Kick Your Halloween Up A Notch With A Projector And Decor DVDs

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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2000. Photos by Epson.

I’ve got all sorts of reasons to own a projector–Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman… or on a more weekly basis, Stephen Amell. Both movies and TV are just more fun when they’re bigger. We and the kids love using it to take the movies to the back yard during the summer, but we hadn’t thought much until now about using it outdoors during the colder months.

Particularly where we live in North Carolina, it’s still often reasonably warm come Halloween, perfect for a neighborhood horror-movie-and-hot-chocolate viewing by twilight. But even if you’re in a colder area, AtmosFearFX has a line of DVDs that add some moving spookiness to your Halloween decorations. (And isn’t amusing/scaring neighborhood kids half the fun of October?) They’re DVDs designed to loop when you use a projector to show them on a wall or in a window. The window version is more appealingly accomplished if you have a screen with a rear-projection capable projector. I’m trying it out this season with the
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2000.

We’ve experimented with several projectors for our backyard (and indoor!) theaters over the last few years, and this one comes out well ahead on the first detail we notice–how bright the picture is. At 1800 lumens, it’s not the brightest on the market, or even in Epson’s lineup, but even in daylight in a room that’s not fully blackened, it performs quite well. This bodes well for getting a movie started outside before it’s quite all the way dark (an appealing option if your little ones are still pretty little). There’s also an extent to which I think of this like speakers and headphones–enthusiasts will debate the details of a bit more this or that and what you really should have, but for the casual user (you out there who just want to watch a movie without having to do a lot of math about the perfect values), it’s more than sufficient. It projects at 1080p up to 300″. That’s a lot of Stephen Amell. Ahem.

If you’re new to projectors outside of slide presentations at the office, there are as many options for screens as there are projectors…perhaps more! The most inexpensive, particularly for indoor use, is to go to the local home improvement store and get a white roll-up window shade, preferably the type intended to be used for blocking out all light. It helps to add some weight to the bottom to keep out wrinkles and ripples, but it’s by far the cheapest way to install a retractable screen in your house when there’s not a massive chunk of wall available in the right place. For outdoors, you can either build your own, again from assorted home improvement supplies (we’ve even done it with a painter’s tarp), or there are quite a few pop-up screen available in a wide price range.

The PowerLite 2000 is the first projector we’ve had with a 3D option. The 3D glasses are an additional $99, and we haven’t tried them out, but it’s an interesting option to have. I can’t see myself purchasing a 3D television, but at movie projection size, I feel more inclined to look harder at the increasing number of movies offered in 3D.

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Epson2 Photo by Epson

Input options include HDMI (2), RCA, VGA, and USB, making it well-suited to just about any device you want to hook up, from your DVD player to your Playstation, and MHL devices like the Roku Streaming Stick or Bravia Smart Stick. It’s compact, with a footprint barely larger than a sheet of paper and 4.25″ high, and a weight of 6.4 pounds, making it easier to carry down the street to the neighborhood gathering. As aforementioned, it has both front and rear projection capabilities from a distance of up to 19.7′.

I’m looking forward to extending our projector fun into the Halloween decor this week, and then coming up with new ideas for how to use it with the outdoor Christmas decorations. And if you’re in the neighborhood, we’ll be using it to watch Halloween movies in the cul-de-sac on Thursday, so come on down! Though given the likelihood that that’s terribly inconvenient for most of our readers, I recommend that those of you who live somewhere it’s still reasonably warm stage your own neighborhood projector parties before the cold weather moves in. If you need suggestions, try this list of 100 great Halloween movies. Bonus points if you scare the kids so much, they drop the candy bags, leaving it all for you!

GeekMom received this item for review.

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By day, Ruth works to make open source software communities better. The rest of the time, she makes things, which means her husband and kids know to watch out for stray sewing pins and to ask before eating anything made of fondant.