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Smart Home

8 Halloween tricks to try with Alexa

Get spooky stories, Halloween-themed music and more from Alexa.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Halloween is one of the most enjoyable times of the year to own a smart home. You can easily automate your decorations and get creative with all the smart devices scattered around the house.

Amazon's Alexa smart speakers are particularly helpful for All Hallows' Eve. Here are eight ways Alexa can add some extra spook to your Halloween this year.

Tell Halloween jokes

Alexa has a few thematic jokes up its sleeve. Just say, "Alexa, tell me a Halloween joke." One of the ones it gave me was, "What's black and white and dead all over? A zombie in a tuxedo."

These jokes won't knock you off your feet, but your kids are sure to enjoy them.

Play Halloween-themed games

If you're looking for a spooky game to play, there are quite a few options in the form of Alexa skills.

  • The Magic Door is a popular interactive adventure game. The Dark Forest Path will take you to the Witch's mansion in search of the Wise Wizard.
  • Ghost Detector is exactly what it sounds like. You must detect and capture ghosts for Ghost Bux, with which you will be able to purchase "improvements, gadgets and missions."
  • Haunted Adventure is just one of several spooky adventure games.
  • Halloween Feel The Pressure is a spin-off of Feel The Pressure with a Halloween twist. You must answer questions based on a letter of the alphabet. You need 10 correct answers in a row to "save your soul."

These are just a few of the many Halloween-themed games available in the skill catalog.

Play Halloween music

Of course, one of Alexa's best use cases this Halloween is thematic party music. You can easily make (or follow) a playlist with all your Halloween favorites on Amazon Music or Spotify -- like this Halloween Party Soundtrack -- and ask Alexa to play it. Or you can use the Halloween Music skill.

Play spooky sounds

Of course, Alexa can play more than themed music. It can also play spooky sounds.

Request something like the Spooky Sounds for Halloween EP on Spotify, or you can use one of these several skills.

  • Spooky Halloween Sounds will play a continuous loop of spooky sounds until you tell Alexa to stop. It's fantastic.
  • Spooky Sounds from SayGoodMorning.org plays 50 minutes of original spooky sounds (in a continuous loop), complete with an audio easter egg hidden within.
  • Spooky Scream, on the other hand, will play a random scream after a set time. Say, "Alexa ask Spooky Scream to start in five minutes." Turn up the volume and wait for your unknowing victim to fall right into your trap.

Check who's at the door

Did the doorbell just ring, or was that the TV? Check if there are trick-or-treaters waiting with Alexa.

For this, you'll need a video doorbell -- like one from RingAugust Home or Nest -- and a device where you can watch a video feed, such as the Echo Show or Echo Dot ($30 at Amazon). If you have an Amazon FireTV, you can use it to show live video feeds on your TV.

When you hear the doorbell, or think you hear it, ask Alexa to "Answer the front door" or "Show [camera name]" to see who's there.

Tell scary stories

Want to hear something spooky and kid-friendly? Simple say "Alexa, tell me a spooky story" and you'll hear a short story voiced by an actor. They are quite cheesy, so they are best for younger ears.

For scarier stories, you can use the Boo Bot skillEnable the skill, then say, "Alexa, ask Boo Bot for a scary story." Alexa will then begin reading a story from the /r/shortscarystories subreddit.

Since these stories are user-submitted, there is no filter and may not be safe for children, work or life.

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Create your own spooky scene

If you have smart bulbs and other smart devices around the house, you can use a SmartThings hub or a service like Yonomi to create scenes that turn your house from normal to Halloween-ready in seconds.

For instance, you could create a scene called Haunted House that: 

  • Turns the lights orange
  • Toggles on a smart switch with a decoration plugged into it
  • Plays a specific playlist music over Sonos speakers

Then you just need to say, "Alexa, turn on the Haunted House." Here are a few more recommendations from Yonomi.

Get costume ideas

If you still haven't come up with a solid costume idea, Alexa can help. The Halloween Costume Ideas skill will serve up ideas until you find the right one.

Just say, "Alexa, open Halloween Costume Ideas." Then answer the "yes" or "no" questions until you come across the perfect costume idea.

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