Spooky Little Halloween

Filter by :, vintage halloween songs.

How long has Halloween music been around? Well, my spooky friends, that all depends on what you consider Halloween music.

spooky old halloween songs

This post was originally published in May 2017 and last updated in October 2021. All October posts are part of the Countdown to Halloween !

Most of the Halloween music you’re familiar with – Monster Mash, Thriller, Ghostbusters theme – is exclusively a product of the 20th and 21st centuries. Vintage Halloween songs these are not.

Sure, we can stretch back into music history to pick up classical pieces like “Tocata and Fugue in D Minor” – an arrangement that often finds its way onto Halloween playlists (including my own!) for its drama and darker notes – but this iconic Baroque song was never intended to celebrate Halloween.

In fact, most of the music featured in today’s playlist probably wasn’t either. I think that’s what makes all of these songs fun and unexpected additions to any collection of Halloween music.

After doing a bit of research, I’ve dug up a collection of 40+ songs with spooky titles and lyrics from the 1900s – 1940s. Many are Big Band era tunes. Some are blues classics, and others are folk songs. A few are more modern recordings, but they all have a fantastic vintage vibe that will add a little something different to your Halloween playlist.

If Spotify is not your preferred method for streaming music, here is the complete playlist so you can create it yourself:

Need a little throwback in your Halloween playlist? How about spooky tunes from the early 1900s? Here are 40+ vintage Halloween songs to enjoy.

Which vintage Halloween songs will you add to your playlist?

Share them in the comments!

spooky old halloween songs

How to Get Ready for Trick-or-Treaters

October 14, 2021, 11 things you need if you love candy corn, october 15, 2021.

Whether you love eating or decorating with it, there's no denying candy corn is a Halloween icon. Here are 11 things you need if you love it.

Miranda | Spooky Little Halloween

Miranda is the Minneapolis-based writer, blogger, and Halloween lover behind Spooky Little Halloween, the blog celebrating October 31st all year long. Her favorite Halloween things include pumpkin guts, chocolate bars in her trick-or-treat pail, real haunted houses, and historic cemeteries.

17 Comments

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Mr. and Mrs. Halloween

Excellent playlist!

Something about the music from the past gets us in a nostalgic mood that’s perfect for Halloween!

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Miranda | Spooky Little Halloween

I couldn’t agree more! Glad you guys enjoyed it.

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This is rad, I love me some Rosemary Clooney. Good job.

Glad you enjoyed it!

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Amy Remington

I added all the songs! Love this playlist!

Awesome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Amy.

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Chelsea Celaya

These are certainly my favorites when it comes to Halloween songs! Proud to say that I have quite a few of these already in my playlist, but I’m excited there are some new ones to add to it too! Especially Heebee Jeebees by Louis Armstrong. I’m surprised it’s not in my arsenal, but happy to add it!

Did you know Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney were actually huge lovers of the Halloween holiday? Although Halloween in the 40’s and 50’s wasn’t celebrated like it is today, there was still quite the love of dressing up as spooks and spirits and hunting for tricks and treats. Both music stars hosted a handful of Halloween-themed radio shows (and Rosemary even did a Halloween television special with Boris Karloff). They’re very fun soundbites if you ever come across them!

That is SO cool! I didn’t know that about Bing Crosby or Rosemary Clooney, but it definitely explains why they recorded such cute and endearing songs about our favorite holiday. Thanks for sharing, Chelsea! :)

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Love your Halloween playlists! Here’s a new fun retro Halloween song to consider adding to it, a song that I wrote that has recently been professionally recorded. I think it will become a Halloween classic!: “Spiderwebs in My Hair!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXK4s7s68Z4

Very cool – thanks for sharing, Clark! Digging the song.

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Bibi Farber

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfXCx6KB3aA

Hello– just wanted to say I appreciate this collection of VINTAGE Halloween tunes! I am a musician and fan of the genre and recorded The Headless Horseman myself in fact, in a retro rock style. The above link is to the video. Thanks for this collection- I’ll mine it for more ideas! Best, BIbi Farber

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Thanks Bibi!

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CAROLITA ORNELAS

This is very Informative because I’m always looking for RARE & Hard to Find Halloween songs and this is right up my alley. A Big THANK YOU for sharing it with us whom Love Halloween.

Glad you enjoyed this playlist, Carolita!

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Autumn Zenith

Stellar list! I tend to favour vintage music and was just searching on YT yesterday for some 1920s – 40s Halloween songs, so this playlist couldn’t come at a better time. Big thanks for putting it together for us.

Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

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Best Halloween songs – Nick Cave

The 36 best Halloween songs of all time

Don't let your Halloween party flop with our list of the top spooky scary songs of all time

Picture this: your cat-eye contacts are turning you half blind, you’re trying not to accidentally spit out your fake fangs, and you’re on your third double vodka and coke of the night. It’s Halloween, baby, and that means it’s time for a serious party. A spooky party. A Halloween party to remember. 

And d'you know what you’ll need for that (other than the fake fangs, the witch hats and the vodka, that is)? It’s a properly banging Halloween playlist. And fear not, friends, we’ve got the playlist for you. From The Cramps (of ‘Wednesday’ fame) to Olivia Rodrigo’s ex-boyfriend bleeding her dry, we’ve got the ultimate Halloween soundtrack right here. Time to get freaky, people. 

Written by   Brent DiCrescenzo,  Christopher Tarantino, Andy Kryza,  Adam Feldman,  Kate Wertheimer,  Andrew Frisicano,  Sophie Harri s,  Carla Sosenko, Nick Leftly,  Ella Doyle, India Lawrence, Chiara Wilkinson and Georgia Evans.

RECOMMENDED: 🎉 The best party songs ever made 🎸 The best classic rock songs 🎤 The best karaoke songs 🎶 The best ’80s songs

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Best Halloween songs of all time, ranked

‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials

1.  ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials

Okay, so technically this song is about unemployment, inner-city violence and urban decay, not decaying flesh. But the 1981 hit, released at the height of the UK’s recession riots, still creeps us out in the very best way, with eerie flute solos, ominous lyrics and maniacal, childlike la-la-las – plus some pretty spooky synth fades.

‘Monster Mash’ by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers

2.  ‘Monster Mash’ by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers

The perennial holiday favorite (or Halloween party-atmosphere-killer) was released in 1962, and has been clawing its way out of the grave every year since. It’s been covered by maybe the most eclectic group of bands of any song ever (the Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen, Vincent Price, Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Smashing Pumpkins and The Misfits, to name but a few), but the moldy old original is still the preferred classic.

‘She Wolf’ by Shakira

3.  ‘She Wolf’ by Shakira

Lord, did Shakira bless us with this song in 2009. A timeless classic, ‘She Wolf’ is sexy, spooky and danceable all at once – and it’s giving Halloween in every way. The ultimate scary banger for your Hazza Party Playlist, ‘She Wolf’ will have the dancefloor filled with people screaming ‘there’s a she-wolf in the closet’ at the top of their lungs and your mates necking off with each other in no time. Forget the party planning, Shakira’s got you covered. 

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4.  ‘I Put a Spell On You’ (Remix) by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Arguably one of the original Halloween songs. Inarguably one of the greatest. Hawkins’s tune – which he claims to not remember recording – permanently added the Screamin’ to his God-given name. ‘Before, I was just a normal blues singer. I was just Jay Hawkins, (but) I found out I could do more destroying to a song by screaming it to death.’ He found out he could also do more if he appeared out of a coffin on stage in a black cape, tusks coming out of his nose, accompanied by a cigarette smoking skull sidekick named Henry. A rare remix by KCRW’s Jeremy Sole.

‘Disturbia’ by Rihanna

5.  ‘Disturbia’ by Rihanna

Rihanna’s 2008 classic still holds up as a Halloween banger. There’s even a horror movie-like scream in the first few opening seconds for maximum impact. Made famous by the earworm hook of ‘bum-bum-be-dum’, the song has an eeriness to it thanks to the twisting melodies and Rihanna’s verses of ‘It's a thief in the night to come and grab you / It can creep up inside you and consume you’. What she’s actually singing about is a mystery. But it’ll get you riled up and ready for a night of spookiness.

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6.  ‘Psycho Killer’ by Talking Heads

David Byrne’s feral yowl alone makes this hypnotic, eerie early Talking Heads classic a Halloween essential, but it's just the blood-red bow that ties ‘Psycho Killer’ together. The song – mathematically precise until it goes jaggedly out of rhythm – feels like it was wrested from the mind of a particularly melodious murderer, one with with a tendancy to slip unexpectedly into French or a huge suit depending on the mood. 

‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ by Rockwell

7.  ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ by Rockwell

If Rockwell (real name Kenneth Gordy, son of Motown founder Berry) shivered at Big Brother's glare in 1984, one can only imagine what he'd make of the Internet age, where the government, news media and rogue hackers are all equally likely to be keeping tabs on you. The ‘Thriller’-esque hook comes courtesy of Rockwell’s buddy Michael Jackson, a good dude to have on speed-dial, though I’m not sure how much help he’d be if you're looking for someone to check for monsters in the closet.

‘Goo Goo Muck’ by The Cramps

8.  ‘Goo Goo Muck’ by The Cramps

‘Goo Goo Muck’ has always been a Halloween banger, but it’s had a massive resurgence in the last year as the backtrack to Jenna Ortega’s iconic dance (which she apparently made up herself) as Wednesday Addams in the Netflix horror series ‘Wednesday’. Whether or not The Cramps planned for this rock ’n’ roll banger to be a Halloween go-to, it’s long-since been considered one, with its lyrics of turning into a Goo Goo Muck (whatever that is) when the sun goes down and hunting out people to eat. And Wednesday Addams? She’s cemented it, we’re afraid.

‘Ghostbusters’ by Ray Parker Jr.

9.  ‘Ghostbusters’ by Ray Parker Jr.

There are at least two Time Out New York editors who believe that the part of this 1984 classic where Parker ecstatically croons, ‘Bustin’ makes me feel good!’ is the single-greatest piece of music ever recorded (and they will fight you over this opinion). Huey Lewis actually sued Parker over the song’s similarity to his ‘I Want a New Drug,’ probably because he was jealous of how much better “Ghostbusters” is.

‘Pet Sematary’ by The Ramones

10.  ‘Pet Sematary’ by The Ramones

Hard to believe the original Ramones are all dead. By 1989, the punks’ career was nearly six feet under. But this toe-tapping title track from a hit horror film, a bite-size Snickers with a metal shard inside, put the New Yawkers back on MTV, introducing a new generation to the leather-wrapped Phil Spector fanatics who looked like motorcycle zombies. If only Stephen King’s resurrecting graveyard were real – we miss these buffoons.

‘Demons’ by Doja Cat

11.  ‘Demons’ by Doja Cat

Doja Cat has always been a bit of a spooky bitch – in the best way possible, of course. But probably no track sums up the star’s knack for artistic uneasiness than her 2023 song ‘Demons’: which waved goodbye to the sickly pink pop of ‘Say So’ and said hello to reverberating bass, shrieky vocals and jagged synths. This is a choppy rap track which juxtaposes child-like lyrics with shouty rasps in a way that’s catchy and sinister all at once.  It’s the perfect song for a Halloween party with sass: turn the bass up on your speakers and get freaky.

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12.  ‘Season of the Witch’ by Donovan

Donovan never explains quite what he means by a ‘season of the witch’ in this five-minute foray into ominous psychedelia, from the British singer-songwriter’s 1966 album,  Sunshine Superman.  But a shiver of paranoia runs through the song’s depiction of identity flux (‘So many different people to be’) in a world gone topsy-turvy (‘Beatniks are out to make it rich’), and the guitar part – played by a pre-Zeppelin Jimmy Page – adds welcome notes of acid.

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13.  ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush

Is there really a better song to slip into a blood-red dress and waft around like a ghoulish waif to? Not only is it one of the greatest tracks of all time, but ‘Wuthering Heights’ is also the perfect tune to soundtrack any spooky evening. Telling the tale of Cathy’s ghost scratching at Heathcliffe’s window, this track is mournful, melancholy and the literary references are just the cherry on the perfectly constructed cake. The tinkling piano might be more suggestive of fairies than witches, but Kate Bush’s ghostly wailing is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine.

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14.  ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson

‘I’m not like other guys,’ Michael tells his girl at the beginning of the greatest video ever made, from arguably the greatest album ever made. Did we realize how prescient that statement would be in 1982? So much of ‘Thriller’ shouldn’t work – MJ is a doll, 71-year-old Vincent Price raps, and it’s six minutes long. But together, it’s ballsy genius, riding on an insistent, funky Minimoog bass line. ‘I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult,’ Jackson wrote concerning the video. No, but the Elephant Man bones and chimp did.

‘Boris the Spider’ by The Who

15.  ‘Boris the Spider’ by The Who

On this deep cut from 1966’s A Quick One , John Entwhistle leads the bass-heavy charge in a song precision-calibrated to get under arachnophobes' skins. Roger Daltrey performs some signature vocal acrobatics, too, growling the song’s title at the chorus before pulling off a manic falsetto to repeat the words ‘creepy crawly” over and over again in a whirling dervish of playful menace… just in case the lyrics had somehow been construed as subtle. 

‘Supernature’ by Cerrone

16.  ‘Supernature’ by Cerrone

French 1970s musical icon Marc Cerrone created this frightening (for then at least) vision of a not-too-distant sci-fi future where escaped mutant creatures created in a lab to end human starvation have rebelled against their makers to disastrous effect for all. Basically sci-fi disco for the Studio 54 set, this track is the greatest statement on that brief genre. Period. The video (and album artwork) are also stone-cold classics. Ask your parents.

‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ by Alice Cooper

17.  ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ by Alice Cooper

Shock-rock pioneer Alice Cooper could single-handedly populate this list with tracks like ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ and ‘Billion Dollar Babies,’ but ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ is in a class all its own thanks to its stabbing horn accompaniment and Cooper's skin-crawling delivery. The original’s a horror-rock masterpiece, but seek out the version Cooper performed with a chorus of Muppets, a combination of pop-culture misfits that’s too delicious to skip. 

‘Halloween’ by The Misfits

18.  ‘Halloween’ by The Misfits

Funny how time tames horror. In 1981, the Misfits seemed genuinely scary. In hindsight, they’re as dangerous as a Scooby Doo mystery. But, great Beelzebub, what fun! ‘Candy apples and razor blades! / Little dead are soon in graves!’ croons Glen Danzig, somewhere between an Elvis impersonator and an amateur MMA fighter. ‘Skulls’ might better spook the kids today, but this noir pop is on-point – like Jerry Only’s hair.

‘Dracula’ by Gorillaz

19.  ‘Dracula’ by Gorillaz

This cartoon troupe remains the greatest evidence of Damon Albarn's spliff habit. A bonus cut from the band's 2001 debut, ‘Dracula’ conjures voodoo vibes with a deep dub groove. ‘Everybody, party time. Some of us will never sleep again,’ Albarn sings, staring down the dawn with bloodshot eyes. An all-night bender is the closest thing we have to feeling undead.

‘Vampire’ by Olivia Rodrigo

20.  ‘Vampire’ by Olivia Rodrigo

Calling someone (ahem, Zack Bia?) a blood sucker and a fame fucker is pretty inspired. And that’s not even the best part of Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Vampire’. An epic pop song split into three parts – making it Gen Z’s equivalent to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – this is an explosive exploration into heartbreak, failure and full-on rage. The girlies are all set to be screaming ‘you sold me for parts’ and ‘you sunk your teeth into me’ this year, and while we aren’t all rich, famous and conventionally beautiful ex-Disney stars, we can relate to this experience.

‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

21.  ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Of course, we could’ve put together an entire list of Nick Cave songs to score your Halloween shindig, but instead we're choosing Cave’s singularly most creepy cut. A smoldering slow-burner, ‘Red Right Hand’ appears on 1994’s  Murder Ballads  album and lifts its title from John Milton’s  Paradise Lost  epic poem – which refers to the supposedly vengeful hand of God. It’s been used in all three  Scream  movies, such is its spook-factor. Show off your vampiest moves on the dance floor as you shimmy along to its rumbling drums, clanging bells and Cave’s sinister lyrics.

‘Vampires’ by DJ Touche

22.  ‘Vampires’ by DJ Touche

Theo Keating a.k.a. DJ Touché a.k.a. Fake Blood a.k.a. formerly the Wiseguys a.k.a. half of the Black Ghosts a.k.a. a guy who knows his horror. This cut is just one in a long list for someone who's had more than 20 years to rack up quite a few proverbial ‘kills.’ It’s the title track of his EP (alongside other funky frighteners ‘Zombies’ and ‘Spectres’) on Fatboy Slim’s Southern Fried Records.

‘Monster’ by Kanye West

23.  ‘Monster’ by Kanye West

’Ye may be a bit of monster himself these days, but this 2010 track still thrills thanks to its roster of immense guests: Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross  and  Bon Iver (because why not?). The gang name-checks nightmarish images at every turn – blood suckers, goblins, the Bride of Chucky – and dishes out a healthy helping of Haterade to critics and skeptics, but it’s the funky groove and sick rhymes that’ll raise the goosebumps (in a good way). Some of us ( not  naming names) may even like to pretend we’re Nicki Minaj sometimes and spit the Harajuku Barbie’s verse (the best one of the bunch) in the privacy of our apartment.

‘This is Halloween’ by Danny Elfman

24.  ‘This is Halloween’ by Danny Elfman

Elfman honed his signature horror-tinged musicality with Oingo Boingo, but unleashed it full force on this banger that leads off The Nightmare Before Christmas with jingle-jangle lunacy as a chorus of ghouls pulls a roll-call for the playful horrors to come. It’s a kids' song full of bloodthirsty clowns and whispery vampires, all of whom come together for a chant of the song’s title, all but cementing it in the Halloween canon. 

‘Country Death Song’ by Violent Femmes

25.  ‘Country Death Song’ by Violent Femmes

The Femmes took a break from their stripped-down folk-punk bubblegum mania and teenage angst for this truly spooky country number in which a deranged farmer confesses to drowning his daughter in a well. Chipper stuff from the ‘Blister in the Sun’ tri! But the combination of Gordon Gano’s nasal wailing, the Southern gothic vibes, and the doomy baseline make for an unlikely bone-chiller. 

‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ by Bauhaus

26.  ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ by Bauhaus

Bela Lugosi died in 1956. Informing people of his demise in 1979 was strictly the concern of the most archetypal of goth bands, Bauhaus. Goth is a cocktail best served as equal parts glamor and nihilism. Singing about Dracula is metal. Singing about the Hungarian star of the silver screen who played him is goth. The ticking dirge was used fabulously in  The Hunger , in the coolest opening sequence of ’80s cinema, a montage of sex, jump cuts, drugs and Bowie. At last, frontman Peter Murphy was a vampire in the movies. —

‘Surfin’ Dead’ by The Cramps

27.  ‘Surfin’ Dead’ by The Cramps

Another from The Cramps on our list, these rockabilly goths were always a B-movie for your ears, so it was inevitable that Lux Interior and Poison Ivy would end up on the soundtrack to a campy slasher flick. In 1985,  Return of the Living Dead  popularized the notion of zombies chomping brains. In the movie, a bunch of punks battle the undead—but the Cramps have a hard time choosing a side. When Interior sings ‘Run run run run!’ it sounds just like a chain saw itching to rip through necrobiotic flesh. But in the end, he makes it seem more fun to be one of the rotting.

