6 Halloween Pranks for Sociopaths With Unlimited Budgets
America's No. 1 holiday celebrating violence and candy is just around the corner, and this year it looks to be better than ever, as the glorious union of art and technology has given us several exciting new ways to decorate our houses for the bitchingest Halloween party in history. Provided you have, like, tons of money. Otherwise you can't afford any of this nonsense. But maybe you can score an invite from someone who can, because a party where everyone is wearing digitally amorphous face masks in front of a glowing Herculean skull is something we all deserve to attend.
Greet Them With Phantom Street Shadows Using "Light Memory"
According to the Bible, the afterlife consists of either ascending into heaven, getting dragged off to hell by terrifying spectral collectors, or staying behind on Earth to have sex with Demi Moore using Whoopi Goldberg's body. While science has yet to replicate Options 1 and 3, it's doing a bang-up job at making it seem like faceless terror phantasms are a real thing.
"Fucking ghost tourists. Learn to walk."
Look closely -- that's not two dudes walking side-by-side -- it's one dude being stalked by his own shadow. What you're seeing is a Bristol, England, art installation that records a random pedestrian's movements from hidden streetlight cameras and then projects the recording on the ground by the next passerby. The result looks like someone trying to beat a high score in Mario Kart, only instead of the spirit of friendly competition, they're racing against an actual spirit who presumably has no interest in friendship and is concerned only with the competition between God and the Devil to capture the most terrestrial souls before the sun burns out and the Earth explodes. These mobile Peter Pan tributes are specifically installed in minimally traveled side streets, just to make sure that anyone who experiences a ghost shadow is utterly alone when they become paralyzed with panicked confusion.
"Lights! Camera! Shit your pants!"
Answer the Door Full Hannibal Lecter With 3D Printing
One of the more difficult parts of being a serial killer is that removing the face of another person and wearing it like a mask is messy, time-consuming, and usually winds up looking like you're wearing a bunch of cooked pepperonis on your head instead of an uncanny likeness of Jim the census taker who was last seen on your doorstep three days ago. Thankfully, a Chicago artist has finally come up with a solution -- just make a hideous human face facsimile with a 3D printer. It's cleaner and gets the same "I am not a person anyone should ever speak to for any reason" message across.
The only thing missing is a helpful "Spray Mace Here" arrow around the eye-holes.
It's called the Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic, a 3D-printed mask designed in protest to Chicago's recent pledge to have cameras equipped with facial recognition software on every city block within the next two years. Along with tricking security cameras into believing the wearer is someone else, the prosthetic doubles as an effective tool in teaching kids to believe in Android Satan.
"01001001 00100000 01000001 01001101 00100000
01010100 01001000 01000101 00100000 01010110 01001111 01001001 01000100"
That's right -- the creator of the mask is encouraging people to casually wear this thing out on the street, instead of more traditional (read: less insane) identity-obscuring clothing like sunglasses or hooded sweatshirts, which means we might someday see a Chicago populated by a terror army of husky Jeremy Renners.
The only thing more disturbing than the masks is the fact that you're more than a little turned on by this.
Decorate With a Four-Story Psychedelic Skull
Any party planner knows that you can't spell "sacrificial drug orgy" without the words "gory flair circus." Luckily for all the billionaire Halloween hosts out there, there's a giant fucking skull that lights up like a drug scene in a 1970s counterculture cartoon:
"R.I.P. Max Headroom."
Believe it or not, that skull isn't CGI, nor is it a giant bank of flat-screen televisions or a dark-magic spell hibernating deep within the meat of your brain. It's just paper:
Well, to be more precise, it's paper that's being illuminated by 360-degree projection-mapping on an 8-foot-high sculpture of a skull, which is still impressively minimalist considering the end result looks like something Guillermo del Toro hastily scribbled on a sandwich wrapper in the middle of a mescaline fantasy.
"I really like Andy Warhol ... and peyote."
