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Songs To Get You in the Halloween Spirit

By Graham Hall
Share to PinterestSongs To Get You in the Halloween Spirit
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As the summer heat gives way to the cool winds of autumn, it’s time to start getting into the Halloween spirit. You can dress up, you can decorate your house, and you can line up some fun Halloween games, but nothing sets the mood better than a soundtrack. Whether it’s just to pump yourself up for the spookiest time of the year or you’re getting ready for a full-scale monster mash, there are plenty of chill-inducing songs to choose from.

01

“Thriller” — Michael Jackson

When you think about Halloween, one of the first songs that pops into your head is probably Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Everything about this song is skin-pricklingly perfect. From the innovative music video featuring the voice of horror icon Vincent Price to its legendary bass line, “Thriller” cemented itself as the perfect mix between spooky aesthetics and pop music. It fits into almost any Halloween party.

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02

“I Put a Spell on You” — Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Chances are, you’ve heard dozens of versions of “I Put a Spell on You.” After all, it’s a classic. Each one fits a different mood, and you’re sure to find the perfect option for your Halloween needs. Some of the best covers are Bette Midler’s iconic version from “Hocus Pocus” and Nina Simone’s haunting and emotional rendition. However, all the incredible interpretations stem from the one and only Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Originally, the song was an elegant blues ballad, but a night of drinking led to the creation of one of the greatest Halloween songs of all time.

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03

“This is Halloween” — Danny Elfman

Almost any song from a Tim Burton film could work as a Halloween song, but few embody the campiness and spookiness of Halloween as well as “This is Halloween” from “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” Listening to the residents of Halloween Town is endless fun and it makes for great group karaoke. Of course, if you’re in the mood for a heavier song, Marilyn Manson’s cover is incredibly popular in its own right.

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04

“Hush, Hush, Hush, Here Comes the Bogeyman” — Henry Hall

There’s something spooky about some older songs. The combination of Henry Hall’s cheery vocals with the silly lyrics detailing how to scare off the Bogeyman should create a song that’s too goofy to be frightening. It’s almost like a children’s rhyme or fairy tale. And yet, there's something unsettling about the song, to the point that it has seen a massive resurgence in horror media.

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05

“Bury a Friend” — Billie Eilish

Every generation has a few mainstream artists that embrace dark themes and imagery, elevating them to a new level. Billie Eilish has definitely proven she belongs in this camp. “Bury a Friend” is a masterful song from the perspective of a monster under someone’s bed. As if that wasn’t enough to make the song Halloween-friendly, Eilish’s soft vocals mix with the minimalist instrumentation and a bizarre, staggering composition to make a song that’s both incredibly danceable and supremely haunting.

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06

“Lullaby of Woe” — Marcin Przybyłowicz ft. Ashley Serena

Video game soundtracks have come a long way and many of their featured tracks wouldn’t be out of place in a Hollywood film. If you weren’t aware of “The Witcher” prior to hearing “Lullaby of Woe,” it could pass for a folk song in a horror trailer. If you or your friends are fans of gaming or just of fantasy-style music, this song is a must-listen for Halloween. Plus, it’s become more relevant than ever thanks to the recent release of the TV series.

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07

“A Nightmare on My Street” — DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

Everyone knows about Freddy vs. Jason, but you may not be aware of the original feud: Freddy vs. Will. The Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, pairs up with DJ Jazzy Jeff to rap about Freddy Krueger over a remix of the musical motif from “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Nothing gets people as excited as Will Smith rapping and this song brings the perfect wave of ‘80s nostalgia.

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08

“Disturbia” — Rihanna

What can you say about Rihanna that hasn’t already been said? If you somehow haven’t had the honor of listening to “Disturbia,” you’ve been missing out. Rihanna tackles the concepts of anxiety and anguish while a sizzling, dark beat pumps in the background. The song is incredibly catchy and makes for a perfect Halloween dance song. Plus, everyone will be singing “Bum bum be-dum bum” by the end.

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09

“Bad Things” —Ribisi Jace Everett

For a more adult-oriented party, throw on “Bad Things” by Jace Everett. Thanks to its selection as the theme song for “True Blood,” this dark love song now has deep ties to vampires and the supernatural. Everet’s rumbling baritone cuts through the song and elevates it to a new level. Alluring and a little menacing, it’s the perfect backing song for a group of vampires.

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10

“They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh!” — Sufjan Stevens

Yes, that’s actually the song’s name. Despite its admittedly odd title, this song is a great end cap for a Halloween gathering. It has enough momentum to not kill the mood but is just low-key enough to help a party wind down. Stevens graces this song with a ghost-like falsetto as a repeating chorus of women chant over intricate instrumentation. The song is an incredibly atmospheric and oddly haunting dedication to Illinois and makes the perfect addition to any Halloween playlist.

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11

The Great Pumpkin Waltz – Vince Guaraldi

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Vince Guaraldi's "The Great Pumpkin Waltz" is more than just a tune; it's a nostalgic journey back to the heartwarming moments of childhood Halloweens. Originating from the cherished "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," this melody is a gentle embrace of fall's essence. As the soft piano notes play, one can almost feel the crisp autumn air, see the vibrant hues of falling leaves, and sense the anticipation of Halloween festivities. Whether you're reminiscing about past celebrations or creating new memories, this song is the perfect accompaniment to a cozy, pumpkin-spiced evening.

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12

Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr.

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"Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr. isn't just a song; it's an anthem of an era. Hailing from the iconic 1984 film, this track encapsulates the fun, spooky spirit of Halloween with a touch of 80s nostalgia. Its catchy chorus is instantly recognizable, evoking memories of ghostly adventures and supernatural encounters. Beyond its upbeat tempo, the song serves as a reminder of a time when ghosts, goblins, and ghouls were the heart of Halloween fun. So, as the chorus rings out, one can't help but feel the urge to dance, celebrate, and maybe even bust a few ghosts!

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13

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

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Delving deep into the realm of omens and eerie beliefs, Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" is a musical masterpiece that perfectly captures the essence of Halloween. With its funky rhythm and haunting lyrics about black cats and broken mirrors, the song is a journey into the world of myths and legends. But beyond the superstitions, it's a track that speaks to the human instinct to find meaning in the unknown. As the bassline grooves and Wonder's vocals soar, listeners are transported to a world where magic is real, and every shadow holds a story.

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14

Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers

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"Monster Mash" is more than just a song; it's a Halloween institution. Crafted by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers, this track paints a vivid, playful picture of monsters throwing a grand party. From Dracula to the werewolf, every creature gets its moment in the moonlight. The song's campy, fun-loving spirit makes it a perennial favorite, resonating with both young and old. As the chorus chimes in, one can almost see skeletons jiving and zombies grooving in a fog-laden graveyard. It's a delightful celebration of all things spooky, making every October 31st a real "graveyard smash."

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15

Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus

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Paying homage to the legendary Dracula actor, Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi’s Dead" is a haunting exploration of classic horror. The track's dark, atmospheric tones, combined with its post-punk vibes, create a soundscape that's both eerie and captivating. As the lyrics unfold, listeners are taken on a journey through the shadowy world of old-school horror films, where vampires reigned supreme and the night held endless mysteries. The song serves as a tribute not just to Bela Lugosi, but to an era when horror was both elegant and terrifying. It's a must-listen for those who appreciate the darker side of Halloween.

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