Tech, Now + Beyond

Halloween has gone high-tech and it is terrifying

We have come a long way from cobwebs, fake blood and eerie music playing in the background.

Halloween is my favorite time of year, I’m not sure why but there is something about being scared out of my mind that really does it for me. Over the past few years technology has really helped make Halloween attractions all the more scarier.

Let’s admit it, the traditional haunted house is now high-tech.  The old methods no longer scare anyone because we have become desensitized to traditional horror.

We have come a long way from cobwebs, fake blood and eerie music playing in the background.

It started with animatronics – the robots that came to life and scared the beejezus out of everyone. Instead of humans dressed up in costumes, these machines did the work at a flick of the switch.  I still remember the first time I walked past a seemingly innocent ghost decoration, only for it to start moving and give me a mini heart-attack.

GIF of animatronic giant teddy bear moving in smoke.

The introduction of Virtual Reality (VR) has stepped up the spookiness, and there is no need for actors popping out of creepy cupboards. VR consists of technology that uses VR headsets essentially to simulate an alternate reality and so uses images, sounds, and sensations that make the user feel like they are present in this “virtual reality”. The headsets can be combined with specially created environments that help generate the sensations of this alternate reality. All that is needed is a virtual reality headset and you are transported to your worst nightmares. For those who crave that extra thrill, some amusement parks have rollercoasters incorporated with Virtual Reality tech to really get your heart pumping.

Andy Samberg waking up and saying "damn the whole thing was just a virtual reality experience"

There is also the use of holography, which uses a photographic recording of a light field to generate a 3d image of the subject. It basically uses laser light to make you see something in 3d that is not really there – kind of like magic but more scientific. A horror maze I recently visited had holograms so that it looked like there were people around you, the hologram would then switch out and you’d be alone. It really achieved its creepy purpose.

Some horror attractions now have motion-detecting mechanisms that sense when a person is near uses that to trigger water or fog to catch the visitor by surprise. In full honesty I was in a maze with a friend once, water started trickling down the moment we stepped under a detector and she screamed and ran into a wall. So, being completely biased, this is now my favorite type of scary technology.

A woman screaming into the camera and running away

The rise of the use of escape rooms at this time of year is also an indication of the progress that these sort of attractions have made. Escape rooms are immersive games where you have to solve riddles and clues to escape the room within a certain amount of time. They basically use virtual reality technology, motion triggers and a whole bunch of other simulating technology to test your survival skills. It’s an alternative to haunted houses and horror mazes that requires you to think on your feet.

If none of the above appeal to you then there is also the option of forgoing traditional horror attractions and setting out on ghost hunting parties with your friends, without having to sign up to anything or even leave the neighborhood. There is now a variety of ghost-hunting equipment out, including ghost-detecting apps which are easy to download and use.

Halloween is now forever changed, and thanks to digital transformation, none of us really have a chance anymore.