Oh, and speaking of mescaline, did we mention that a 3-foot-tall version of this thing was constructed at Burning Man? Because it was. That's, like, two different pranks at once.
Not Pictured: 10,000 people simultaneously quitting drugs forever.
Create the Ultimate Poltergeist With Cirque du Soleil's Lampshade Drones
Anybody worth their weight in Halloween is probably aware of Nobuhiko Obayashi's classic haunted-house film Hausu, which is about a possessed mansion enchanting various inanimate objects to devour five teenage girls in utterly psychotic ways. If you haven't seen it, watch the trailer here, then look down and marvel at the revelation that Cirque du Soleil is making that film a reality by turning a handful of drones into a fleet of haunted goddamned lamps that would look right at home in an obscure Japanese horror film from the 1970s:
Again, those aren't lights hung up on strings or anything; rather, they're 10 fully synchronized flying drones being directed by computer like an aerial Skynet ballet.
"We should have never let them kindle The Cask of Amontillado."
Thanks to the folks over at Verity Studios, remote-controlled flying machines aren't just for douchers at the beach anymore; they're also for esoteric circus performers and wealthy eccentrics looking to make their friends believe in object possession. The temptation to call a fortune-teller over to your house for a seance and then chase her around the yard with one of these things is almost too great to resist.
You can re-create the effect by putting all the lamps in your living room
before passing out on the floor from the Halloween drinking.
Look Like Living CGI With "Digital Makeup"
Last year, we told you about a new technology that uses iPads to make parts of your body look like a visual fear riot. If that tantalizing tidbit left you wanting more, prepare to be dazzled, because this year, you can use a similar technology to make your face look like a ghost wearing a Bjork mask without needing to duct-tape an Apple product to your head:
See those dots on her face? Those are reference points for a motion-tracking system not unlike what they use to allow "virtual makeup artist" Andy Serkis to play lonely, sympathetic monsters, only this virtual makeup can be applied in real time. Now you can show up to the company Halloween party looking like a puzzle-craft geisha, which is a haunting we didn't even know existed until this very moment:
Just add a red palm print for "Sexy Wilson."
Alternately, you could spend the entire evening sitting quietly in a corner until someone comes up to talk to you, at which point you can make your face melt like the bespectacled Nazi at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. We predict you will make many new friends this way.
Send Them to the Asylum With a Dancing Ghoul Robot
OK, let's say you're a blushingly rich Halloween baron (a phrase here meaning "Vincent Price in a velvet bathrobe"), who has spent the evening delighting your friends and neighbors with projected shadow ghosts, 3D-printed Hannibal Lecter masks, giant skulls, flying lamps and laundry hampers, and shimmering future-science ghost makeup. But now it's late, you're running out of Doritos, and it's time for everyone to go the fuck home. How do you use both your impressive millions and your impish Halloween spirit to politely usher people out of your home?
If your answer was "a goblin-faced stripper bot," you are absolutely correct, of course:
Those that stay should be immediately added to some kind of watch list.
This hypnotizing boner ghoul currently haunts the premises of the David Zwirner Art Gallery. Created in conjunction with Spectral Motion by artist and future defendant Jordan Wolfson, this robotic miscarriage of art and science was designed specifically to maintain eye contact with its audience while air-humping to a cracked-out version of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," which might actually make the robot the second-most-terrifying thing about the entire performance. Either way, switching this thing on is a guaranteed way to make everyone in the room desperate to leave.
The longer you look at it, the more it feels like some kind of visual riddle daring you to get an erection. Regardless, you can either store it in the attic for next Halloween, or leave it up as an elaborate burglar alarm designed to instantly inform any intruder that they've broken into the wrong house.
David is an editor and researcher for Cracked.com. Tweet Dave here.
For more maybe-not-so-good ideas for Halloween, check out 6 Halloween Pranks That Went Horribly Wrong and 8 Psychologically Traumatizing Kids Halloween Costumes.