13 ways to conjure up a spooky smart home this Halloween
Growing up, I loved everything about Halloween: the candy, staying up past my bedtime and my small suburban town that came to life at night. But I always struggled with finding the right costume. I’d ask my friends and roam party stores for hours to no avail. One time, I even dressed up as “binary code”—I wore head-to-toe silver and wrote “Happy Halloween” in binary on my costume—in a moment of last-minute desperation.
Had I worked at Google then, I’m sure this idea would have been more popular with my peers, but it didn’t quite land at the time. But thanks to the tech available today, it’s much easier to come up with a great costume idea. Now, a simple search or voice command can lead me to thousands of ideas instantly, and show me step-by-step how to recreate them myself.
Come to think of it, technology has made so many things about Halloween easier. In celebration of that, we’re sharing 13 tips and tricks from Google Nest for Halloween—whether you’re trick-or-treating, hosting a party or staying in with a scary movie.
1. New! Enable spooky ringtones on Nest Hello. Starting today through early November, all Nest Hello users in the U.S. will have the ability to transform their doorbell chime into a cackling witch, a ghost, a vampire or a scary monster to make your front door a neighborhood destination on Halloween night. And the festive features don’t stop there: Winter ringtones are coming in late November.
2. Get costume and makeup inspiration. With Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, you can watch YouTube videos with a simple command. For costume inspiration and DIY tips, just say “Hey Google, show me DIY Halloween costume videos,” or “show me Halloween makeup videos on YouTube,” and scroll through the list.
3. “Hey Google, get spooky.” Say this command to one of your Google Nest speakers or displays and your device will start an hour-long playlist of “spooktacular” sounds and music to greet your trick-or-treaters or party guests.
4. Enjoy your favorite scary movie. Use Chromecast to cast your favorite scary movie to your TV (media content subscriptions may be required). To take your experience up a notch, you can create a speaker group for cast-enabled speakers around your entertainment center for room-filling sound effects, too.
5. Get the family involved. If Grandma or Grandpa can’t see your trick-or-treaters all dressed up, simply give them a quick video call using Nest Hub Max and Duo: “Hey Google, video call Grandma.”
6. Conquer your to-do list. Busy families have lots to prep for in the lead-up to Hallow’s Eve. As you remember things you have to do, just add them to a running list of reminders: “Hey Google, remind me to pick up cupcakes for school,” and when you head out for the day, you’ll have the reminder on your phone.
7. Add candy to your shopping list with ease. Just say, “Hey Google, create a list,” which you can then name “Candy Shopping,” and your Google Assistant will ask what you want to add.
8. Learn a festive new recipe. Say “Hey Google, show me recipes for pan de muerto” to your Nest Hub display and see a list of traditional Day of the Dead bread recipes to choose from and follow along, completely hands-free.
9. Protect your home from Mischief Night. Nest cameras like Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Hello notify you when activity is detected around your house, and you can talk and listen through the Nest app to deter trespassers and TP’ers.
10. Find one-stop shopping near you. Just say, “Hey Google, show me Halloween stores nearby” to one of your smart displays to see options near you. Once you tap on one, you can say “Hey Google, call this store” to give them a ring (in the U.S., U.K., and Canada only).
11. Hear your favorite Halloween playlist in a heartbeat. Google Home Max is our smart speaker made for music lovers. Use it to blast your favorite playlist—whether your ideal Halloween tunes involve "The Monster Mash" or indie rock.
12. Set up a ghostly guest network for your party. Using Google Wifi, you can create a separate network for your party guests and give it a fun name and password, like “Hocus Pocus.”
13. A party to remember, with help from our partners. Google Nest products work with over 30,000 partners in the U.S.—everything from smart lights to Wi-Fi plugs for smoke machines—so you can throw the ultimate Halloween party with a little help from tech.