Halloween Automation

Not sure if Halloween will be cancelled this year but I’ve been using the same setup for the past 3 years now and have received a lot of positive comments. I already have 90% of the decorations setup and will decide last minute if I “go live” this year. I’ve been surprised by the lack of Halloween automations on this forum so I wanted to share mine (plus I’m also looking to add something mechanical as well so any suggestions would be appreciated).

The setup consists of a variety of traditional Halloween decor (grave stones, skeletons, giant spider, jack o lanterns, etc.). Other non-SmartThings devices include a Perfect Storm lighting effects box, a PA sound system with sub, strobe lights, a black light and smoke machine. The automation, which is triggered by a motion sensor on the porch, controls 2 RGB smart bulbs, 4 smart switches and VLC media player installed on a laptop, connected to the PA system. This year I’m running a 2nd instance of VLC player to play barking dog sound effects.

As kids approach the house, I have “swamp sounds” playing and a friendly ghost is the first thing they see. The lightning effects and smoke are running continuously (I also use ice to cool the smoke so it stays low to the ground). Once the automation is triggered, all the following happens simultaneously: The porch lights (red on approach) and the entry light inside the house turn off , 2 strobe lights turn on illuminating a phantom and spirit, the friendly ghost’s white lights turn red and VLC player plays a spooky “I see you” track. This year I have a wireless speaker that will sit behind my skeleton dog and play the barking track. Everything resets when the front door is opened.

I thought about adding a fan to provide some movement to the phantom and spirit but it’s not dramatic enough. We have a rather innocent scarecrow right by the front door that I’d love to be able to shake or even turn its head. Any ideas on how I might accomplish this?

A short video clip from a few years back can be seen here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nqe8s0i12frp559/Video%20Oct%2031%2C%206%2008%2020%20PM.mov?dl=0

Happy Halloween!


Looks really nice Chad, excellent work, one thing I can recommend that absolutely scares the kids a very loud train whistle, using a decent sonos speaker or something similar it works a charm

We have also used 3 projectors in the past which always work well

Sadly this year we are not doing anything due to restrictions but loud sound is always a winner and annoys the neighbours brilliantly

Was also great to use the Fibaro RGBWw controler to control my led light strips out front, the fireplace and storm setting were very effective, with the new ST app they can no longer be used but they were great for a time

Thanks Mike. For a second I though the image of your dog was a Westie like ours (who also gets into Halloween)!

Very nice!

I did this with automations a few years ago.

Last year I kept it simple just using Hue and one of the lightning effects apps. The weather was terrible so I had to bring most of the lights (not outdoor rated) into the house which diminished the experience some.

New house, new neighborhood, and social distancing concerns this year mean we have no idea what the traffic will be like and not sure what we’ll do. The decorations are out, and I’ve added AtmosFX to the mix, but likely won’t do any automations. I just found out last weekend that the outdoor outlet in front doesn’t work. So no lights are going out until Halloween day, as the cords will have to come in through a window. If the weather allows, I’ll probably hang some BR30 Hue bulbs out of the upstairs windows to do lightning.

I have an Alexa routine setup that does the following actions when people pass by the Ring step light on the steps:

  1. Porch light turns off
  2. outlet with strobe light turns on
  3. RGBW lights out front change from white to orange and purple
  4. Echo on the porch plays spooky music
  5. resets after 2 minutes