Makers rarely need an excuse to build weird and wonderful creations, but if excuses were necessary then today provides a doozy: it's All Hallows' Eve, or Hallowe'en, the time of the year when people pull out their creations, spooky or otherwise, and show off their creativity in a variety of ways.
Naturally, the Arduino is a common theme in interactive Hallowe'en projects: its low cost and simplicity make it a great choice for projects which, like zombies, require a little more in the way of brains than simply sticking a candle in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Arn Dubreuil's Jack O' Lantern project is a great example: an Arduino Uno is connected to a passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor, and triggers a series of LEDs, servos, and a small MP3 player to scare any unsuspecting children sneaking up the steps for a handful of sweeties.
Mike Gilbert has gone for an alternative approach for his project, building 'Spooky Eyes' which stare down from an attic window. While it'd be perfectly possible to replicate the overall effect using dumb LEDs, the Arduino Uno in Mike's project allows for various effects including blinking and 'breathing', while his use of a telephone extension cable to easily wire the LEDs in the window to the Arduino is a masterstroke of component reuse.
If you don't have an Arduino, that doesn't have to stop you having a good maker time this Hallowe'en, either. Simple LEDs can transform a pumpkin without the fire risk of open candles, while computer numeric controlled (CNC) engraving mills can be convinced to take the hard work out of pumpkin carving by milling any design you'd care to choose directly out of its flesh with millimetre accuracy.
If you've built a project you're particularly proud of this Hallowe'en, get in touch and share it with us - we'd love to see it!