BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
The entire phantom is rigged to gently turn on an axis from left to right and back again making it seem like a real ghoul. The glowing lantern it holds makes the whole animatronic look eery during dark October nights.
There are many parts to it, making it a chore to set up and take down.
An easy-to-set-up decoration that lights up, shakes, swings, and makes scary noises at unsuspecting guests. Lightweight construction; easily stores away when out of season. The wrapping adds a realistic twist.
Mechanics are noisy and drown out groaning sound effects.
Animated old lady comes holding a tray. Motion detector lets her speak and move without any tedious buttons. Eyes move and light up upon activation. A creepy addition to outdoor Halloween scenes.
Animatronic movement is limited.
When switched on, the skeleton’s eyes light up red and it shimmies and shakes up and down. Since there’s no motion or sound detection, it’s safe to use in neighborhoods with younger children trick or treating.
The bowl isn’t large enough to stock for a full night and left outside alone.
This life-size demon girl's head pops out from behind her hands and screams, "BOO!" Talks, lights up, and moves when touched. Works outdoors and indoors. Great for jump-scaring guests.
No light sensor for touchless operation.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If it feels like Halloween is becoming a bigger holiday every year, that’s probably because it is. The National Retail Federation estimates that American consumers spent more than $10 billion on Halloween for the first time in 2021. And a large chunk of that money goes to scary decorations, including Halloween animatronics.
Decorations that move on their own or that respond to the movement of a person can add a little extra fun on Halloween. Whether you’re looking for a moving decoration that’s cute and funny to amuse the little ones or something big and scary to catch older kids and adults off guard, there are hundreds of options available. Halloween animatronics come in all sizes and in a wide range of prices. Some are meant to be used indoors while others can be used outdoors. Some light up while others work in daylight.
Halloween is thought of as a children’s holiday, but all ages can join in the fun. Adults love this time of year too, and they put their money where their excitement lies. Halloween animatronics can make the holiday more fun for adults and kids alike.
Have a budget. When buying a fun product like Halloween animatronics, it’s easy to get carried away. You could end up buying more units than you intended before you even realize it. Set a budget before you start shopping and stick to it (even when the kids beg you to buy more).
Be skeptical. When shopping for Halloween animatronics, every description and photograph makes the items seem amazing. However, you should approach these descriptions and photos with a grain of salt. Skilled advertisers can shoot images that look fantastic and that make a device seem larger than it is. Read the actual measurements of the device in the product specifications so you understand exactly what you’re buying.
Do your research. Search online and social media for videos of the animatronic device you’re thinking about purchasing. Seeing it in action will give you a better idea of how it looks in operation versus a product description or still photographs.
Some of these automated decorations allow you to operate them with a smartphone app. They may connect to your home’s WiFi network, or you can control them via Bluetooth from your smartphone or tablet.
Most Halloween animatronics have motion sensors that activate the device when someone approaches, creating a sudden movement that’s designed to be scary. A smart device takes this idea a step further by allowing you to activate the device at any time and set off specific features of the unit like sounds or motions.
Expect to pay a bit more for animatronics featuring licensed popular characters from movies and television.
Halloween animatronics can be either cute or scary. Many little kids like cute characters dressed in fun Halloween costumes that dance or talk to them. They might also like large, inflatable cartoon characters that light up at night. Scary devices that appeal to older kids and adults use noise, lights, and/or sudden movements to startle trick-or-treaters. These animatronics might look gory or frightening too, like mummies or vampires.
A battery-powered animated decoration works anywhere, while a device with a cord needs to be positioned near an electrical outlet, limiting the places where you can use it. However, with corded devices, you won’t have to worry about dead batteries ending the fun halfway through the night. Just note that Halloween animatronics that need to be plugged in have electrical cords that can be tripping hazards, especially in the dark.
Some Halloween animatronics are small but still plenty scary, such as a candy dish with a hand that grabs at kids when they reach to take their treats. Other small devices include jiggling or jumping spiders and pumpkins that laugh maniacally when someone nears.
Large monsters that are several feet tall and move suddenly are very popular Halloween animatronics. These look scary, so they’re great for daytime display. Many light up for use at night too.
Many inflatable Halloween decorations light up or make noise. These can be extremely large, as much as 10 feet tall.
Some Halloween animatronics make noises, such as laughing, howling, or screeching. Some licensed movie and TV characters repeat their catchphrases in a menacing tone. While these noises can be fun and scary for trick-or-treaters, your neighbors might not appreciate hearing them late at night. If you want to place a noisy device outdoors, select one that allows you to turn off or lower the volume. Or you might want to avoid the hassle entirely and stick with a device that makes little or no noise.
Some Halloween animatronics are recommended for indoor use only, while others work best outdoors, and some work anywhere. Always check the product description carefully before using it outdoors. If you’re planning to use the device inside, make sure it will fit in the designated space. Many huge animatronic devices could be too large for your apartment or home. Check the measurements rather than just relying on photos for size.
The least expensive Halloween animatronics cost $10 to $40. Most of these are smaller units that run off batteries and are designed to appeal to young children.
The average Halloween decoration that moves on its own costs $40 to $100. Some of these are life-size characters and others are smaller or handheld devices. You can find scary or cute characters in this price range. Many have lights and sounds as well as movement.
The most expensive Halloween animatronics are complex and large. Many make sudden movements and loud noises and have flashing or bright lights. You can find incredibly realistic licensed characters in this price range. Expect to pay $100 to $500 for these items.
If the Halloween device isn’t activated by motion the way it should be, check the unit for a switch that turns this feature on and off.
A. That depends on the kinds of characters you and your family like. Small children love cute inflatables and animatronics rather than scary ones. Older kids and adults like characters that do something funny or scary or look hideous and gory.
A. Some people make their own moving Halloween decorations. However, it helps to have some knowledge of robotics and electronics to make a device that will deliver the look you want. If this seems like a fun hobby and you have the time, building your own animatronics can be a great family project.
A. That depends on the device. On some, you can change burned-out light bulbs. For inflatables, you might be able to patch a puncture or tear, and there are repair kits for this purpose. Problems with sound or movement are more challenging to fix. Sometimes a fresh set of batteries will fix the issue.
A. You will see a wider variety for sale in the four to six weeks before Halloween. However, if you’re shopping exclusively online, you can find a reasonable number of Halloween animatronics for sale at any time of year.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.