Netflix Halloween Doorbell.

Have your Netflix. And treat them, too.

Give trick-or-treaters a scream while you stream.

It’s Halloween night and you’re just settling in for a scary movie marathon when...“Trick-or-treat!” Every Halloween, Netflix pause rates spike as viewers around the country get up to give out candy. But this year, you can stay inside while Netflix handles Halloween—for you and your ghoulish guests. The Netflix Halloween Doorbell welcomes trick-or-treaters with spooky sounds and music from your favorite Netflix shows and points them to candy, so you can treat yourself to a night of non-stop spooky streaming.

Download the build kit

Ready to DIY your doorbell? Before you get started.

In order to hack your Halloween and build your decoy doorbell, you should be comfortable with basic electronics, physical fabrication, and Arduino programming.

There are some other other tricky touches you can add to your doorbell, but we'll get to that later.

How it works.

The Netflix Halloween Doorbell is hung right over your existing doorbell, temporarily hiding it from trick-or-treaters. As trick-or-treaters approach the house, a proximity sensor in the doorbell triggers the theme song from your chosen Netflix show. Pressing the doorbell initiates a scream from that show’s characters and reveals a customizable message to your costumed guests on an LCD display screen. (E.g. Treating myself to Netflix. Take your treat.) DIY-ers can also customize their device with 3D printable acrylic faceplates inspired by their favorite Netflix shows.

Step 1

Gather your materials.

Here are the materials we used to build our Netflix Halloween Doorbell. Feel free to experiment and make substitutions!

Audio.

We included an audio line that we hooked up to an outdoor sound system for maximum scare factor, since the speaker in the device isn’t that loud. You may want to do the same or just add a bigger amplifier for the speaker, but you probably don’t need to do both.

Battery:

We used a 4400mAh battery, but to be honest, we went a little overboard. The whole thing should use about 1 watt of power so you should be fine with a 1000mAh battery.

Arduino microcontroller:

We used an Adafruit Pro Trinket. We like them because they are relatively cheap, small, and have lots of I/O pins.

Button and screen:

We embedded our LCD screen in a large 100mm arcade button with a clear dome. This screen is nice because it has it’s own microSD card reader onboard.

Step 2

Choose a faceplate design.

Add some character to your Netflix Halloween Doorbell by picking a faceplate inspired by some of our spookiest Netflix shows. We picked Stranger Things, but you can select your favorite from our gallery.

Download all designs

Step 3

Build the enclosure.

For our doorbell device, we used a custom wooden enclosure with acrylic paneling. Feel free to make the enclosure out of any material you want, but we fabricated the doorbell with wood on a CNC router. You could also use a 3D printer. If you like what we did, go here to download the 3D model and supporting files.

Step 4

Build the custom faceplate.

To make the Stranger Things faceplate, we painted a piece of clear acrylic and used the raster setting on our laser to remove the paint. This is totally optional, but for the logo, we made a custom light guide using clear acrylic and 3mm LEDs. We raster engraved the Stranger Things logo onto the acrylic, which allows us to light portions of the acrylic very precisely. For the acrylic laser cut files, see here, and for detailed instructions on how we made the logo section, check out our tutorial here.

Step 5

Program the doorbell.

The firmware is pretty simple. The sonar detects when people approach the device, and it tells the audio player over serial to start the selected music. Optionally, you can just have the music on loop. When the button is pressed, the lights surrounding the button turn on, and the screen displays the message.

Step 6

Build your electronics.

First, take a look at our schematic.

This diagram gives you a map of how the electronic parts integrate with the enclosure. If you’re using our enclosure design, it should give you a good idea on wire lengths, but adjust as needed.

You’ll want to wire everything up except the LEDs for the button, the LCD screen, and the LEDs for the logo (if you’re using them).

For the screen and button lights, only connect the button side of the screen and lights, since you will need to run the wires through the hole to connect to the button.

Step 7

Put it all together.

Time to dress your doorbell for its debut. Take another look at the map outlining where everything goes, which also includes some guidelines for assembly. First, you'll want to attach the button, then run the wires, and finally, drop in your electronics. After attaching the button, wire up the screen and LEDs to the Arduino. Ditto for the faceplate.

It’s alive! Want to DIY a deluxe version of your doorbell?

There are a lot of ways to expand on your device. Our instructions are for a self contained system, but there’s no reason you can’t put it online or talk to other parts and props in your Halloween mise-en-scene. An easy way to add wireless communications to the doorbell is to use something like an XBee or a microcontroller with a built-in wifi module like the Particle photon. Or, if you’d rather, you can always set up a wired connection between your devices.

For our doorbell, we added some LEDs to our candy bucket, so that it illuminates when trick-or-treaters press the button.

Of course, you can customize however you’d like to make your house the spookiest on the block. Let us know what you build—we would love to hear your ideas!

The shows
must go on.

Hang your Netflix Halloween Doorbell and settle in for a night of spooky streaming without missing a beat on trick-or-treat. Doesn’t that have a nice ring
to it?

Go to netflix.com