All Hallows Eve (aka Halloween) will soon be upon us, and if you're a parent you're probably about to suit up your kids and hit the streets for some free candy. Certainly some things are meant to be scary on Halloween night costumes, spooky houses and the sheer amount of sugar your kids hauled in their pillow cases and buckets but keeping your kids safe shouldn't be one of them. Trick or treating should be fun for everyone involved. So to relieve some of the stress and make halloween night more enjoyable for parents and kids alike we've collected some great apps for iOS and Android devices that put the Wee back in Halloween (forgive us for that).
If your kids are old enough to trick or treat alone they're old enough to carry a smart phone, or at least borrow yours. Not only does this give them the obvious ability to call, but you can use the gps features of a smart phone to track their location.
Trick or Tracker (Android)
This Android-only app is specifically designed for halloween night, which is apparent from its UI. You simply install the app on two phones, one for a parent and one for the child, and then use a secret code to track the child's phone. At any time the child or parent can check each other's location and automatic updates can be sent every 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. It also includes LatchKey, which sends a message to the parent phone when the child phone reaches a specified location, and GuardsUp, which sets an area that, if the child's phone leaves, it will alert you by SMS.
Life360 (iOS, Android)
This app is available for Android and iOS, with the developers working on Blackberry and Windows, so it's especially useful if you and your child carry phones by different manufacturers. Family members simply sign up and load the app on their phones to start sharing their location. A tap of the green check mark starts the sharing process and you can watch your kids move around the block, picking up goodies.
Much of the scariness of Halloween comes from the fact that it's night time. Lack of vision can mean simple things become more complicated, like small children and uneven sidewalks. A good illumination app cuts through that darkness, and helps you and your children see your path and deep inside their candy buckets.
iLlumination US - Universal Flashlight (iOS)
This flashlight app turns your phone's LED or screen into a light with color options. It also has a lock to keep the phone lit up. The strobe and morse code features that are included may not be very useful unless you're going to have an impromptu dance party or need to signal a group of trick or treaters far away, but they're not bad to have along.
Tiny Flashlight + LED (Android)
This app for Android supports a wide range of devices and can utilize the screen or camera LED as a torch. Like iLlumination it comes with the ability to change colors, something you might find a use for if you're going in groups. We like this app because chances are if you have an Android phone it's supported, and it's free.
Most of the time spent trick or treating is simply getting from house to house, and tired feet make for grouchy kids (and parents). A few fun apps can take the bordom out of the halloween hike.
Angry Birds Seasons (iOS, Android)
Everyone's favorite destructive avians celebrate the seasonal spirit with a Moon festival. The whole game is decked out in halloween colors, and is sure to keep the little monsters and princesses entertained until they're home again. If you're looking for fun for you, we like the more adult ZombieSmash.
iMut8r (iOS) / PicSay (Android)
You're sure to be taking pictures for the scrapbook. These apps enable you to modify those taken on your smartphone to be more halloween-y. iMut8r will add creepy effects to any photo of people's faces you take. PicSay is a more general app, but will enable you to add things like lightsabers, faces and other tricky enhancements.
Did we leave anything out? Let us know what you use on Halloween in the comments.