How would someone go about rapidly turning lights on and off?

Back in October, before I knew about the awesomeness of Instructables, (AKA "The best website ever,") I was trying to make some spooky ambiance for Halloween by having some lights with red color gels turn on and off every half-minute-or-so inside the house, along with some screaming, chainsaw sounds, etc. I attempted to figure out how to do this by asking on Yahoo Answers, and... well.. read it yourself to get the full picture. Realize that one answer was amazingly vague, another simply answered by what I already tried doing, and the community-voted-best answer was joking!

So, I'm a bit curious, but lets pretend it's back in October. How would someone go about turning lights on or off every 30 seconds?

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The trick is to make the lamps flicker randomnly, one good, but noisy way, is to pass the lamp current through fluorescent lamp starters.

Yep, that's a classic approach to flickering an incandescent bulb... but the querant is asking for a 30-second cycle, not 1/3-second.
I know, but that's easy. A 555, an optotriac and a real triac will do it.
Adum246 years ago
You could use a microcontroller, like Arduino, but it may not work with incandescent light bulbs.
Re-design6 years ago
You could try something like this.

But I think Steve's idea to make the light flicker is spookier.
Yes, random is harder to do for sure.
rickharris6 years ago
easiest to use red LEDs and a 555 timer or microprocessor. http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/