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15 DIY Halloween Animatronics for Robotics Enthusiasts

Liz Miller Learn Robotics

About the Author, Liz Miller, Founder/CEO @ Learn Robotics

Liz graduated with a degree in Robotics Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and researched drones at UPenn's GRASP Lab. Liz is a former Raytheon Engineer, where she managed major $MM automation projects worldwide. Today, she's the driving force behind Learn Robotics, offering the Robotics Career Blueprint for Engineering Professionals and beginner courses through the Online Robotics Class. Liz is a third-generation entrepreneur who is all about the application of innovation in robotics, automation, and AI. Follow Liz on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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Halloween is just around the corner! Put your robotics, Arduino, and automation skills to the test by building out a Halloween display. In this article, I’m going to share 15 DIY Halloween Animatronics that are sure to add scares to any house, display, or party!

These animatronics projects range in complexity (and cost), so it’s best to start early and run tests before setting up the final Halloween display.

If you’re brand-new to electronics and prototyping, I recommend checking out my coding and circuits course. It’s designed to get you working with electronics, fast, so that you can build cool projects like these on your own!


1. Haunted Shovel

The first Halloween animatronics project is the haunted shovel.  This project uses a 12V wiper motor and some scrap metal to create the illusion that the shovel is moving on its own.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

The motor is mounted to a piece of plywood and is connected to a 12V DC battery.  The final prototype has the motor and closed inside of a wooden box and that’s just to protect it from getting hit or bumped in your display and to also keep people from getting hurt while the axle is rotating.

Overall, this animatronics project is fairly straightforward. You don’t need any programming or code. Connect your wiper motor to a battery, attach the metal arm to the shovel, and you’ll have yourself a pretty awesome Haunted Shovel Halloween display.

Catch the full haunted shovel tutorial here. Download the free PDF guide and create this project yourself!

2. Animated Eyeball Pumpkin with an App

Next on deck, we have an animated eyeball pumpkin project and what this project has is uses an app called the Morph Digital Dudz app to add a little bit of flair to your average Halloween Jack O’Lantern.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

First, remove the insides of the pumpkin and cut a hole in the front. Then download the Morph Digital Dudz app on your smartphone. Next, cover your smartphone with a sheet of Saran Wrap to protect it from all the pumpkin guts. Finally, place it inside the pumpkin and watch it come to life!

If you’re looking for a Halloween animatronics project that you can complete in less than an hour, then this is your best bet.

Create your own Animated Pumpkin Jack-O-Lantern using the Morph Digital Dudz app, today!

3. Swaying Zombie

Number 3 on our DIY Halloween animatronics list is a swaying zombie. This project uses PVC pipes and motors to create an animated zombie. The video below is a full tutorial on how to cut and shape PVC to create the zombie frame.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

The cool thing about this project is that once you create the frame you can actually go back and modify the appearance of the zombie just by changing a few features masks and even clothing that the frame is wearing.

Again this project doesn’t require coding, but if you wanted to spruce it up, you could potentially add lighting, spooky sounds, or even make it voice-activated. The possibilities are endless when it comes to adding automated features.

Download the free guide on how to make an Animated Swaying Zombie for your spooky Halloween scene.

4. Animatronic Rocking Chair

Ready to have some nightmares?  If you’re scared of clowns I wouldn’t recommend this project.  But for those of you that are looking for a thrill, you can create a clown that propels itself on a rocking chair.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

First, you’ll attach the motor wiper to the back of the clown. The motor shaft will then rotate a linkage that converts the rotational motion into linear motion which causes an illusion that the clown is moving the chair.

 All you need to get started is a rocking chair, wiper motor (10 to 20 RPM), a clown mask, and a power supply. Find the complete Animatronic Rocking Chair tutorial here.

5. Arduino Animatronic Eye Mech

You’re looking for more of a 3D printer project for this Halloween then you’re going to want to check out Arduino animatronic eye mechanism.

This project uses a couple of Servo Motors Arduino Uno and 3D printed components to make a creepy eyeball.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

Head on over to Thingiverse to download the components. You can get them printed at a local 3D printer shop, online using 3Hubs, or if you have your own 3D printer you can print them out yourself.

Once you have the components, you’ll just need to wire up the servos to the Arduino and download the code that’s provided in the tutorial guide.


6. DIY Animatronic Halloween Prop

If you ever wanted to drive around a ghoulish robot during Halloween, then this is the perfect DIY animatronics project for you! It’s essentially a robotic car that has a Halloween Witch mounted to it.

Drive around your Halloween robot, give it voice commands, and scare your friends! I think it’s one of the cooler projects you can make if you’re trying to get more into the robotics space.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

The Animatronic Halloween prop is powered by the 1Sheeld, which is an Arduino shield that has over 40 different functionalities that you can use with your smartphone.

Head on over to Hackster to check out the full tutorial, and let me know if you build it in the comments section below!

7. JawDuino $20 Talking Skull with Arduino

Don’t have a lot of money to spend on your Halloween animatronics project? Then you’re going to want to check out is $20 talking skull project.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

The cool thing about this project is it combines an LED sound meter module with a couple of servos mounted to the jaw.