‘People are Strange’ by Echo and the Bunnymen

28.  ‘People are Strange’ by Echo and the Bunnymen

If you can’t commit a bit of sacrilege at Halloween, then when can you? We're choosing Echo and the Bunnymen’s 1987 version of this song over the Doors’ original, partly because this cover soundtracked cult ’80s vampire movie  The Lost Boys  (a Halloween must-see), but also because it kicks ass with its dramatic pauses, spooky piano flourishes and – oh! – that ending.

‘Hell’s Bells’ by AC/DC

29.  ‘Hell’s Bells’ by AC/DC

Long before Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ brought the menacing sound of church bells to metal, AC/DC used them to announce the arrival of this sinister little number. Does it sound exactly like every other AC/DC song? Of course it does. But with church bells, so you know it’s spooky. 

‘Vampire Nightclub’ by Art Department

30.  ‘Vampire Nightclub’ by Art Department

Art Department, which is now just No. 19 boss Jonny White going solo – but at the time also included Canadian house legend Kenny Glasgow – linked up with the ghost of Seth Troxler–past on ‘vocals.’ It's not until halfway through this face melter that it dawns on you that the title may be a double entendre that you’re not sure you completely get.

‘Tubular Bells Part 1’ Mike Oldfield

31.  ‘Tubular Bells Part 1’ Mike Oldfield

If you’re looking for something to set the mood, throw on this 1973 track and watch everyone’s hair stand on end. At least, everyone who’s seen  The Exorcist . What could have been a beautiful orchestral piece is instead insidiously and inextricably tied to images of projectile vomit and bloody crucifix masturbation. Oh well, happy Halloween!

‘Suspiria’ by Goblin

32.  ‘Suspiria’ by Goblin

A lovely (re: horrifying) companion to ‘Tubular Bells,’ Italian avant-garde/prog-rock/jazz outfit Goblin’s score for Dario Argento’s fever-dream horror Suspiria is the stuff of musical nightmares and a hell of a mood setter… especially if you want to mood to veer closer to ’Seventh Circle of Hell’ than ‘Monster Mash.’ With creepy whispers of ‘witch’ and its never-ending loop of bells undulating between hypnotic and chaotic, it’s a dreamlike plunge into darkness. So, um, who wants to bob for apples?

‘Werewolves of London’ by Warren Zevon

33.  ‘Werewolves of London’ by Warren Zevon

Somewhere between Brecht and Weill’s ‘Mack the Knife’ and Bret Easton Ellis’s  American Psycho  lies Warren Zevon’s silly-witty 1978 novelty hit about everyday monsters. Over an irresistible three-chord piano riff, Zevon’s gift for dark comedy expresses itself in lyrics that swipe their claws slyly at the banality of horror – ‘I saw a werewolf drinking a piña colada at Trader Vic’s / And his hair was perfect ’ – but the droll wolf-call refrain (‘a-hooooooooo!’) makes you want to give up and join the pack.

‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ by Blue Öyster Cult,

34.  ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ by Blue Öyster Cult,

Blue Öyster Cult's death song, a creepily seductive exhortation to go gently into that dark night, became an instant rock classic when it came out in 1976, and has been a staple of horror culture ever since, notably in Halloween and Scream . (Its unconventional percussion also inspired a beloved Saturday Night Live sketch, with a shaggy Will Ferrell cavorting in an undersize tee and Christopher Walken barking ‘I gotta have more cowbell, baby!’) BOC’s lead singer and guitarist, the colorfully named Buck Dharma, insisted that the song was not about a romantic suicide pact, but it’s hard to know how else to read lines like ‘Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity... We can be like they are.’ The velvet sheath of Dharma’s mellow vocals doesn’t cover the scythe.

“A Nightmare on My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

35.  “A Nightmare on My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

According to Will Smith, Freddy Krueger is a David Letterman fan who's ‘burnt up like a weenie’ and weirdly wears the same hat and sweater every day, even when it's hot out. The 1988 track stacks Smith's story of his encounter with ‘Fred’ over a hip-hopified mix of A Nightmare on Elm Street's theme song, making for a party-friendly (if rather long-winded) ghost story.

‘Living Dead Girl’ by Rob Zombie

36.  ‘Living Dead Girl’ by Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie’s full-throated embrace of souped-up hot rods, dead bodies and classic monsters came to a head with this shredding classic of the ’90s horror-core revival, a cheesy, rollicking slice of post-industrial rock that somehow found its way onto mainstream radio stations and into the hearts of mall goths everywhere. Yeeeeah.

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13 Spooky Songs to Listen to This Halloween

by Catherine Walthall October 28, 2021, 9:25 am

  • A Nightmare On My Street
  • Boris The Spider
  • Don't Fear The Reaper
  • Ghostbusters
  • Heads Will Roll
  • Monster Mash
  • Season of the Witch
  • Somebody's Watching Me
  • Spooky Songs
  • The Monster
  • This Is Halloween
  • Werewolves Of London
  • Witchy Woman

Spooky season is upon us, and American Songwriter is here to provide the playlist for this year’s hauntings and happenings. Whether you’re observing Halloween surrounded by ghosts and witches or monsters and werewolves, this collection of songs is some of the holiday’s best musical offerings. 

Videos by American Songwriter

While our number one song may not be the jump scare you anticipated ( ‘Cause this is thriller ), there are other horrors on this list that will inspire a spirited All Hallows’ evening.

Read below for American Songwriter’s top Halloween songs.

13. “Season of the Witch” by Donovan

12. “Boris The Spider” by The Who

11. “Witchy Woman” by the Eagles

10. “Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

9. “The Monster” by Eminem (ft. Rihanna)

8. “Zombie” by The Cranberries

7. “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell

6. “A Nightmare On My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

5. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult

4. “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers

3. “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

2. “Werewolves Of London” by Warren Zevon

1. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

BONUS: “This Is Halloween” written by Danny Elfman

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spooky old halloween songs

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spooky old halloween songs

60 Best Halloween Songs to Play At Your Monster Mash

You'll be dancing in your costumes all night long!

Headshot of Erin Cavoto

You'll definitely know some of songs on this list, while others may come as spine-chilling surprises. Either way, their eerie lyrics can double as fun Halloween quotes or Halloween Instagram captions . (Hint: Just about every line in "This Is Halloween" will work!) You'll also find dance-pop hits like "Heads Will Roll" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and "Monster" by Lady Gaga, as well as tracks from rock bands like The Eagles. Once you've queued up this Halloween playlist on Spotify, all you'll need is a big bowl of sweets and some Halloween drinks , and you'll be ready for October 31!

"Halloween Theme" by John Carpenter

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This song might not have any words, but the minute the sinister beats starts, it becomes instantly recognizable! Don't worry, playing it won't summon Michael Myers at your doorstep.

"Heffalumps and Woozles" by The Disney Studio Chorus

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Throwing a kid-friendly Halloween function? This song from Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day is a perfect choice to add in! Even adults will find the song pretty catchy.

"Witchy Woman" by the Eagles

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Looking to feel spellbound? This song will do just the trick! You'll find it hard not to tap your feet at this groovy tune.

"Bark at the Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne

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Ozzy Osbourne's entire style of music encompasses all things Halloween, especially this eerie hit. With that in mind, anyone choosing a werewolf as their costume?

"Friends on the Other Side" by Randy Newman

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If someone tells you that they have friends on the other side, it's probably best to leave them alone. This soulful melody from The Princess and the Frog is always a good choice.

"Zombie" by The Cranberries

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Did you know that this classic has over 1 billion views on YouTube? Throwing this on at your monster mash will have just about anyone singing along!

"Spooky" by the Classics IV

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It's all in the title! The lyrics to this one are rather lovey-dovey, so if anyone loves Halloween and plans on proposing on October 31—this is a perfect song to have playing!

"Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)," by David Bowie

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Nothing is better than a creepy sounding song from the '80s, especially one that is from David Bowie. What else is spookier than some scary monsters and super creeps?!

"Bloody Mary," by Lady Gaga

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From the melody, to the lyrics, to the electronic sounds—this one just screams Halloween! You'll need to immediately add this to your playlist this year.

"All My Ghosts" by Lizzy McAlpine

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This one is more on the angsty-romance side of things, but honestly, that can be just as frightening! We can already see this one in the background of any teen-horror flick.

"Anthem" by Michael Abels

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The creepy words sung by seemingly upset children gives us all the chills and thrills. It's no wonder why it was included in the horror-movie, Us .

"Wolves" by Selena Gomez and Marshmello

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Anything wolf or werewolf related screams "Halloween" to us! (Oh, and who remembers when Selena dated that werewolf on Wizards of Waverly Place ?! 😱 That was definitely something else!

"Halloween" by Phoebe Bridgers

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Phoebe Bridgers makes enough spooky-styled music to fill an entire playlist, but this one does just the trick. It may not be spine chilling, but the lyrics are enough to set the vibe.

"Stranger Things" Theme Song by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein

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Stranger Things as a whole is a spooky enough show to be watched during Halloween. Which is exactly why its' theme song made the list!

"Haunted" by Beyoncé

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A haunted love is the scariest type of love, according to Beyoncé! We'd agree, especially since she sings about it in the eeriest way possible! This one belongs to her self-titled album, "Beyoncé."

"I Got 5 On It" by Luniz ft. Michael Marshall

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The classic Luniz's '90s hit is transformed into something completely sinister in this reimagining of the tune. This is another from the movie Us , just proving why you should give it a watch if you haven't already!

"Haunted" by Taylor Swift

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Honestly, Taylor Swift writing a breakup song about you can already be daunting enough. But she took it to a whole new level with her song " Haunted," which sees the songtress compare a heartbreak to a scary story.

"The Skeleton in the Closet" by Louis Armstrong

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Yeah, Louis Armstrong is known for his soothing Jazz hits—but he created something a bit more gloomy with his song " The Skeleton in the Closet." You'll feel at ease by the melody, but the lyrics will make you want to sleep with one eye open.

"Midnight City" by M83

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The music video is what really gives this song its' dark edge. Play this song at your Halloween party (bonus points if it's at midnight!), and dance your skeleton legs off!

"Thriller" by Michael Jackson

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Including this hit by Michael Jackson did not take even a second thought. It's essentially the anthem of Halloween if it were to have one! Warning: You may or may not break out in dance once the chorus comes on.

Headshot of Erin Cavoto

Erin Cavoto is the Editorial Assistant at ThePioneerWoman.com, covering food, holidays, home decor, and more.

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30 best Halloween songs, including Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Michael Jackson and Black Sabbath

spooky old halloween songs

Need a spooky soundtrack to set off your Halloween party this year?

Here's a look at 30 classics guaranteed to put you in the mood for the ultimate rock 'n' roll holiday. A few of these choices are painfully obvious Halloween staples. " Monster Mash ," for instance.

But that song is child's play compared to a lot of these choices. And I don't mean " Child's Play ," the movie with Chucky, the murdering doll. That was actually scary. I mean child's play as in sticky kids' stuff, as opposed to Alice Cooper staring longingly into cadaver eyes or Bauhaus paying tribute to film legend Bela Lugosi of "Dracula" fame.

We're just doing our part to keep Halloween frightfully on point here.

Alice Cooper, 'I Love the Dead'

I could have filled the list with Alice Cooper songs. In fact, I did a separate list called the Ultimate Alice Cooper Halloween playlist if you want to dig a little deeper. It seemed more fair for the sake of this list to limit each artist to a single track. And this one is a ghoul-tide gem, from the opening verse, "I love the dead before they're cold. Their bluing flesh for me to hold. Cadaver eyes upon me see ... " Pause. "Nothing." Other lines that make this song the greatest Halloween track ever? "I never even knew your now-rotting face." "While friends and lovers mourn your silly grave, I have other uses for you, darling." And the sing-along chorus is genius. The only thing missing is a children's choir. Ahh, restraint ....

Do you like scary movies? The best horror movies of 2023 so far, ranked (from 'M3GAN' to 'No One Will Save You')

The Who, 'Boris the Spider'

John Entwistle's demented genius fueled a number of the Who's most offbeat early tracks, including this — a creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly ode to a spider named Boris. The dark, descending bass line makes it sound like horror-movie soundtrack fare, and Entwistle's voice on the chorus is particularly creepy. By the final verse, he's gone from merely observing the spider to fearing the spider to beating the spider to death with a book. As the late, great bassist puts it, "He's come to a sticky end."

Bauhaus, 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'

A Hungarian film star best remembered for his starring role in "Dracula," Lugosi made an ideal subject for a Bauhaus single. And these goth-rock pioneers delivered with a haunting post-punk tapestry of strange guitar effects, a dark, descending bass line and lead singer Peter Murphy eventually making his way to the mike to deliver the eulogy several minutes in: "The bats have left the bell tower. The victims have been bled. Red velvet lines the black box. Bela Lugosi's dead."

David Bowie, 'Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)'

The title track to David Bowie's 1980 classic "Scary Monsters" finds the former Ziggy Stardust observing a woman's descent into madness and, as such, those super creeps and scary monsters may be nothing more than figments of a mind gone mad. Or are they?

Screamin' Jay Hawkins, 'I Put a Spell on You'

Long before Alice had met his untimely demise in a guillotine, Screamin' Jay Hawkins was making the world safe for spooky rock-and roll-theatrics in the '50s. Carried onstage in a flaming coffin, Hawkins would rise from the box wearing a black satin vampire cape and serenade a skull named Henry, which Hawkins would carry around on a stick, with songs like this. Hawkins has said he was drunk the day he cut "I Put a Spell on You" and that explains a lot, but his performance still brings chills with maniacal laughter punctuating what sounds like the ranting of a half-mad stalker. "I put a spell on you because you're mine," Hawkins sneers in the opening verse. And it gets creepier from there.

AC/DC, 'Highway to Hell'

From AC/DC's final album with Bon Scott on vocals, "Highway to Hell" finds Scott romanticizing hell as the ultimate rock-and-roll promised land. "My friends are gonna be there, too," the singer gleefully proclaims. Or course, he didn't know he was about to die. But chances are, he would've sung that bit about a "season ticket on a one-way ride" regardless. The guitar riff is among the finest AC/DC ever hammered home, while the solo does more with the raunchier side of the Chuck Berry template than any lead guitar break since the early Kinks.

Roky Erickson, 'I Walked With a Zombie'

The former leader of psychedelic garage-rock legends the 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson recorded this wholly believable account of his walk with a zombie at the helm of a new band, the Aliens, in 1981. It shares a title with a classic zombie film from 1943, and lyrically there's not much too it, with Erickson repeating "I walked with a zombie, I walked with a zombie, I walked with a zombie last night" until it's clear the zombies hypnotized his fractured mind and sent him back to share his haunted visions with the world.

The Minus 5, 'Lies of the Living Dead'

This garage-punk classic from the desk of Scott McCaughey finds the Minus 5 leaning into yet another less-than-subtle variation on the three-chord stomp of "Gloria" as McCaughey calls the living dead out on the lies they've been feeding him, all that talk of elevator clouds and bugs that braid your hair. The singalong chorus is priceless (the "lie, lie, lies of the living dead"), and thankfully someone thought to add an organ sound straight out of 1966. It's one of three songs on this list you can find on a CD called "Little Steven's Underground Garage Presents Halloween a Go-Go."

Black Sabbath, 'Black Sabbath'

Church bells tolling in a thunderstorm? They've got the horror-movie vibe established long before the band itself emerges from the sludge with the scariest, most devilicious riff the world had ever known. And this is all before the singing kicks in. "What is this that stands before me," Ozzy Osbourne wonders. "Figure in black, which points at me?" Turns out it's Satan, and despite his unearned reputation as a longhaired friend of Satan, Ozzy's running scared and begging God for help before the track is out. A truly terrifying epic.

Ozzy Osbourne, 'Bark at the Moon'

In which the voice that wondered "What is this that stands before me?" years earlier regales us with the tale of an unspecified yet clearly undead creature barking at the moon. "Years spent in torment buried in a nameless grave," he sings. "Now he has risen / Miracles would have to save / Those that the beast is looking for / Listen in awe and you'll hear him." Guitar enthusiasts, of course, were just as likely to listen in awe to Jake E. Lee tearing it up on the neck of his guitar.

Motley Crue, 'Shout at the Devil'

In which the men of Motley Crue tell you to shout at the devil, portrayed here variously as "the wolf screaming lonely in the nigh," "the blood stain on the stage," "the tear in your eye," "the knife in your back" and "rage." And that's just the opening verse. It takes a damn sight more than that to scare Vince Neil, though. "We'll stand and deliver, be strong and laugh," he sings going into the chorus. "And shout at the devil."

Donovan, 'Season of the Witch'

It's hard to say what witches have to do with knitting, really, but it's Donovan. You'll have that. If he thinks "You've got to pick up every stitch" is a perfectly natural lead-in to "Must be the season of the witch," well, chances are, he had his reasons. And this is the Season of the Witch, you know. What better time to re-explore this underrated folk-rock gem from one of rock's great unsung heroes?

Talking Heads, 'Psycho Killer'

An agitated David Byrne twitches his way through a fairly convincing portrait of a psycho killer, backed by an ominous bass groove and jittery funk guitar. "I can't seem to face up to the facts," he sings. "I'm tense and nervous and I can't relax / I can't sleep 'cause my bed's on fire / Don't touch me I'm a real live wire." In the liner notes to "Once in a Lifetime," Byrne notes, "When I started writing this (I got help later), I imagined Alice Cooper doing a Randy Newman-type ballad. Both the Joker and Hannibal Lecter were much more fascinating than the good guys. Everybody sort of roots for the bad guys in movies."

The Dead Weather, 'Hang You From the Heavens'

That may be Jack White on the beat, but Alison Mosshart of the Kills takes center stage on this first-album highlight, following "I like to grab you up by the hair and hang you up from the heavens" with "I like to grab you by the hair and drag you to the devil" in one of her sexier vocal performances yet, which is saying a lot. The groove is a monster, but Alison's scarier.

The Rolling Stones, 'Sympathy for the Devil'

Most grown-ups at the time were already positioning Mick Jagger as the devil anyway. So why not play him in the greatest Rolling Stones song ever? The lyrics are genius, placing Jagger's Satan at the scene of several key historical events. He's there when Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain. He's in St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution, killing the Czar and his ministers. He's in a tank with a general's rank when the Blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank. He's even there to shout "Who killed the Kennedys?" which sets up Jagger's finest hour as a lyricist: "when after all, it was you and me." There is no Satan, Jagger's saying, only people doing truly evil things and then blaming a sinister god they created.

