Top 5 Ideas for DIY Halloween Decorations & Animatronics

Top 5 Ideas for DIY Halloween Decorations & Animatronics

Nathan Bong
Nathan Bong
PA Engineer

Halloween projects are an excellent way of promoting fun and creativity for everyone to get into the festive mood! Whether you like dressing up in costumes, decorating your home, or just working on electronic projects, Halloween is a great time to express your creative side. If you needed some new ideas for your DIY Halloween decorations or just wanted some inspiration from other Halloween projects by our customers, this is just the article for you! We will be covering our top five ideas for DIY Halloween decorations and animatronics that benefit the most from linear motion technology.

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1.     Animatronics and Dinosaurs

Animatronics is a growing field of robotics that utilizes linear actuators for building lifelike mechanical creatures and dinosaurs for various entertainment and educational purposes. They also work perfectly as motorized Halloween props and decorations due to their fierce life-like appearance and large size. Since these creatures can come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, having a broad range of different actuators to choose from allows designers to have the flexibility they need to meet all their requirements. From micro linear actuators to drive small finger movements all the way to heavy-duty linear actuators to handle the movement of legs, linear motion technology offers you endless possibilities! We also offer water-resistant actuators with suitable ingress protection to handle outdoor environments.

Check out the video below to see how linear actuators help bring dinosaurs to life:

 

 

2.     Wearable Automated Wings

The Automated Concert Wings by ILLUSION is a perfect example of functionality and style that can also work as Halloween props. This project uses mechanical leveraging in combination with our PA-14 mini linear actuators to achieve the full range of motion required to open and close their wings. With the push of a button located on the performer’s waistband, the wings were able to open themselves mechanically and be as authentic and life-like as possible.

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A big thanks to The Brian’s, Shepherd Regional High School, and ILLUSION for the support of our products. If you would like to watch ILLUSION’s performance and how the wings worked out for their show, watch below (go to 7:11:11 for their performance and 7:22:05 to go straight to the wings in operation!):

 

3.     Movie Robots

Electric linear actuators are commonly used for operating the movie robots found in conventions, amusement parks, carnivals, or during the making of new movies. Having impressive eye-catching robots in movies can often help bring joy to fans while also promoting creative thinking to the audience. Perhaps one of the most popular examples is the Disney character named Wall-E. To replicate the appearance of a real Wall-E robot, Mike Senna and Michael McMaster used PA-14 actuators for the linear motion to move Wall-E’s head and arm.

The Wall-E arm and head movements can also be found in the demonstration video below:

Both McMaster and Senna are working on multiple other projects, most of them being new robot designs. However, they do hope to add more functionality to their real-life Wall-E as time allows. For more upcoming projects, feel free to follow Mike Senna and Michael McMaster on YouTube!

 

4.     Automated Pumpkin Decorations

If you were considering having multiple DIY Halloween props to fill a large empty room, this automated pumpkin project is just for you! Pumpkin carving is a classic Halloween tradition and there is no better way to practice your skills while making a DIY Automated Pumpkin such as the example we have of Mike Wazowski from the movie Monsters, Inc.

Halloween prop motors will often have space constraints due to the size limitations of their decorations which also serves as a housing to conceal all electronic components. By programming a timer function to our LC-057 Arduino microcontroller, we were able to activate the LC-85 H-bridge speed controller to drive the PA-07 Micro Linear Actuator. The PA-07 actuator was then mounted into place with our BRK-07 for controlled eye movements. These components combined had the compact footprint we needed to fit in a pumpkin while still providing the needed drive for moving Mike Wazowski’s eye:

 

5.     Robotic Exoskeleton Arm

The most recent project being worked on by Nathan Bong is his robotic exoskeleton arm driven by our custom PA-14 linear actuator. Nathan used his GB40 NOCO Boost Plus unit as a portable 12 VDC power source. This was then connected to our PA-33 control box which comes with wireless remotes to conveniently activate the PA-14 actuator. To personalize his project with more style, Nathan added eight 5V LED lights to the arm, however, it will also be possible to use 5V LED light strips as an alternative.

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By using aluminum sheet metal to construct the robotic exoskeleton arm, Nathan was able to cut and shape the arm into place at home using common tools while still having a durable costume. This prototype Halloween costume also doubles as a proof of concept to demonstrate how electric linear actuators can enhance our strength and endurance through exoskeletons. Nathan aims to fully complete this Halloween project by the end of October 2022 by adding a few more accessories, however, he has completed the core of the project and was able to share its progress video:

In Summary

Halloween is an exciting time to get creative and start working on your home decorations, animatronics as well as costumes. By integrating the suitable Halloween prop motors and controllers into your DIY Halloween props, you too bring your Halloween experience to the next level!

We hope you found this as informative and interesting as we did, especially if you were looking for some inspiration for your Halloween projects! If you have any queries or wish to discuss our products further, please do not hesitate in reaching out to us! We are experts in what we do and will be happy to assist in any way we can.

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