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Halloween comes but once a year and with all the options for celebrations and decorations, you can do better than the standard pumpkins and cobwebs. While there's nothing wrong with going with the Halloween classics, with a little extra money and set-up you can create something truly spectacular for your next party, haunted house, or intrepid trick-or-treater. And frequently, the more high-tech the purchase, the more likely it can be reused past October 31st and take you directly into the winter holiday season.

Read more: Best weird tech: 7 unique and fun devices

The right Halloween decorations are all about creating a sense of mood, ambiance, or creepiness, and there are more than a few tech-based ways to go about it. This guide reflects some of the best Halloween tech you can use to elevate your spooky game, whether it's animatronics and smoke machines or smart home standbys like smart lights and smart plugs. For all of that and more check out our guide below.

Best Halloween tech: Our top picks

A silver and black fog machine with fog coming out of it, six LED lights at the front, and a remote control floating above it.
Sunolga 900W Halloween Fog Machine
1. Best Halloween tech item overall

Adds some atmosphere in 15 seconds or less

The Sunolga 900W Halloween Fog Machine combines the best of fog machines and laser light shows. It has a 1000ml tank for holding the fog solution and is capable of producing up to 4,000 cubic feet of fog. The LED lights can illuminate the fog in seven different colors, and the best part is it can do it all in 15 seconds or less.

  • Portable, with built-in handle
  • Starts producing fog in a snap
  • Lights can color fog
  • Requires separate purchase of fog fluid

The Sunolga 900W Halloween Fog Machine is our overall favorite pick in terms of the amount of impact it can have on your Halloween, versus the cost and set up time. Fog machines create atmosphere by adding texture and mystique to the surrounding air. It could play as the fog rolling in over your front yard cemetery, the mysterious smoke billowing out of a witch's cauldron, or use it to add a sense of eeriness to a Halloween party.

Thanks to the Sunolga's built-in six stage LED lights you can also color that fog one of seven colors, tuning things even further to your liking, and Sunolga says the fog machine can heat up and start producing fog in as little as 15 seconds. There's even a remote if you want to trigger the whole thing remotely for an unsuspecting trick-or-treater.

A tall hooded figure holding a small girl and sucking her soul out.
Haunted Hill Farm
Haunted Hill Farm 6-ft Soul Sucker Animatronic
2. Best premium Halloween tech item

An over-the-top animatronic

$270 $300 Save $30

Haunted Hill Farm's Soul Sucker Animatronic is a six foot, practically life-sized ghoul and child duo that's motion and sound-activated, lights up with green LEDs, and can even produce a "soul" (fog from a small fog machine) for the Soul Sucker to inhale.

  • Very scary
  • Motion and sound activation
  • Life size height
  • Expensive
  • Fog component requires setup

Our premium pick is over-the-top, but for what you're paying, it should be. The Haunted Hill Farm 6-ft Soul Sucker animatronic is a life-sized hooded ghoul that lifts a little girl in front of its mouth and "sucks out her soul." The animatronic is motion and sound-activated and lit with green LEDs. The Soul Sucker even threatens the little girl before it takes her soul.

The actual "soul" leaving the body is an effect caused by a small fog machine that blows fog directly in the Soul Sucker's mouth. Effective, creepy, and the perfect one-up if your neighbor has already invested in a 12-ft tall skeleton. The Soul Sucker might not be as big, but it's certainly scarier than some giant bones.

An orange, pumpkin-shaped bowl with glowing eyes and a skeleton hand reaching out of the back.
Funpeny Halloween Candy Bowl
3. Best budget-friendly Halloween tech

Skeletal surprise jump scare

The Funpeny Halloween Candy Bowl is a simple trick, but a good one. The pumpkin-shaped candy bowl has a motion-activated skeleton hand that reaches out to grab trick-or-treaters. It's powered by three AAA batteries.