Michael Jackson, 'Thriller'

Vincent Price was put to better use by Alice Cooper in a very similar scenario on "Welcome to My Nightmare." But Price is really good here, too. And while it may work better as a soundtrack to a classic music video than an actual song, it's still a good song. And the beat is undeniable. I know a lot of people like this single more than I do. But what can I say? I'm not like other guys. I mean, I'm different.

Blue Oyster Cult, '(Don't Fear) The Reaper'

But wait, isn't Halloween all about fearing the reaper? Yes, it is. But what could be more chilling than coming to terms with the thought of our own impending doom? In the opening verse, Blue Oyster Cult reminds us that "seasons don't fear the reaper, nor do the wind, the sun or the rain." Cut to the backing vocals chiming in with "We can be like they are." It's a beautiful sentiment, really. The scariest beautiful sentiment I've ever heard.

The Misfits, 'Skulls'

The Misfits are, without a doubt, the greatest Halloween band in the history of punk. They even have a song called "Halloween." But "Skulls" remains their morbid masterpiece. In the opening verse, Glenn Danzig sets the scene with corpses hanging limp and headless on his wall, blood draining down like devil's rain. And it somehow gets sicker from there, like a really good "Criminal Minds" as written by Ramones fans with a twisted sense of humor.

Danny Elfman, 'This is Halloween'

You can't go wrong with Danny Elfman's "This is Halloween" as performed by the citizens of Halloween Town in Tim Burton's yuletide classic "The Nightmare Before Christmas," but it's creepier when Marilyn Manson does it. And his vocal treatment is, surprisingly, the more cartoonish of the two.

Siouxsie and the Banshees, 'Halloween'

Halloween is something of a metaphor is this shadowy post-punk treat from Siouxsie and the Banshees. She wears her silence like a mask and her memories like a shroud and murmurs like a ghost as guitar accents stab at the darkness like a member of the Manson Family, or maybe the Jam. She does sing "trick or treat," though, so it sounds like a straight Halloween song to anyone half-listening.

The Ramones, 'Pet Sematary'

The Ramones cut this song for the soundtrack to the Stephen King film of the same name. And Joey Ramone's puts a bittersweet spin on the thought of being brought back to life. "I don't want to be buried in a Pet Sematary," he sings over chugging guitars on the wistful chorus hook. "I don't want to live my life again."

The New York Dolls, 'Frankenstein'

It's clear where the New York Dolls' sympathies lie in the Frankenstein story. With the monster. As well they should (although they call the monster Frankenstein rather than Frankenstein's monster). "Is it a crime for you to fall in love with Frankenstein?" David Johansen snarls while the Dolls make a racket that sounds more like the birth of punk than the birth of a Frankenstein monster, going on to wonder, "Who's the one you're loving / Misunderstood like a Frankenstein?" And he signs off with one final question, posed over ringing, distorted guitar chords. "Do you think that you could make it with Frankenstein?" Well, do you?

The Mummies, '(You Must Fight to Live) On the Planet of the Apes'

Garage punks wrapped as mummies paying tribute to the greatest science-fiction movie ever made? What could possibly be more Halloween? The fact that it's a faithful reading of the plot as retold over trashy guitar chords only makes it that much better. Consider the opening verse: "I landed on a planet not unlike my own / The men were caged like beasts, monkeys free to roam / Soldier apes on horseback, soldier apes on foot / Learned apes with orange hair, give you dirty looks." I've only seen that movie maybe 40 times, but that seems pretty spot-on.

Rob Zombie, 'Living Dead Girl'

The man makes horror films AND haunted houses. How could we ignore him? Zombie sets the tone by sampling the trailer for Italian horror film "La Figlia di Frankenstein" (or "Lady Frankenstein") and follows through with samples of or references to Wes Craven's "The Last House on the Left," "Daughters of Darkness," Vincent Price's "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine" and "Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS." That's some ghoul-tide pedigree right there.

The Birthday Party, 'Release the Bats'

This shockabilly classic boasts an unhinged Nick Cave vocal yelping, "Bite! and " "Release the bats!" before sharing the tale of his baby, a cool machine who doesn't mind a bit of dirt and says things like "Damn that damn that horror bat sex vampire." She's a wild one, as is Cave, who seems to take particular demented glee in the repeating of the line, "Sex vampire."

The Cramps, 'Goo Goo Muck'

Lux Interior sets the scene on this swaggering cover of a Ronnie Cook song with "Oh when the sun goes down and the moon comes up / I turn into a teenage goo-goo muck / Yeah I cruise through the city and I roam the streets / Lookin for something that is nice to eat / You better duck, when I show up / The Goo Goo Muck." What is a Goo Goo Muck? The only thing we know for sure is it will eat your head.

The Sonics, 'The Witch'

Among the wildest names in '60s garage, the Sonics bring their A-game on this raucous warning to avoid the title character, setting the scene with "Say there's a girl who's new in town / Well, you better watch out now or she´ll put you down / 'Cause she's an evil chick / Say she's the witch." It's hard to say if they mean to imply she's an actual witch but in the second verse, they do point out that she has long black hair and that she'll make you itch, which some sort of spell and not as STD.

The Kinks, 'Wicked Annabella'

An uncharacteristically spooky highlight of the greatest album in the history of rock and roll ("The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society"), it tells the story of a witch named Annabella who's mixing a brew that no one's ever seen n a dark and misty house where no Christian man has been." Her relatives won't even say, "Hello." That's how scary she is. And it only gets better when it turns into a cautionary tale for children. "Little children who are good should always go to sleep at night," Dave Davies warns, "'Cause wicked Annabella is up in the sky / Hopin' they will open their eyes."

The Horrors, 'Jack the Ripper'

Well, they are called the Horrors. And Jack the Ripper is a notorious serial killer. Plus, there's lots of tortured screams and a bassline that sounds like the B-52s' "Planet Claire" (or possible the "Peter Gunn" theme) as played by someone fleeing down deserted alleys for his or her life. And it helps that the vocal just gets more demented as it goes along, especially the second time he says he's "walking down the streets of London late at night."

Bobby 'Boris' Pickett, 'Monster Mash'

This Halloween novelty song by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett topped the Billboard Hot 100 heading into Halloween in 1962. And like Jason, it keeps coming back for more. 

According to legend, Pickett wrote the song after slipping a Boris Karloff imitation into a cover of the Diamonds' "Little Darlin,'" and the audience ate it up. So he and his bandmate Lenny Capizzi decided to write a song around that imitation. 

The record begins with the sound of a coffin lid opening before Pickett sets the tone in character, as a mad scientist. "I was working in the lab, late one night," he begins, "when my eyes beheld an eerie sight/ For my monster from his slab, began to rise/ And suddenly to my surprise, he did the Mash, he did the Monster Mash."

The Monster Mash is a fictitious dance craze inspired by the Mashed Potato dance craze of the early '60s. 

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53 Best Halloween Songs to Play During Your Costume Party

Get the karaoke going with these classics.

madrid, spain march 11 dancers perform michael jacksons thriller during the presentation of the show la magia continua a musical tribute to michael jacksin at lope de vega theatre on march 11, 2010 in madrid, spain photo by eduardo parragetty images

For those who like to sing or live for any opportunity to perform karaoke, we have listed classics like Michael Jackson’s Thriller and This is Halloween , which is from the soundtrack of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Other essential dance songs we’ve included span pop, rock and rap, and can even be found in some of your favorite horror movies . We’re talking Monster Mash , A Nightmare on Elm Street and, of course, I Put a Spell On You.

While most of these jams can easily be pulled up on YouTube, you can also add them to your Amazon playlist for easy streaming on October 31. And if you’re planning on including kids in on the night, check out this curated list of kid-friendly Halloween songs created just for them.

1. "Monster Mash" — Bobby (Boris) Pickett

Yes, you've heard it all before. No, it has not gotten any less catchy — or less of an absolute essential Halloween classic!

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2. "anthem" — michael ables.

From the psychological thriller Us , composer Michael Ables said he wanted the opening song to sound like an "evil march."

ADD TO YOUR PLAYLIST

3. "Bury a Friend" — Billie Eilish

Looking for something more modern for your playlist? This hit from Billie Eilish is the perfect dark pop track that's simultaneously catchy and bone-chilling.

4. "The Phantom of the Opera" Overture — Andrew Lloyd Webber

This one's obviously a must-play for all musical theater fans, but there's no doubt that anyone and everyone will appreciate that epic, instantly-recognizable organ intro.

5. "Stranger Things" Theme — Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

I mean, is there anything more perfect for Halloween than the spooky Stranger Things theme song?

6. "Haunted" — Beyonce

Leave it to Queen Bey to slay with a scary-good track that's also accompanied by an equally eerie music video.

7. "Haunted" — Taylor Swift

Speaking of great songs named "Haunted," this one from Taylor Swift is everything you want in a dark, dramatic break-up anthem (and more!).

8. "Creep" — Radiohead

This one's an essential for celebrating the creepiest night of the year — especially for all the weirdos and misfits out there.

9. "A Nightmare on My Street" — DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Who knew '80s hip hop and Halloween could go so well together?

10. "Monster" — Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Bon Iver

Not only does this hip-hop track feature the ultimate collab of musicians, it also features a horror-filled theme perfect for Halloween.

11. "I Put a Spell On You" — Bette Midler

Disney's wicked '90s hit Hocus Pocus and it's sequel, Hocus Pocus 2 , feature the quirky Sanderson sisters, who wreak havoc on a small town. Bette Midler's rendition of "I Put a Spell On You" always puts us in the holiday spirit.

12. "Thriller" — Michael Jackson

There's nothing quite like a posse of zombie back-up dancers. You just can't resist mimicking all their iconic moves.

13. "Ghostbusters" Theme — Ray Parker Jr.

Who you gonna call? You won't be afraid of no ghosts when you're jamming to this classic.

14. "This Is Halloween" — The Citizens of Halloween

Jack Skellington's passion for this fright-filled holiday is pretty contagious.

15. "Superstition" — Stevie Wonder

We agree with Stevie Wonder — it doesn't always pay to be superstitious — but we can still be a little apprehensive about breaking mirrors and crossing black cats on Halloween.

16. "Somebody's Watching Me" — Rockwell

A couple of eerie lyrics about being followed, punched up with a little '80s pizzaz, make for one spooky song.

17. "Time Warp" — Little Nell, Patricia Quinn, & Richard O'Brien

A jump to the left and step to the right are the heart and soul behind the cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

18. "The Addams Family" Theme — Vic Mizzy

A dismembered hand, a cousin who's literally hidden by hair — of course we had to include the spookiest family of all time on this list.

19. "Wolves" — Selena Gomez & Marshmello

Selena Gomez starred in the Hotel Transylvania franchises so it's safe to consider her a Halloween expert.

20. "Dark Horse" — Katy Perry ft. Juicy J

Katy Perry told MTV she wanted this song to have a "witchy, spell-y kind of black magic-y" vibe, and she totally nailed it.

21. "I'm in Love with a Monster" — Fifth Harmony

Grab your other half for this funk-influenced hit. That's why you dressed up in a couples costume, after all.

22. "Zombie" — The Cranberries

The year: 1995. Your obsession: This Dolores O'Riordan song.

23. "Monster" — Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga's breakthrough album includes a very appropriately titled track for Halloween.

24. "Get Ur Freak On" — Missy Elliot

Crazy story: Missy Elliot was actually in the hospital the night before she performed this song at the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show. She still killed it of course.

25. "Freaks Come Out at Night" — Whodini

This little '80s earworm will stay in your head long into November.

26. "She Wolf" — Shakira

It's impossible not to dance to Shakira — just try.

27. "The Monster" — Eminem ft. Rihanna

Pop singer Bebe Rexha actually wrote the hook for this song that later won a Grammy Award.

28. "Werewolves of London" — Warren Zevon

Place your bets now that someone will start howling along to Warren Zevon's 1978 rock track.

29. "I Want Candy" — Bow Wow Wow

Bow Wow Wow's cover of the Strangeloves' single describes your trick-or-treating sugar rush to a T.

30. "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)" — David Bowie

The 1980 album's title track gets eerie real fast with lyrics about a woman's descent into madness.

31. "Disturbia" — Rihanna

Right from the opening scream, Rihanna's number one hit will get people dancing — and singing along to that crazy catchy hook. Bum-bum-be-dum-bum-bum-be-dum-bum ...

32. "Season of the Witch" — Donovan

The hippie vibes of this psychedelic rock may not seem scary, but the song's appeared in everything from Halloween III to American Horror Story .

33. "Heads Will Roll" — Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs somehow turned the creepy topic of decapitation into insanely-danceable anthem.

34. "Halloween" Theme — John Carpenter

The slasher movie franchise may include a whopping 11 flicks, but the original soundtrack is undeniably the best. Just cross your fingers that Michael Myers doesn't show up to the party.

35. "Hungry Like the Wolf" — Duran Duran

This Duran Duran classic is a straight shot to the '80s, back when MTV played the jungle-themed music video non-stop.

36. "Ghost" — Ella Henderson

You might have caught this recent hit by X Factor contestant Ella Henderson on the radio.

37. "Witchy Woman" — The Eagles

Sure, it's a classic Eagles track, but the witch-themed lyrics fit the holiday theme.

38. "Midnight City" — M83

This lead single hit it big back in 2011 yet the synth pop track is still the perfect afterdark groove over a decade later.

39. "Black Magic Woman" — Fleetwood Mac

This blues-rock hit from 1969 will definitely be replayed all night, but if your friends start acting strange, you should probably switch the song.

40. "True Blood" — Justin Timberlake

Not the HBO series of the same name, but this Justin Timberlake song sounds like someone's a blood-thirsty vampire.

41. "Spooky" — Dusty Springfield

The name of this song is literally spooky — and it's all about love. You might remember it from the 2008 romcom How to Lose Friends and Alienate People .

42. "Demons" — Imagine Dragons

Okay, so you might hear this one year-round, but that doesn't mean a song about demons hiding isn't perfect for Halloween.

43. "Boogie Monster" — Gnarls Barkley

Is the boogie monster real? Just listen to this creepy song and maybe you'll find out.

44. "Skeleton in the Closet" — Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong is telling the terrifying story of a haunted mansion that's filled with ghosts and goblins — eek!

45. "Super Freak" — Rick James

Change the mood a bit with this classic, which will have everyone in the room bopping along.

46. "Blinding Lights" — The Weeknd

Get some strobe lights out and start blaring this song. If you really want to set the mood, play the video for everyone to watch.

47. "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" — Ella Fitzgerald

The famous tune from The Wizard of Oz is an obvious classic, but Ella Fitzgerald's cover version puts on a jazzy twist that's perfect for any party.

48. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" — The Beatles

Don't get confused by the upbeat tempo in this song. It's about a student named Maxwell Edison who commits murders with a hammer.

49. "Ghost" — Halsey

Okay, this is a love song. But every party needs a few mixed in, and this track does the trick with the haunting music and the line: "My ghost, where'd you go?"

50. "Look What You Made Do" — Taylor Swift

Even if you're not a fan of Taylor Swift, you can't deny how amazing this song is, especially around Halloween.

51. "Don't Fear the Reaper" — Blue Oyster Cult

The song deals with death and how it's inevitable and isn't something that should be feared. And yes, there's cowbell.

52. "Who Can It Be Now?" — Men at Work

Once you really dig into the song, it's not too scary. But during a Halloween party, the sentiment of feeling a little on edge rings truer than ever.

53. "Run" — Michael Abels

There are no lyrics in this song from the classic psychological thriller , Us. And no lyrics are needed as the instruments and sounds are terrifying.

Headshot of Caroline Picard

Caroline is a writer and editor with almost a decade of experience. From 2015 to 2019, she held various editorial positions at Good Housekeeping , including as health editor, covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism and dreams of the day Northwestern will go back to the Rose Bowl.  

Headshot of Cameron Jenkins

Cameron (she/her) is a staff writer for Good Housekeeping , where she covers everything from holidays to food. She is a graduate of Syracuse University, where she received a B.A. in magazine journalism. In her spare-time she can be found scrolling TikTok for the latest cleaning hacks and restaurant openings, binge-watching seasons of Project Runway or online shopping.

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66 killer songs for your Halloween playlist

A frighteningly good set of super spooky tunes to fulfil all your Halloween listening needs

spooky old halloween songs

Halloween : a time for regrettable costuming decisions, novelty props, worm-shaped sweets and, of course, a load of banging Halloween songs. Halloween music is among the most ephemeral of the year: its brief life-span makes it all the more essential that we blast it out every year on October 31 and get everyone in the spooky zone. So, with that in mind, NME  has compiled a Halloween playlist of 66 songs to make your Halloween experience truly freaky.

Some of them are genuinely horrifying propositions – Slayer ‘s ‘Raining Blood’ is literally a nightmare scenario – but some of the choices are slightly more tenuous (that’s you, ‘Batdance’). In the mix we’ve got creepy cuts from David Bowie , Siouxsie and the Banshees , Kanye West and – of course – the cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show .

Listen to our playlist of the ultimate Halloween songs to make your party extra spooky below, and check out all of NME ‘s Spotify playlists over on our Spotify page .

