a relatively gentle option, suitable for everyone who doesn’t really relish the sensation of mortal terror. But depending on the movie you choose, you’ll still have scares in all the right places.
We always go for George Sluizer’s 1988 whimper-fest The Vanishing, which never fails to provide real moments of horror. For those who don’t have the stomach for the original, there’s a much-diluted 1993 remake starring Jeff Bridges.
If you do watch the original version, you’ll need a nice warming bowl of pumpkin soup afterwards, just to bring you back to comfortable normality.
Where’s the technology angle here? Well, you’ll no doubt be using some kind of movie streaming service to watch your chiller (thereby temporarily redefining ‘Netflix and chill’).
Not only that, the lazy chef would be well advised to invest in one of the many automatic soup makers now available practically everywhere.
The Good Housekeeping Institute has a helpful review section to make your choice easier.
Technology and Halloween: Both Are Better with Friends
However you choose to celebrate Halloween this year, don’t do it alone.
If you haven’t already made plans, how about downloading the Loose Ends app to your smartphone?
Even if you’re the most rubbish organiser in the world, Loose Ends can help you connect with friends who are keen to meet up for spooky, silly or just plain hair-raising fun.
Don’t forget to bring your turnip jack-o-lantern.