Give Every Trick-or-Treater a Fright With These Halloween Animatronics

halloween animatronic zombie removing his own head
The Scariest Halloween Animatronics for Your HousePopular Mechanics; Courtesy The Sale Aisle

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If you want to take your Halloween decorating to the next level, your best bet is to invest in a few animatronics to throw into the mix. Anything that moves, lights up, speaks—or all three—is bound to impress, plus it adds some low-key, haunted house vibes to your neighborhood for some family-friendly entertainment.

A good Halloween animatronic has fluid movement that’s designed for a scare instead of a sloppy, obviously fake style. Many of the best options are motion-activated to provide a spook just as someone walks by.

Whether you’re planning to go all out and transform your front yard into a (tasteful) mini theme park or you want to decorate the porch for trick-or-treaters, read on for our top picks for the best Halloween animatronics on the market.

Need more Halloween décor for your home? Check out our picks for the best fog machines and pumpkin carving kits.

The Best Halloween Animatronics

What to Consider


No matter what your budget, you’ll need a game plan for how to design your Halloween decorations. Sure, you can spend all your cash on one giant animatronic zombie for the front yard—which is bound to attract a certain sort of attention—but if you want to fully outfit your yard, front hall, porch, or basement, the best way to do so is by creating multiple focal points at different heights to draw the eye.

For example, you’ll want a mix of tall and ground-level freestanding animatronics, plus hanging ones to complete the look. If you need practical tips to get the job done, here’s our deep dive on installing Halloween decorations.

As a general rule, the more sophisticated the animatronic, the higher the price tag—some cost $300 or more. That said, there are plenty of low- and mid-range options available at multiple price points, starting at roughly $25, with several that fall into the $50 to $75 category and a few hovering around $100.

Weather Resistance

The majority of the Halloween animatronics in our story are appropriate for indoor and outdoor use, but note that none are truly waterproof. As such, we recommend keeping them under cover on a porch or beneath an overhang, for example, especially when inclement weather is on the way.

Power Source

Consider whether the animatronics you buy are battery-operated or have plug-in adapters that will work with your setup. This is especially key if you plan on scattering them out in your front lawn or away from nearby power outlets. However, what plug-in options lack in portability, they make up for in reliable power and frights every single night.

Battery operated choices typically won’t last the full season on one battery pack—you might need new batteries if one of your animatronics starts drooping a bit.

How We Selected

We recommend classic Halloween characters—the zombie, the witch, the creepy clown, and the vampire—as well as a few lesser-known (but no less creepy) choices. We made our final choices based on the design, movement, and potential for frights. At the same time, we researched customer reviews to ensure these monsters pass more than the eye test.

Life-Size Animatronic Reaper

Only the bravest trick-or-treaters will get past this terrifying, otherworldly figure. Approach the 6-foot-tall reaper and he’ll get right in your face, with moaning and eerie bone-chilling shrieks as he flashes his wicked glowing eyes at you.

Better not scream, either, or he’ll continue to haunt you. Maybe you can do without that Hershey bar after all?

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Life-Size Animatronic Reaper


Wailing Phantom

With a ghostly robe and glowing lantern, this 7-foot-tall phantom will inspire fear in the bravest of souls. He mutters freaky phrases and moves his torso while his eyes light up and his head turns side to side, as if he’s seeking his next victim.

There are three different ways to activate the phantom, including an infrared beam that can be triggered from 6.5 feet away. The package also comes with an adapter and volume control.

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Wailing Phantom


Creepy Scarecrow Halloween Animatronic

This 6-foot scarecrow is spooky but not terrifying, so it may be a good choice for school-aged children compared to some of the other options we cover.

Dressed in a classic red-and-black-checkered flannel with patchwork pants and a droopy hat, this animatronic’s clownish face and half-smile really come alive when his eyes flash red.

The scarecrow’s arms are also bendable, and at less than 3 pounds, you can easily wrap him around a porch beam or tree as an alternative to mounting it.

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Creepy Scarecrow Halloween Animatronic


Life-Size Animatronic Zombie Maid

This zombie maid was scorned by her master hundreds of years ago, and every Halloween she unleashes her inner anger at those who dare walk past her quarters. Better not make a mess...