1 The Cure – ‘Lullaby’

2 David Bowie – ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’

3 The Black Keys – ‘Howlin’ For You’

4 The Horrors – ‘Mirror’s Image’

5 Kanye West feat. Jay Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver – ‘Monster’

6 Outkast feat. Kelis – ‘Dracula’s Wedding’

7 Iron Maiden – ‘The Number of the Beast’

8 Michael Jackson – ‘Thriller’

9 Siouxsie and the Banshees – ‘Spellbound’

10 Creedence Clearwater Revival – ‘Bad Moon Rising’

11 Godsmack – ‘Voodoo’

12 Dead Kennedys – ‘Halloween’

13 Bauhaus – ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’

14 Cathy Davey – ‘End of the End’

15 Rihanna – ‘Disturbia’

16 Nine Inch Nails – ‘Closer’

17 Metallica – ‘Am I Evil?’

18 Kings of Leon – ‘Closer’

19 Ozzy Osbourne – ‘Bark at the Moon’

20 The Cranberries – ‘Zombie’

21 Alice Cooper – ‘Bed of Nails’

22 Rockwell – ‘Somebody Is Watching Me’

23 Lady Gaga – ‘Judas’

24 Eminem feat. Dr. Dre – ‘Guilty Conscience’

25 Tyler, The Creator – ‘Yonkers’

26 Arctic Monkeys – ‘Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But…’

27 Japan – ‘Ghosts’

28 Iggy Pop – ‘Vulture’

29 Bert Convy – ‘The Monster Hop’

30 Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘Ghost’

31 Joy Division – ‘Dead Souls’

32 Death From Above 1979 – ‘Blood On Our Hands’

33 Tom Waits – ‘Little Drop of Poison’

34 Ray Parker Jr. – ‘Ghostbusters’

35 Slayer – ‘Raining Blood’

36 Queens of the Stone Age – ‘Burn the Witch’

37 The Rocky Horror Show Original Cast – ‘Time Warp’

38 Deftones – ‘You’ve Seen The Butcher’

39 Metric – ‘Monster Hospital’

40 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – ‘Red Right Hand’

41 Childish Gambino – ‘Boogieman’

42 Bloc Party – ‘Hunting for Witches’

43 Prince – ‘Batdance’

44 Jamie T – ‘Zombie’

45 Iron Maiden – ‘Run to the Hills’

46 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – ‘A Nightmare On My Street’

47 Santana – ‘Black Magic Woman’

48 The Rolling Stones – ‘Sympathy for the Devil’

49 Richard Swift – ‘Drakula (Hey Man!)’

50 Eels – ‘My Beloved Monster’

51 Gorillaz – ‘Dracula’

52 Suzi Wu – ‘Teenage Witch’

53 The National – ‘Anyone’s Ghost’

54 Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett – ‘Monster Mash’

55 Ramones – ‘Pet Semetary’

56 Gorillaz feat. Grace Jones – ‘Charger’

57 PJ Harvey – ‘The Devil’

58 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Heads Will Roll’

59 The Replacements – ‘Cruella Deville’

60 Pavement – ‘The Hexx’

61 Wild Nothing – ‘The Witching Hour’

62 Marika Hackman – ‘Cannibal’

63 Beach House – ‘Tokyo Witch’

64 Sonic Youth – ‘Halloween’

65 Radiohead – ‘A Wolf At The Door’

66 Ladytron – ‘Ghosts’

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15 Lesser-Known Halloween Songs to Put You in a Spooky Mood

By erin mccarthy | oct 22, 2014.

iStock/Erin McCarthy

Put aside “The Monster Mash," "Thriller," and the Ghostbusters theme. Spin these lesser-known songs in the lead up to All Hallows' Eve instead.

1. “A Nightmare on My Street,” The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff

This song, on the 1988 album He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper , hit #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though the duo had been in talks to create a song for an upcoming A Nightmare of Elm Street film, it ultimately wasn’t authorized by New Line Cinemas, which held the copyright on the movies, and the song got Will Smith and Jeff Townes sued . A music video for the song had to be destroyed, and the matter was eventually settled out of court.

2. “Haunted House,” Jumpin’ Gene Simmons

Not the KISS bassist, but the rockabilly singer who once opened for Elvis. “Haunted House,” released in 1964, was a top 20 hit .

3. “Halloween Spooks,” Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

It’s hard not to smile while listening to this jazzy Halloween song.

4. “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah,” Tracy Jordan

30 Rock ’s Tracy Jordan received a gold record for this “novelty party song.” Tracy Morgan only did part of the vocals, though; the rest were filled in by Donald Glover. “We did an extended version of ‘Werewolf Bar Mitzvah,’ and by the time we finished it, we were wrapped and didn’t have Tracy,” 30 Rock creator and star Tina Fey told Entertainment Weekly . “So half of it is just Donald imitating Tracy.”

5. “Dinner with Drac,” John Zacherle

The late night television horror host, also known as “ The Cool Ghoul ,” released this track in 1958.

6. “The Werewolf Watusi,” Bobby “Boris” Pickett

The success of Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s 1962 song “The Monster Mash” led to many other monster-themed songs, including this one, released in 1964. (Also worth a listen: The Christmas song “ Monster’s Holiday .”)

7. “The Headless Horseman,” Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby's "The Headless Horseman" might not exactly be "lesser known," but this classic, from Disney’s 1949 short  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, deserves more play this time of year.

8. “Punky Punkin,” Rosemary Clooney

This sweet song—which notes that the pumpkin is happy because “he’s a jack o’lantern instead of being a pumpkin pie”—was released in 1950.

9. “Dead Man’s Party,” Oingo Boingo

The lyric "I hear the chauffeur comin' to my door/Says there's room for maybe just one more" in this 1986 song (off their fifth studio album of the same name, released in 1985) is supposedly a reference to E.F. Benson's 1906 short story "The Bus-Conductor," which features a hearse driver.

10. “The Boogie Woogieman,” The Brian Sisters

This talented trio of sisters was popular in the 1930s and '40s. Betty, Doris and Gwen recorded "The Boogie Woogieman" with the Will Osborne Orchestra; it was released in 1942 .

11. “Skeleton in the Closet,” Louis Armstrong

This song appeared on the soundtrack to the 1936 film Pennies from Heaven , in which Armstrong played Henry.

12. “The Monster Hop,” Bert Convy

Before Bert Convy was the host of game shows like Super Password and Win, Lose or Draw , he released this rock 'n roll Halloween song in 1958.

13. “My Body’s a Zombie for You,” Dead Man’s Bones

The band Dead Man's Bones is actually a duo: actor Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields, who met in 2005, when Gosling was dating Rachel McAdams and Shields was dating her sister. According to Pitchfork , "The pair bonded over a shared obsession with scary stuff like ghosts, monsters, and zombies, and set out to create a spooky musical theater production," a "Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire kind of show," as Gosling described it. Somewhere along the way, the "theater production" aspect of it fell to the wayside, but the songs remained. They released their self-titled debut album in October 2009.

14. “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” Buddy Baker

Otherwise known as the song that plays in Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride.

15. “The Wobblin’ Goblin,” Rosemary Clooney

This track was the B-side to Clooney’s “Punky Punkin.”

Group of young friends dressed in costumes reaching out towards the camera like zombies.

“Monster Mash” is just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s never too early to get into the Halloween spirit , and what better way to do so than listening to Halloween songs? You may be surprised just how many Halloween songs there actually are, too. We’ve compiled basically an entire playlist worth here. No matter how old you are, there’s a perfect Halloween song to put you in a spooky mood, whether it’s an obvious Halloween music classic like Monster Mash , or it’s a song with a more subtly scary vibe, like a classic rock song or a song that gives a new modern and spooky twist to an old favorite.

Whether you like indie, pop, metal, folk, or electronica, there’s a Halloween song on this list for you. Do you and your kids just love the old kid-friendly classics ? Or maybe you have a big-time Blippi fan on your hands? Maybe you’re looking for a playlist for the kids to bob for apples to at your annual Halloween bash? Whatever you’re looking for, this extensive list of 40 Halloween songs has definitely got you covered. So check out these 40 songs and make those Spotify playlists because you’ll be jamming to these Halloween songs until the big day and beyond because they’re just that good.

“Season of the Witch” by Lana Del Rey

You can’t go wrong with a song about witches for Halloween, and Lana Del Ray’s sultry take on “Season of the Witch” is the perfect song to get you in the mood. For Halloween, that is.

“The Becoming” by Nine Inch Nails

Anything Nine Inch Nails is fair Halloween game in my book. Or anytime really. What isn’t spooky about screaming in the background of a song that just sounds like it would be played in the chase scene of a horror movie? If you want an existential crisis to scare you for Halloween, check out the eerie song “ Right Where It Belongs ” also by Nine Inch Nails. The haunting piano and thought-provoking lyrics are the stuff of nightmares.

“Black Magic” by Slayer

Want to get pumped for Halloween? Slayer’s killer riffs, heart-pounding tempos, and signature scary vocals will be a perfect fit for your Halloween playlist. Obviously, this song is super on-brand for Halloween because the song is about black magic.

“Once Upon a Dream” by Lana Del Rey

And now to take it down a notch. Lana Del Ray is a queen, and after listening to her cover of “Once Upon a Dream,” you’ll be even more terrified of Maleficent. The haunting beauty of this song would make for a great background song for a haunted house.

“Werewolf “ by Cat Power

You can’t go wrong with Cat Power at any time, but her song, “Werewolf” would make for an excellent track on a Halloween playlist. The spooky cello and playful intonations with her vocals make this song just spooky enough for Halloween lite.

“Ghosts in the House” by The Kiboomers

And now for something the kids would love. I don’t know of any child who doesn’t like The Kiboomers, and this adorable song will have your children bopping around the house yelling, “BOO!” Sorry parents, but it’s all in good fun in the name of the season, right?

“They Don’t Scare Me” by Mickey Mouse

A classic. The organ adds a nice spooky touch to this kid-friendly Halloween song where Mickey claims he’s not scared of lizards, snakes, earthquakes, spiders, witches, goblins, or zombies, among other things.

“Trick or Treat” by Andrew Gold

This fun little jingle is perfect to listen to before trick-or-treating. And Andrew Gold’s voice, as always, is top notch. The folk and bluegrass feel to this song is super fun for parents and children alike.

“Halloween Stomp” by Bounce Patrol

“Halloween Stomp” is awesome because it gives kids an opportunity to do fun movements while listening to music or watching the video on YouTube, which is always a win in my book. Who knows, if you get married on Halloween, this may be a fun replacement for the “Cupid Shuffle,” am I right?

“I Wanna Scare Myself” by Tigger

I love sweet Tigger in this classic Disney Halloween song. He really wants to scare himself and everyone else by bouncing out of the shadows and having a Tigger-like roar. So scary, Tigger. Ferocious.

“Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix

One of the greatest guitarists of all time, Jimi Hendrix nails it (as always) with “Voodoo Child .” For a grown-up Halloween playlist, this song should definitely be on there, because what’s scarier than a voodoo child, right?

“Goodnight Moon” by Shivaree

This song from the Kill Bill Vol. 2 s oundtrack sounds like a kitschy Halloween theme song with the driving baseline and the crooning of Ambrosia Parsley. This song is hauntingly catchy and a definite bop.

“I Put a Spell on You” by Alice Smith

We all know and love the many renditions of “I Put A Spell On You,” originally sung by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and when it was blown off the charts by Winifred Sanderson at the community center in Salem, Massachusetts at a Halloween party. But this version by Alice Smith for Lovecraft Country is so spooky, so beautiful, and so intense, it just has to be added to the list of wonderful renditions of this Halloween song.

“(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult

If you can get past the visual of Will Ferrell’s stomach hanging out of a too-tight shirt, banging a cow bell in Chris Kattan’s face, then this song is a great Halloween song. It’s a reminder to embrace death and don’t fear it.

“People Are Strange” by The Doors

The Doors are always a bit spooky and whimsy sounding, and “People Are Strange” definitely fits the bill. For an added bonus, if you watch the music video, the sideshow and freak show element is a bit spooky as well.

“Elmo Says Boo!” by Elmo

Of course everyone’s favorite monster has a Halloween song. This sweetly spooky song will win the hearts of everyone in the family, when Elmo’s saccharine voice sings about when Elmo says, “Boo!” And of course everyone’s favorite spooky counting vampire makes an appearance as well.

“Monster in the Mirror” by Grover

Classic. We all have those moments like Grover where we see the monster in the mirror, but we can’t be scared. We must prevail, like Grover. The only downside to this song is you’ll be singing Wubba wubba wubba wubba woo woo woo for weeks and weeks to come. Now that’s scary.

“Bones (Inside of You)” by Count Von Count

The howling of the werewolf, the creepy organ, and the subject matter of skeletons is perfect for a kids spooky Halloween song. Kids will learn a few things while they’re having their Halloween fun, too, in true Sesame Street fashion.

“Baby Truck Watch Out ... It’s Halloween” by Gecko’s Garage

For all those Gecko’s Garage fans, this spooky song is a fun one with just a little bit of spookiness as Baby Truck gets scared of the different vehicles popping out of the shadows and getting scared.

“Eensy Weensy Spider” by Count Von Count

Even though this song is a classic song, the fact that Count Von Count sings it makes it extra Halloween-official. Plus, spiders are spooky and ooky and definitely make for scary Halloween decorations, right?

“Zombie” by The Cranberries

This song can be scary for multiple reasons, the subject matter, the desperation in Dolores O'Riordan’s haunting voice, the haunting guitar riffs, the full driving and pounding baseline, and the name, “Zombie,” obviously.

“Bad Moon Rising” by Rasputina

Now this version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” feels like it should’ve been the original. The cadence of the original song didn’t seem to match the lyrics for me, but Rasputina definitely nails it in this haunting rendition, and makes it a perfect song for your Halloween playlist.

“Ghost Song” by The Doors

“Ghost Song” by The Doors is a Halloween must in my book. What makes this song even creepier is it was released after Jim Morrison’s untimely death. So not only does it sound haunting, but it kind of is actually haunting. A haunting from Jim Morrison himself.

“Witchy Woman” by The Eagles

You can’t have a Halloween playlist without “Witchy Woman” by The Eagles on there. It’s against the law. This seductively haunting song about a “witchy woman,” with raven hair is an awesome Halloween song to celebrate the witchy woman in your life on Halloween and every day.

“Black Magic Woman” by Santana

Santana, as always, nails it with the soulful guitar and psychedelic elements in this Halloween song. Plus his velvety smooth voice singing about a black magic woman is pretty haunting and sexy. You’ll be so relaxed you won’t even care if a zombie showed up at your house.

“Six Little Ghosts” by Super Simple Songs

Super Simple Songs pumps out banger after banger for kids, and while I want to put my head through a wall after listening to them for hours on end, my four year old just loves them and who could argue with that? This cutesy song about six little ghosts will definitely get your toddler and preschooler into the Halloween spirit.

“Knock Knock, Trick or Treat” by Super Simple Songs

A song about knocking on doors and trick-or-treating? It’s a must. Plus kids love to explain their Halloween costumes when they’re retrieving their candy (at least the kids in my neighborhood doo) and this song definitely highlights that.

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson

The perfect Halloween song and music video for all ages. End of story.

“Five Creepy Spiders” by Super Simple Songs

What’s scarier than a creepy spider? Five creepy spiders. And also four boney skeletons, three black cats, two wicked witches, and one white ghost. A song to learn about counting down while celebrating Halloween is a great pick for a Halloween playlist for kids.

“What Will I be?” by Blippi

Like it or not, you can’t have a Halloween playlist for kids without featuring a Blippi song or two. In this song, Blippi is trying to figure out what he’s going to be for Halloween, and perhaps his list can help your child choose what they’re going to be as well.

“Samhain Night” by Loreena McKennitt

For folks who also celebrate the Wheel of the Year, Samhain is another name for Halloween , and it’s the original Celtic celebration of when the veil is thinnest between the living and the dead. Loreena McKennitt is the best in the business when it comes to songs for each Wheel of the Year celebration and her song about Samain night is perfect.

“Burn the Witch” by Shaun James

“Burn the Witch” is an intense and electrifying song by Shawn James, and everything from the slow strumming of the guitar at the beginning to the powerful and emotional finish, this haunting song is the ultimate song for your Halloween playlist. There are layers to the lyrics about burning the witch, where there’s the literal witch, and also objectifying and destroying those who are different.

“The Hanging Tree” by Angus & Julia Stone

This song was also sung by Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games trilogy. “The Hanging Tree” is creepy and haunting in its simplicity and subject matter, where a man being hanged calls out to his love, and all the creepy things that follow after his body is gone but his spirit remains.

“The Moon & The Night Spirit” by Ég Felé

This song would be perfection to play on Halloween night, and its whimsical and eerie music will haunt you for days to come. The lyrics are Hungarian, but the English translation describes a spirit rising up from the darkness and a light being reborn from the darkness.

“Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac

You can’t have a Halloween playlist without the witchy queen herself, Stevie Nicks, and her song about a witch — “Rhiannon.” You’ll be grabbing your flowy skirt, your scarves and your incense and be twirling around dancing in no time.

“This Is The Way We Carve A Pumpkin” by Super Simple Songs

Whether you’re listening for instructions or for Halloween spooky fun, “This Is The Way We Carve A Pumpkin” is a bop through and through, and your kid will love it.

“Halloween Song” by Blippi

This is the ultimate Blippi Halloween song that will be stuck in your head for weeks and you’ll find yourself singing Haaaalllloween...Haaaaalllloween while you’re making dinner. Trust me. And the preschoolers will love it for the fun lyrics and poppy tune. Nicky Notes is pretty creepy with his haunting howls, too.

“Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett

You’re not allowed to make a Halloween playlist for kids or adults without this classic song included. “Monster Mash” is the greatest Halloween song of all time, and I won’t be taking any arguments.

“Who Took The Candy?” by Super Simple Songs

A fun spooky Halloween spin on everyone’s favorite childhood song, “Who took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar” comes “Who Took the Candy?” Was it you?

“Count Mikula” from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

The show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is a wonderful little remake of the original Mickey Mouse Club, but suited for preschoolers. The “Count Mikula” song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (starting at 1:25) is a super fun spooky song Mickey fans will really love.

Whether you’re looking for some fun kid-friendly Halloween songs to get the entire family into the Halloween spirit, or you’re looking for a spooky playlist for your Halloween party (or for when you’re driving to pick up the kids from school alone) this list of 40 Halloween songs gives you plenty of options.

spooky old halloween songs

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spooky old halloween songs

120 Spooky Songs for Your Halloween Party Playlist

Lauren Miolene

It's time to start planning your Halloween monster mash! Why save all the fun and festive music for Christmas when you can oogie and boogie this October to haunted hits by Taylor Swift , Rob Zombie, and Kim Petras? Get your scary costume ready because you're going to want to host an epic party with this spooktacular Halloween music. Don't worry, our Halloween party playlist is also available on Spotify for easily listening all season long.

READ MORE : 

  • 20 Ways to Have the Best Halloween Party Ever
  • A Simple Halloween Party Checklist
  • How to Throw a Murder Mystery Party this Halloween

Here are 120 spooky songs add to your Halloween party playlist:

Photo: mixtape 80's tribute band.

