Halloween Projects – pre 2023

I love Halloween, it is easily my favorite holiday. So of course I want to make things for Halloween that I can’t buy or are too expensive. First up is my favorite project that I’ve ever done: my Halloween candy dispenser.

Finished machine out in the front yard

To make it, I started by making a big coffin from fence boards. I wanted to make it dispense candy, but I wanted to limit how fast it could do so. Otherwise, the first kid would just push the button to dispense candy until it was empty. It is a right of children on Halloween to get as much candy as possible, so I don’t blame them. However, as I didn’t want that to happen, I figured I would make it into a little game. There are 10 buttons, and the Arduino code that controls it would only reset every 10 seconds, and then randomize which button dispenses candy. This means that pretty much any kid of any ability can play and get candy to come out, provided they are determined enough to press every button. I hoped this would slow down any overeager kids, but allow any kid to get candy out.

As you can see, it is quite large, big enough for a person, which is appropriate I suppose. In the front are 10 holes cut on my CNC machine to fit arcade buttons. You can also see a watch case I am wearing that I cut on my CNC machine to fit a smartwatch that had a broken case, rendering it useless until I fixed it. I’ll make a post about that at some point.

Here is the test setup for the Arduino and stepper motor. 4 momentary switches are on the breadboard, and one of them randomly allows the motor to spin. Once I had that working, it was a simply matter to increase the buttons to 10 and put it into the coffin.

This is the basic mechanism, though the belt had to be changed to have better spacing between the cups. Overall though, this system worked and didn’t jam. The only issue was the belt material slipped on the wooden pulley. Not the best material selection, but the belt was long enough that I was able to get a good amount of jolly-ranchers in it. This meant it could dispense to a lot of kids before I had to reload it, which was a design requirement.

Another shot of the machine outside of the house.


I also made some spine shaped candles and candle holders for some friends. This was pretty easy, but also fairly expensive due to the silicone mold.


Beware, the video below is LOUD so turn your speakers down before hitting play. You have been warned!

More permanent LED version

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