Dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” can be a real joy, and many are partial to doing the “Monster Mash,” but that’s not all that’s available to listeners come Halloween.
For many college students, Halloween is the perfect excuse to release a more tawdry side of their personality, but it’s also a time to remember the joyous emotions of trick-or-treating as a young child.
The memories of dressing up as something truly ghoulish remain dear to many, and though the days of begging for candy have been left behind, Halloween still has much celebration to offer.
For anyone looking to enjoy a good old-fashioned Halloween this season, this list of terrifying tunes should help you get into a different kind of holiday spirit.
If you’re looking to really set a mood this Halloween:
If you’re throwing a Halloween party – or perhaps planning to put on a haunted maze – the incredibly atmospheric soundtrack to John Carpenter’s 1978 film “Halloween” has creepy ambience to spare.
This classic score was performed by Carpenter himself and will have you casting more than a few nervous glances over your shoulder with sudden bursts of piano and prickling synthesizers.
If you’re looking for an entire album of spooky fun:
Ryan Gosling, Zach Shields and the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir – or Dead Man’s Bones – make hair-raising ballads out of creaking stairs, whispering winds and all things that go bump in the night.
With song titles like “My Body’s A Zombie for You” and live performances with the children’s choir dressed as everything from werewolves to ghosts, the band clearly has a firm understanding of the Halloween spirit.
Every track on their 2009 self-titled album will leave visions of jack-o-lanterns dancing in your head.
If you want a song for Halloween that inspires dancing over dreariness:
The Killers have done little to hide the influences of Oingo Boingo in the hit single “Bones.”
Both “Bones” and the Oingo Boingo track “Dead Man’s Party” are packed with blaring trumpets, odes to loved ones lost and an undeniable sense of fun.
While “Dead Man’s Party” offers more supernatural lyrics than “Bones,” both are an uproarious celebration of the macabre. The songs are perfect listening for those looking to throw a dreadful dance party.
If you’re looking for an essential anthem for Halloween:
“Halloween” by Siouxsie and the Banshees and “Halloween” by the Dead Kennedys – two tracks, one name – each offer the perfect amount of chaos and mischief to accompany the night’s festivities.
Both songs are brought to life by the relentless howls of lead vocalists Siouxsie Sioux and Jello Biafra, longing for a time when Halloween could last all year.
The anarchic nature of both tracks may have you rolling out toilet paper on the neighbors’ front lawns and reconnecting with your rebellious side.
If you’re looking for a familiar song from the movies:
If Gerard McMann’s “Cry Little Sister” doesn’t instantly remind you of Keifer Sutherland with a mullet and his rowdy gang of vampires in “The Lost Boys,” that’s one thing.
Yet, if Goblin’s track “Suspiria (Originale)” from the 1977 Dario Argento horror film “Suspiria” doesn’t conjure up images of a mysterious German ballet school, it may be time to update your Netflix queue.
“Cry Little Sister” is chock full of soaring vocals and children’s choirs, while “Suspiria (Originale)” sounds a lot like pure evil.
Both tracks are integral to your first viewing of either film, but will haunt you long after you’ve finished watching.
If you’re just looking for a haunting tale:
Veteran singer-songwriters Nick Cave and Tom Waits may differ in their approach to music, but one thing is for certain – they both love tales of the strange, eerie and supernatural.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Up Jumped the Devil,” and Tom Waits’ “Dirt in the Ground” are perfect for the holiday. Acting as the R-rated version of the children’s song “Flying Purple People Eater,” Cave croons over haunting organs about the devil coming to claim his soul.
Waits is happier to strum his guitar and consider what life will be like six feet under, making for some great All Hallows Eve musical storytelling.
If you want a few fun Halloween songs:
If novelty songs like “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” are what get you in the holiday spirit, Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” or DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Nightmare on My Street” might be right for you.
Although Zevon’s track focuses on werewolves, The Fresh Prince raps about a grisly encounter with Freddy Krueger. Both songs will help lighten the mood of any Halloween party.