Looking for Halloween decorations that you can do from inside of your house? Digital Halloween decorations are a really easy way to make your house use spooky, by pointing a projector at your window!
When I drive around in the suburbs I get really jealous of the huge outdoor Halloween displays. For one thing, my front yard is the size of a postage stamp. For another, even if I wanted to put elaborate decorations out there, they wouldn’t last ten minutes if someone weren’t watching them closely. One Halloween I hung five or six adorable glowing scary-face balloons from a tree, and by the end of the evening, they were all gone!
So my only real option is to decorate my windows. And I tried out something so scary and creepy and cool, I can’t believe how easy it was! And the best part? It’s all done from inside! No standing in the cold hanging things up, no worrying that the decorations will get stolen. You can set up scary digital Halloween decorations in the time it takes to cover a window and turn on a projector. The AtmosFX Digital Decorating Kit comes with everything you need to turn a window or glass door into a super-scary Halloween scene! (If it isn’t available at that link, check here.) There’s also this kit, which I did not try.
Here’s an example of what will be projected on my front windows this Halloween. This was the view from outside, on a deck. It’s, like, life-sized. That’s a huge sliding door.
There are three essential parts to these scary Halloween projections, and I’ll go over them one at a time. I was given (or in the case of the projector, lent) all of the items I’m going to talk about in order to review them.
First off, you need to pick a window to project onto, and cover it with something sheer. AtmosFX sent me this Window Projection Material, which worked really well. It comes with some little hooks that work like those 3M Command hooks (and I was able to remove them really easily afterwards too, with no damage to the wall). I hung it in front of a sliding glass door. The more taut I was able to get the fabric the better the projection looked, so I used a chair leg on one side and a boat anchor on the other to stretch the fabric down to the floor. There’s also a smaller version if you’re covering a smaller area.
According to the AtmosFX website you can also use a thin white bedsheet or shower curtain. They also sell a reusable frosted cling film that you can cut to fit your windows exactly. (Keep in mind, while I didn’t try that material, I read a lot of Amazon reviews of it, and the people who gave it bad reviews seem to have missed the part of the process where you remove a thin layer of plastic protecting the film before putting it on the window, so FYI.) The AtmosFX site also has a selection of projection materials.
What won’t work for this trick? An actual screen meant for projecting, because you want the projection visible on the other side of the window.
You need a window projector to, well, project. AtmosFX sells a couple, and I tried this one, which is part of a kit that has the projector, window material, a tripod, and an SD card with a bunch of scenes to project (and not just for Halloween – the SD card includes Christmas scenes, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and more). So if you want an easy all-in-one solution, that’s it. The projector felt kind of flimsy, but it worked really well. The tripod is very small and is meant to be used on a table, but I found it easier to use my own camera tripod.
If you have a projector already, you can use that. I tried it with a small projector I already owned and it worked great.
The projections are the key to this whole scary Halloween decoration thing, and they are incredibly awesome. AtmosFX sells holiday projections on DVD (which are also great for playing on a TV or computer screen if you’re having a party), and the Decorating Kit comes with an SD card of scenes that goes right into their projector. You can also buy digital downloads directly on the AtmosFX site. Buy what makes the most sense for you depending on how you’re getting the projections to your projector. I prefer to download everything to my computer and then screencast to my projector.
The window videos are available for horizontal or vertical projections, depending on the shape of your window. The vertical projections play sideways – you have to prop your projector on its side (the AtmosFX projectors can be screwed onto a tripod in a horizontal or vertical orientation). Some of the collections also have vertical doorway videos.
If you use the AtmosFX window projector from the kit, you can just put in the SD card that comes with it and play a selection of videos, looping them if you want. And if you buy the DVDs those also have a looping feature. But if you’re using the digital downloads you have to make a playlist, unless you just want to play videos manually, which would get old fast. There’s a guide to using the digital downloads on their manuals page.
What I’ve found to be the easiest is to put all of the videos I want to use in one folder. That way I can highlight them all, right click, and play them in an endless loop with Windows Media Player. You could also make playlists in iTunes.
I had a mix of the videos from the kit’s SD card and some digital downloads, so I had to sort through them for vertical videos, because that’s what I wanted to use. (Some of the folders were divided up into scenes, but others were divided by display type, which was much easier – I could just grab everything from the “Window – Vertical” folder.)
One thing to keep in mind, there are buffer and transition videos included with the longer videos. So, if you want each video to just play right into the next one, load only the long “action” videos into your playlist. If you want a pause between videos, you can use the short buffer videos in between the long videos.
Sound is not exactly essential to most of the videos (well, the skeleton band might be the exception), but the sound definitely enhances things (especially the scarier scenes), so if you have a way to play the music outside, do it. I’m going to connect a speaker to my projector and tape it high on the wall just outside of my window, with the cords running inside under the window.
And that’s it! Super easy to set up, really scary and impressive, and reusable year after year. I highly recommend AtmosFX! In fact, when I posted about these products on Facebook, I found out that a few of my friends who go absolutely crazy with Halloween decorating have the AtmosFX stuff and love it.