Operation Halloween Candy Dispenser

Big scare: last night, I got the buzzer working and wired up. But then as I was finishing up… the buzzer stopped completely. No explanation.

I took things apart, and just tried to wire up the salad tongs and the doorbell. No love. Baffled, I made a plan to head out to Home Depot early this morning to get a new battery.

Liz, holding hands with her new bestie.

The artist, contemplating.

I was all for leaving the face blank. But Liz said that was “creep,” and said a face would help. I still maintain that an actual face helps to better show the guy’s discomfort, so to me that makes it even creepier. But I guess the whole concept is pretty full of creepiness.

Outside, naked on the front porch.

We bought a ton of small candy, and each piece has a small piece of velcro on it. Inside each electrical outlet, there is also a piece of velcro – holding the candy in place.

The salad tongs are connected to a small 6V battery, and it’s what we give to the kids to grab the candy. If the salad tongs touch the electrical outlet, it connects the circuit and sets off a doorbell (affixed to the back of the plywood).

There’s no actual shock when the circuit connects, but a lot of kids asked about that. I gave my assurances to the younger kids that it was safe and painless. But I told any older kids who asked that the shock wasn’t too powerful, and “I’ve only had two or three people pass out.”

Some wooden stands and extra weight, to ensure the whole thing stays upright.

The wiring is pretty straightforward. And definitely ignore the color of the wires here – it’s all haphazard.

At the end of the day, it’s just a single circuit: one battery terminal connected to the doorbell buzzer, which then connects to an electrical outlet, which is then connected to another outlet, and so on. The second battery terminal is then connected to a pair of salad tongs.

So no matter which outlet the salad tongs touch, it ends up creating a circuit and sets off the buzzer.

One scary thing for us: the wiring worked with the new battery I got, but once we got it outside… it stopped working. We started to freak out some, as this was close to 3PM, and we expected folks to stop by pretty soon.

I ran to Ace Hardware and got a new doorbell while Liz worked on the wiring. She was able to get things working again somewhat, but it seemed sporadic. We replaced the doorbell with a new one, and everything worked right as rain. Just in the nick of time.

Liz had several bowls organized, based on their size: smalls and bigs. We tend to get a lot of trick or treaters, so we tried to prepare enough to last us through the night (but I ended up having to run out mid-way).

It was really fun to see kids interact with the game.

I didn’t get a chance to really visit with our neighbors (we live on a great block, full of great folks). I always mean to each year, but Halloween always ends up being so crazy busy… and everyone else is busy passing out candy themselves.

Across the street, a fun multimedia display set up.

And a fun lawn decoration, complete with Halloween music and tons of smoke.

More kids, more attempts.

The best sound of the whole night? When young kids were simply unable to really manage the salad tongs, and so it would just be this sound of constant buzzing for like 20 seconds. Hilarious. Made me laugh every single time.

Operation Halloween Candy Dispenser: Final Prep
Halloween Prep, Continued
Halloween Prep
Operation: The Costume (2004)

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. A highlight from the evening: we convinced two guys to play. Turns out they were from U of C, pre-med, and had just finished a 2.5 month course focusing on human dissection. They did pretty well.

    avoision Reply

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