Flick or treat! Looking to kill some time before the candy-craving zombie hordes arrive? Marketplace has a bunch of fun Halloween-themed apps for your phone. I spent a few days taking them for a spin, narrowing down my favorites to these five (well, six). I intentionally avoided the practical (calorie counting apps? boo!), in favor of the fun. Tell me what you think—and what I missed.
I’m always skeptical of holiday-themed games—which can feel more gimmick than game. But Pumpkin Smash is worth downloading no matter the season. The goal here is to safeguard your hard-won candy collection from the cavity-challenged monster hordes. Your only protection is an arsenal of Jack-o’-lanterns—flaming pumpkins, rock-hard ice pumpkins, and the like—which you fling with your finger in an attempt to turn the monster mash into monster mush. I liked the game’s whimsical, cartoony look and think its 30 levels and 12 different monsters—including Hollywood staples like Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman—will feel fresh long after the leftover candy corn does.
Halloween Coloring Book
This free painting app is perfect for the little ghouls in your life and makes it fun to decorate and share Halloween-themed drawings. The app comes with a nice selection of tools—paint bucket, brush, spray gun, stamp, highlighter and eraser. Another plus: It also lets you snap a picture of your own pumpkin, kid, or inappropriately costumed neighbor and add your own decorative touch. Save the finished drawing to your phone or email to someone to really give them a scare.
Scream Machine Free | Halloween Sounds
Looking for a chilling trick-or-treating soundtrack? Scream Machine Free does one thing but does it well, putting a killer selection of wails, yowls, shrieks, squeals, howls, and other canned cries at your fingertips (my creepy favorite: “Here Kitty Kitty”). You can also record your own. I had a scream annoying my officemate with this one. If you want a wider selection of haunted-house effects, Halloween Sounds has them. The only downside? It costs $1.99 (but you can try it for free). Another fun option: the free Insider app, which just added six spooky new Halloween-themed ringtones you can use.
Trick or Treat Concentration
Nothing fancy here, but this free Halloween-themed memory game is another good all-ages distraction. Flip the cards to find the matches. One nice nod to the holiday: The game’s three special cards. The Treat Card multiplies the point value of each match, The Trick Card randomly shuffles all the cards on the table. And the Peek-a-Boo Card provides a brief peek at all the remaining cards.
What would Halloween be without zombies? Just when you thought the genre was feeling a little lifeless, here comes Zombie Circus. The object in this app, made by the same crew who did Pumpkin Smash, is to prevent the clown-faced zombies from infiltrating the Big Top by catapulting them into the air with your finger and letting gravity do the dirty work. The game features 60 levels and a slew of zany zombies and zombie-zapping weapons—which you’ll need since these zombies aren’t clowning around. All in all, a fun and fresh take on the undead.