From special effects in scary movies to crazy costumes with eyes that light up, we've always used technology to make Halloween more spooky, more scary, and more fun. Now more than ever, we use gadgetry to enhance the hair-raising holiday. We've gathered a few tips to help you make the most of All Hallows Eve using the tech you already own, whether you're out trick-or-treating, or scaring yourself silly in front of the TV.
Use Your Smartphone for a Smart, Safe Night Out
Before you go out, plan your trick-or-treat route with your smartphone or tablet. Some apps even let you place waypoints on your map. If you're unhappy with your phone's default map program, download a third-party app, or use the Google maps mobile site. Look for residential areas with the most pedestrian-friendly streets to maximize your candy haul.
Your smartphone can also do plenty to keep you and your party safe. If you're new to the area, use Google Street View and the CrimeMapping.com app to avoid the less-savory parts of town. Download a flashlight app to light up the street. If you drive to your trick-or-treating area and anticipate a long night out, take a picture of the street signs of the nearest intersection where you parked your car. And have the number of a cab company programmed into your phone, just in case you can't get a data signal.
[Read more about our top-rated tablets at TabletReaderInfo.com
Capture the Mischief with Your Camera
Taking pictures in the dark is always difficult. Point-and-shoots (including your smartphone's camera) will struggle the most, but even a DSLR is going to have trouble. There are some things you can do to mitigate dark photos and blurry details, though.
• Don't be afraid use your flash, and improvise with other light sources around you, like street lamps or LED signs.
• If you can control your camera's settings, turn up your ISO, activate image stabilization, slow down your shutter speed (but not too much), and increase your aperture.
• A faster lens (with a lower f-stop) with help to reduce blur in low lighting. If you do a lot of nighttime photography, get the right hardware for the job. Some point-and-shoots, like the f/2.0 Canon S110, can handle low-light shooting. Or if you shoot with an interchangeable-lens camera, ditch your kit lens and upgrade to something faster.
• Consider using a tripod. It's a bulky thing to haul around, but it will reduce the amount of camera shake, allowing for sharper, cleaner photos.
[Read more fall photo tips at DigitalCameraInfo.com
Hide the Evidence with Your Washing Machine
Once you get home, you may have a lot of candy, makeup, or (hopefully fake) blood stains to get out of your clothes. A lot of Halloween makeups are designed to wash out of your clothes, but it's better to tend to the stains sooner, just to be safe. Chocolate stains are pretty easy to get out with hot water, but if it's a buttery chocolate, you should pretreat that stain in cold water. Wash all protein-based stains on cold as well.
[Visit WasherDryerInfo.com for tips to keep your laundry machines healthy.]
Tweak Your TV for Spooky Movies
If your idea of a good time doesn't involve silly costumes and big crowds, Halloween can still be fun in front of a TV screen. Tweaking your TV can help you get the most of out watching a horror movie. Try to shut out as much light around you as possible—close the curtains and turn off your lamps. It'll enhance the haunting effects of the movie by reducing glare, and your TV won't have to compete with extra lighting. If you have an LCD TV, turn down the backlight to make darks darker (plasma TVs are naturally better at displaying in dim rooms). For deep blood-reds and brooding yellow moons, you may want to take a few minutes to calibrate your TV.
[Check out our favorite plasma TVs at TelevisionInfo.com
Have any Halloween tech tips? Share them in the comments below!