[Image above] This Halloween hack requires little more than an Arduino microcontroller, Nerf gun, and drill to add a bit of high-tech trickery to Trick or Treat. Credit: Ben Harben; YouTube


If necessity is the mother of invention, then curiosity is its cousin.

Invention is also sometimes an accident—dumb luck, if you will.

There’s nothing dumb, however, about this super smart Trick or Treat machine based on an Arduino microcontroller.

Its inventor, Ben Harben (who works a hop, skip, and a jump from ACerS’s headquarters in Westerville, Ohio), might have earned his 15 minutes of fame (and nine cavities!) after showcasing his bubblegum art on the Late Show with David Letterman, but he also deserves some shine for his work with Arduino.

Harben’s used the open source, DIY electronic hardware to create a motion-activated control for his Christmas lights and to catch (and exact revenge on) the cats that spray his back porch.

His Trick or Treat machine, though, is Harben’s ultimate trick.

The machine is simple in scope, requiring just a few items—the microcontroller, a Nerf Gun, drill, Gatorade bottle water reservoir, and coat hanger-turned-corkscrew—but is simply spooktacular. When the button is pressed, it randomly dispenses a treat (candy bar) or trick (water spray).

Watch how it works in the video below, or if you’re game to try your hand at the high-tech trickery, Harben’s been kind enough to provide the code and links to the items you’ll need to make your machine spring to life.

Grab them here—and happy Halloween!

Credit: Ben Harben; YouTube