Prior to the 1950's, Halloween pranks were extreme affairs carried out by youth who used the holiday as an excuse to riot, start fires, destroy property, and even heave stones at law enforcement. Their antics were so bad the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee called for the date to be rededicated as "National Youth Honor Day" in an attempt to promote moral behavior.
Such deplorable conduct was ultimately tempered by the promise of treats over tricks, and Halloween became the relatively mild celebration it is today. Still, that doesn't mean you can't pull a few well-timed pranks on your friends. Here, modern technology meets the age-old spirit of All Hallows' Eve as we list seven of the best smartphone Halloween pranks.
1. Remote Mouse App
Control your victim's computer and deliver ghostly messages.
The setup: Download a remote mouse and keyboard app like Remote Mouse or Mobile Mouse on your smartphone, then install the accompanying program on your unsuspecting victim's computer.
The prank: When your victim is playing a game, typing a Word document, or browsing Facebook, discreetly take control of their computer and type creepy messages from beyond the grave!
This video shows the prank in action:
2. Voice Changer and Anonymous Caller Apps
Scare your friends with creepy Halloween messages from an "unknown" caller!
The setup: Install a voice changer app that will change your voice in-call. Call Voice Changer by Telestar is a good option (available for iOS and Android). Then, install an anonymous caller app like Hushed Private or Anon Call.
The prank: Open the voice changer app and set it to your favorite creepy voice, then call the victim through your anonymous caller app. Scare away!
Check out this video review of three voice changer apps to see how they work:
3. Scary Test Apps
Give your victim a scary shock when they try to pass these tests.
The setup: Install any scary test app on your smartphone. These apps force your victims to focus intently on the screen with challenging trivia or mazes, then suddenly fill the screen with a terrifying image (often accompanied by a shrill Halloween scream).
Example scary test apps include:
The prank: Get your victim to take the test. If you have another smartphone nearby to record their reaction, even better - some apps, like ScaryCAM, will even record them for you!
See the prank in action:
4. Dude Your Car App
Fool your friends into thinking their ride has been terminated!
The setup: Download the Dude Your Car app for iOS or Android.
The prank: Borrow your victim's car, then snap a photo and use the app's tools to make it look like there is a dent in the car. You can also make it look like the car is on fire or has had a police boot applied. Send your victim a photo to give them a real-life scare!
See how it's done:
5. Screaming Ringtones and Alarms
Frighten your friends with unexpected shrieks, ghostly wails, and creepy voices.
The setup: Get ahold of your friend's phone and discreetly install some creepy ringtones from the Apple Store or Google Play. Then, either set an unexpected alarm to sound with one of the ringtones (at full volume) or associate the ringtone with a specific number only you have access to.
The prank: Give your victim a fright by setting the alarm or calling at a most unexpected time - 2 a.m., perhaps?
Watch friends prank their buddy using the "One Missed Call" ringtone:
Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves; with iWound, you can wear yours on the outside of your shirt!
The setup: Get the iWound (Digital Dudz) app, which plays a realistic video of a beating heart on your phone's screen. Cut a hole in your shirt, and use pockets or tape to make it look as though your heart is literally beating through your chest. Morph Costumes (Digital Dudz) even sells Halloween costumes and other clothes for the perfect fit.
The prank: Pretend to get injured, then turn to your victim to expose your beating heart! Of course, iWound also works as an extra-gory Halloween costume.
Here's how it works:
7. Ghost Cam Spirit Photography App
Convince your victim their house is haunted!
The setup: Install a "ghost cam" app on your phone. Apps are available for Android and iOS.
The prank: Take a photo of your friend or a part of your friend's house. Use the app to add in a spooky specter, then pretend it just showed up on the pic!
Check it out:
A word of caution
These pranks are all in good fun, but it's best to only pull them on close friends who will laugh along with you. Telecommunications security consultant Mike Arman warns that pranking the wrong person or taking a prank too far could ultimately result in hacking charges or FCC communications interference violations - felonies under federal law. And under no circumstance should you prank call a government agency or other institution.
"It sounds harmless enough, but (the victim) better be a good friend who understands you mean him no harm and that (the prank) is easily reversible," Arman says. "If you go into a cell phone to change the ringtone, you are going to be blamed for everything that happens on, with, or to that cell phone, forever. If your friend's identity gets stolen, it will be your fault. If the phone stops working, it will be your fault - the fact that he dropped it into a tree limb chipper is immaterial. If the battery goes dead, that will be your fault as well, since you fiddled with his phone and now it doesn't work properly."
So, consider this your warning: plan the perfect smartphone Halloween prank, but only on your closest friends. Happy haunting!
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