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Do a search on motion sensors and you should get a few hits on hacks and variations.

In most cases, it's not a matter of working with the prop's logic for the existing motion sensor but rather using the try me button or foot pad input to trigger the prop via the external motion sensor circuit.

If your props have these types of input you'll be good to go. Otherwise you'll be digging into the internals and having to figure out the type of input. Several props I have use a photo resistor that's dependent upon a change of ambient light on it. The change in light changes the resistance within the circuit to then trigger the prop's circuit, which is why many of them are pretty lousy in low light conditions.

I put together a haunt that used PIR sensors throughout that then fed into various micro controllers. The controllers then activated the props via their footpad inputs. They worked every time without a hitch.
 

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Last year I pointed an IR transmitter (from one of my son's spy gear toys) at the motion sensor on my talking skull from across the sidewalk. Whenever someone broke the beam the skull would activate and start talking.
That would definitely do the trick. I think you could also do the same with one of those small clip LED lights pointed at the sensor.
 
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