Turn your pumpkin into a sound-controlled cyborg

Let your geek side loose this Halloween by using a Hack-o-Lantern kit to turn a regular pumpkin into a light-up boo machine.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Hack-o-lantern in progress
This quick kit turns a pumpkin into a battery-powered jack-o'-lantern. LittleBits

Carved pumpkins are popular at Halloween. Sound-triggered electronic scare devices are also popular at Halloween. It's high time the two trends got together. LittleBits has put together a modular Hack-o-Lantern kit to combine your twin loves of fiddling with electronics and pulling the slimy, seed-laden mush out of a large orange squash.

The end result of the Hack-o-Lantern kit is a jack-o'-lantern that lights up an LED when it hears noise. It sits around, minding its own business, looking like its candle has burned out, until a trick-or-treater walks up to your door. Then it flashes on, illuminating whatever scary pattern you've carved into it. I would suggest a Dalek, Grumpy Cat or a bent iPhone 6 Plus.

The kit includes all the pieces you need to cyborg-ify a pumpkin. It comes with a battery, battery cable, power module, sound trigger, bright LED and "shoes" that help hold the gear in place.

To make it work, you put the circuit together and mount it inside the pumpkin. Set it on your porch and peek through your curtain to see if anybody notices. Combine it with one of those doormats that makes spooky noises when someone steps on it and you'll be well on your way to creating the proper Halloween ambiance for candy-seeking tykes.

If you want your pumpkin to just stay lit, then you can remove the sound trigger. The kit is a limited-edition offering just for Halloween for $29. That converts to about £18 or AU$33.50 -- LittleBits ships internationally (more info here). The snap-together modular nature of the pieces makes this an ideal project for parents who want to get their kids interested in electronics. After Halloween is over, you can pull the kit apart, order different modular pieces and start creating new hacks. And that's probably the best treat of all.