Cortana & Bing Bring Halloween Tricks & Treats - InformationWeek
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Cortana & Bing Bring Halloween Tricks & Treats

Microsoft is celebrating Halloween with themed Bing maps and scary bad jokes from Cortana.

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In a digital twist on this year's Halloween celebrations, Microsoft is bringing some spooky one-day tricks and treats to its Bing and Cortana services.

As a major fan of Halloween (The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack is my current writing music), I look forward to the holiday every year and appreciate any element of festiveness. If Internet services are getting in on the fun, all the better!

[The top geeky Halloween costumes of 2015: Is yours on the list?]

It turns out I'm far from the only one who loves Halloween. More than 157 million Americans plan to celebrate, reports the National Retail Federation, and consumers will spend a predicted $6.9 billion on the holiday.

Now that's a scary number.

(Image: moorsky/iStockphoto)

(Image: moorsky/iStockphoto)

Before you head out for your annual Halloween bash or a round of trick-or-treating, add an element of free fun to your holiday by asking Cortana for the history of Halloween or by searching on Bing, which will have a to-be-determined holiday theme.

Here's more on how Bing and Cortana are getting into the Halloween spirit:

Themed Maps

Bing Maps is getting a Halloween-themed color palette and icons like pumpkins and bats. Bing will also have a curated list of haunted houses in the US, Canada, and the UK in case you're looking for a scary activity for the day.

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

Tell Me a (Ghost) Story -- Or a Joke

Ask Cortana "What's up?" on Oct. 31 for a themed chat. In addition to helping with your costume conundrum, it'll tell a scary story or a corny holiday joke, or give some fun facts about Halloween history.

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

Carving Tricks and Yummy Treats

The Bing team used the top Halloween search terms to suggest snacks and activities for an appropriately spooky evening. These include pumpkin carving suggestions and printable patterns, ideas for themed snacks and desserts, and scary movie recommendations. Prompt Cortana with the phrase "guess the horror movie" for a round of the holiday guessing game.

Help, I Need A Costume!

It's the morning of Halloween and you haven't yet found a costume. No worries, Cortana has your back. Ask the digital assistant, "What should I wear for Halloween?" You'll get a suggestion and a link to a Bing page with a list of popular costumes for kids and adults.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
11/2/2015 | 2:51:52 PM
Re: Cortana & Bing Bring Halloween Tricks & Treats
@Zerox - Agreed and I feel like those little things all bring us "together" in some way. However it seems Halloween is growing into a bigger holiday than it used to be. I just read in Forbes "Halloween Spending To Top $6.9 Billion In 2015." Decorations, candy, costumes...seems people are willing to spend more than in previous years. I could see this trend continuing - with everyone taking selfies and instagramming their outfits and houses for everyone to see, I foresee people throwing more money at these things in the years to come...
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2015 | 4:59:31 PM
Re: Cortana & Bing Bring Halloween Tricks & Treats
We're busy enough these days that sometimes lesser holidays like Halloween can come and go with us barely realizing it, and I think that's a shame. Oddly enough, technology can play a role in helping us stop and take notice of it. A little splash of color here, or a fun sound effect there, and your day just feels a little more 'themed'. As someone else pointed out, it's also a solid marketing strategy. Look at the buzz generated all the time by Google's daily 'doodles'. Having a themed holiday diversion that families can enjoy together (like that trivia game) built into an app that people already use daily keeps your brand in people's thoughts in a positive way.

mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2015 | 4:45:35 PM
Re: Something scray different
 

[email protected],

Thanks for sharing...it's great to see companies be creative in the way they advertise
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2015 | 5:59:09 PM
Re: Something scray different
On a tangential note: I just got an alert from one of my apps: "Door Dash" which is a food delivery service in LA. They are advertising delivery of Halloween costumes - what a brilliant idea!
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2015 | 4:37:14 PM
Something scray different
Great article Kelly,

This is the type of entertainment creative ideas that stick. I think it's brilliant to have services be themed....it differentiates from the rest of the herd.

Can't wait to see what they do for Christmas :)

 
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