7 Tips and Tricks for a High-Tech Halloween

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There's no shame in doing the old fashioned thing for Halloween.

Ghost costumes cut from white sheets, jack-o-lanterns carved from farm-fresh pumpkins and bobbing for apples will likely never go out of style.

But if you want to throw a high-tech twist into the hijinks-filled holiday, a ghoulish gamut of iPad and iPhone applications, websites and gadgets are ready to help you and your family scare up some fun.

From ways to keep track of your favorite trick or treaters to mess-less pumpkin carving and more, here are a few tips for a high-tech Halloween.

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1.Costume Confusion

Still scratching your head over this year's Halloween costume? A handful of iPhone applications want to help you get creative.

The Halloween Costume Generator, by Synthetic Bits LLC, launched last year but is back this year -- and with an even better price. For 99 cents (down from $1.99) the application helps you choose a costume from more than 200 possibilities.

Just enter your gender, the kind of party you plan to attend and your mood, and the app generates a list of suggestions, along with a set of do-it-yourself directions.

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The ideas run from pop culture icons, such as American Idols and Golden Girls, to more typical Halloween fare, like zombie brides and mimes.

If you're choosing a costume for your child, check out the Pottery Barn Kids Costume Finder. The app lets you upload a picture of child and then get a sneak peak of how your kid will look in any of their costumes. Though the application is free, the costumes are not.

After Halloween, Liz Gumbinner, publisher and editor-in-chief of Cool Mom Tech and Cool Mom Picks, suggested using technology again to give your kids' costumes new life.

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"Your one-year-old will be into Elmo this year and by next year, they'll be on to Dora the Explorer," she said.

But instead of letting costumes collect dust in the closet, she suggested trading with other parents on sites like thredup.com and swapmamas.com.

Both sites let parents give away clothes and other items their kids have outgrown and get items they like for their own families.

Swap sites are becoming big draws for parents, Gumbinner said, and Halloween is a great time to check them out.

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2. Get Zombified

If you don't want to stuff yourself into costume but still want to share in the Halloween fun, several apps and websites can help you play virtual dress-up.

Choose a picture of yourself, and within seconds of uploading it, Haunted Face will give you ghostly makeover. The 99-cent application comes with sound effects and lets you share your haunted face with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

If you can handle it, Zombie Me (which comes in $1.99 and 99-cent versions) uses the same concept to turn you and friends into bloody, eye-bulging zombies.

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Gambinner said apps like these might not be best for kids under 12, "But for 14-year-olds into out-grossing each other, I think it's fantastic."

3. Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin carving can be a lot of fun. But, it can also create a giant mess.

If your toddler, or even teen, wants to get into the Halloween spirit but you don't want to have to deal with the aftermath, check out Ze Frank's Pumpkin Me website.

"You can literally use tools and carve your own pumpkin online," said Ken Denmead, editor of Wired.com's GeekDad blog.

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