  • Skeleton hand completely disappears when not in use
  • Motion-activated
  • Eyes glow
  • "Try me" button is always visible

For an affordable way to add some fun tech to your Halloween, the Funpeny Halloween Candy Bowl is an easy must-buy. It's a pumpkin-shaped candy bowl that looks pretty great on its own, but ratchets things to another level once you turn it on. Set in its "On," motion-activated state, any hand grabbing candy will be quickly followed by a skeleton hand that unfolds from the back of the bowl, tries to grab them, and then returns to its slot. The bowl is powered by three AAA batteries, and the hand itself can also be triggered by a button on the front of the bowl in case the motion sensor doesn't detect small hands. One drawback is the "try me" button on the front that remains visible, but we think a little black marker over that could be a quick fix.

A purple box with a white light strip curled in front of it.
Philips Hue
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Outdoor Light Strip
4. Best smart lighting for Halloween

Outdoor lights for spooky ambiance

$94 $130 Save $36

The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Outdoor Light Strip is seven feet long and entirely posable. You can wrap it around corners or objects, and connect directly over Bluetooth or a Philips Hue Bridge to turn it on, change its color or brightness, and add it to smart home routines.

  • Curves, bends, and is able to be trimmed
  • Infinite color combinations
  • Works over Bluetooth
  • Philips Hue Bridge required for full functionality

If you've used other Philips Hue products the Outdoor Light Strip should be fairly familiar. Rather than a bulb, it's a bendable strip that's water-resistant enough to be stowed outside and seven feet long. You could wrap it around a tree for some dramatic lighting, or around a frame inside to highlight some particularly grotesque decorations and then tweak colors and brightness to your liking from the companion app.

You can set up a single Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Outdoor Light Strip over Bluetooth, or connect it to a Philips Bridge to sync it with other Philips Hue lighting and include it in smart home routines. The beauty of the Outdoor Light Strip is it's just as useful after the holiday for lighting your home or decorating your backyard, and buying one Philips Hue product means you unlock even more potential use-cases with your next purchase.

A black and grey wireless speaker with a plus and a minus button on the side for controlling the volume.
Ultimate Ears
Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
5. Best speaker for spooky, on-demand tunes

A wireless speaker to set the mood

$157 $200 Save $43

Ultimate Ear's Megaboom 3 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is loud, IP67 water and dustproof, and offers up to 20 hours of battery life. There's one button on the top for controlling playback and it comes in a variety of fun colors, too.

  • 20 hours of battery life
  • IP67 rating
  • Can be paired with other UE speakers
  • Somewhat big

The Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker isn't UE's newest audio product, but it's just the right size for filling up a living room or front porch with the Monster Mash and any other on theme Halloween songs. The speaker itself features one button for playback controls, has a IP67 water and dustproof rating, and gets up to 20 hours of battery life. You should be able to leave it running all night without issues.

Ultimate Ears UE Megaboom 3 review image 1

Ultimate Ears sells the Megaboom 3 in several different colors, but the "Night Black" option feels the most appropriate for a dark night handing out candy. Or you could get several different colors and use the speaker's companion app to sync them all together. They'll work great for birthday parties and beach trips too.

A black camera with two spotlights and a camera in the center.
Ring Spotlight Cam Plus (Battery)
6. Best outdoor camera to catch tricksters

It also works as an intercom

The Ring Spotlight Cam Plus is an outdoor security camera that can shoot 1080p video, has two motion-activated LED spotlights, and a built-in security siren. More features are unlocked with a Ring Protect subscription, but either way it works with Amazon Alexa out of the box.

  • 1080p video
  • Built-in security siren
  • Works with Aamzon Alexa
  • Ring Protect subscription necessary to unlock all features

If you're more concerned with the "trick" side of Halloween, rather than the "treat", Ring's Spotlight Cam Plus gives you a great way to keep tabs on your home without getting off the couch. The camera records in 1080p (and includes a night vision mode), has two motion-activated LED spotlights, and a built-in security system. It's not just for turning your home into any kid on Mischief Night's worst nightmare either.

