Happy Halloween! In honor of my favorite holiday, here are ten songs to play at your costume party, while picking out scary movies to watch, or while you eat candy alone at home (which is the best way to do Halloween, if we’re being honest).
1. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Everyone knows the dance – or, at least, the classic side-to-side zombie-arms part. Bonus points if you play the music video. Extra bonus points if you DO endorse a belief in the occult.
2. “I Put a Spell on You” by Nina Simone
Nina’s cover of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins track is a delicious mix of creepy and sultry. Bette Midler also performed a version of it in the movie Hocus Pocus, so it’s the perfect soundtrack for carving pumpkins and coming back to life with your witch posse.
3. “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” by David Bowie
I love this song for Halloween because it’s a fun dance track that’s not predictable or overdone. It’s spooky and a bit dark-sounding, but still upbeat – probably what the cool monsters in Frankenstein’s lab jam out to instead of the Monster Mash.
4. “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett
So, I’m not a cool monster. You can’t have Halloween without the Monster Mash (it was a graveyard smash!).
5. “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
From the intro’s stuttering drums and tense guitar riff to the lyrics about bad luck and the devil, this song is both groovy and Halloween-y. Just see if you can follow Stevie Wonder’s advice and avoid believing in superstitions this October 31st.
6. “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
The hand in the title and lyrics is a reference to the hand of God in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Fittingly, this track was used in the Scream franchise, the movie Hellboy, and an episode of The X-Files. Costume idea: just dip your right hand in red paint (or blood) and be this song for Halloween.
7. “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths
The trembling guitar vibrato and instantly recognizable riff give this song a nervy, atmospheric vibe. It’s also covered on the soundtrack of The Craft, an incredible ‘90s movie about witches, and Charmed, an incredible ’90s TV show about witches.
8. “Time Warp” by The Rocky Horror Picture Show cast
Yet another classic – it’s the Cupid Shuffle of Halloween. I won’t put them on this playlist, but honorable mention goes to “Sweet Transvestite” and “Science Fiction/Double Feature” from the Rocky Horror soundtrack.
9. “The Passion of Lovers” by Bauhaus
It’s not Halloween without a little goth-rock. If those people in a couple’s costume are getting on your nerves, just remember… the passion of lovers is for death (or so the song goes).
10. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.
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