If you bump into her, beware. She still wears her old apron and bonnet, and with a hint of motion, she’ll flash her beady red eyes wildly, hunch forward with her silver platter, and deliver an evil cackle.

She comes with four different spooky phrases so no group of trick-or-treaters will get the same experience. Best of all, this animatronic can double as a place to put candy, which is helpful if you want to take your kids out and rely on your zombie maid to hand out treats.

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Life-Size Animatronic Zombie Maid


Roaming Doll Halloween Animatronic

Better make sure the dog is in the yard or he’ll scramble under the bed after coming into contact with Holly, the creepy, moving doll. She dons a lovely Victorian striped dress, with a lace collar and sleeves, but her wild white hair, ghoulishly green skin, and red, glowing eyes that blankly stare ahead will give your guests a serious fright.

Holly is attached to a pole set on pivoting wheels, and she roams around lost, looking for her mother, uttering phrases like “Mommy, I can’t find you” and “Mommy, I can’t hear you.”

You can also adjust the doll’s arms in multiple configurations until you’re satisfied with her spookiest look.

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Roaming Doll Halloween Animatronic


Wolfgang The Werewolf

Encounter this werewolf in the dark of night and the hair on your arms will rise in fright. His half-body and arms move in menacing gestures and his beady green eyes glow and flash as he moans and belts out chilling howls.

You can position it on the covered ground or even in a planter on the porch, or hang it for a surprise fright from above.

Both the head and arms move when activated for a bigger scare, but the lack of a bottom half makes this a less versatile option.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Wolfgang The Werewolf</p><p></p><p>$55.40</p>

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Wolfgang The Werewolf


Halloween Witch Decoration

This specter is sure to be the centerpiece of your spooky Halloween setup. There’s a hunger in her bulging white eyes and toothy grin that says she's eager to grab the first kid to cross her path—and anyone who dares to inch too close to her tattered gown will be victim to a flashing stare.

A classic witch with a tattered, creepy outfit, this Halloween animatronic comes with light up eyes, arms that can be bent and shaped to any look, and a moving head ready stare down anyone who stands close enough.

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Halloween Witch Decoration


Hanging Slashing Bat

This creepy creature of the night flaps its wings and laughs, searching for someone's neck to bite. Don't stare too long into its red eyes or you may get hypnotized before you can spin on your heels and hide.

This Halloween bat animatronic comes with solid details around the face with the signature big ears and fangs on full display. The design helps its rock back and forth in a lifelike way.

The terrifying bat delivers serious fright for a reasonable price, costing far less than many other options on this list.

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Hanging Slashing Bat


Looming Clown Animated Prop

Welcome trick-or-treaters to a hellish circus with this frightening clown decoration. In addition to its massive head and toothy moving jaw, this prop has adjustable legs that give it the ability to extend up to 10 feet in height.

When activated, its long arms and huge hands reach out to grab whoever dares use its bony legs as an entryway, all while rocking its torso.

This entryway design makes it easy to place in front or your door for trick-or-treaters or at the entrance of your homemade haunted house.

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Looming Clown Animated Prop


Halloween Animatronics Crawling Zombie Hand

A smaller, more affordable option, this Halloween animatronic stirs up the scares without a body. A zombie hand still sentient with a hunger for brains slowly crawls toward you, and any unlucky trick-or-treaters walking up to your door.

Simply put in a battery and flip the switch, and the hand begins movings and crawling around on its own. Because it is battery operation, it can move freely without being tethered to a cord or stuck on a mount.

The only downside is that because it is free, it may wander off and scare some unsuspecting neighbor if left alone on a flat surface.

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Halloween Animatronics Crawling Zombie Hand


Moaning Animatronic Vampire

At first glance, Drake the Demon Vampire may seem somewhat approachable, with a slight smile, looking as if he’s hitting a high note in an operatic aria. But step too close and suddenly his bloodthirsty fangs, evil arched eyebrows, and multicolor flashing eyes, reveal a much more ominous vibe—particularly if the sun has dipped below the horizon.

Your trick-or-treaters and guests will turn on their heels the minute old Drake starts to moan and scream. The classic vampire design also comes with multicolored eyes that light up and change colors as trick-or-treaters approach.

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