Halloween is right around the corner, and for tech-savvy scaremongers there have never been this many options. It’s easier than ever to turn your whole house into a fully-integrated horror box, and anyone with a little DIY know-how can make totally customizable motion-activated surprises for trick or treaters.
What if you’re on a tight budget, though? Well, there are ways technology can help, along with plenty of ways to get creative and creepy this Halloween! In this article we will cover several cool lighting projects that all come in at under $5.
To start us off, our own basic electronics project. It takes minimal parts, and the soldering is simple enough for beginners too. The result can be stashed in a bush or dark window to give the effect of a pair of eerie red glowing eyes staring at you!
The combined cost of the parts for this simple scare build come in at $2.22, putting this first DIY decoration well under the $5 mark. We also cover how to heat shrink the components adding basic weatherproofing to the project, making it the perfect outdoor prop to make your guests feel watched!
And don’t worry if you’ve never soldered before because we have a handy guide to soldering!
Keeping on the subject of eyes, this time these eyes don’t peer at you from the darkness — they stare at you in the light! This quick and crafty build from landeeseelandeedo.com is perfect for kids, utilizing ping pong balls and dollar store fairy lights to create a chain of staring eyeballs!
This build is a perfect thing to do with the less tech savvy members of the family, and if you find yourself itching for a little bit more, you could always create your own fairy lights from scratch.
A few years back, this adorable video of a toddler in her LED Mini-Mouse suit went viral. It’s easy to see why!
Glowy Zoey’s father (known by the YouTube moniker Visual Burrito) created a follow up video outlining the process he used to make the suit. He uses SMD 5050 LED strips along with a battery pack attached to black clothing, giving a floating outline effect. As mentioned in the video, you can opt for a single color and keep it simple, or attach an LED controller (which most LED strips come with) to allow for color changing.
This design could be easily modified to create a skeleton design or something futuristic, and with simple LED strips costing only $0.80 per meter, they can be an effective tool for anyone on a budget.
These light up headbands certainly fit on the cuter rather than scary end of Halloween accessories, but can be modified to give a great futuristic twist to any style of costume. These kind of luminescent props used to be only available as parts of expensive pre-made costumes, now they are available to all in kit form.
You may be looking at this and wondering how this qualifies as being super low budget? You would be absolutely right — even if this kit costs too much to be in this list, the technology behind these builds is available for much less. With battery operated luminescent wire costing $5.20 for 3m you will find this DIY build much more affordable. All that remains for you to do is grab an old headband, and let your imagination run wild!
5. Shiny Helmet
This one is not the best looking, but is a testament to what can be thrown together in a short time! Made for a Halloween show a few short hours before stage time, this LED helmet doesn’t win any prizes for beauty when viewed in the light.
Put together using a cheap SMD 5050 LED strip, a battery cradle and a lot of tape, this helmet is rough, and simple. The purple light is achieved by soldering both the red and blue GND strips together, with the 12V+ tab attached directly to the battery cradle. It is turned on and off by attaching and unattaching the battery. Not exactly a high tech build, but in the dark it worked wonderfully.
One of the enduring images of the Harry Potter films are the floating candles in the great hall. While there are many wonderful Potter gadgets you can buy, making these candles yourself is surprisingly simple. The building materials are things you will have already, or are available at the dollar store making this build cheap, and perfect to do as a family activity.
Check out how they are made on YouTube channel The Sway:
These candles only consist of old paper rolls, cheap battery candles, and hot glue, but the effect they give is fantastic. Look out for the thinnest possible wire to hang these up for the maximum floaty effect!
While the true meaning of the fascinator is still unknown, real Doctor Who fans know that Halloween is definitely their time to shine. Step into unknown territory with this light up TARDIS fascinator!
The electronics part of this build is very simple and easy to follow. The components required are available for just a few cents each. Tiny coin cell batteries power the show, making the fascinator as light as a fascinator is supposed to be… probably. We still aren’t fully sure what fascinators are. This is another very basic circuit combined with craft making it a perfect beginners project. Today this build, tomorrow a Sonic Screwdriver?
Want to go bigger scale on a budget? What if your whole house emanated an evil glow from within?
With the advent of cheap LED lighting, it costs next to nothing to switch out your bulbs for Halloween night, making an eerie lair out of the most welcoming of houses. With one color LED bulbs available for as little as a dollar, you could easily kit out the whole front side of your building with them.
If you were to combine this with a cheap weather proof LED strip ($4.43 for 5m RGB 12v strips) , you could bring your garden into the mix too, as James Barker did, complete with mini-graveyard.
Fear of the Dark
The scope of what is possible on a budget is huge. Like all things DIY, it comes down to imagination and planning. Hopefully the above ideas have sparked your creative juices. If these ideas aren’t quite geeky enough for you, why not try adding an Arduino or Raspberry Pi into the mix this Halloween?
Are you planning the ultimate light show this Halloween? Have you created a terror we really need to see? Let us know in the comment section below!
Image Credit: landeeseelandeedo.com