CircuitPython Helps Keep Candy Safe From Thieving Halloween Ghouls

YouTuber Wermy used CircuitPython to scare away would-be candy thieves this Halloween.

The best part of Halloween for children is trick-or-treating, and one of the best parts of Halloween for adults is giving out candy to trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, as an adult, you may be going to a party — or taking your own children out trick-or-treating — and be unable to be home to hand out candy. The most common solution is to put out a bowl of candy, but we all know that it won’t be long before some greedy ghoul dumps the entire bowl into their bag. That’s why YouTuber Wermy used CircuitPython to scare away would-be candy thieves.

The idea is straightforward: a bowl of candy rests on a 3D-printed pedestal in front of a laser-cut tombstone that clearly says “please take 2 pieces.” If the bowl of candy is removed from the pedestal — something that would likely only happen if a candy corn-crazed kid were trying to take it—sound effects, strobe lights, and creepy eyes are turned on to give anyone nearby a fright. At the same time, a text message notification is sent to Wermy so he can check on the candy with an IoT security camera on the front porch. Of course, this also gives him a chance to review the footage and get a laugh.

Those effects and the notification function are controlled by a trio of microcontroller development boards from Adafruit. An Adafruit Feather M4 board is doing most of the heavy lifting, including monitoring the switch underneath the bowl, activating the strobe light through a relay, and playing the sound effects through a small amplifier. An Adafruit AirLift ESP32 add-on board provides a WiFi connection for the notifications. Finally, an Adafruit ItsyBitsy M0 controls the eye animations that are displayed on two small TFT screens.

A service called TextBelt is used to send the notification when the effects are triggered. The ESP32 also runs a simple web interface that Wermy can use to set off the effects manually if he wants to. Older kids may not be scared away, but this should deter young hooligans from taking the entire bowl of candy this Halloween.

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