Ah, Halloween. Of all the holidays, it’s likely the most social. Yeah, sure, religious holidays tend to bring families together, but often the people together would rather not be. Halloween, on the other hand, sees people going out and about, sometimes happily sending their kids to pick up food from strangers. How weird!
This brings its own challenges. With everyone spread far and wide, you may want to keep track of your family or friends. You might also want to watch what you’re eating, lest the candy bars get out of control. Let’s have a look at some apps to solve these problems – and more.
Keeping Track of Family and Friends: Life360
It’s easy to become separated during Halloween, and if you’re a family out for a night of trick-or-treating, that situation can be stressful. It’s not unusual for a child to wander off to check out someone in a cool costume, and usually it turns out fine. But the experience of losing track of a kid for a few moments can ruin the evening.
Enter Life360. This tracking app lets you locate other people (who’ve authorized your tracking of their devices, of course) on your phone using a map. It can be used to track any phone, but tracking those running Android or iOS is free. If you want to track some other device, you’ll have to pay for the $4.99/month subscription.
Best of all, the app seems rather simple to use. I was able to install it, sign up for an account, and set up the app on another phone for tracking within about five minutes. The tracking feature isn’t always pinpoint accurate – it depends on how strong a GPS signal a phone can receive – but trick-or-treating in an outdoors environment should allow for accurate tracking, since a GPS signal should be easy to acquire.
Image Filtering: Pixlr-o-matic
Halloween is the perfect time to make use of your phone’s camera. You’re (probably) in costume, surrounded by people with costumes…this is the stuff Facebook photos are made of!
You may feel, however, that your slightly washed-out phone camera photo doesn’t convey the atmosphere you were hoping for. This can usually be corrected with some simple image filters, and Pixlr-o-matic is the current champ.
It’s really quite simple. Snap a photo (or open it through the gallery) and then add color filters, lightning effects, and a frame. You’re not going to end up with a professional Photoshop job, but you might end up with a nice, campy horror shot. And hey, it’s Halloween – that’s what it’s about, right?
Calorie Counting: Calorie Counter by FatSecret
Halloween can be an intimidating holiday for those on a diet. There’s candy, candy everywhere…and not much accountability, since no one is going to pay much attention if you’re scarfing down candy bars. That’s kind of expected.
Still, some intrepid weight watchers may want to test their willpower, in which case a calorie counting app can be of great use. There are several available, such as MyFitnessPal and Calorie Counter Pro, but the most popular and best is Calorie Counter by FatSecret.
It does require registration, which is a bit annoying (but then again, so do most of the calorie counting apps). Once you set it up, it’s easy to use. The best part is the fact that you can scan barcodes in order to find data, so if you pick up a bag a candy or a candy bar, you can simply scan the barcode instead of looking it up manually.
Should a barcode be missing, however, you can look up via search. There are a lot of entries, and I think the results are less redundant than what you sometimes find with MyFitnessPal.
Gaming: Bubble Blast Halloween Edition
Whenever a holiday comes along, about four million novelty games are uploaded to Android. Most of them are terrible.
If you’d like to get in the holiday spirit, however, Bubble Blast Halloween is a safe bet. That’s largely because this is just a variant of Bubble Blast, made by the same developer, and that’s already known to be a fun Android game. Changing around the graphics doesn’t change the fact that it remains a solid puzzle game that can keep most players entertained for hours on end. Those who are obsessive about being the best will enjoy the global scoring system.
The fact that this game is free, just like the other Bubble Blast games, is just the candy corn on the cake.
What apps do you find useful when it’s time to dress up? Is there an app that you like to use to help stake out the houses that give the best candy? Or is there a camera app that helps take spooky photos? Let us know in the comments!