This Halloween, parents have a host of apps to keep kids safe, including the popular Trick or Tracker. While there’s no shame in doing an old fashioned Halloween with ghost costumes cut from white sheets and jack-o-lanterns carved from farm-fresh pumpkins, technology can help you and your family scare up some fun, but also stay safe and secure. From keeping track of your favorite trick-or-treaters to lighting the path, here are a few ideas for having a high-tech, family-friendly Halloween
High Tech Halloween Safety Helpers:
- Track Your Trick-or-Treaters. If you want to keep tabs on your favorite trick-or-treaters, but they don’t want you cramping their style, a range of location-based applications and gadgets might help you out. No amount of technology will replace parental or adult supervision when it comes to young children, but the TrickorTracker application for Android phones could help you follow older kids from your phone. The app lets parents type in a security code to get a text message with their child’s location. It also lets kids easily find out where they are or send their location to a parent if they get lost. Google Latitude offers a free alternative. Once it’s downloaded to a phone, other “friends” can spot your location on a smartphone or computer map.
- Forgot your flashlight? Flashlight apps can help keep your kids safe on Halloween when darkness falls. Free flashlight apps for iPhone and Android devices use the LED light on smartphones and fill the screen with bright white light to illuminate your world when you find yourself in a dark spot or need to cross the street. Some even include fully customizable special effects including Strobe Light, Trippy, S.O.S., Yin-Yang, Halloween, Candy Hearts, Holiday Lights and more!
High Tech Halloween Fun:
- Get Zombified. If you don’t want to stuff yourself into a costume, but still want to share in the Halloween fun, several apps and websites can help you play virtual dress-up. Choose a picture of yourself, and within seconds of uploading it, Haunted Face (99 cents) will give you a ghostly makeover. This application comes with sound effects and lets you share your haunted face with friends on Facebook and Twitter. If you can handle it, Zombie Me (which comes in $1.99 and 99-cent versions) uses the same concept to turn you and friends into bloody, eye-bulging zombies.
- Pumpkin Carving. If you want to give your kids a way to carve pumpkins on-the-go, pumpkin carving is all the rage on your smartphone. The free Parents Carve a Pumpkin application for iPads and iPhones from Parents Magazine is a great option for younger kids. The easy-to-use application lets kids drag and drop shapes to carve a virtual pumpkin. For older kids, the 99-cent application Carve It! Pumpkin Carving for the iPhone and Carve a Pumpkin! for Android devices let kids carve pumpkins freehand with the tips of their fingers.
For help with all your technology needs, the Geek Squad at Best Buy is a great solution. Call 1.800 GEEK SQUAD or go to www.geeksquad.com. Geek Squad provides services wherever and whenever you need them – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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