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Use a deactivated cell phone for a safer Halloween

Halloween Pumpkins from Pixabay user AntraniasAs Halloween approaches, some kids will be planning on venturing out with friends trick-or-treating, some will be walking from your car parked at the street corner to the front door, and some will be walking beside you as you go up to the doors with your children.

I’m not being Judgy McJudgerson here, I’m just pointing out that the way that halloween candy begging happens varies, and a deactivated cell phone can help you with it.

Let’s look a little at some of the things you can use a deactivated cell phone for, you can choose if any of these options works for you, and if not you’ve used less than a penny worth of electricity to charge the phone up so don’t worry about it.

Emergency dialing 911

Most newer cell phones will provide GPS location and call 911 even if deactivated. This is a federal mandate for the E-911 system, and as such if your phone worked once it will at least dial emergency services.

If you’re in the car and get slammed into by someone else, your child can call 911 for you. If your child is with friends and something happens they can dial 911 on their phone, etc etc etc.

Knowing what candy came from where

Candy Child from Pixabay member piepie

While it may be tedious, you can dump out candy and photograph what came from each location or each street. If you’re worried about something in the candy after a child gets sick, you’ve got a complete trail down to at least the street.

You’ll want to turn on photo geotagging so you’re accurate within a few feet if you’re going the ultra paranoid route here.

Using the phone as a walkie talkie

From Pixabay user NemoThis one will take a little rigging and isn’t particularly useful past 200 feet. You either set your real phone up as a wireless hotspot, or you get a portable self-powered wifi hotspot such as this, or this.

Then grab an Android Walkie Talkie app, I’m looking at Intercom for Android at the moment, and your kid can be quite a range away and still talk with you.

Should be noted that Intercom for Android will work Bluetooth only, but I have not tested it that way/don’t know what the range would be. That would eliminate the need for the wicked cool portable WiFi hotspot.

Remembering which houses had the cool candy for next year

Using a variety of apps you can tag locations down to a couple of feet for quick visiting next year. While I have not done a heap of research on this, many car-finding apps work offline and online.

You can geotag a location for next year to skip all the houses that passed out “fun sized,” and get right down to the places with the “king sized”.

Keeping up with how much you’ve walked

Most phones have accelerometers in them, or GPS positioning. Several apps can keep up with how much your kid has walked in the event you want to dole out candy based on calories burned.

That or bragging rights for your grandkids “when your dad was a little boy, he walked seven miles one Hallow’s Eve to grab 28 pounds of candy”

Android Pumpkin from picture of the amazing pumpkins

If you’re out at the car, chances are you’re missing something up close. Force your kiddos to take pictures for your lazy ass. (OK, I know there’s nowhere to park in a lot of situations so this is required, I’m just giving you a hard time.)

Send them with a panic button

Sometimes a kid doesn’t feel right in one of these situations. A small alert application can let you know to honk the horn to get them moving. EG kid shakes the phone or taps the walkie talkie to squelch, you honk the horn, they move on.

Other potential uses

  • Stream video and audio so you know what’s going on 100 feet away
  • Use as a voice modulator
  • Flashlight
  • Beep when you’ve gone too far from other members of your group
  • Fake an incoming call
  • Etc

I’m sure there are plenty of other uses, if you have any, let me know.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.