7 Tips and Tricks for a High-Tech Halloween


"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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The flash-based website lets you carve a virtual pumpkin with your computer's mouse, revealing a flickering candle inside every time a chunk of the pumpkin falls away. When you're done, you can share the final product on Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail.

You also can upload a picture of yourself or a friend and carve the pumpkin in that image.

If you want to give your kids a way to carve pumpkins on the go, pumpkin carving is all the rage at the Apple app store.

The 99-cent Parents Carve a Pumpkin application for iPads and iPhones from Parents magazine is a great option of younger kids, Gumbinner said. The easy-to-use application lets kids drag and drop shapes to carve a virtual pumpkin.

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For older kids, she suggested the 99-cent application Carve It! Pumpkin Carving, which lets kids carve pumpkins freehand with the tips of their fingers.

4. Enjoy Sugar-Free Halloween Treats

If you want to give your kids a no-sugar way to enjoy Halloween treats, you could download the holiday version of the popular Cupcakes app. For 99 cents, the iPad and iPhone application lets kids pretend to bake, decorate and eat colorful cakes.

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"My kids go crazy over it," said Gumbinner, adding that the holiday version is perfect for Halloween, but it will carry you into holidays later in the season.

Cookie Doodle, another popular virtual cooking app for kids, also gave itself a Halloween makeover. The latest 99-cent version includes all the basic cookie baking and decorating tools, but also features cookie cutters shaped as ghosts, witches, bats and other seasonal favorites.

5. Angry Birds Halloween

It was already bestseller in Apple's app store, but the Halloween version of the mega-hit game Angry Birds is making headlines of its own.

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Appmaker Rovio Mobile announced Wednesday that the "ghastly special edition" of its popular game had been downloaded one million times.

Just for Halloween, Rovio said the game features "45 daunting levels of pig and pumpkin-smashing fun."

6. Devilish Decor

If you like to get your own home nice and haunted for Halloween trick or treaters, technology can help you up the fear factor.

Hallowindow sells Halloween-themed animations that you can project on to your window or display on your television.

GeekDad's Denmead said he's been using them for a few years to spook visitors with giant eyeballs or scary shadows lurking in his home's window.

"They're fun, spooky animations but they're designed for rear projection on windows," he said.

It might be too late to have DVDs with the animations shipped to you, but you can download images from the website for $4 to $12.

If you want to enhance your devilish decor with sound effects, Denmead suggested placing wireless speakers outside and piping in Halloween noises.

7. Track Your Trick or Treaters

If you want to keep tabs on your favorite trick or treaters but they don't want you cramping their style, a range of location-based applications and gadgets might help you out.

No amount of technology will replace parental or adult supervision when it comes to young children. But the TrickorTracker application for Android phones could help you follow older kids from your phone.

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