  •  vampire - Olivia Rodrigo
  •  Goo Goo Muck - The Cramps
  •  Thriller - Michael Jackson
  •  Monster Mas h - Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers
  •  Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
  •  Look What You Made Me Do - Taylor Swift
  •  bloody mary (lady gaga) - sped up viral
  •  The Time Warp - Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack
  •  Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
  •  Haunted (Taylor’s Version) - Taylor Swift
  •  Somebody's Watching Me - Rockwell
  •  I Put a Spell on You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
  •  You're The Devil in Disguise - Elvis Presley
  •  TRANSylvania - Kim Petras
  •  Scream - Michael Jackson 
  •  Dracula's Wedding - OutKast, Kelis
  •  no body, no crime - Taylor Swift, HAIM
  •  The Twilight Zone - Jerry Goldsmith
  •  This is Halloween - The Citizens of Halloween
  •  Superstition - Stevie Wonder
  •  Scary Monsters And Super Creeps - David Bowie
  •  Heads Will Roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  •  Voodoo Child - Jimi Hendrix
  •  The Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
  •  bury a friend - Billie Eilish
  •  Jump in the Line - Harry Belafonte 
  •  The Addams Family Theme - Halloween Kids
  •  Oogie Boogie's Song - Ed Ivory, Ken Page
  •  Harry Potter Prologue - The London Fox Players
  •  Hocus Pocus Soundtrack - Dr Stiig
  •  Stranger Things - Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein
  •  People Are Strange - The Doors 
  •  Transylvania Twist - Bobby "Boris" Pickett, The Crypt-Kickers
  •  Jeepers Creepers - Louis Armstrong 
  •  Purgatory - Kim Petras
  •  Magic Dance - David Bowie
  •  Bad Guy - Billie Eilish
  •  Disturbia - Rihanna 
  •  True Blood - Justin Timberlake
  •  She Wolf - Shakira
  •  Cannibal - Kesha
  •  I Did Something Bad - Taylor Swift
  •  Calling All the Monsters - China Anne McClain
  •  Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
  •  Weird Science - Oingo Boingo
  •  The Munsters Theme - The Great TV Crew
  •  Time Warp - Little Nell, Patricia Quinn
  •  Spooky, Scary Skeletons - Andrew Gold
  •  Witchy Woman - Eagles
  •  Witch Doctor Radio Mix - Cartoons
  •  I’m In Love With a Monster - Fifth Harmony
  •  Boo! Bitch! - Kim Petras
  •  Haunted Heart - Christina Aguilera
  •  I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow
  •  Highway to Hell - AC/DC
  •  Ghostly Music Box - Music Box - Haunted Mansion
  •  Halloween - Mix-O-Lydian 1981 - Misfits
  •  Halloweentown Theme - Retrospectre
  •  Rotten to the Core - Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce
  •  all the good girls go to hell - Billie Eilish
  •  Howl - Florence + The Machine
  •  Season Of The Witch - Lana Del Rey
  •  Heathens - Twenty One Pilots
  •  Black Magic Woman - VCTRYS
  •  Control - Halsey
  •  Grim, Grinning Ghosts - Ghosts
  •  Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
  •  Can’t Be Tamed - Miley Cyrus
  •  Happy Halloween - John Zacherle
  •  Ghost Town - The Specials
  •  Howlin’ for You - The Black Keys
  •  Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked - Cage The Elephant
  •  Paint It, Black - The Rolling Stones
  •  Knives - Kim Petras
  •  American Horror Story Theme - Cesar Davila Irizarry, Charlie Clouser
  •  Cold Cold Cold - Cage The Elephant
  •  Keep Your Head on Halloween - Descendants Cast
  •  Shake Your Bones - Marco Marinangeli
  •  Teeth - Lady Gaga
  •  Zombie - The Cranberries
  •  Close Your Eyes - Kim Petras
  •  (Don’t Fear) The Reaper - Blue Öyster Cult
  •  Thriller (Steve Aoki Midnight Hour Remix) - Michael Jackson, Steve Aoki
  •  Bela Lugosi’s Dead (Official Version) - Bauhaus
  •  The Devil Went Down to Georgia - The Charlie Daniels Band
  •  Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) - Concrete Blonde
  •  Dead Man’s Party - Oingo Boingo
  •  Werewolf, Baby! - Rob Zombie
  •  Every Day Is Halloween - Ministry
  •  There Will Be Blood - Kim Petras
  •  Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Eurythmics, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart
  •  Clap for the Wolfman - The Guess Who
  •  Pet Sematary - Ramones
  •  The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden
  •  Red Right Hand - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Flood
  •  The Boogie Monster - Gnarls Barkley
  •  Bark at the Moon - Ozzy Osbourne
  •  <demons> - Kim Petras
  •  Vampire Heart - HIM
  •  Ghost - Mystery Skulls
  •  I Was A Teenage Werewolf - The Cramps
  •  Living Dead Girl - Rob Zombie
  •  Lil’ Red Riding Hood - Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs
  •  Devil Inside - INXS
  •  They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh! - Sugjan Stevens
  •  The Killing Moon - Echo & the Bunnymen
  •  Halloween - Dead Kennedys
  •  Burn the Witch - Radiohead
  •  Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood - Don Hinson & The Rigamorticians
  •  A Nightmare On My Street - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
  •  Witch Hunt - Rush
  •  Season of the Witch - Donovan
  •  Love Potion No. 9 - The Searchers
  •  Turn Off The Light - Kim Petras, Elvira, Mistress of theDark
  •  Alice - Lady Gaga
  •  Therefore I Am - Billie Eilish
  •  …Ready For It? - Taylor Swift
  •  bloody valentine - Machine Gun Kelly
  •  Bloody Mary - Lady Gaga

Check out our Halloween party playlist on Spotify for easy access and sharing!

Tips for booking a live band or dj to play halloween music:.

  • On The Bash, you can search through a list of top-rated, bookable live bands and DJs in your local area. While browsing, be sure to review vendor profiles and check out their photos and videos.
  • When preparing a request for one of our live bands or DJs, keep in mind that the more details you can provide, the more accurate the price quote you'll receive. If you receive a price quote that seems like it needs clarification, don't hesitate to reach out to the vendor directly to find out more.
  • Make sure you have discussed what supplies the vendor will need for their performance. You'll want to know what they can provide, and what you'll need to have on hand at your event.
  • Communicate your expectations and special requests to any prospective bands or DJs, and make sure to ask about their repertoire — especially if you have a particular song that you would like them to perform or play.
  • If you're planning an outdoor event, be sure to discuss where the vendor will be situated for the best acoustics and conditions for them to perform.
  • Discuss what kind of atmosphere and mood you are hoping to set for your event. The more they know, the better they'll meet your expectations.

For more advice on hiring musical entertainment, here are helpful tips on how to book a band — and be sure to check out these 10 questions to ask before signing a vendor contract .

Find more  Halloween entertainment and party ideas  on The Bash.

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The 71 Best Halloween Songs For Your Spooky October Playlist

pumpkin and halloween music

Halloween, the spookiest day of the year, is a time for casting spells, carving pumpkins and having fun—but the holiday wouldn't be complete without a hauntingly delightful soundtrack. From scary songs with eerie tunes to playful melodies that set the stage for a Halloween dance party, Halloween songs have become an indispensable part of the holiday's vibe.

Whether you're summoning spirits or getting decked out in a Halloween couples costume , our editors have chosen tracks that will provide the perfect Halloween ambiance, no matter the activity. With classics like Michael Jackson's "Thriller" mixed with scary songs from movies and hits like Billie Eilish's "Bury a Friend," we have a feeling you'll want to add these 71 Halloween songs to your Halloween music playlist. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your broomstick, don your vampire fangs, and press play on these Halloween songs to complete your spooky season experience.

Halloween Songs in this Article:

The Knot's Top 10 Halloween Songs

Popular halloween songs, classic halloween songs, halloween movie songs, halloween dance songs, scary halloween songs, halloween karaoke songs.

Woman dancing in halloween costume

The Knot Editors have compiled our absolute favorite Halloween songs to play during the spooky season.

"Superstition," Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" is not only a timeless funk classic, but also a fantastic addition to any Halloween playlist. Thanks to its hauntingly irresistible groove and lyrics that delve into the mysteries of, well, superstitions, it's the perfect Halloween song to play at your Halloween party .

"Freaks Come Out at Night," Whodini

This song's eerie synth-driven beat and catchy lyrics create a slightly spooky vibe, making it a perfect track to play on Halloween. The song's title also captures the essence of Halloween, when the night transforms into a playground for all sorts of ghoulish characters.

"Bury A Friend," Billie Eilish

With its mysterious and unsettling vibes, "Bury A Friend" by Billie Eilish sets a chilling tone that makes it perfect for those looking to add a touch of spookiness to their Halloween celebrations. If the song itself isn't enough, her music video is super creepy, too.

"Red Right Hand," Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Boasting creepy lyrics and a dark, brooding melody, it only makes sense to add this song to your Halloween music playlist. It's also used throughout the popular Peaky Blinders series, which will make it even more enjoyable if you're a fan of the show.

"Boogie Monster," Gnarls Barkley

This catchy Halloween song effortlessly combines soulful melodies with eerie undertones, making it an excellent track for setting the mood for your spooky festivities.

"Haunted," Beyoncé

"Haunted" is a haunting song by Beyoncé, known for its atmospheric production and sultry vocals. It explores themes of desire and passion amidst an eerie backdrop that'll fit into any Halloween music playlist.

"Psycho Killer," Talking Heads

This classic song by the American rock band, Talking Heads, is known for its infectious rhythm and distinctive vocals. Its title alone makes it fit for a Halloween playlist!

"Dracula," Gorillaz

"Dracula" by Gorillaz is a hauntingly melodic track that weaves together elements of electronic music and dark, ethereal lyrics — the perfect components that make a killer Halloween song.

"Vampire," Olivia Rodrigo

While the subject of Olivia's new song is still up for debate, it's a great one to listen to on Halloween — especially if you plan on wearing a vampire costume this year.

"Halloween," Phoebe Bridgers

For a chill, indie Halloween song to listen to while you sip your pumpkin spiced latte or make jack-o'-lanterns, Phoebe Bridgers' "Halloween" will not disappoint.

Halloween dancing

If you're looking for crowd-pleasers, here are some popular Halloween songs to add to your Halloween music playlist.

"Bad Guy," Billie Eilish

This chart-topping hit by Billie Eilish showcases her dark and edgy style, making it a no-brainer when it comes to popular Halloween songs to listen to this October.

"Haunted," Taylor Swift

Swifties won't care what tracks you put on your Halloween playlist, as long as there are a few Taylor Swift songs they can jam out to. This one should make everyone happy this Halloween.

"Heads Will Roll," Yeah Yeah Yeahs

"Heads Will Roll" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs is an electrifying track known for its infectious beat and killer vocals. It'd be a fab addition to a Halloween dance party playlist.

"Creep," Radiohead

This iconic alt-rock song by Radiohead isn't necessarily popular because of Halloween, but its creep-laden lyrics certainly makes it a fitting track to play during spooky season.

"Zombie," The Cranberries

The Cranberries' famous 1990s rock song blends haunting melodies with powerful lyrics, addressing the complexities of political conflict. While it's not about Halloween, the song's repetitive use of the word "zombie" still makes it a good one for the season.

"Witches," Alice Phoebe Lou

If you're looking for indie Halloween songs to add to your witchy playlist, you'll love "Witches" by Alice Phoebe Lou. With lyrics like "I'm one of those witches, babe" and "Me, I've got my own little magic," you could definitely quote it to use as a caption for your next Halloween IG post.

"Surfin' Dead," The Cramps

You'll love the contrast between this song's fun, surf-rock vibe and its awesome lyrics about "the dead." If you're throwing a Halloween party this October, this popular Halloween song is a must-play.

"Monster," Lady Gaga

"Monster," like many of Lady Gaga's songs, is an electrifying and empowering pop anthem known for its infectious beat and bold lyrics. If it isn't already on there, you'll want to add it to your Halloween party playlist ASAP.

"Pet Sematary," The Ramones

This song by The Ramones captures the macabre essence of the Stephen King novel of the same name, evoking a sense of dread and fascination that perfectly fits the spooky spirit of the holiday.

group dressed in classic halloween costumes

Yes, you've probably heard these classic Halloween songs 100 times before, but that doesn't mean they don't belong on your Halloween playlist.

"I Put a Spell on You," Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Featured in Halloween movies like Hocus Pocus , this classic Halloween song is too iconic to be skipped this October.

"Monster Mash," Bobby "Boris" Pickett & The Crypt Kickers

"Monster Mash" has graced Halloween playlists since its release in 1962. Campy? Yes. Timeless and one of the best Halloween songs out there? Also yes.

"Season of the Witch," Donovan

This song's enchanting, otherworldly vibe evokes the mystical and supernatural essence of All Hallows' Eve, creating an atmospheric backdrop for spooky celebrations.

"Scary Monsters (and Super Freaks)," David Bowie

What better time is there than Halloween to groove along to the anthem dedicated to scary monsters and super freaks?

"Somebody's Watching Me," Rockwell ft. Michael Jackson

This classic 80s hit by Rockwell has become a staple on Halloween playlists thanks to its paranoid-ridden lyrics — and the catchy chorus sung by Michael Jackson, of course.

"Spooky, Scary Skeletons," Andrew Gold

Perhaps more playful than spooky, this catchy Halloween-themed song has become a popular choice for Halloween parties and events.

"Don't Fear the Reaper," Blue Oyster Cult

Who doesn't love this classic Halloween song's iconic cowbell? If you "don't fear the reaper," then definitely add this track to your Halloween playlist.

"Werewolves of London," Warren Zevon

"Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon is a rock classic known for its catchy piano riff and funny lyrics, painting a vivid picture of werewolves prowling the streets of London.

"Evil Woman," Electric Light Orchestra

With a groovy, funky vibe featuring Electric Light Orchestra's signature blend of rock and orchestral elements, this Halloween song tells the story of an evil woman.

"Skeleton in the Closet," Louis Armstrong

This oldie from 1936 showcases Armstrong's unique vocal and trumpet talents. While the lyrics delve into a metaphorical exploration of hidden secrets and personal baggage, taken literally, it makes for a great Halloween song.

"Black Cat," Janet Jackson

"Black Cat" by Janet Jackson is known for its sultry lyrics and infectious beat. It's subject matter is perfect for evoking those witchy Halloween vibes.

"Voodoo Child," Jimi Hendrix

This legendary rock song by Jimi Hendrix will certainly spice up your Halloween vibe this October. With his electrifying guitar riffs and lyrics like, "Lord knows I'm a Voodoo Child baby," it's a fool-proof addition to your Halloween playlist.

Quotes from Barbie Movie

Here are some of the best Halloween movie songs to listen to this October.

"This Is Halloween," Danny Elfman — The Nightmare Before Christmas

Whether you're a fan of this Tim Burton classic or not, the famous This is Halloween song is a masterpiece that belongs on every Halloween music playlist.

"The Addams Family Theme," Vic Mizzy — The Addams Family

When it comes to iconic Halloween songs from movies, the theme from The Addams Family is one of the greatest.

"Time Warp," Richard O'Brien — The Rocky Horror Picture Show

With its infectious beat and iconic choreography, this dancefloor classic will bring a splash of campy fun to any Halloween celebration.

"Halloween 1978 Main Theme," John Carpenter — Halloween

When it comes to scary songs to play, John Carpenter's theme from Halloween takes the cake. Play it on your porch for an ultra-spooky night of handing out candy.

"I'm in Love with a Monster," Fifth Harmony — Hotel Transylvania

This upbeat Halloween song from the animated film Hotel Transylvania is a modern pop beat perfect for celebrating Halloween with kids .

"Obituaries," Danny Elfman — Beetlejuice

This quirky tune captures the film's darkly comedic spirit, making it a great choice for anyone who loves a bit of macabre humor in their Halloween music.

"Crystal," Stevie Nicks — Practical Magic

If Practical Magic is your comfort Halloween movie, you'll instantly recognize this song. It's perfect for quiet autumn moments, like taking a walk through nature or making crafts.

"Ghostbusters," Ray Parker Jr. — Ghostbusters

The Ghostbusters theme song is an irresistibly fun Halloween song that everybody knows — making it a fantastic addition to any Halloween music playlist.

Halloween dancing

If you're planning on dancing up a storm this Halloween, make sure to add these Halloween songs to your party playlist.

"Bloody Mary," Lady Gaga

This dark pop song explores themes of fear, temptation and the supernatural — making it perfect for a Halloween dance party.

"Dracula's Wedding," Outkast

When it comes to Halloween songs that are truly on theme with the spooky season, Outkast's "Dracula's Wedding" is a great one. It combines elements of funk, jazz and hip hop while using an imaginative narrative to tell the story of a vampire wedding.

"My Girlfriend is a Witch," October Country

This whimsical and psychedelic song uses playful lyrics and a groovy melody to tell the story of a romantic relationship with a supernatural twist.

"Unholy," Sam Smith ft. Kim Petras

While "Unholy" is a haunting and emotive pop ballad about forbidden love, the use of the word "unholy" makes it work as a Halloween song, too.

"Black Magic," Magic Wands

This hypnotic indie pop song conjures an enchanting atmosphere with its ethereal melodies and lyrics, evoking a sense of mysticism that goes hand in hand with Halloween.

"She Wolf," Shakira

If you like the sound of an upbeat dance song about spooky werewolf goddesses, look no further than Shakira's "She Wolf."

"Debaser," Pixies

This Pixies song never disappoints a crowd who likes to dance. While it doesn't explicitly discuss Halloween, the whole "slicing up eyeballs" moment in the lyrics makes it work with the spooky season vibe.

"There Will Be Blood," Kim Petras

This high-energy pop track channels dark and rebellious vibes, with Petras' powerful vocals and edgy lyrics making it a standout song at any Halloween dance party.

"Howlin' for You," The Black Keys

"Howlin' for You" by The Black Keys is a bluesy rock song with a gritty edge, featuring catchy guitar riffs that'll get people moving 'n' grooving this Halloween.

"Calling All the Monsters," China Anne McClain

This catchy pop song features a Halloween theme, with lyrics that invites everyone to join in the spooky fun. It's a great song to play if there will be kids at your Halloween dance party.

"Thriller," Michael Jackson

What would a Halloween playlist be without Michael Jackson's "Thriller"? Written in 1982, this legendary pop song still gets people on their feet at dance parties.

"Monster High Fright Song," Monster High

This upbeat pop song serves as the theme for the Monster High franchise, celebrating the unique and colorful personalities of its monster characters. It's another great one for hosting a Halloween celebration with kiddos.

"Burn the Witch," Queens of the Stone Age

This hard-hitting rock song with dark and cryptic lyrics features heavy guitar riffs and a sense of foreboding that makes it perfect for a Halloween music playlist.

Group dressed in scary halloween costumes

Whether you're setting the scene for a Halloween murder mystery or a terrifying haunted house, here are some scary songs that belong on your spooky playlist.

"The Phantom of the Opera Overture," Andrew Lloyd Webber

This sweeping orchestral composition will set the stage for your eerie Halloween celebration, just as did for the dramatic and haunting The Phantom of the Opera .

"Suspiria," Goblin

"Suspiria" by Goblin is the main theme from the cult horror film Suspiria . The song is known for its uber-creepy hypnotic melody, making it perfect for setting the vibe at your haunted house.

"Anthem," Michael Abels

This haunting and atmospheric piece from the film Us reflects the scary movie's tension. If you plan on decking out your home in ultra-spooky Halloween decorations, this song would be a great addition to the ambiance.

"Run," Michael Abels

"Run" is another composition from the film Us and is known for its suspenseful and thrilling orchestration — making it the perfect track to add to your scary Halloween songs playlist.

"Stranger Things Theme," Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

This iconic synth-driven piece captures the nostalgic and mysterious vibe of the hit TV series Stranger Things . It'll transport you to "The Upside Down" this Halloween in no time at all.

"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Opening Credits," Netflix

This enchanting theme sets the tone for the dark and magical world of the show, blending elements of witchcraft and the supernatural — which also makes it a great Halloween song to play this October.

