I made it! Sorta. This year I decided to take my Halloween adventures into the world of Arduino. I saw the “Talking Arduino Halloween Skeleton” on the Instructables.com website. Halloween is the best time of year for a retired engineer and tinkerer like me.
The young men in the Intructables article were quite energetic and their tutorial was wonderful. Instead of another skeleton I wanted to build up a talking witch. It would be a bit of a challenge and I was fortunate to have the “Talking Arduino Halloween Skeleton” to work from.
Naomi the talking witch started out as a standard Halloween hanging prop made in China. The original prop had a voice box and glowing eyes but the voice was hard to understand. I keep everything so perhaps the voice box will be used in a future project. I really wanted her face and hands but I ended up using everything except for the voicebox.
The project involved building an audio circuit board for the Arduino and making some special WAV files for her voice. The board went together rather quickly and worked well. My wife Nancy recorded the witch’s voice clips and did a great job. There were challenges. The witch’s face was a solid chunk of plastic and I wanted her jaw to move when she spoke. So I had to perform plastic surgery, for real! I used a hot knife which is a #ll Exacto blade mounted on the end of a soldering iron. This made the job easy. The hot blade works its way slowly through the plastic but doesn’t take a lot of force. Here is a video of the modified face with the servo to move the jaw. Building the frame came next along with a foundation. She came out very close to way I had imagined and was the first active prop in the graveyard this year.
To give credit where credit is definitely due, here is the original Instructables article on the Talking Arduino Halloween Skeleton. I used the Arduino code that was posted in the comments section without modification which made the project a lot easier. Thanks guys!
Naomi the witch and all my other props are all put away, except for the couple that I need to repair. Just think, only 358 days until next Halloween…