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AppSmart: Don’t be afraid of these Halloween-themed apps

New York Times

They may not be pumpkin spice-flavored, but there are plenty of Halloween apps to keep you busy during the spooky holiday season.

If pumpkin carving is a big part of your Halloween tradition, you can find some inspiration in “Halloween Pumpkin Carving Patterns,” free on iOS, and “Pumpkin Carving Ideas” by ZaleBox on Android, also free.

Both are catalogs of clever pumpkin creations that other people have made over the years.

They are just images, though; it’s up to you and your knife-wielding skills to try to re-create them, because instructions on how to do so are not included.

Neither is very sophisticated, and the pop-up ads on “Carving Patterns” may get annoying. But both may inspire you to try something more interesting than the old zigzag smile face.

If you don’t like messing with pumpkin pulp, then the free “Halloween Pumpkin Carver” app by Santos Apps on Android and “Pumpkin Carver Plus,” free on iOS, may interest you.

These let you “carve” an image of a pumpkin by drawing or dragging different options for eyes, nose and so on into place on an orange pumpkin image on your phone’s screen. These may be a great way to keep children occupied while you tackle the real thing.

Among Halloween-themed games, “Candy Blast Mania: Halloween,” free on iOS, may be among the most entertaining.

You swipe the screen to match groups of colored candies that fall into a rack, and complete challenges as you go. The cute and amusing graphics and fast-paced gameplay make it lots of fun. But the Halloween theme is a bit thin, and in-app purchases can quickly add up.

For a completely different Halloween game experience, you may enjoy “Hidden Object – Happy Haunts,” free on Android. You have to find specific items that are cleverly hidden in complex drawings or paintings. The app’s graphics are excellent and pleasantly seasonal, and it will keep you amused for hours.

Dressing up for a Halloween party has never been as much fun as when you combine a creative costume with “Digital Dudz,” free on iOS and Android. The app contains a number of special graphical effects, like a beating heart or a scanning cyborg eyeball.

You hide your phone in a cleverly constructed costume so that its screen is on display, and then scare the living daylights out of unsuspecting people. The hard part is building your costume or mask, but the development team offers some premade outfits for sale.

One note: Some user reviews have complaints about its quality, as well as its compatibility with some Android phones.

If you prefer to spend time with your young family members, don’t forget “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” which is $6 on iOS and $5 on Android.

It’s an interactive storytelling app that includes games and other activities. It is nicely made, with great graphics. It also might be interesting to see if the low-key storytelling of classic Charlie Brown is appealing to 21st-century children.

Many Halloween-themed apps could be useful for teaching youngsters.

“First Words Halloween,” $2 on iOS, is a spelling app for young children. “Math vs. Zombies” asks you to solve math puzzles quickly to defeat oncoming zombies. It’s free (but has some in-app purchases) on Android and is $5 on iOS.

Finally, for some excellent Halloween-themed recipes, look no further than the “All Recipes Dinner Spinner” (free on iOS and Android). It has thousands of recipes, including ideas for what to do with all that pumpkin flesh.