Trick or Tweet: 7 Ways to a High-Tech Halloween

Halloween-themed iPhone and Facebook apps, texts and more.

October 21, 2009, 4:43 PM

Oct. 22, 2009— -- In just about a week, the streets will be flooded with Halloween revelers dressed as witches, ghosts, vampires, celebrities and maybe even a Wall Street schemer or two.

But the Halloween spirit has already taken hold of the technosphere, where iPhone and Facebook applications, Twitter promotions and more abound.

From Web sites that let you try on masks virtually, to iPhone applications that help you dress for the devilish occasion, here are seven of the best ways to a high-tech Halloween.

Can't decide what to be for Halloween? Tired of relying on your standby ghost or witch costumes? A couple of new iPhone apps could help you out.

The Halloween Costume Generator, launched by Synthetic Bits LLC in September and available in Apple's App Store for $1.99, gives you more than 200 options to choose from.

Once you enter your gender, the kind of party you plan to attend (from a work function to a kids party to bar hopping) and your mood, the app gives you a list of original suggestions, as well as directions on how to make the costumes.

The suggestions run the gamut from TV, movie and sports figures, like the Golden Girls or Michael Phelps, to off-the-beaten-path options, like a Drunk Santa or a Not-So-Incredible Hulk.

"Every Halloween, I get two or three days out and I don't have a costume," said Seattle-based Chis Kerns, who created the application with his brother. "It turns into a stressful thing. We figured we would turn that on its head and make it fun."

Costume Ideas -- Halloween, from the developers at More Blu Sky in Glen Mills, Pa., also helps users pick a Halloween costume.

For 99 cents, the application provides more than 2,000 costume ideas, as well as stores that might supply the costumes.

Users indicate their age, gender and whether they are dressing up alone or as part of a couple. Once they shake the phone, it generates a list of possibilities, from Buddy in the movie "Elf" to Stevie from "Family Guy," and more.

Send Customized Halloween Postcards With the iPhone

Here's a way to send personalized Halloween postcards. The Halloween Postage iPhone App lets users upload pictures and then add some ghoulish flare.

Launched in September by a Seattle-based Web development company called RogueSheep, the app is available for 99 cents in the App store.

Once users have uploaded pictures of friends, family or themselves, they can add black cats, haunted houses, cobwebs and more to the images. They can also doctor the images to turn adorable toddlers into the Incredible Hulk or other characters.

If you want to carve a pumpkin but don't want to deal with the all those seeds and slushy innards, these Facebook applications might be for you.

HalloweenBuilder, developed by Austin, Texas-based Web developer SiteGoals, lets users carve virtual jack-o-lanterns and then share them with friends on Facebook.

The app lets you choose a variety of features, from evil eyes to wacky noses. Each time you add a feature, you get a better view of a flame flickering inside the pumpkin.

HalloweenPumpkins is another digital carving app, but instead of adding pre-cut features, users have to carve out their designs on their own. Users can share their pumpkins with friends, and also see the pumpkins voted most popular by other users.

UNICEF has added a high-tech twist to its annual Halloween fundraising drive.

Since 1950, trick-or-treating Americans have raised money to help the United Nations bring immunization, nutrition, sanitation and education to children around the world. As they go door to door asking for candy, costumed kids also ask for small donations. To date, the effort has raised more than $144 million.

This year, to keep up with social media-savvy young people, UNICEF has made it possible to trick or treat with your cell phone. By texting "TOT" to UNICEF (864233), you can donate $5 to the campaign. A one-time $5 donation will be added to your phone bill.

Trick or Tweeting for Adults

Hotels and resorts are also experimenting with social media this Halloween.

Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas is offering a "Trick or Tweet" special to Twitter and Facebook users over Halloween weekend.

The casino will tweet messages from @CaesarsPalace announcing exclusive giveaways and food and drink specials for followers. The casino's Web site says costumes are encouraged but not required.

Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts has also launched a "Trick or Tweet" promotion.

Each day, @MarriottResorts will tweet messages teasing giveaways for food, drinks, massages, meals and room nights.

"Take a break from pumpkin carving and bag some goodies... trick-or-treating is not just for kids anymore," the resort's Web site says.

Want to talk to Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, William Shakespeare or another dead idol?

On Oct. 30 between 10 a.m. and noon (in the U.K.), self-proclaimed psychic medium Jayne Wallace, of Essex, England, will conduct an interactive séance on Twitter.

Through the micro-blogging site, Twitter users can nominate "departed spirits" they want Wallace to speak to. So far, the tweance page says Malcolm X, Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn and others have been picked.

During the tweance, Wallace will reach beyond the grave to ask questions of the celebrities with the most nominations.

According to the U.K.'s The Sun, a spokesman for London's costume shop Angels Fancy Dress in London, who came up the tweance, said, "We were amazed to see no one had used Twitter for a séance before."

Midwest Retailer Lets You Try on Masks From Home

Want to see what you look like as a gorilla or terminator without leaving your home?

A new Web site launched by Michigan-based Meijer lets you try on multiple masks while sitting at your home computer.

As long as you have a webcam attached to your PC, you can click through a menu of Halloween masks and see an image of yourself wearing the costumes you choose on your computer screen.

If you don't live in the area and have no plans to stop by the store to buy the mask, you can still have fun with the Web site. lets users record a 30-second message, choose a "spooky voice" option and then share the minivideo with the digitally-altered voice via Facebook or e-mail.

"We're going for the wow factor," Brent Vargo, a Meijer marketing specialist, told The Toledo Blade. "The experience isn't necessarily for everyone ... It's going to be more of a youth-target demo or a technophile."

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