Don’t spend Halloween worrying about your little monsters while they’re out there scoring as much candy as they can carry. There’s plenty of apps to turn your Android phone into a Halloween safety device that keeps tabs on everyone’s location.
We’ve rounded up some cross-platform, location-tracking apps, and tossed in a couple of fun apps for heading out with the trick-or-treaters. So get your phone ready for a hassle-free halloween.
Best cross-platform tracking app: Cabin
Cabin launched on Android before heading to iOS, which of course earns it kudos from us. More importantly, however, is how well it performs as a location tracker. It’s easy to set up an account and invite other family members to your group, which of course the app calls a "Cabin".
Once you’ve pulled everyone together you can do more than just see where everybody is. Cabin lets you message others and assign tasks—a good way to nag your children. Another helpful addition is the battery status of others’ devices, which eliminates excuses for why someone didn’t call you back.
One-time use for Halloween: Glympse
Glympse takes a different approach than other location-based apps in that you don’t have to create an account and invite a bunch of people to your network. Instead it allows you to grant access to your location for a specified time period - anywhere from 15 minutes to four hours. After you’re done you never have to share with that person again.
It’s perfect for an event like Halloween, where you may be asked to keep track of a group of your childrens’ friends. Everyone can install Glympse and share their location with you or whomever the adult-in-charge is without feeling like privacy has been surrendered forever.
Along with its standalone app, Glympse has two other alternatives in the Play Store for sending location updates. Glympse Express generates a temporary location link to share with other apps like Hangouts or WhatsApp. Glympse Keyboard is a similar concept, as it’s a keyboard with a location-sharing button built in. You could then share your location in an email message or through another app not supported by Glympse Express.
Keep tabs on neighborhood crime with Family Locator
Location-awareness is important, but it’s even more critical if a robbery just went down where your teenager wants to hangout at night.
Family Locator from Life360 is a great choice for the safety-conscious as it has crime reports baked into its location-tracking app. This could be crucial for making decisions about where trick-or-treating should proceed on Halloween night.
Along with real-time updates on your family members it can alert you to when someone arrived at a specified location. The free app also offers a premium service, which for $50 annually gives you 24/7 customer service for help with any glitches or securing roadside assistance during a breakdown. Which is neat and all, but probably not a big factor on Halloween.
Light your path with Super-Bright LED Flashlight
It’s always refreshing when an app’s name is exactly what it is: a super-bright flashlight.
It’s not feature rich, but that’s kind of the point. It turns your Android phone into a flashlight, something it can’t do on its own yet until Lollipop arrives.
While normally I abhor skeuomorphic design, I like the that the power button looks just like the top of a real flashlight. You then turn a dial to crank up how often the light flashes, creating a full-on strobe light if you wish.
It has ads at the bottom, which you are free to ignore. There are no in-app upgrades to get rid of them, but maybe that’s a good thing to avoid one more micro-payment. It's just a flashlight, after all.
Add some color with Party Glow Sticks
Glow sticks are fun until they die off or crack open and spew ectoplasm all over the place. Instead, get a digital version on your phone with Party Glow Sticks. It’s a relatively simple app, but it could be a fun thing to have on Halloween night.
Tap and shake your phone to fire up the glow stick. Choose from among eight different colors and three lighting options - pulse, flash, or alternating between the different shades.
Is there a “must-have” Halloween safety app that you rely on? Share it with us in the comments.