If you are like me, you enjoy putting on a little show for your neighbors on Halloween night. As an engineer, I like cool projects that use my knowledge but that won't take me down a rabbit hole of problems and missed deadlines (the most important being Halloween night). Here are some cool projects any electonics-savvy DIYer can do to entertain the neighborhood spooks on October 31.
Cabe Atwell's Scary Door Project
One of the more elaborate DIY Halloween projects that has been designed to greet costumed patrons was created by yours truly, Cabe Atwell, in the form of my Raspberry Pi Halloween Effects Door (a.k.a. the Scary Door).
This project may need a warning sign located near the door as it could very well induce a state of terror in anyone under the age of 25 (approach at your own risk). All kidding aside, the door is activated as patrons pass by an optical sensor. This sets the door in motion and activates a series of horror-filled videos, which are shown on the door's embedded 24-inch LCD display. The door's front face is constructed of sheet-metal, which has a series of air pistons and solenoid valves behind it that strike the metal in time with the video being played, as though something or someone is behind it. A pair of Raspberry Pi SBCs, along with a SaneSmart 8 rely board control the show, with one initiating and controlling the video and the other, along with a PiFace Digital module, controlling the physical hardware including the valves and pistons.
The project was encoded using C and C++ to bring every scary detail together, including initiation, video display, and the timing between the media and piston strikes. Altogether, this results in a terrifying experience that would seem to belong in a large attraction rather than at someone's front door.
See the door in action and a list of materials on my project page.
The best part about it, I provide everything you need to build this project yourself! I did this, not just for the love of Halloween, but to see what other DIY practitioners can do with it. I really hope to see a return of the backyard haunted house -- perhaps my project will help make that happen!