Halloween’s coming up, so prepare a list of SpOoOoOky movies, carve up some pumpkins, and set a tripwire across your front gate to protect you from trick-or-treaters. It’s also a good time of year to play tricks on people (like April Fool’s, but scarier), and there are some great apps designed just for that purpose. So get your spook on with our list of scary apps to try out on yourself and your friends this Hallow’s Eve.
Ghost Hunting Tools
The way this app presents itself, with all its talk of EMF meters and EVP detection, you’d think that you’re buying a fully-functioning Ghostbusters-style ghost detector. With a vast dictionary that apparently translates electromagnetic signals in the air into human words, this app works well enough that it’s convinced its users that they’re actually communicating with paranormal entities.
Another way of looking at it – depending on how skeptical you are – is that it’s a fun thing to do with your pals – turn the lights out, go wandering around the house, and see what creepy sounds you can discover.
Ever read those ghost books as a kid that contain countless black-and-white pictures of creepy country roads and churchyards with spooky apparitions in them? There are plenty of apps that let you create your own versions of these pictures, but Ghost Lens is the very best. Take a photo, then select from a bunch of preset spooky images to superimpose onto it (or create your own apparitions). You can set different levels of fade to make the apparition more or less clear and even splice together short video clips featuring your own spooky animations.
Night Terrors: The Beginning
Augmented Reality and horror go together perfectly, so it’s surprising that there are so few good AR horror games out there. But fret not, because Night Terrors passes the test with screaming colors. Get together a group of friends, turn out the lights (or find an abandoned house), then walk around with the camera in front of you to be treated to a veritable range of convincingly creepy ghosts and other ghoulish animations. It’s very well designed, and you’ll be surprised at how much dread your humble phone screen can subject you to.
The Walking Dead by Telltale Games
Telltale’s narrative adventure games are a great group activity, even though they’re played using only one controller. They’re all about making big decisions, engaging stories, and deciding who lives or dies rather than running around shooting things. The Walking Dead was their breakout game, and it’s a great story, following a group of people trying to survive post-zombified America (separate characters from the TV series). The first episode is free, too, so it’s a tense, scary and surprisingly poignant way to spend a few hours on Halloween night. (Think of it as a movie replacement.)
Relying on the oldest trick in the jump-scare book, this app lulls users into a false sense of security by making them focus on an image or puzzle, then abruptly switching to a scary image of your choice accompanied by a bloodcurdling scream (of your choice). You can also set it up to make a fake phone call to a friend followed by a scream, and best of all it uses the front-facing camera to capture the reactions of the shell-shocked victim. Thrills don’t get cheaper than this.
So, what will it be? Prank phone calls, immersive stories set in the zombie apocalypse, or a bit of Paranormal Activity-style AR gaming? Whatever you choose, your smartphone is a vital tool for scaring your friends, so remember to use it recklessly and plentifully.