"Wednesday Addams Title Sequence," Netflix

This instrumental track features a whimsically eerie melody that captures the quirky and macabre essence of Wednesday Addams. If you loved the Netflix series, you'll definitely want to add this to your Halloween music playlist.

"I Love the Dead," Alice Cooper

"I Love the Dead" by Alice Cooper is a freaky macabre rock song that explores themes of necrophilia and obsession, characteristic of Alice Cooper's theatrical and shock-rock style. Definitely scary.

"X Files," Génération TV

This song will take you back to the days of the hit series, The X-Files . If you're looking for music that'll set a mysterious vibe this Halloween, this creepy tune should do the trick.

"Werewolf, Baby!," Rob Zombie

This scary, high-energy rock song features the gritty guitar riffs and edgy lyrics that embody Rob Zombie's signature blend of horror, heavy metal and shock-rock.

Halloween karaoke

Getting ready to belt your heart out at a karaoke Halloween party? Here are some songs to consider singing for your on-stage debut.

"Disturbia," Rihanna

This electro-pop song has a dark and edgy vibe that's perfect for singing on Halloween. It features catchy hooks that'll pretty much guarantee a good time.

"Little Drop of Poison," Tom Waits

Tom Waits' distinctive vocal style and the song's haunting melody make this song a unique choice, adding a touch of mystery and intrigue to your karaoke performance.

"I Want Candy," Bow Wow Wow

This song's upbeat and playful nature, along with its candy-themed lyrics, will add a fun and lighthearted element to your Halloween karaoke repertoire.

"Purple People Eater," Sheb Wooley

With its humorous lyrics and catchy melody, this novelty song can inject a dose of humor and nostalgia into your Halloween karaoke playlist.

"Witchy Woman," Eagles

The song's mystical and sultry vibe, combined with its well-known chorus, can help you put on a bewitching performance for your Halloween karaoke debut.

"Rhiannon," Fleetwood Mac

The mystical themes of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" make it a timeless classic that can add some serious allure to your Halloween karaoke performance — even more so if you can mimic Stevie Nicks' iconic vocals.

"Cemetery Drive," My Chemical Romance

This song's emotional and raw intensity can suit the darker and more introspective side of Halloween, making it a compelling choice for those who want to explore deeper emotions in their karaoke performance.

"Paint It Black," The Rolling Stones

"Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones features a killer sitar riff and brooding lyrics that can bring a sense of darkness and drama to your Halloween karaoke setlist.

"Spellbound," Siouxsie and the Banshees

The song's hypnotic quality can add an eerie and mesmerizing touch to your Halloween karaoke experience, perfect for those who appreciate more alternative-sounding music.

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47 kids Halloween songs that are exactly the right amount of spooky

There's nothing like a hauntingly good Halloween playlist to help get everyone into the spirit of the season.

Whether you're headed to the patch to pick out a pumpkin for this year's jack-o'-lantern or deciding on a family costume to wear, having the right soundtrack playing in the background is essential to setting the mood, whatever your Halloween activities may be.

That said, the littlest ghouls and goblins in your boo crew might not be quite ready for some of the adult lyrics and scary movie themes popular this time of year, which is why we've gathered a list of the best Halloween songs for kids.

Good news; many familiar classics are here, like Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s iconic “Monster Mash," Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and, of course, the enduring theme song, "Ghostbusters."

In addition to those Halloween favorites, we've got a host of other picks that are just right for preschoolers and tots, like "Six Little Ghosts" by Super Simple Songs, "Spooky Scary Skeletons," by Andrew Gold plus a host of Disney tunes that'll have everyone singing along.

It's up to you to decide which are best-suited for your gang — and by that we mean, there are a few that'll appeal only to passengers still requiring a car seat .

But, hey, it's a kids Halloween songs playlist. So, no tricks here. Just treats for the whole family. And what could be better than that?

We haven't got a boo .

‘This is Halloween’ by The Citizens of Halloween

This crowd pleaser from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is essential on every Halloween playlist — for kids or adults. Even though the lyrics are slightly spooky (“Trick or treat till the neighbors die of right”), it’s all in good fun.

‘Six Little Ghosts’ by Super Simple Songs

Everyone knows that ghosts say “Boo.” And boy do they ever boo in “Six Little Ghosts, a catchy preschool pleaser by Super Simple Songs that riffs off of the old classic “Six Little Ducks.”

'Monster Mash' by Bobby “Boris” Pickett

“Monster Mash” has been the “hit of the land” for decades, making it one of the most popular Halloween songs of all time. We’re not sure exactly what the monster mash is (outside of being a graveyard smash), but either way we’re totally down for it.

'Too Spooky for Me' by Kids TV

If your little ones don't particularly like all the scary things associated with Halloween, then they'll love this song that totally validates that witches, ghosts and things hiding under the bed really are just too darn spooky. Period.

‘The Purple People Eater’ by Sheb Wooley

Although Sheb Wooley never intended this novelty song to become a Halloween classic, this catchy tune about “the one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater” still deserves a spot on the list.

'Five Little Pumpkins' by The Kiboomers

The Kiboomers take an old nursery school song to the next level for Halloween by singing all about everyone's favorite October fruit – the pumpkin! Yep, pumpkins fall into the fruit family, a Halloween fact you probably didn't know.

'Halloween Stomp' by Bounce Patrol

Your little witches and ghosts will be marching around the living room as they listen to the "Halloween Stomp," an infectious kids' Halloween song by Bounce Patrol.

'What's This?" by Jack Skellington

Is this a Christmas song? Halloween song? We're not entirely sure, but since it's sung by the unearthly Jack Skellington in "The Nightmare Before Christmas" we're going with Halloween. Either way, your kids'll love it.

'Halloween' by The New Fangles

Channeling a '60s surfer song, "Halloween" by The New Fangles is a total toe-tapper. After just one listen, you'll be haunted by it's earworm refrain, "Halloween, it's the spookiest thing you've ever seen."

'Monster Party' by Super Simple Songs

The only thing better than a Halloween party is a monster party! Everyone cha-chas in "Monster Party," a spirited salsa-inspired tune by Super Simple Songs.

'Who Let the Ghosts Out' by The Hit Crew

We all know who let the dogs out, but what about the ghosts? They've escaped on Halloween night and whoever's responsible "really blew it," according to this sing-along song by The Hit Crew. Was it you? Boooo!

'Casper the Friendly Ghost' by The Golden Orchestra

This blast from the past by The Golden Orchestra is guaranteed to make children and adults smile with its charming nostalgia and old-timely lyrics devoted to Casper, the friendliest ghost around.

'The Skeleton Dance' by Super Simple Songs

Rattle their bones with this popular preschool tune by Super Simple Songs. "The Skeleton Dance" will have your little goblins up and moving while providing an anatomy lesson at the same time. The foot bone's connected to the leg bone. The leg bone's connected to the knee bone and, well, you can probably guess the rest.

'Cruella De Vil' by Selena Gomez

This classic villan tune from "101 Dalmations" gets a rock 'n' roll makeover from Disney alum, Selena Gomez. Sure, Cruella is pure evil, but kids love to hate puppy-stealing diva.

'Down By the Spooky Bay' by Super Simple Songs

"Down By the Bay" gets a makeover for pint-sized trick-or-treaters. You already know the tune and it won't take long to learn the Halloween-themed lyrics.

'It's Halloween' by Paul James Band

"It's Halloween" sounds like something that belongs in a Disney Halloween movie, even though it's actually an R&B tune by Canadian blues guitar player Paul James. Kids (and adults) will totally love the jazzy vibe and lyrics all about ghosts, goblins and monsters.

'Witch Doctor' by Alvin and the Chipmunks

"Ooh, eeh, ooh, ah, aah, ting, tang, walla, walla, bing bang!" Try repeating that one a few times fast. Follow Alvin and the Chipmunks' lead in this infectious cover of the 1958 tune about seeking the help of a witch doctor to cure a bad case of love.

'Heffalumps and Woozles' by The Disney Studio Chorus

Who knew Winnie the Pooh could be so spooky? This catchy song from the 1977 animated feature, “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," is a little dark, but kids will love it ... even if it gives parents nightmares.

'Grim Grinning Ghosts' by  The Melomen

If you've been on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney theme parks, then you know this one. "Grim Grinning Ghosts" kicks off with a spooky narration by a “ghost host" before launching into a frenetic sing-along. All the ghouls join in before this one's over.

'The Blob' by The Five Blobs

Once upon a time there was a horror movie in the 1950s about a giant, gelatinous blob that killed people by oozing them to death. Though the movie's probably too scary for kids, its theme song certainly isn’t. Recorded by The Five Blobs (how fitting), “The Blob” is as silly as it gets.

'Friends on the Other Side' by Randy Newman

From the 2009 Disney film “The Princess and the Frog,” Randy Newman’s “Friends on the Other Side” is a ragtime-y song about voodoo, magic and all things supernatural. Even though it's mildly sinister, it's not too scary.

'Ghostbusters' by Ray Parker, Jr.

It’s not officially Halloween until you’ve heard “Ghostbusters” at least once. And chances are good you’ll hear it a lot more than that before Halloween is all said and done. One of the most popular Halloween songs of all time, it’s a perennial favorite of kids and adults alike.

'Spooky, Scary Skeletons' by Andrew Gold

Spooky, scary skeletons send shivers down our spine — and so will this trippy tune. Once you've heard this Andrew Gold classic, you won't be able to get it out of your head. Don’t say we didn't warn you.

'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush

Even though “Stranger Things” isn't age-appropriate for little ones, this 1985 Kate Bush song from season 4 made a massive comeback last year and is spooky and inspiring at the same time. Older kids and tweens who've seen "Stranger Things" will know every word.

'The Spooky Bus' by Pinkfong

Set to the theme of “Wheels on the Bus,” this toddler-friendly song swaps out the regular lyrics and replaces them with ghosts and witches. No scares here, except for parents who may not want to listen to it on repeat.

'Hedwig's Theme' by John Williams

Whether they’re a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, press play on “Hedwig’s Theme" and let your kids pretend they're partying at Hogwarts with Harry and friends.

'I Put a Spell on You' by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy

Salem’s cursed witches will be back this Halloween with a sequel to the 1993 film “Hocus Pocus.” No matter what spells the Sanderson Sisters have conjured up for the next installment, relive the magic of the original by listening to their lively version of “I Put a Spell on You.”

'Under My Bed' by Recess Monkey

Recorded by a trio of former school teachers, “Under My Bed” is a jaunty little song about every child’s nightmare: a monster hiding under the bed. Luckily, it’s just a lonely monster looking to make friends.

'Thriller' by Michael Jackson

With ghouls and monsters crawling out of their tombs to seal your doom (and terrorize your neighborhood while they're at it), Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video isn’t for the faint of heart. That said, the song is totally family-friendly and a staple on any Halloween playlist.

'Epic Disney Villains Medley' by Peter Hollens feat. Whitney Avalon

Take the best Disney villain songs of all time, put them together in an a cappella mashup and you get this epic song. Here, beloved villain ditties from “The Little Mermaid” to “Beauty and the Beast" come together in a five-minute medley that kids will adore.

'Jump in the Line' by Harry Belafonte

If you’ve seen “Beetlejuice” you’ll remember Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line” as the song Lydia Deetz dances to at the end of the movie. Sure, it’s not a Halloween song per se, but through the years it’s been embraced as one and its spirited calypso beat makes for a great Halloween singalong.

'Halloween is Almost Here' by Pinkfong

If your little ones are counting down to the big day (Halloween!), then this earworm is just right for them. Adults and older kids probably won’t be able to listen to it more than once or twice, but that’s totally OK since this song is intended for younger kids and tots.

'Jack's Lament' by Danny Elfman

Jack Skellington longs to be something more than just the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. Before he finds something more fulfilling, he sings “Jack’s Lament,” an enchanting, dissonant song that kids and adults both love.

'Somebody's Watching Me' by Rockwell

Back in the ‘80s, this song about being seriously paranoid received a ton of airplay on the radio — before, during and after Halloween. Perhaps, it's because of Michael Jackson's guest appearance.

Disney Halloween Medley' by Jon Cozart Voctave

Hear "Grim Grinning Ghosts" and "This is Halloween" in a whole new way. This a cappella medley wraps up with an eerie invitation to hurry back. Yikes!

'Something Wicked This Way Comes' by John Williams

Something wicked this way comes in John Williams' choral piece from the “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” soundtrack. It’s short, but spooky and features the oft-repeated phrase from William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth": "double, double toil and trouble."

'Spooky' by the Classics IV

Neither a kid’s song nor a Halloween tune, “Spooky” by the Classics IV still manages to strike the right tone. And a marriage proposal on Halloween? There's nothing cuter.

'The Addams Family' by Vic Mizzy

"The Addams Family" theme song is creepy, kooky and altogether ooky, which is exactly why we love it. Add this one to your kids’ Halloween playlist and everyone will be snapping their fingers in unison.

'Epic Halloween Medley' by Peter Hollens

This a cappella medley, featuring "Ghostbusters," "The Monster Mash" and Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” leaves no gravestone unturned.

'Halloween Spooks' by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross find a way to jazz up the spooks of the season in this throwback tune. Ask kids to mimic the Halloween noises — or if that's too challenging, to freestyle their own.

'Guess Who?' by Pinkfong

Halloween can be a scary time for little monsters, but this song by Pinkfong will help take the edge off by introducing them to friendly, non-threatening witches, ghosts, skeletons and monsters.

'Day O (Banana Boat Song)' by Harry Belafonte

Fans of “Beetlejuice” are sure to remember the iconic dinner party scene in which the guests become possessed and perform a haunted (and hilarious) dance to the song “Day O (The Banana Boat Song).” The Harry Belafonte tune has become Halloween standard in the years since the movie’s release.

'Clap for the Wolfman' by The Guess Who

“Clap for the Wolfman” sounds like it was written about werewolves, but it’s actually about a disc jockey nicknamed “Wolfman Jack." The song, however, is totally on-theme and its catchy lyrics guarantee it’ll be a family favorite.

'I Want Candy' by Bow Wow Wow

This song isn’t about Halloween or even dogs for that matter. But it is all about candy and kids will love it for that very reason.

'Scooby-Doo Theme Song' by George A. Robertson Jr.

Jinkies! Shaggy, Scooby and the rest of the gang are as popular today as they were in the '60s. Two versions of the song were recorded for the TV show: one performed by Larry Marks for season 1, and this e. The band Simple Plan also covered the Scooby-Doo theme song in 2002.

'Spooks' by Louis Armstrong

Though "Spooks” was recorded back in 1954, it still holds up today as a snazzy Halloween song for all ages. It starts off with a creaky door and screams, but kids will forget all about it once Louis' voice comes in.

More kid-friendly Halloween fun

  • Halloween activities that kids will love
  • Fun Halloween crafts that are easy enough for kids
  • Family-friendly Halloween movies

Sarah Lemire is a lifestyle reporter at TODAY.com with more than a decade of experience writing across an array of channels including home, health, holidays, personal finance, shopping, food, fashion, travel and weddings. An avid traveler, foodie, helicopter parent and couch film critic, Sarah is originally from Minneapolis and has spent the last two decades unsuccessfully trying to figure out the difference between a hoagie and a sub.

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The 20 scariest pieces of classical music for Halloween

31 October 2022, 12:31 | Updated: 31 October 2022, 16:03

Scariest pieces of classical music for Halloween

By Classic FM

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Pick your poison from these 20 spooky pieces of classical music, from Saint-Saëns to John Williams...

Why does some classical music scare us? Is it loud noises, creepy sounds, or the terrifying stories music can tell?

This Halloween , find out which composers and pieces make us quiver with fear.

Grieg – In the Hall of the Mountain King

Grieg ’s masterpiece of tension-building was supposed to evoke a cave full of trolls, gnomes and goblins. Grieg himself wasn’t a huge fan, though; he once said, “For the Hall of the Mountain King I have written something that so reeks of cowpats, ultra-Norwegianism, and ‘to-thyself-be-enough-ness’ that I can’t bear to hear it, though I hope that the irony will make itself felt.”

spooky old halloween songs

Voice Orchestra sings 'In the Hall of the Mountain King'

Saint-Saëns – Danse Macabre

As the title suggests, this dark little dance by Camille Saint-Saëns has everything required to give the listener the willies. The piece tells the story of Death (a violinist, naturally) making the dead rise from their graves on Halloween and dance to his sinister tune.

Read more: Flautist plays ‘Danse Macabre’ in a creepily coordinated organ duet with herself

spooky old halloween songs

Saint-Saëns' Danse macabre, played on flute *and* organ by Fluterscooter

John Williams – Jaws

It doesn’t seem logical that just two notes could cause such a sense of foreboding, but John Williams managed it. His soundtrack to Spielberg’s Jaws has been keeping people out of the sea since 1975.

Read more: Spielberg told John Williams ‘you can’t be serious!’ when he first heard the Jaws theme

spooky old halloween songs

FSO - Jaws - "The Shark Theme" (John Williams)

Mussorgsky – A Night on the Bare Mountain

Beginning life as a tone poem called St. John’s Night on Bald Mountain , Mussorgsky ’s most famous work was made more famous when it was revised by Rimsky-Korsakov , and then included in the soundtrack from Disney’s Fantasia . Whatever incarnation it’s in, it’s a frightening masterpiece.

spooky old halloween songs

Mussorgsky's 'Night on Bald Mountain' by Melodica Men

Maurice Jarre – Ghost

This one is perhaps more spooky and supernatural than outright scary, but nevertheless, Maurice Jarre ’s score for Ghost is still worth a listen.

spooky old halloween songs

Unchained Melody (Orchestral Version) | Ghost (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Berlioz – Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath from Symphonie Fantastique

Hector Berlioz uses a range of orchestral effects to create the scene of a gathering of witches – violins using the backs of their bows to create bubbling cauldron sounds, the sound of a funeral bell and outbursts of musical laughter.

spooky old halloween songs

Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique - Dream Of A Witches Sabbath

Bernard Herrmann – Psycho

As Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane pulls up at the Bates Motel, suddenly what feels to have been set up as a romantic drama quickly unravels into Hitchcock’s groundbreaking 1960 horror-thriller. It famously features Bernard Herrmann ’s iconic slasher string motif, which has become a cliché for cinematic horror.

spooky old halloween songs

Psycho // The Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Live)

J.S. Bach – Toccata & Fugue in D Minor

This is one of the biggies when it comes to scary music. J.S. Bach ’s thunderous Toccata and Fugue in D minor been used in classic horror films like The Black Cat , Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , and even in Doctor Who .

Read more: A solo viola plays Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor with monumental virtuosity

spooky old halloween songs

Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor played by violist Lech Antonio Uszynski

Jerry Goldsmith – The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone now seems like an old-fashioned spook-fest, but when it came to scoring the 1982 film version of the popular TV show, Jerry Goldsmith stepped in to make it as scary as he could.

spooky old halloween songs

Goldsmith: Twilight Zone: The Movie

Carl Orff – ‘O Fortuna’ (Carmina Burana)

When it comes to pure fury, few can rival Carl Orff . The stately opening of ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana is soon replaced by some intense, pulsing choral work, which basically erupts into a full-on orchestral blaze.

