LED Ghosties for Halloween

LED Ghostie

You can make these simple LED ghosties (based on LED throwies) from a soda bottle, a couple of LEDs and batteries, string, and a scrap of fabric. Hang them in your trees, your haunted house, or in your porch for Halloween. They look especially excellent because the eyes seem to float in mid-air behind the fabric.

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Poke holes in a soda bottle on either side of the neck to thread your string through. This will help keep it facing forward when you hang it up.

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Cut a slit in the back of your soda bottle to stick your LEDs through. Diffused LEDs are perfect for this since they won’t project a spot on your fabric. Red might make a more menacing, but you can use pretty much any color you like.
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Bend the leads at 90 degrees so that you can tape the battery to the outside of the bottle later.

 

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Once you have both LEDs in, put a 3V lithium coin cell (e.g. 2032) between the leads of the first LED. If it lights up, tape it in place. If not, turn the battery around so that it lights up and tape it in place.

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Do the same with the second LED and tape both of the batteries to the bottle to hold them down.

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Poke a couple of holes in a scrap of light weight fabric and poke the string through.
LED Ghostie
Hang it up and you’re done! This one is haunting our Maker Faire table.

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10 thoughts on “LED Ghosties for Halloween

  1. Awesome! Simple but effective :)
    I’ll put one up in my house for halloween and take some pictures of my ‘haunted house’

    • I was just thinking about how wonderfully simple it would be to use the dark-detecting circuit (from the last posted project) I just made to make a more permanent ghost! use some extra long leads and you could just throw all the guts into the bottle with a bigger slit. And having that weight at the bottom might help fight off some strong winds (though i’m sure a little wind adds to the "floating ghost" effect)

      -Ian

  2. I think it would be fun to hang this using elastic. I would try to balance it so that it would bounce really easily. Peace :)

  3. How about hacking a solar pathway light for this purpose? That way, you wouldn’t have to use or replace batteries, nor bother to switch on or off. One could take the solar head apart, perhaps put in two white LEDs if there’s only one (a little shorter run time, but if it’s last for say 3 -4 hours it would be sufficient – also one could play with different LEDs that have different consumptions – red might even be cool). You’d have to cut a hole in the top of the sheet for the solar cell, or remote mount it.

    Regards,
    John H
    Kansas City, MO

    I went ahead and tried it with two red LEDs on a cheap ($5) pathway light; works great. I made it for remote mounting of the solar cell/ battery assembly pulled from the pathway light – then a couple of feet of wire to the LED ‘eyes’.

  4. I am thinking one could make these ghosties float by replacing the bottle with a helium-filled balloon. Naturally it would be better to forgo the hole-cutting in favor of taping the LEDs to the back of the balloon to shine through. Tether the whole thing down so that it doesn’t float away on Halloween night to haunt other people’s neighborhoods.

  5. Besides weight and wiring, is there any downside to powering these with a pair of alkaline batteries?

    I happen to have an old battery clip that holds two 1.5V AAs, and I could slip the clip in the base of the bottle. Any issues with harm to the LEDs, hot wires, etc.?

      • Thanks. These are a pair of violet LEDs I scavenged a few years ago. They are probably white LEDs tinted purplish. They were actually throw-aways tucked into in a flower arrangement, so that the flowers (calla lilies) glowed in the dark. I don’t know why I kept them. I think they were fated to become ghost eyes.

        Is there a place I can go to learn some basics about using LEDs, including a way to figure out how large a load resistor I will need? (I can handle Ohm’s law, and I have a volt/ohm meter, but my electronics know-how doesn’t go much beyond that.)

  6. I’m thinking about Halloween decorations these days myself (I’m so clueless, it’ll take me that long to get it right).

    So, I have to ask: why two batteries? I’ve had two white LEDs run off of one button battery just fine. In fact I was running three and four green LEDs off of one 2032 for St. Patrick’s day, and they were going continuously for days.

    Am I missing something?

  7. It will last longer with a battery for each. In this case, it provides an even pair of shadows behind the eyes, too.

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