From scary soundtracks to spooky stories and freaky facts, Google Home ($99 at Target) devices are boiling over with hidden Halloween treats -- if only you know the right tricks to get them to work. With Google Home you can stream eerie sounds for trick-or-treaters on your front porch, pipe classic monster music to party guests or have Google Assistant's AI help you decide what costume best fits your personality.
Not only that, Google Home has a treasure trove of Halloween-themed Easter eggs (or should we call them spider eggs?) if you just ask the right questions.
Whether you'll be hitting the streets looking for tricks or treats, or hanging back to haunt the house, here's how you can make this Halloween extra spooktacular with Google Home.
Terrify trick-or-treaters at the front door
One terrifying trick smart speakers are particularly good at is that they're small enough to hide on your front porch -- especially theor . Stash your smart speaker in a basket, or behind a bush or broom, and suddenly you've turned your porch into a soundstage.
Saying, "Hey Google, get spooky" will start an hour-long playlist of spooky sound effects and menacing music. If you'd like to dial it in a little more precisely (and not have to remember to trigger another round of spooky sounds every hour), YouTube is chock-full of Halloween sound clips that last an hour and longer.
Simply search YouTube for "spooky sounds" or "Halloween sound effects" from a phone, tablet or computer, then stream the audio to your Google Home speaker either by connecting with Bluetooth or, if you're using the YouTube app or Chrome browser, by Chromecasting to the speaker over Wi-Fi.
Get everyone doing the Monster Mash
If you want your Halloween dance party to catch on in a flash, simply say, "Hey Google, play Halloween music." If you don't have a default music service set up, Google Home will fire up a YouTube Music playlist (with ads). If you want, you can specify a music service like Spotify or Pandora. Just make sure you've linked your account to your Google Home.
Again, if you'd like more control over exactly what plays and in what order, you can build a playlist in your music service of choice ahead of time and name it something unique. Then when it's time, simply instruct Google Home to "play my Halloween 2019 playlist on Spotify," for example.
Scare your family to sleep
If you're not using Google Home to get ready for bedtime, you're missing out on one of its best features. But this season, rather than simply asking for a bedtime story, say, "Hey Google, tell me a spooky story." Google will randomly choose a scary story from Google Play Books or Storynory to read to you. But don't worry -- these are children's stories, so the fright level is medium to low.
If you do this for a few nights in a row and you or your family find a favorite story or two, you can also ask for specific stories by name. Story readings are mostly 3 to 10 minutes, so they won't keep you or the kids up past bedtime.
Costume consultation, freaky facts and more
Finally, Google Home has a host of Halloween surprises to offer. "Hey Google, what should I be for Halloween?" will prompt Google Assistant to ask you a series of silly personality questions, such as, "Do you think a black cape is proper attire to wear to a wedding?" It will then tabulate your answers and give you a personalized costume recommendation, as well as instructions on how to put it together.
If you'd like to know more about the origins of various mythical monsters, ask, "OK Google, tell me facts about monsters." Google will give you the lowdown on everything from werewolves and vampires to more obscure creatures such as selkies and bokkenrijders.
Here's a bunch of other questions and commands that'll prompt entertaining Halloween-themed responses from Google Home. Try them out and let us know in the comments if you find any more.
- "Hey, Google, who you gonna call?"
- "OK, Google, happy Halloween!"
- "Hey, Google, what's your favorite candy?"
- "OK, Google, what is the most popular scary movie?"
- "Hey, Google, who would win between a werewolf and a vampire?"
- "OK, Google, Freddy versus Jason. Who wins?"
- "Hey, Google, why do the leaves change colors?"
- "OK, Google, what are you going to be for Halloween?"
- "Hey Google, where is the nearest pumpkin patch?"
- "OK,Google, how many days until Halloween?"
- "Hey, Google, what does a werewolf sound like?"
- "OK, Google, boo!"
Originally published earlier this week.