Read more: What are the lyrics to ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana?

spooky old halloween songs

O, Fortuna (Cello Craziness)

Paul Dukas – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Another classic thanks to the influence of a certain Walt Disney, Dukas’ impish theme will forever be associated with images of Mickey Mouse attempting to chop up an army of possessed mops.

spooky old halloween songs

P.Dukas. The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Verdi – ‘Dies Irae’ (Requiem)

When it comes to spine-chilling music, it’s hard to beat Verdi ’s ‘Dies Irae’, or ‘Day of Wrath’. Verdi’s Requiem is an epic achievement in every sense, but this depiction of the day of judgement is pretty unsettling stuff. Turn it up loud.

Read more: What are the lyrics and translation of Verdi’s ‘Dies Irae’ – and which films have I heard it in?

spooky old halloween songs

Verdi’s Requiem: “Dies irae”

Mozart – Don Giovanni

It’s probably safe to say that being dragged into the depths of hell is a scary situation. But few could make it sound as terrifying as Mozart manages to, in Don Giovanni . Listen to the booming bass of the Commendatore as he announces his arrival. Yikes!

spooky old halloween songs

Don Giovanni - Commendatore Scene - EN Sub (Better Quality)

Mahler – Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’

There are two moments in Mahler ’s Symphony No. 2 (nicknamed ‘Resurrection’) where the composer attempted to capture the terror and pain of death in one musical gesture, what has become known as the ‘Death Shriek’. You can judge for yourself whether it works or not, but we advise you to sit down while you listen…

spooky old halloween songs

Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony

Liszt – Totentanz

Liszt was obsessed with all things macabre and explored it frequently in his work. His Mephisto Waltz, Pensées des morts and La lugubre gondola all flirt with the notion of death and the after life. Totentanz (Dance of the Dead) is immediately recognisable by its menacing opening discordant notes in the orchestra and piano, which paves the way for a thrilling 15 minutes of virtuosic and unearthly piano music.

spooky old halloween songs

Liszt: Totentanz ∙ hr-Sinfonieorchester ∙ Bertrand Chamayou ∙ Jérémie Rhorer

Bartók – Transylvanian Dances

Bartók was inspired to write his Sonatina in 1915 after collecting folk tunes in Romania, home to the legendary vampire stronghold, Transylvania. He named the suites the Transylvanian Dances when he arranged them for orchestra.

spooky old halloween songs

Béla Bartók - Tänze aus Siebenbürgen | WDR Funkhausorchester

Williams – Dracula

It’s 1913, and Count Dracula arrives from Transylvania, ready to descend upon Mina Van Helsing and drink her blood. Horror, intrigue and suspense – so who better to compose the film’s soundtrack than movie music genius, John Williams?

spooky old halloween songs

Main Title & Storm Sequence

Rachmaninov – The Isle of the Dead

A plaintive oboe and gloomy clarinets depict the sounds of the oars of Charon cutting through the waters of the river Styx in the solemn opening phrases of Rachmaninov ’s symphonic poem. The music transports our immortal souls to the edge of the underworld in this spooky piece.

spooky old halloween songs

Rachmaninoff - The Isle of the Dead, Op.29 - Vladimir Ashkenazy - Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Copland – Grohg

An adaptation of the Dracula tale, and inspired by the film Nosferatu , Copland completed Grohg around 1925. The music uses jazzy syncopations and cheery melodies with sinister undertones to add to the feel of unease. Copland used this ballet as inspiration for his later Dance Symphony.

spooky old halloween songs

Copland: Grohg - Ballet in one act (1922-5, rev. 1932) - 1. Intro and Cortège. Entrance of Grohg

Wagner – Ride of the Valkyries

This battle-cry is actually quite a triumphant event in the original staging of Wagner ’s Ring Cycle , but thanks to the piece being used to soundtrack helicopters flying through war-torn Vietnam in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now , it’s safe to say that this is officially a scary piece.

spooky old halloween songs

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra – Wagner: Ride of the Valkyries - Ring (Official Video)

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Discover our selection of the best classical music for Halloween featuring the scariest classical music ever composed.

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Best Classical Music For Halloween - featured image

On a cold, dark, winter’s evening, set the scene with the perfect classical Halloween soundtrack. We’ve unearthed the top 20 totally terrifying pieces from the darkest, grisliest corners of the classical canon. Scroll down to discover our selection of the best classical music masterpieces for Halloween – if you dare!

Listen to Halloween Classics on Spotify and scroll down to discover our selection of the best classical music for Halloween .

20: Prokofiev: ‘Montagues and Capulets’ from Romeo and Juliet

Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet is a dramatic musical interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy. The well-known theme from ‘Montagues and Capulets’ depicts the dreadful conflict between these families, which, as we all know, has lethal consequences. The music is driven by an imposing brass section, which marches slowly and somberly, whilst gravelly strings and military-like percussion add a grim sense of foreboding. This piece is also guaranteed to strike terror into the hearts of prospective business partners (as it’s famously used as the theme tune for the BBC show The Apprentice ).

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet / Abbado · Berliner Philharmoniker

19: Dvořák: The Water Goblin

The Water Goblin , an impish symphonic poem, makes for ideal Halloween listening. Dvořák was inspired by this malicious creature of European folklore, said to be responsible for drownings in his watery kingdom, and in particular a poem by Karel Erben. In Erben’s telling of the tale, the goblin kills his own child as punishment for his wife, who escaped him. Dvořák’s characterful score features skittish strings, which creep and leap about, underpinned by harmonic clashes and cruelly-intended brass.

Dvořák: The Water Goblin (Vodnik) , symphonic poem, Op. 107, B. 195

18: Purcell: ‘When I am Laid in Earth’ from Dido and Aeneas

A haunting meditation on the inevitability of death. Having resolved to end her own life, this aria, known as ‘Dido’s Lament’, is an outpouring of grief. The angelic soprano floats hopelessly over a slowly chromatically descending ground bass. The poignant phrase, “remember me” is repeated throughout, etching itself into the memory and returning to haunt the listener from beyond Dido’s grave.

Purcell: When I Am Laid In Earth (Dido&#039;s Lament)

17: Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit

Ravel ’s devilishly beautiful, daringly difficult, piece for solo piano is based on a set of poems and drawings by Aloysius Bertrand, where ‘Gaspard’ is a moniker for Satan. The first movement, Ondine , musically describes a water nymph’s attempts to seduce a man; the second, Le Gibet , depicts the corpse of a dead man hanging on a gibbet; and finally, Scarbo , is about an evil goblin who torments his victims with terrible tricks. In the composer’s own words: “Gaspard has been a devil in coming, but that is only logical since it was he who is the author of the poems.”

Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55 - I. Ondine

16: Shostakovich: ‘Allegro’ from Symphony No. 10

Shostakovich is renowned for his experimentalist, modernistic idiom, as the third movement of his epic tenth symphony attests. A nightmarish headache for performers, this piece is a swirling cacophony of freakish noises: manic strings, shrieking woodwind, grating percussion, angular brass and a whirlwind of uncomfortably unresolved harmonic progressions. Guaranteed to add drama and theatre to your Halloween.

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 in E Minor, Op. 93 - II. Allegro

15: Ligeti: Atmosphères

Ever the modernist, Ligeti’s Atmosphères tears up the rule book and is perhaps more of a foray into sound design than a piece of classical music. Dense, scraping textures, experiments with timbre and harmonic clusters make for a chilling, nails-down-a-blackboard feel to the piece, with no sense of rhythm or metre to guide the lost, vulnerable listener. Perfect for spooky scene-setting – indeed Atmosphères famously featured in Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey – and one of the best pieces of classical music for Halloween.

Ligeti: Atmosphères (1961)

14: Schubert: Der Erlkönig

Der Erlkönig is one of Schubert ’s grislier lieder. The text of Johann van Goethe’s poem tells a tale of a child and his father, pursued by a supernatural being, the Erlking. Schubert paints Goethe’s text vividly: the notoriously fiendish piano part depicts the relentless beating of horse’s hooves, whilst the voice captures increasingly frantic cries from the child and the sweet luring tones of the Erlking, who eventually claims the boy’s life.

Schubert: Erlkönig, D. 328 (Orch. Berlioz) (Live)

13: Rachmaninov: Isle Of The Dead

In this ghostly symphonic poem, one of the best pieces of classical music for Halloween, Rachmaninov creates a stunning yet desolate sonic landscape through masterful use of instrumentation and musical symbolism. Swelling lower strings, irregular surges in the 5/8 time signature and deep, shadowy brass depict oars dragging a small boat through the waters surrounding the Isle Of The Dead . The unnervingly quiet introduction is followed by a quotation of the Dies Irae (meaning ‘Day of Wrath’) plainchant, evoking a sense of hopelessness that this journey will inevitably end in a watery grave.

Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29

12: Wagner: Concert Highlights from Götterdämmerung

Götterdämmerung (‘Twilight of the Gods’) from Wagner ’s monstrous Ring Cycle , Der Ring des Nibelungen , is the ideal soundtrack for a spooky Halloween eve. The concert orchestral version is a wicked delight, with Wagner’s complex and twisted compositional idiom showcased in a disturbingly dark orchestral palette. The score is so heavy and dense, with its epic brass section and brusque lower strings, that it barely lets in the light of day.

Wagner: Götterdämmerung - Concert version / Dritter Aufzug - Siegfried&#039;s Funeral March

11: Bach: Toccata And Fugue In D Minor

Something about the opening notes of Bach ’s Toccata And Fugue In D Minor instantly strikes fear in the listener. Perhaps it’s the blazing pipes of the Draculean organ, or the eerie silences between phrases. Perhaps it’s the villainous semitonal melody, or the rumbling bass pedals beneath, that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Beyond this infamously bloodcurdling theme, Bach composes a dramatic and powerful toccata and fugue, which must be executed with demonic virtuosity.

J.S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565

10: Holst: ‘Mars – The Bringer of War’ From The Planets

Holst ’s musical characterisation of the Red Planet is as dramatic and powerful as it is chilling. Holst builds suspense with brittle chugging col legno strings, undulating woodwind, vast crescendi, violent percussion and awesome lower brass. The distinct lack of regular pulse, obscured by the jagged 5/4 metre, leaves the listener feeling insignificant and lost in an orchestral cacophony.

Holst: The Planets, Op. 32 - 1. Mars, the Bringer of War

9: Liszt: Totentanz

Meaning ‘Dance of Death’, Totentanz is one of many pieces in Liszt ’s oeuvre that points to his fascination with mortality, the afterlife, and the dichotomy of heaven and hell. Totentanz is an unapologetically virtuosic piece for piano with accompanying orchestra, based on the Dies Irae plainchant in 6 variations. In the unrelenting piano part, Liszt plays with light and shade: raging, almost violent passages, with harsh harmonic progressions, are contrasted with lighter, even beautiful, moments.

Liszt: Totentanz, S. 525

8: Grieg: ‘In The Hall Of The Mountain King’ From Peer Gynt

The epic finale to Grieg’s ‘In The Hall Of The Mountain King’ is one epic crescendo. The musical narrative follows Peer Gynt on his adventure through the Kingdom of the Trolls. Tiptoeing pizzicato strings introduce the well-known main theme to one of the best pieces of classical music for Halloween. This theme is repeated through and endlessly builds, intensifies, quickens and crescendos through the orchestra into an almighty frenetic climax. Finally, the choir enter as the Peer is carried away by a malevolent king, echoing the words: “Slay him! Slay him!”

Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 - IV. In the Hall of the Mountain King

7: Chopin: Piano Sonata No.2 In Bb Minor

The third movement of Chopin ’s Piano Sonata No.2 In Bb Minor , or as it is better known, The Funeral March is inextricably linked to mortality. The somber, heavy footsteps of the mourners in the bass of the piano are both heart-breaking and blood-freezing: a sound that has become synonymous with death. This cold, jarring theme is developed throughout the movement, momentarily contrasted with a pastoral trio section, before the funeral theme returns, signifying the omnipresent inevitability of death. This is one of the best pieces of classical music for Halloween and one of the darkest Chopin ever wrote: it was also played at the composer’s own funeral.

Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 2 In B Flat Minor, Op. 35 - 3. Marche funèbre (Lento)

6: Mozart: ‘Dies Irae’ from Requiem in D minor

Mozart ’s Requiem was the last piece he ever wrote: he fell ill during its composition and died before its completion. In a grim, self-fulfilled prophecy, he even commented, “I am writing my own funeral music. I must not leave it unfinished.” This ‘Dies Irae’ is a solemn but mighty setting of the Catholic liturgy, with massive choral forces darkened by intense strings, dense brass and rumbling percussion.

Berliner Philharmoniker &amp; Claudio Abbado – Mozart: Requiem In D Minor: Sequentia: Dies Irae

5: Berlioz: ‘Dream Of A Witches’ Sabbath’ From Symphonie Fantastique

Berlioz ’s Symphonie Fantastique is a programmatic masterpiece, based on the warped, supernatural fantastical imaginings of a mysterious protagonist. The fourth movement, ‘March To The Scaffold’, portrays the protagonist marching to his execution for the murder of his lover – complete with pizzicato bass solo representative of his decapitated head bouncing to the ground. For the finale, ‘Dream Of A Witches’ Sabbath’, Berlioz wrote in the score, “He sees himself at a witches’ sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral. Strange sounds, groans, outbursts of laughter; distant shouts which seem to be answered by more shouts.” As the bells strike midnight, these grotesque otherworldly represented by wailing Eb clarinet solo and ominous lower brass theme. That this bizarre narrative is said to be autobiographical makes Berlioz’s narcissistic symphony, which is one of the best pieces of classical music for Halloween, all the more grotesque.

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 - 5. Songe d&#039;une nuit du Sabbat (Larghetto - Allegro -...

4: Orff: ‘O Fortuna’ From Carmina Burana

‘O Fortuna’ is the immense opening and closing movement of Orff’s cantata Carmina Burana . The theatricality of this piece is what creates the unbearable tension: the quiet, frantic strings, the cold, barely whispering choir, the massive force of the orchestra, but most significantly the sudden eruptions into fortissimo with wailing sopranos and crashing percussion. Used widely in popular culture, perhaps most famously as the soundtrack to the film  The Omen, this is as much a piece of production music as it is a classical tour de force.

André Rieu - O Fortuna (Carmina Burana - Carl Orff)

3: Mussorgsky: Night On The Bare Mountain

Another superbly fantastical narrative, Mussorgsky’s Night On The Bare Mountain is a realist piece that paints a musical pictures of a witches’ sabbath on St John’s Eve. Mussorgsky writes crude harmonies, wild, frenzied strings, bold orchestral effects, and satanic themes that Mussorgsky himself described as “barbarous and filthy”. After a night of chaos, the sunrises over Bare Mountain and the witches vanish, leaving only an eerily tranquil flute solo to end Mussorgsky’s masterpiece.

Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain (Original Version) (Live)

2: Verdi: ‘Dies Irae’ from Messa di Requiem

This is an utterly petrifying choral masterpiece: few pieces have as an iconic an opening as the ‘Dies Irae’ from Verdi ’s Requiem . The unmistakable orchestral stabs and cascade of shrieking voices unleash a musical hellfire upon the listener. A torrent of voices warn of judgement, reckoning and eternal damnation, whilst the orchestra, dominated by trumpets and percussion, hammers home the punishment of eternal damnation for unrepentant souls. Pure Halloween drama.

Verdi: Messa da Requiem - 2a. Dies irae

1: Saint-Saens: Danse Macabre

Saint-Saens explores the supernatural macabre in his chilling orchestral waltz  Danse Macabre , one of the best pieces of classical music for Halloween. The soothing chimes of a bell tolling midnight lulls the listener into a false sense of security, until the infamous violin solo. The sole use of the violin’s open strings creates a bare, jarring quality, illustrating the rising of the ghouls from their graves, before morbid frivolities ensue. An enchanting, yet terrifying, Halloween masterpiece.

Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre, Op. 40

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These Spooky Pop Songs Are Certified Halloween Playlist Bops

Talk about a ghoul time.

Every holiday needs a perfect soundtrack, and while there are countless Christmas songs out there, quality Halloween bops are harder to find. Thankfully, I've got you covered on the perfect playlist to throw on while carving pumpkins, devouring candy, or hosting your next costume party. These pop songs for Halloween playlists will get the party started and are spooktastic from start to finish.

With the right music, any time spent with friends can be a howling good time. Often, pop stars don't set out to make a Halloween-themed song, but add just enough darkness to make it pass for one. For example, Rihanna's "Disturbia" is a staple on the airwaves whenever Halloween rolls around, though, seeing as she released the bop in June, she probably didn't intend for it to be a holiday anthem. The songs on this list are chock-full of brooding melodies, eerie sound effects, or straight up creepy lyrics , so beware: you might want to grab a friend for your at-home listening party. Either way, it's time to cue up each song and get the scary season started right.

1. “Black Magic” — Little Mix

Little Mix’s May 2015 hit “Black Magic” appeared on their third studio album, Get Weird, and if you want to bring an eerie vibe to your next Halloween bash, it’s the perfect pick. Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jesy Nelson even got a little weird in the video.

2. “Ghost” — Katy Perry

Perry brought a hauntingly beautiful sound to her 2018 ballad, “Ghost,” and it’s as emotional as it is ghostly.

3. “Godzilla” — Kesha

Kesha’s “Godzilla” is more silly than it is serious, but it’s still a bop through and through. And as Halloween rolls around, what’s more spooky than a song about a destructive monster?

4. "The Monster" by Rihanna and Eminem

The monster that Rihanna refers to in her collaboration with Eminem is actually herself, and she sings all about the dark side of fame in the 2013 track. The music video is equally dark, and I'm so here for an introspective spooky bop on All Hallows’ Eve.

5. “Killer” — Phoebe Bridgers

Yes, Bridgers’ “Killer” is as dark as it sounds. The alt pop singer is known for her angsty hits, and this 2018 song will break your heart, then put it back together.

6. "Sweet But Psycho" by Ava Max

If the blood curdling scream at the beginning of "Sweet But Psycho" doesn't give you the chills, I don't know what will. Max's debut single crept its way to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart , and it was her first-ever top 10 song in the U.S. Surely, the screech she incorporated helped grab attention.

7. "My Strange Addiction" by Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish has spooky vibes down to a science. Since the inception of her career, Eilish has been anything but your "typical" pop star, and her music is far from bubble gum pop. "My Strange Addiction" is one of the most-haunting tracks off her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, which also included an incredibly creepy cover .

8. "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish

Another spooky bop from Eilish's debut album? Yes, please. Eilish swears she's "only good at being bad" in track two off When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, and her slithering voice throughout the bop makes me believe it.

