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This article was published on October 29, 2017

    Alexa is your tour guide to Halloween fun with these tips and skills

    Alexa is your tour guide to Halloween fun with these tips and skills
    Tristan Greene
    Story by

    Tristan Greene

    Editor, Neural by TNW

    Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, Spiderman, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/hi Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, Spiderman, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him

    The spookiest night of the year is nearly here and whether you’re hosting a party, hanging out with family, or spending the evening alone, Alexa has the right entertainment options.

    With Amazon’s AI you can play your favorite spooky soundtracks, and tune your Fire TV device to the scariest movies on Prime, but you can also enable skills that give it new features and abilities.

    This year, keep it 2017 by impressing your guests and entertaining with some new Alexa skills for Halloween. You can enable these, and many more, for free in the “Alexa Skills” section of the Amazon store, or by tapping on the skills section of your Alexa app.

    Halloween Costume Ideas

    Credit: Amazon

    You can ask Alexa for a costume idea right now, “Alexa, what should I be for Halloween?” but her answers are pretty thin. Currently she’s doing a funny bit about tree sloths.

    If you’re seriously looking for inspiration beyond one simple joke, this is a skill that has a bunch of simple jokes — and some pretty interesting costume ideas.

    Alexa uses this skill to help you figure out what to wear for Halloween. Surprisingly, it’s actually pretty funny and we recommend spending a few minutes playing with it. Your device, when using this skill, will ask you a series of questions to narrow down costume ideas.

    I answered negatively when it asked “Do you have standards?” and so it suggested “Sharknado” as the inspiration for my costume. After several rounds of costume searching its suggestions included “be a crazy protester: carry a sign and your country’s flag, talk to no-one,” and “Miley Cyrus: go out in scantily clad clothing and say “ya’ll,” keeping your tongue sticking out, lick inanimate objects frequently.”

    Scooby Doo! Mystery Inc. Theater

    Credit: Amazon

    This skill will take you on an interactive audio adventure with Scooby Doo and The Gang, complete with a Vincent Price sound-alike for a narrator. It’s well produced, the voice acting is great, and if you’re old enough to remember the golden age of Hanna-Barbera, it’s a joyful waltz down memory lane.

    This time around, however, some excellent writing has abolished  long-standing stereotypes, for example Daphne has embraced her academic side for 2017.

    Kids will love it, adults should appreciate how well Scooby has aged, and it’s an interactive experience that’s genuinely fun to participate in.

    Ask The DM

    Credit: Amazon

    Halloween isn’t just for trick-or-treaters and people dressed like Sexy The Spock, it’s also a special night for table-top gaming groups. “Dungeons and Dragons,” the original multiplayer RPG, gets an Alexa-powered upgrade in this skill.

    Rather than sifting through books and slowing game play to determine how much a broadsword weighs, or the range of magic-missile, players and dungeon masters can simply tell Alexa to “ask the DM,” and get instant answers.

    The skill also provides information on items, spells, and feats. It also has a dice-roller and an index that gives page numbers for a number of topics in the Player’s Handbook (5E).

    It’s not perfect, but it has a history of updates and is definitely among the best D&D skills Alexa has to offer.

    Plain Alexa please

    If you’re not into enabling new skills, Alexa has some pretty cool Halloween tricks hidden up its sleeve already. You can try them right now with your Alexa device by saying any of the following phrases:

    • “Alexa, sing a Halloween song.”
    • “Alexa, what should I be for Halloween?”
    • “Alexa, play the album Scream by Michael Jackson.”
    • “Alexa, what are you going to be for Halloween?”
    • “Alexa, open Trick or Treat UNICEF.”
    • “Alexa, play Halloween Party Soundtrack from Amazon.”
    • “Alexa, tell me a Halloween joke.”
    • “Alexa, read me a sample of The Silence of The Lambs”

    Have a Happy Halloween!