I’m a self professed Queen of Halloween. To me, Halloween isn’t just a holiday- it’s a lifestyle. After the first week of September, my Halloween decorations go up. While everyone is closing their pools, I’m getting ready for ghouls and goblins and ghosts. I don’t know where I first fell in love with Halloween, but perhaps my adoration comes from something very simple- I have great memories of jumping in leaves, going to haunted houses and trick or treating, and listening to the music of spooky season.
Halloween music isn’t quite like Christmas music; where Christmas music mostly consists of several staples redone over the years ( Jingle Bell Rock, White Christmas, Deck the Halls, you get the idea) and few original songs ( All I Want For Christmas is You, Last Christmas, The Grinch), Halloween music is pretty vast. While there are several “staples” of Halloween music, any song which you personally deem spooky, haunting, or creepy makes the cut. When I made my original post last year on my blog about my personal favorite songs that defined Halloween, it was a pretty long list. This year, I’ve shortened the list dramatically. These aren’t my personal favorites, but the songs that define Halloween for many individuals and are bound to be played at every Halloween party.
10. I Put A Spell on You- any version
There are several versions of this song. Nina Simone, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bette Middler-just to name a few. No matter what version you favor, you can bet this song will be played at parties, bars and movie nights during the month of October. The lyrics; no matter what melody they accompany always hit the mark of being haunted.
9. The Addams Family Theme
The Addams Family are Halloween Royalty. I prefer the macabre satirical parody that was the Addams Family (1991) for its flair of creepiness and humor. The theme, with that recognizable snapping gets inside your brain, and is impossible not to snap to yourself. It may be short, being a theme and all but it is always played, and everyone loves to sing along.
8. Witchy Woman- The Eagles
It was a toss up between Witchy Woman by The Eagles and Evil Woman by Electric Light Orchestra, but Witchy Woman feels more authentic to Halloween. It’s mystical, it stalks you slowly like a black cat, and evokes images of witches and crystals and sultry spells. The chorus, that “woooooo witchay woman, she’s got the moon in her eyes” is one of my all-time favorite song lyrics and is bound to be on many playlists this time of year.
7.Werewolves in London- Warren Zevon
Halloween is fun and campy as much as it is spooky and scary, and Werewolves of London is both those things. It’s upbeat, funny (I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand) of course it’s about werewolves, which means it is perfect for Halloween. We really need more songs about werewolves.
6.Dead Man’s Party- Oingo Boingo
Danny Elfman has had a pretty crazy career, with writing a lot of spooky related scores (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow) but nothing quite encapsulates the terrible feeling of discovering you’ve died and become a ghost in upbeat fashion like Oingo Boingo’s Dead Man’s Party. It is fun, kind of spooky and full of sugary 80’s goodness. Who could ask for more?
Michael Meyers. The creepiest sound ever. This theme is iconic both on its own and as a wonderful theme for one of the greatest Halloween movies ever. No matter if it is a remix, or the original it isn’t quite Halloween without that eerie melody that is played at every haunted house, party or trick or treat event.
4. Ghostbusters- any version
Who you gonna call?! I ain’t afraid of no ghost! This song is classic in every sense of the word. People still dress up as Ghostbusters, and no matter where you hear it, you can’t help but sing along. Every party or get together this Halloween will not be complete without it.
3. Thriller- Michael Jackson
It’s been referenced, imitated, covered and if you’ve been to a party or wedding you’ve heard it. Thriller is synonymous with Halloween. It was written and directed as an homage to both pulpy b grade horror and sci fi and as a love letter to scary movies in general. The video is just as iconic as the song is, and the two go hand in hand. The famous choreography of the Thriller dance is still popular, and the longevity of the song just proves it is here to stay, married to Halloween for all eternity. Or 40,000 years.
2. This is Halloween- The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack
I honestly could have picked any song from this phenomenal cult classic, but This is Halloween perfectly sums up the feel of Halloween in its purest form. “ I am the who when you call who’s there, I am the wind blowing through your hair”, “I am the one hiding under your bed, teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red”- lyrics like these capture the feel of being scared as a child. The movie is one of the greatest movies of all time, aside from being a Halloween movie. It’s one of Tim Burton’s best works, and Danny Elfman’s as well. This is Halloween grabs the essence of Halloween and resonates with boys and girls of every age, still 26 years later.
- Monster Mash- Bobby Boris Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
This song in its hay day was truly the hit of the land. Novelty songs, with dances were extremely popular, and Monster Mash took the world by storm. It was fun, novelty and most of all it was dance worthy. Others tried to encapsulate the hit on their own and failed to have the success of Monster Mash. It’s been covered by artists through the decades, referenced in plenty of movies and television shows, and is still one of the most popular songs people tend to remember when making Halloween playlists, or serving up cookies to school age children. It’s timeless, and wholesome and campy and fun and a little bit spooky and will undoubtedly be playing every Halloween.