By Drake Vittitow
There are two things that people should be doing leading up to Halloween.
Playing spooky music and watching scary movies.
Today, I will be showing you ten songs that are must-haves for every Halloween playlist. Do not worry, ten movies you need to watch will be coming soon.
Without further ado, put in your fangs and fashion that ghastly cape because we are about to traverse hair-raising music history.
1. Monster Mash (1962)
Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers made the quintessential hit for monster lovers everywhere with “Monster Mash.” The song tells the story of a mad scientist who’s creation comes alive and begins to dance the monster mash.
Every classic monster is present, including vampires, ghouls, zombies and the Wolf Man. It’s not long until all the monsters join in on the dastardly dance.
While the lyrical content is eerie, the instrumentation sounds like a classic 60s rocker that you would hear in a diner.
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has not heard of this Halloween classic already.
2. This Is Halloween (1993)
Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is not only required viewing for the month of October, but it also has required listening as well.
“This Is Halloween” is no exception.
There are two versions. One is by Danny Elfman, the composer for the movie, but the greatest version is by the Citizens of Halloween. Their voices sound more hair-raising than the Elfman singers and they will put you in a sinister state of mind while listening.
If you want an introduction to Halloween Town, who better to tell you than the citizens who inhabit it?
3. Thriller (1982)
Need I say more?
Michael Jackson was on top of the world in 1982 and his shock pop hit “Thriller” not only topped the charts in the United States, but it also was the most expensive music video ever made at the time.
The music video warns viewers in the beginning that these images are not to be associated with occultism. This is because the early 80s were a hotspot of trouble for multiple musical acts and their song content about occultism and devil-worshipping.
A little bit on that later.
Not only is “Thriller” the epitome of blood-curdling beats and spine-chilling sounds, but it also proves that spooky jams aren’t just saved for Halloween.
Oh yeah, the music video is pretty terrifying too.
4. Time Warp (1975)
I believe there are two types of people in this world.
Those who grew up with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and those who didn’t.
I was a part of the latter, but “Time Warp” was my introduction to the cult classic. The musical is one of the weirder ones, but it fits perfectly into the crazy scary category because of its off-the-wall comedy and spooky themes.
“Time Warp” features Little Nell, Patricia Quinn and Richard O’ Brien and is about how to do the dance of the same name.
Forget about the Village People and Jock Jams. The cast of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” has the best dance song for horror-filled holidays.
5. Feed My Frankenstein (1991)
If there is a singular musical act that is most associated with the grisly theatrics, then Alice Cooper is your guy.
If you don’t have at least one Alice Cooper song in your Halloween playlist, then your playlist is invalid.
While there are a lot of AC songs that can be applied here (“Welcome to My Nightmare,” “I Love the Dead”), “Feed My Frankenstein” blends the perfect tone of classic monster storytelling and shock rock that AC is known for.
The song is also featured on the cult classic movie, “Wayne’s World” and features Alice Cooper performing the 90s hit with his band.
Alice Cooper is Halloween.
6. Somebody’s Watching Me (1983)
We have arrived at the one-hit-wonder of our list. Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” is another hit on this list that you would have trouble finding someone who has not heard it.
It also is the first song on our list that makes listeners feel uneasy while listening to.
If you have ever had the feeling that someone was watching you, then this song lays the groundwork for what you probably felt doing that time.
Paranoid is an understatement.
The music video encapsulates the dreadful experience, which is about as frightening as the “Thriller” music video.
Fun fact, Michael Jackson assisted with the vocals!
7. Dance Macabre (2018)
Honestly, the band Ghost could have an entire list dedicated to Halloween.
I saw them open for Iron Maiden live and their set was decked out with stained glass and inverse crosses.
It was truly terrifying to watch their setlist unfold.
“Dance Macabre” is an outlier for the band’s usual output.
It is a party song fit for all the spiny skeletons and undead zombies that come out in October.
The chorus is especially catchy. The lyrics “I wanna bewitch you in the moonlight” is a play on words that perfectly defines the experience you will have listening to this song.
While the instrumentation is not scary, per se, the lyrical content is what drives home this monstrous narrative.
It’s the best modern Halloween song by a mile.
8. The Devil Went Down To Georgia (1979)
Hear me out, this may be a country song, but let me defend my case as to why it deserves a spot on your Halloween playlist.
- The devil’s fiddle playing is a sinister sound that stays with you well after the song is over.
- The devil offers to take Johny’s soul if he loses in a fiddle face-off. If that doesn’t scream Halloween then I don’t know what does.
- The cover music video performed by Primus is the oddest and eerie presentation of the song that I have ever seen.
The Charlie Daniels Band is the originator of the song and the best.
Even if you despise country like I do, this song is crucial for your chilling listening sessions.
9. Psycho Killer (1977)
We’ve made it to the song on this list dedicated to the slashers, the psychopaths and the serial killers of Halloween.
Talking Heads is definitely one of the weirder bands on this list, but this song’s simple approach makes the feel of the song that much more unsettling.
Listeners are transported into the mind of a killer that admits to everyone that he has done horrendous deeds. The chorus is very catchy and will have you singing the same warnings that the killer is giving his victims.
Funnily enough, this song is based off of the shock rock king himself, Alice Cooper.
10. Number of the Beast (1982)
Did you really think that I was going to leave off a song from my favorite band of all time?
Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” was one of the songs that catapulted their success in the United States. The reasoning was both in its popularity and its lyrical content.
As I mentioned earlier, musical acts such as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden were caught in the crossfire of people claiming their lyrics were satanical. They were devil worshippers and nobody should ever lay an ear to their music.
This has since been debunked buy each band.
So what makes “Number of the Beast” so controversial?
The song does talk about sacrificing and the devil, but it is told in the point of view from a dream. It is not condoning the actions in any sort of way.
If you want a spooky song with some controversial history and a petrifying music video that honors classic horror movie monsters, then look no further.