It’s a very cost-effective way to provide proportional movements to the servos to give the appearance that the skull is talking to whatever soundtrack is playing in the background.

Download the full tutorial, and make your own $20 JawDuino project.

8. 3D Printed Animatronic Tail

Furthermore, you can use the mechanism for this 3D printed animatronic tail to add motion to a variety of Halloween decorations. Or, you can create the tail and drape it over a candy bowl for some added thrill!

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

First, collect the parts for this project. You only need some 3D printed parts a Servo motor an Arduino controller and some batteries.

Then, print out a fake hand or bones, or pick up some Halloween props at a party store and attach the mechanism. Finally, program the controller to move the servo and connect the batteries. Your prop is ready for use!

Find the full design and tutorial on Thingiverse.

9. DIY Animated Body Bag for Halloween

Now if you’re trying to create a whole animated graveyard or you want to add some Halloween animatronics to your home then you’re going to want to create these DIY Animated Body Bags.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

This 3D printed mechanism combines servo motors, string, and pulleys to create a wiggling motion. Program the motion using Arduino and a motor shield.

Once you have the components assembled, you can use cardboard, and some foam to create the desired human shape that you want. Finally, wrap it inside a garbage bag and hang it on a tree. Turn the prototype on and add some sound effects for added delight!

10. 3D Printed Creepy Hand

If Halloween pranks are more your thing then you’ll want to make this 3D printed creepy hand.  This can be a great addition to other Halloween animatronic displays because it provides unexpected additional movement in a scene.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

First, print the components using TPU flexible filament. Then attach a servo motor inside of the base of the wrist. Finally your program the Arduino to move the servo wiper blade and watch the arm dance around.

This is a fairly straightforward project but it’s pretty creepy and also a lot of fun to make.

11. Animated Humanoid Head

Next, we have an animated humanoid head this project uses 3D printed components, servos, and Arduino to create a mask looking figure that can be used for a variety of Halloween animatronics applications

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

Once you have the humanoid head created, you could always dress it up, put a wig on it and add it to your Halloween scene.

12. Halloween Lighting with Philips Hue

Another very easy DIY Halloween animatronics project uses the Philips Hue.  If you already have Philips hue light bulbs around you can connect up the five different light of various colors and create your own Halloween scene.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

 All you need to do is go into the  Philips Hue labs and find the Halloween living scenes.

First, log in to your Philips Hue account and then pair the Halloween living scenes to whichever lights you want to use

If you already have your lights set up, then this process takes less than 10 minutes. It’s a great way to reuse an existing home automation tools that you already have installed around the house without having to purchase any additional equipment.

Plus you can connect your Philips Hue lights to IFTTT and make your lights voice-activated or motion-activated.

It’s a pretty cool way of adding Halloween animatronics to your yard without actually having to do any programming or machine building.

13. Haunted Ouija Board

Remember that old Ouija board?  Well here’s a project that you can do to create a haunted version of an Ouija board.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

The haunted Ouija board is based on the principles of a CNC machine. Once you have a CNC plotter created, you can map out various different words and patterns that you can use as “messages.” Add in some extra props, and this project is sure to draw in crowds looking for answers from the spirits!

You can find the full tutorial on how to create your own haunted Ouija board here.

14. Monster-in-a-Box DIY Animatronic

For those of you looking for a hardcore DIY animatronics Halloween project, then you’re going to want to check out the monster in a box Halloween prop.

This project gives an illusion that there’s some sort of Beast trapped inside of a chain box, and it’s struggling to get out.

Required Parts

Get the Full materials list here.

Resources to Build it

The monster-in-a-box DIY animatronic project is definitely more advanced so I wouldn’t recommend tackling this if it’s your first time working with mechanics, pneumatics, or electronics.

If you’re a seasoned DIY-er, this project is awesome and is sure to be a showcase piece at your next haunted house or Halloween event.


15. Singing Jack-O-Lanterns

The singing Jack-O-Lanterns is a Halloween animatronics project that’s a little bit more family-friendly. Rather than scaring people, these Jack-O-Lanterns sing various Halloween songs.

Required Parts

Resources to Build it

The singing Jack-O-Lanterns is a DIY Halloween animatronics project that’s a little bit more family-friendly. Rather than scaring people, these Jack-O-Lanterns sing various songs.

First, carve out the faces and hot glue a servo inside of a pumpkin. Then attach a piece of a wire hanger to open and close the mouth. Finally, add some lighting and a battery pack for each pumpkin.

You can create movement in the jaw by programming the servos to open and close to various songs. Or you can incorporate proportional movements as mentioned in the JawDuino project.

Wrap Up

Halloween is such a fun holiday to apply robotics, electronics, and programming skills. Whether you’re looking for a quick way to bring your Jack-O-Lantern to life, or you’re looking for a full-blown Arduino Halloween project, this list is sure to have something appealing.

For other awesome Halloween Projects, be sure to check out the Animated Skull Tutorial using Arduino and the Twitching Eyeball Pumpkin Halloween project.

Did you build one of these awesome Halloween Animatronics DIY projects? Let me know in the comments below. And for more awesome robotics content be sure to Subscribe to our Newsletter!

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