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Break out your spooky, scary skeletons to adorn your door because Halloween is fast approaching! Sweater season and pumpkin patches may still be in vogue, but trick-or-treating and visiting haunted houses will take a unique approach this year. Ardent fans go all out on Halloween decorations, often using elaborate props like custom built animatronics and colorful lights to settle into the holiday spirit. But, there is a way to take your at-home Halloween experience to the next level. We connected with our in-house scientist of Halloween aesthetics, Brandon Robbins, Product & Application Support – HARMAN Professional Solutions, to go over the steps to creating a quality show for your Halloween-time needs. Brandon shared how you can have a big at-home Halloween celebration this year with the help of creative lights, fog machines, audio, and custom-built moving figures to produce a memorable show.

Q:  What are your starter tips for getting the best Halloween spectacle together?

A: My first piece of advice when it comes to decorating for Halloween and for any of your future decorating brainstorm sessions: start with a theme – clowns, asylum, Frankenstein. You need to put in place a clear idea of what you are planning for anyone who may see your decorations in-person or on social media. If you need help getting inspired or for cool ideas, I recommend thinking about haunted houses you may have experienced in the past and other themed events you’ve gone to in the past like at Six Flags Theme Park and you’ll be able to draw some great ideas from there.

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Q: What difference can lighting make once your theme is set for the Halloween spectacle?

A: Once a theme is decided, the next part you’ll need to secure and create are the props you will use, which may range from different colored lights, audio equipment and costumes. The props can range from simple items to add to the ambience or more immersive tools like themed holiday music enhanced using any of HARMAN’s powerful audio brands to help immerse people into the transformative world surrounding them.

To maintain this immersion it’s vital that your props not only keep their attention, but also aid in directing attention to where you need it to go. By guiding their attention, you can maintain their engagement in this world you are building. This is where attention to lighting can make a big difference as lights like UV ultraviolet light which can make things glow which is great for kid’s who love to see their costume glow in the backlight. Bright lights or lights with Gobo’s (patterns) in them can be used to create a Tunnel of Light effect. This means when you walk into the bright lights, your pupils will constrict – making it harder for you to see what else is around you, and easier to scare your loved ones.

I have personally tested and tried several lighting products that have been a part of my own Halloween decorations. The Rush Lighting Product range paired with Martin is a good bet for entry-level small to medium sized venue array speakers. A Par is something you’ll want to use as a strong wash light or a flood light, while some simple LED RGB lights allow you to shift the colors on quickly with a lighting controller so you can have it change on cue, going from dim red to a flash of bright white in an instant!

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Q: How do audio devices add to creating an immersive and atmospheric Halloween setting?

A: The professionals at HARMAN often take their effects to the next level! They will use dry ice or fog machines in the front yard or the back yard to create different effects and add a whole new layer to your spooky world. These scare-inducing items and props all can come together by adding one thing for the finishing touch: audio. The atmospheric effects are enhanced and blend well when they layer over the lighting and costumes, deploying spooky noises and complimenting the theme of the Halloween house.

Audio setup has historically been one of the hardest parts to put together. Some essential sounds that you can choose to add to perfect your Halloween would be crickets, owls, and wind howling to set the right ambience. Once the mood is set, you can pull together some scarier noises like dogs howling, zombie groans, or witch cackles to weave into the Halloween narrative you desire. I recommend using the premium audio device JBL EON (G2) and TR Series speakers, which are excellent for filling your whole yard with impressive sound. The powerful audio will catch the attention of all eager Halloween fans and make your place the most talked about house on the block – just be prepared to exceed expectations next year.

HARMAN is thrilled to work with enthusiastic experts like Brandon who impress every year with a spooktacular Halloween event. If you’re looking to get started on your own Halloween show, start with a theme that catches your interest. Once that theme is decided, set forth a plan to bring together some essential items that enhance your house with items like creative lighting effects and audio technology, and create a world that scares one and all. Once everything is all set up, we encourage you to share your Halloween projects and take lots of pictures. We look forward to seeing your creativity in action!