Animated Halloween props are a lot of fun. But the built-in motion sensors usually don't work very well (especially in low light conditions). There are a lot of times when it would be much more fun to be able to control these props with a remote control. That way you could set them off exact when you want them go off and actually scare people. So I worked out a simple way to activate Halloween props with a remote controlled relay. Here is how to make it.
Step 1: Materials
Here are the materials and tools that you will need to complete this project.
Halloween Prop with a "Try Me" button
12 Volt Battery Pack
Step 2: Find a Halloween Prop With a "Try Me" Button
Most animated Halloween props that are sold in store come with a "Try Me" button. This lets people test play the animation so that they can see it in action before they buy it. This button is a really convenient way to control props. It lets us connect external circuits to the prop and we don't even have to open up the housing.
Step 3: Open Up the Button Housing
Before we can connect to the the button, we first need to open up the button's housing. In most cases this is just two small pieces of plastic that are snapped together. You can usually just pop it open with a small screw driver. Once you remove the cover, you will see the button.
Step 4: Connect the Battery Pack to the Relay
Now you need to connect power to the relay board. You can use a 12 volt battery pack or a 12 volt regulated power supply. Connecting the power is really straight forward. The positive power wire connect to the terminal that is labeled "+" and the negative power wire connects to the terminal that is labeled "-".
Step 5: Connect the Switch to the Relay
Now you need to connect the button to the relay circuit. The button/switch shown here is the most common type that you will find in Halloween props. It is a momentary push button switch. It has four terminals. The terminal on the left side are connected to the terminals on the right side. Pushing the button will momentarily connect the top two terminals to the bottom two terminals. This connection sends a signal to the prop to play its animation.
In order to control the prop, we will be connecting the two free terminals to the relay circuit. If the leads of the button are long enough, you might be able to insert them directly into the terminal block on the relay. This is what I have done. Connect the two leads from the button to the NO (normally open) terminal and the COM (common) terminals on the relay. Then adjust the screw on the terminal block to tighten them down and hold them in place.
Step 6: Use the Remote to Control Halloween Prop
Now that everything is connected, it's time to test it. Press the button on the relay's remote and the prop should play its animation. If everything is working properly, then your prop is ready to scare people.
Setup of your prop in a prominent place where people will walk by it. When the prop doesn't react to people walking by, they will assume that it is turned off. Wait for someone to get really close to the prop. Then reach into your pocket and press the button. The prop will spring to life and scare your unsuspecting victim. Try it out and have fun.