Halloween is almost upon us! That means it's time to dust off your costume, make that dentist appointment and carve up some pumpkins.
With all the candy and midnight shenanigans, it may seem like this holiday isn't associated with tech, but we beg to differ.
Whether it's doling out goodies to costumed kids or raging all night long, we have five tech tricks and treats to help you survive Halloween.
Never fear your energy bill again
Depending on where you live, the weather can be tricky towards the end of October. It can be raining and hot or raining and cold, or a bit of everything (seriously, living in California has given us crazy fall weather over the years).
This means your thermostat is probably going to be working hard to keep you cool or warm, making Halloween the best time of the year to get a Nest.
Handing out candy means you're going to be opening and closing the door all night long, likely losing a lot of energy.
That's why installing Nest could save you a bundle of money so you don't have to be afraid of getting your bill every month.
Nest can keep track of your household's habits and adjusts temperature accordingly. You can also check out the activity it sends via Wi-Fi to your Nest account online. Creepy. But useful!
Fancy yourself a maker?
Autumn is full of opportunities for crafty types - and of course, techy makers.
You can program a Spark Core - a tiny, Arduino-compatible WiFi development board - to send a Pebble doorbell notifications then set up a little trebuchet to hurl candy at the trick or treaters. Or perhaps just get the notifications …
There are also tons of other neat Arduino projects if you don't have a Pebble - like stepping up your Halloween decor with a board by making spooky, interactive decorations.
Don't have an Arduino? A Raspberry Pi will do just fine. If the projects take too long, there's always next year - plus you save a bit of money on decorations. Plus there's a deeper sense of satisfaction that all the scary stuff in your yard or house was painstakingly created with your own hands.
Scary good sound
What if you're all about the costumed party scene? After all, Halloween lies on a Friday this year so there's nothing to fear the next day - except a hangover.
If you plan on throwing your own bash, consider investing in a killer sound system.
Sonos may be your best bet to get sound in every room over Wi-Fi.
The Sonos Controller App lets you browse and play your music from any device. Stream different songs from your smartphone, tablet, or computer to each room, group rooms together, or hear the same tunes simultaneously.
Heck, you can drop some party beats in the house then set up ominous sounds by the front door to freak people out.
Portable battery charger or charging case? We know you'll be taking selfies like crazy so pick your poison and thank us later when your phone goes from 0% to something usable.
We recommend the smaller portable chargers or the lipstick sized, which can fit easily in a purse or pocket - like the Jackery Mini and Powerocks Magic Stick. If you have the space to spare, the mid size versions will help your phone last even longer, and could charge up a friend's too.
Charging cases may be the way to go if you prefer something even more convenient. Though it doesn't mean it's less bulky. Most decent phone charging cases are on the hefty side, but it's a sacrifice that must be made for that life saving phone call. The Otterbox Resurgence or the Mophie Space Pack are both great options. They aren't too massive - though still big - and will keep your phones alive all night long.
The most important trick and tip on the list? Getting home safely. You probably already have Uber and Lyft downloaded but we've added the apps here just in case.
Don't live in an area with either service? Use your undead phone to Google taxis - or stick taxi companies in your contacts before you head out. You can also install the taxi apps Curb and Flywheel. If all else fails, have your bartender call you a cab because we want you to enjoy next year's Halloween too.
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