Read more: Best smart security camera: Top models from Ring, Arlo, and Nest

The Spotlight Cam Plus has a two-way speaker and microphone that let you use the camera as an intercom of sorts to speak to people within range. You could tell your kids to stop playing and come inside just as easily as you scare away trick-or-treaters, or keeping with the spirit of the holiday - send some spooky messages outside for trick-or-treaters. Like other Ring cameras, the Spotlight Cam Plus also works with Alexa, so you can incorporate it into your larger smart home ecosystem.

A black plug with two outlets, buttons on the top, and a cord coming out of the back.
Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug
7. Best smart plug to program your electronics

Not just useful during Halloween

$18 $30 Save $12

Kasa's Outdoor Smart Plug offers you individual control of two separate AC outlets and includes a waterproof cover to protect the internals from inclement weather. It's compatible with both Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa for all of your smart home control and programming needs.

  • Two individually controlled outlets
  • Waterproof cover
  • 300ft Wi-Fi range
  • Doesn't work with Apple HomeKit

If you have lights or a giant inflatable spider lawn decoration you want to power on at a specific time, the Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug is a super simple way to have your smart home do the work for you. Kasa's plug connects with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for smart home routines and voice commands and has a Wi-Fi range of 300 ft, so it should work wherever you put it outside your house.

The plug itself is technically two separate AC outlets you can control independently of each other, and the cover that wraps around them is entirely waterproof. You can of course use the Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug year round for whatever decorations you want to put on a timer or control with your voice.

A black mask with an elastic strap and an LED display on the front.
Gootus LED App-Controlled Face Mask
8. Best customizable Halloween mask

The ultimate costume

$56 $80 Save $24

The Gootus LED App-Controlled Face Mask is a face-sized LED display that you can customise with up to 45 animations and still images, essentially changing masks on the fly. It charges over USB-C and can even be set to change faces when the mask detects motion.

  • Animated LED display
  • Charges over USB-C
  • Customizable with app
  • Not very comfortable head strap
  • Companion app seems rough

The Gootus LED App-Controlled Face Mask could very well be the ultimate Halloween mask. It's technically just an LED display that's curved to fit around your face, but the "secret sauce" as it were, is the app it connects. The app options let you switch what the mask displays. Gootus includes 45 animations and still images to choose from and gives you a rudimentary way to create your own with scrolling text and photos.

There's a knock-off The Purge mask, several options that would look like they would be at home at an EDM festival, and more. The mask charges over USB-C and an included motion sensor lets you change the face on the mask with a wave of your hands if you want.

Best Halloween tech: the bottom line

You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to elevate your Halloween experience. The Sunolga 900W Halloween Fog Machine costs less than $100, but it is a simple and satisfying way to add some extra spooky atmosphere to your front lawn or party.

A silver and black fog machine with fog coming out of it, six LED lights at the front, and a remote control floating above it.
Sunolga 900W Halloween Fog Machine
Editor's Choice

Then again, if you are willing to spend more, the Haunted Hill Farm 6-ft Soul Sucker Animatronic checks all the boxes in terms of creepiness and special effects. It's activated with motion or sound and includes an ingenious method for simulating the soul being sucked out of a small child. For the cheapest, but still fun option, the Funpeny Halloween Candy Bowl looks good off, but manages to surprise when it's on with a motion-activated hand that tries to grab anyone who reaches in for a piece of candy from the bowl.

How we picked the best Halloween tech

We're no strangers to the finer details of the smart home here at Pocket-lint, and when it comes down to it, holiday decorations could just as easily be colored smart lights or controlled by a smart plug as anything else. The picks we've made reflect that. We chose trusted smart home brands that are simple to use and widely compatible with the most popular smart home platforms like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

For the rest, we tried to look for options that balanced price with functionality, with an eye for Halloween tech that makes a big impression with little setup. That means interesting effects that aren't complicated to use, frequently triggered by motion or sound. Though, to be fair, that didn't exclude a ridiculous six-foot tall animatronic either.

When is Halloween 2023?

Tuesday, October 31st. While Halloween is always celebrated on October 31st, this year it falls on a Tuesday. While it's a bit saddening that Halloween falls on a weekday this year, there are likely to be many weekend parties leading up or yard decoration competitions happening beforehand, so be sure to order your Halloween tech beforehand.