Staying Out Late? Equip yourself with these High Tech Gadgets (Part 1)

Equip Yourself with These Must-Have Gadgets

It's the witching hour. You're all dressed up with places to go, people to scare, kids to shuttle, and tricks to play. We say, do it digitally or don't do it at all.

The analogue Halloween of days past is dead. We've chosen a host of hi-tech gadgets that let you celebrate the holiday in style. With our selections, you can navigate new neighbourhoods safely, record digital memories, keep in touch with the kids from a respectable distance, entertain yourself on the big night, and more.

Say you're taking the kids trick-or-treating in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. The Garmin GPS Plus III global positioning device makes short work of locating the right streets. GPSs are not just high-priced toys for the elitist any more. With one of these on your dashboard or underneath your costume, your night of fright won't include a series of wrong turns on the edge of town.

And if you're escorting the little ghosts and goblins on foot, you won't want to be without a pair of Nighthawk ON1X20/IR night-vision goggles. Not only do they make an intriguing costume, they give you the ability to see in total darkness, so you'll never lose track of the kids.

Another key safety device on Halloween night is a pair of Motorola TalkAbout 280 SLK two-way radios. No doubt, you'll spend the evening at the bottom of the driveway watching the kids collect their goodies. If you're connected by walkie-talkie, you'll never be too far away to intervene if things go awry.

Before we begin the journey through our line-up of gadgets, be forewarned: You just may want each and every one of the products that haunt these pages. But don't worry. These toys will give you pleasure all year round, Halloween is just the excuse to get them now.

Keep Your Spirits in Check : Viper ABT 200 Breathalyser

Spirits are everywhere on Halloween night, including in your glass. It's never a good idea to get behind the wheel after drinking, especially on a night when our future leaders are out roaming the streets. Use the ABT 200 Breathalyser to get a reading on just how much you've had. The ABT 200 registers your blood-alcohol level, and while it's just for fun (the results from the ABT 200 can't be used in a court of law), it can serve as a means for convincing drivers who have had too much to drink to stay off the road.

For All Hallows Eve revellers who think they can drink anything and still see straight, ABT 200 gives a reading anyone can understand, even if you're incoherent. ABT 200 provides the proof you need to take the keys away before a police officer does.

ABT 200 is easy to use. You simply blow into the device and the unit emits a tone to let you know that it is working. When a reading is registered, the tone stops. This "litmus test" relays an almost immediate result, less than three seconds. Blood alcohol level is displayed on the LCD readout in hundredths (.00 to .20, anything over .20 registers as "OL" for over limit). Different states have different standards; in California, if your reading is .08, you are intoxicated by legal standards. But, of course, if you have had anything at all to drink, it is best to let someone else drive.

Killer Party : Garmin GPS Plus III

Want to host a Halloween party that people will talk about for years? Have a scream of a scavenger hunt by positioning the loot globally. Hide clues and give out nothing more than coordinates for each item on the list. Then, let the participants find their way with a handheld GPS unit like the Garmin GPS Plus III.

The pocket-sized device can be hidden under your costume or stashed on your dashboard. It receives its information from up to twelve satellites that can accurately pinpoint where you are. With updated readings on your current longitude and latitude, the GPS III Plus will lead you directly to the hidden items in a flash.

To obtain an accurate reading, you must have access to an unobstructed sky. GPS signals do not easily transmit through concrete objects, tall buildings, trees, rocks, even people can obstruct signals. It requires five satellites to determine longitude, latitude, and altitude. If it can only receive signals from four satellites, it can determine longitude and latitude only. You may have to search for clearings during your scavenging adventure to recharge your reading.

We tested the device in a wooded park and didn't have a problem obtaining a reading. The four double AA batteries should last up to 36 hours, allowing more than enough time for all your scavenger teams to finish before it's time to head back to the office on Monday.

Ultimate Costume Accessory : Nokia 8860

If you're planning to skip the door-to-door encounters this Halloween and instead hit the clubs and costume parties, do it in style with the Nokia 8860 cellular phone. The Porsche of mobile phones, the Nokia 8800 series is a regal blend of performance, technology, and design. The internal antenna and sleek, chrome casing make the 8860 look like a Zippo lighter that happens to have voicemail. Features include a 250-name phone book, a calendar, and a calculator. An internal vibrating alert option discreetly lets you know when someone is calling. A sliding keypad cover lets you answer and end calls with a gratifying slide and a click.

Here on the Equip team, we came up with several costume ideas that would be greatly enhanced by the 8860:

World Class Spy: Since this phone looks oh-so-007. James Dean: Play up that Zippo lighter thing with maximum cool. Supermodel: Because all the real ones carry this baby, and the chrome casing doubles as a great make-up mirror. A Jetson: The 8860 is loaded with groovy, space-age style. A character from the Matrix: They all had groovy Nokia cell phones with sliding keypad covers too. Star Trek's Captain Picard: Just remember to set the 8860 to "stun!"

To tell the truth, it probably wouldn't matter if you were wearing a full-blown chicken suit. With this style symbol in hand, you will be whisked to the front of the line at the hippest clubs in town.

Do-it-Yourself Blair Witch Project : Sony DCR-TRV310 Digital Handycam

Thinking about making your own version of the Blair Witch Project this Halloween? You need the DCR-TRV310 Digital Handycam from Sony featuring NightShot. The super-spooky NightShot feature allows recording in absolute darkness from up to ten feet away. Accompanying the NightShot is a slow shutter option that magnifies picture quality and brightness up to four times, perfect for capturing screaming film school students or hair-covered witches.

In addition to excellent picture quality, the DCR-TRV310 assembles a nice crop of professional-level features including stereo audio, 16x optical/360x digital zoom, various digital-picture and other special effects, still-photo capture, 3.5 inch LCD, i.Link DV interface (IEEE1394), and analogue recording capabilities.

Remember what do they love in Tinsel Town? Special effects! The TRV310's 15 different types of picture and digital effects could give your horror film an edge when shopping it around Hollywood. Sans light, and with the addition of all types of kooky special effects, your low-budget horror film could be the next box office hit. Don't worry about how good the story or footage is, all you really need is a clever marketing plan.

No time for Hollywood you say? The DCR-TRV310 also works well for capturing basic Halloween fun, like the kids trick-or-treating, or your friends in their outrageous get-ups.

Go to Part 2