9. "Close Your Eyes" by Kim Petras

Make way for the Halloween queen. Petras loves the spooky holiday so much, she released an entire album dedicated to it. Her Halloween-themed album Turn Off the Light arrived in October 2019, and "Close Your Eyes" was just one of the many scary songs included.

10. "Cannibal" by Kesha

The title of Kesha's November 2010 song is already creepy enough, but her lyrics really take the spooky factor to the next level. In "Cannibal," Kesha sings, " I eat boys up, breakfast and lunch, Then when I'm thirsty, I drink their blood, Carnivore, animal, I am a cannibal ."

11. "Disturbia" by Rihanna

It's simply not Halloween season until someone plays "Disturbia." Like I said, the dark track has become a Halloween staple, and if you're not including it on your Halloween playlist, you're doing it wrong.

12. "Bloody Mary" by Lady Gaga

In all honesty, Lady Gaga makes it feel like Halloween all year round. Fans never know what bizarre, outlandish costume Mother Monster is going to step out in, and she always keeps them on their toes. It's no wonder she has a few spooky songs under her belt.

13. "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift

"Bad Blood" isn't scary per say, but it was definitely daring for Swift upon its October 2014 release date. The song's lyrics were reportedly rooted in her feud with Katy Perry , though the two pop stars have since patched things up.

14. "RIP" by Arizona Zervas

After rising to fame with his hit "Roxanne" (and totally taking over TikTok), Zervas' follow-up arrived just in time for the spooky season. "You only love me when you're lonely/ I put the roses in the grave," he sings on "RIP."

15. "There Will Be Blood" by Kim Petras

With 17 spooky tracks in her Halloween-themed album, Kim Petras was deserving of multiple spots on this list. In "There Will Be Blood," she urges listeners to "run for your life," and the chilling track will have your heart beating a little faster.

16. "Ghost" by Halsey

In Halsey's "Ghost," the ghost of the track is actually a former lover — one Halsey can no longer seem to find. The 2014 track was one of her earliest singles, and paved the way for all of her best singles to come .

17. "Haunted" by Beyonce

You can't talk pop music without talking Queen Bey. "Haunted" isn't exactly a Halloween song, but Bey's powerful lyrics about the haunting reality of society will still give you the chills.

18. "Gods & Monsters" by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey's entire Born To Die album had a morbid feel to it, but "Gods & Monsters" especially did. The song was even included in an episode on American Horror Story , solidifying it's spot among pop's spookiest bops.

19. "Voodoo" by Nick Jonas

Jonas brought the magic with "Voodoo" in June 2016, penning a song all about the feeling of being too attached to a lover. The song coincided with a psychedelic music video filmed in New Orleans, and it included plenty of creepy imagery.

20. "Thriller" by Michael Jackson

You can't knock a classic. Since being released in November 1982, "Thriller" has been the soundtrack to countless Halloween bashes, haunted houses, and dance parties. After the King of Pop delivered the ultimate spooky bop, his album of the same name went on to become the world's best-selling music album in history .

This article was originally published on 10.22.20

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How I learned to stop worrying and love Edgar Allan Poe

Glen Weldon at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)

Glen Weldon

spooky old halloween songs

If your love for Edgar Allan Poe has been gently rapping, rapping at your chamber door, just embrace it and watch Netflix's The Fall of the House of Usher because it is a hoot and a half. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

If your love for Edgar Allan Poe has been gently rapping, rapping at your chamber door, just embrace it and watch Netflix's The Fall of the House of Usher because it is a hoot and a half.

Edgar Allan Poe. The Bard of Baltimore.

You know him, and you know his work. Admit it: Back in high school, you couldn't get enough of the guy. His whole haunted, hollow-eyed vibe perfectly matched your hormonal, moody, indoor-kid energy. He was goth before Dracula, he was emo before Philips.

Quoth The Raven: 'Baltimore'

Halloween Tricks And Audio Treats

Quoth the raven: 'baltimore'.

Nevermore? Mysterious Visits To Edgar Allan Poe's Grave Declared Over

The Two-Way

Nevermore mysterious visits to edgar allan poe's grave declared over.

You devoured his stuff, carefully tucking away his musty-dusty vocabulary words for that longed-for day when you could bust them out, all at once in a raging torrent, to show your bullies and detractors just how smart and dark and cool you were. You kept those words of his – words like fervid and miasma and inhume and surcease – on a low, steady boil inside your head, waiting. Waiting.

You thrilled to his tales of the macabre and mysterious, you pretended to understand all the Classical references in his poetry. He was the perfect companion throughout your teenage years; whenever you'd slam your bedroom door or performatively fling yourself across the furniture or let out one of your long, wet sighs of disaffection and self-pity, he was there to say, Yes, exactly, I get it, you're special, you're different, they don't understand you and they never will .

And then you went away to college, and Poe, suddenly, wasn't cool anymore.

For Shy Girl, Poe's Rapping And Tapping Inspired More Than Fear

PG-13: Risky Reads

For shy girl, poe's rapping and tapping inspired more than fear.

'The Raven's Tale:' O, For A Muse Of Angst

Book Reviews

'the raven's tale:' o, for a muse of angst.

Who knows why it happened. Maybe it was your jerk of a Freshman English professor, who sniffily dismissed his prose as overripe and purple and – most woundingly – fervid . Or maybe it was that time you read one of his poems aloud and realized that the rigid rhyme schemes you'd previously savored for their steady, inexorable drumbeat now made his poetry sound weirdly simplistic, like so many bouncy commercial jingles commissioned by Despar itself. Maybe it was how everyone around you had now moved on to the lurid, gore-flecked immediacy of Stephen King and Clive Barker to get their literary willies, and only rolled their eyes at Poe's baroque and comparatively prim diversions.

Or maybe it was the whole "married his 13-year-old cousin" thing.

I was thinking about all this as I watched writer/director Mike Flanagan's pretty terrific The Fall of the House of Usher, all eight episodes of which drop on Netflix next Thursday.

spooky old halloween songs

Samantha Sloyan as Tamerlane in The Fall of the House of Usher. Eike Schroter/Netflix hide caption

Samantha Sloyan as Tamerlane in The Fall of the House of Usher.

Like some of Flanagan's other Netflix work ( The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, The Midnight Club ), Usher takes several works by a given author (in the aforementioned examples, Shirley Jackson, Henry James and uh ... Christopher Pike, respectively), tosses them into a narrative blender and presses liquefy.

The result is a spooky, darkly funny tale made to get gobbled up over a crisp and chilly October weekend. It follows the rough outline of the Poe short story it's named for (doomed siblings Roderick and Madeline Usher, an old house, a cursed bloodline, etc.). But Flanagan stuffs every episode with references to other Poe-etical works.

A priest delivers a sermon that turns out to be a mashup of several Poe grief poems (which has the knock-on effect of making Catholicism sound ... even gothier than usual, if you can imagine). Characters turn up with names like Tamerlane and Prospero and Annabel Lee and – wait for it – Lenore. There's a deadly masquerade and a black cat and a tell-tale heart and an immurement (which is the walling up of someone in an enclosed space – but you knew that already, having read Poe as a kid).

We big-time professional TV critics have a specific term of art that we reserve for shows like The Fall of the House of Usher , thusly:

Hoot and a half. This show is a hoot and a half.

It made me remember how much I love Poe and always have, though I spent far too many years nervously disavowing him. But life's too short to pretend not to love the things you love. Look, there's a time and place for the spare, flinty, minimalist, you-can-bounce-a-quarter-off-it prose of your Raymond Carvers and your Lydia Davises. But there's also a time and place for phantasmagorical miasmas hanging low over the sullen waters of a black and lurid tarn, you know? (A tarn is a small lake.) (But again: You knew that.)

It's October. Treat yourself. Get some apples, walnuts and Stilton cheese, the stinkier the better. Pour yourself a sherry – you can get your hands on a bottle of Amontillado for like 13 bucks. Then grab a cider donut and curl up on the couch to watch The Fall of the House of Usher and then, as the light just beyond your chamber door starts going all crepuscular (read: around twilight), dive headfirst into one of Poe's more quaint and curious volumes.

You can do that. You may have cruelly and faithlessly ghosted him in college, but he's still there, waiting for you.

This piece also appeared in NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter so you don't miss the next one, plus get weekly recommendations about what's making us happy.

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  • Edgar Allan Poe

WCSH-TV Portland, ME

WCSH-TV Portland, ME

Here's how you can make your house a spooky neighborhood sensation

Spooky season is here and if you’re looking for decoration ideas, Rich Brooks from Flyte New Media has you covered. He picked out some of his favorites from audio recordings to video projections.

With Halloween right around the corner, we decided to talk to our tech guru about how technology could make this Halloween spookier than ever. 

What technological terrors do you have for us this year?

I really wanted to focus on how tech could help set the mood when trick-or-treaters come to call. In years past I've shown scary movies projected on a sheet on our front window, but there's always an ebb and flow to the horror, so I went looking for something with a more consistent spooky vibe.

What I found were downloadable videos that consistently show ghosts, goblins, witches, zombies, or whatever ghouls you want to haunt your house. You can display these right on your window. These are downloadable digital files, and you'll still need a projector to make it work.

There are plenty of options out there, but I found a good collection of ones at AtmosFX.com.

What else can we do to set the mood?

Decorations are critically important, and obviously, you can find plenty at local party stores. But if you can't find the exact horror-themed candy dish or spooky decoration, what can you do? Well, a lot of people are turning to 3D printers to create just the creepy vibe that's in their head.

Now, if you do have access to a 3D printer, you don't need to start from scratch. I found a number of sites with downloadable instructions so you can quickly create your own, or use it as a jumping-off point for your own creativity. Printables and Thingiverse are just two websites with plenty of downloadable files you can use.

When I think of Halloween, I often think of great playlists or spooky sound effects. Can technology help us there?

I feel the same, so I went looking for an AI tool that can generate text-to-audio. In other words, if I say I want a werewolf howling or distant screams, it should be able to create it. Unfortunately, the only AI tools that offered sound effects as an output weren't so great; I couldn't recognize the sounds it was making, so that was a bust.

So, I turned to streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music, both of which offer creepy Halloween sound effects as well as pre-made Halloween-themed playlists. Unfortunately, most of the playlists are songs you've heard on every Halloween playlist ever, so I turned to ChatGPT and asked it for a playlist that was more deep cuts, staying away from overplayed songs like Monster Mash, and got a great collection of music to play.

See, that's something new: turning to AI to help set the mood. Any other ways you used AI in your Halloween prep?

Absolutely! I turned to image-generation tool Midjourney to generate some spooky images.

First, in case you have some young children and you're looking for activities to keep them busy before trick or treating starts, you can use a prompt like "Halloween coloring book for kids, black and white, no shading..."

For people who like their Halloween more festive than spooky, you can create cutouts like this: "happy pumpkins on a white background."

Or, if you want to create a spooky setting with a Maine flavor that you can either cut out and use for a decoration or use with a projector against your window, you can create images like this with prompts like "creepy night in Maine set by the coast with a lighthouse."

I also generated some creative, Halloween-themed snack ideas through Chat-GPT. However, since AI doesn't have any taste buds, it might be a good idea to give these a trial run before serving them at your party.

Great ideas... any other suggestions for making your Haunted House the talk of the neighborhood?

Well, you could make it next level like this homeowner in California who used an army of drones and LED lights to create an unbelievable Halloween light show.

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Here's how you can make your house a spooky neighborhood sensation

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Things To Do | 8 spooky Bay Area home displays to explore for…

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Things to do | 8 spooky bay area home displays to explore for halloween — and revisit at christmas, these holiday enthusiasts elaborately decorate their yards for halloween, then quickly turn around and deck their homes with lots and lots of lights for christmas.

Steven Foster with Halloween decorations at his mom’s house on Topaz Street in Redwood City, Calif., on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Foster, of Belmont, decorates his childhood home every year. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

In every neighborhood, there are the houses whose owners really have fun decorating for Halloween, erecting towering skeletons, giant faux spiderwebs or inflatable scary clowns.

But here are eight Bay Area homeowners who go even more over the top in creating uniquely extravagant displays — and not just for Halloween. They also are known for extending their festive extravagance into the winter holidays, rating special mentions on the California Christmas Lights website, which provides a comprehensive list of holiday lights displays.

In October, these holiday enthusiasts transform their yards into elaborate haunted mansions, graveyards and other spooky scenes. Then, starting Nov. 1, they break down the scary stuff and replace it with winter wonderlands of snow-people, Santas and lots and lots of lights. You could say these homes offer a one-stop-shop for holiday displays, doing a rapid Halloween-to-Christmas turn-around in order to keep up the holiday spirit all through the fall and into the winter.

Livermore’s pumpkin light show

When Elizabeth Berry-Polash and her husband, Lane Berry Jr., lived in Newark, their friends knew them as the couple who got really creative for Halloween. When they moved to Livermore, they carried on this Halloween tradition and began to dress up their house for Christmas, too.

Elizabeth Berry Polash and her daughter Harley, 3, with Halloween decorations at their home on Riesling Circle in Livermore, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. Her and her husband Lane have been decorating their house for the past three years. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

That’s because their new home is on Riesling Circle, a street known in the Tri-Valley area for its Christmas season lights displays. In fact, Riesling Circle is included in the annual Livermore WIne Trolley Lights of Livermore Holiday Tour.

Going out all for the holidays became especially important for the Berrys when they moved Livermore in early 2020, just before their daughter, Harley, was born and the world went into COVID-19 lockdown.  “We didn’t have a connection to the community,” Berry-Polash said. “As we sheltered in place, we did this as a way to connect to the community.”

Halloween decorations at the home of Lane Berry and his wife Elizabeth Berry Polash on Riesling Circle in Livermore, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. The couple have been decorating their house for the past three years. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

For Halloween, the couple and their friend, Sean Willis, of Pixel Creative Designs in San Jose, use projection mapping to create a light-and-sound show that features pumpkins appearing on their roofline, “coming to life, to sing songs and tell jokes,” Berry-Polash said.

The yard is filled with a spooky graveyard, large spiders and some legendary Halloween characters. Given that this tradition began during lockdown, Berry-Polash said they’ve designed their Halloween and Christmas displays so they can be viewed by people who want to stay in their cars and hear what the pumpkins have to say by tuning into a local radio station.

Details: The Berrys usually have their display up and running the week before Halloween, with their shows running nightly through Oct. 31: 1155 Riesling Circle, Livermore.

‘Haunted Mansion’ meets Tim Burton

Every year, the Christmas light show at Steven Foster’s childhood home in Redwood City gets bigger every year, but Halloween is even “more of a labor of love.”

spooky old halloween songs

Foster is a fan of both Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” ride and Tim Burton’s 1993 fantasy, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” So, the theme of his display is Haunted House meets Halloween Town, with a giant Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, presiding over all the ghoulishness.

“I have the 13-foot Jack Skellington because of course I had to have that,” Foster said. Foster also filled the yard with elaborate Jack-o-Lanterns, various skeletal creatures, Christmas trees covered in spider webs, and a giant, man-eating wreath, inspired by the character in Burton’s film. Faux candles, flickering along the roof and front fence, provide a “moody feel,” Foster also said.

Details: The Foster Family Halloween display can be seen nightly through Halloween: 411 Topaz St., Redwood City, http://californiachristmaslights.com/Properties/Detail.asp?i=199

A scary ride in San Leandro

People passing along bustling Estudillo Avenue into downtown San Leandro may do a double-take as they pass the home of real estate broker Antonio Cardenas.

Antonio Cardenas decorates his front yard for the Halloween holiday season on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in San Leandro, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

Cardenas’ idea of Halloween lawn art is even more unusual in that it is mostly made of recyclable materials, including plastic water bottles, chicken wire and landscaping materials. About 15 years ago, his wife dared him to create Halloween decorations made of materials that he could find in a re-use bin. A few years ago, he built a train using such materials. Another year, he replicated one of the pirate ships from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. This year’s challenge involved studying equine anatomy to build a credible sculpture of a horse made out of conduit pipe and chicken wire.

After Thanksgiving, Cardenas will replace his skeletal coachmen with Santa, and the spooky paraphernalia will be replaced by candy canes, brightly wrapped presents and festive, twinkling lights — mostly all solar.  “I do it for the fun of it,” said Cardenas. “It puts my mind to work, and keeps me going.”

Details: Cardenas’ hearse can be viewed nightly through Halloween, 975 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro, californiachristmaslights.com/Properties/Detail.asp?i=496

And, here are five more homes that put on spectacular shows for Halloween and Christmas, with details provided by the California Christmas Lights website.

San Jose: 1408 Kimberly Drive, http://www.CaliforniaChristmasLights.com/Properties/Detail.asp?i=1127

San Jose: 494 Greendale Way, http://www.CaliforniaChristmasLights.com/Properties/Detail.asp?i=1340

Pleasanton: 5926 Via Del Cielo, http://californiachristmaslights.com/Properties/Detail.asp?i=1339

Livermore: 3648 Montrose Place: http://www.CaliforniaChristmasLights.com/Properties/Detail.asp?i=1354

Redwood City: 752 Valota Road, http://www.californiachristmaslights.com/Properties/Detail.asp?i=1158

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  2. Spooky Halloween Horror Music (Scary Haunted House Songs)

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  3. Beyond the Monster Mash: The Ultimate Halloween Song List!

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  4. Spooky Sound Stories For Halloween

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  5. Spooky Halloween Songs For Kids

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  6. Five Spooky Skeletons

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  1. There's A Scary Pumpkin and Halloween Song for Children

  2. Ha Ha It's Halloween Night, Spooky Song #shorts

  3. 🎃👻 𝘢 𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘺!

  4. Halloween song

  5. Friday Night Frolics

  6. Spooky Old Macdonald Song #shorts #halloween #horrorstories

COMMENTS

  1. Vintage Halloween Songs

    1 Jack, You're Dead! Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five 02:32 2 Strange Enchantment Marion Mann, Bob Crosby & His Orchestra 03:11 3 Shoo Shoo Boogie Boo Ethel Waters 02:50 4 Headless Horseman Kay Starr 02:54 5 Nightmare Artie Shaw & His New Music 02:49 6

  2. 13 Vintage Halloween Songs from the 1910's, 20's, & 30's

    13 Vintage Halloween Jazz Songs from the 1940's, & 50's - Visualized Playlist History Tea Time with Lindsay Holiday 410K views 7 years ago Spooky Swing - Electro Swing Halloween Mix 2021 🎃...

  3. A Good Hour of Old Classic Halloween Songs

    A Good Hour of Old Classic Halloween Songs. This old Halloween music playlist combines the best Halloween oldies of all time with some special old Halloween ...

  4. Best Halloween Songs: 60 Scary Songs For All Hallows' Eve

    57: Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I Put a Spell On You No Halloween songs playlist would be complete without Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell On You" It's been covered countless times, but...

  5. 68 Best Halloween Songs of All Time to Add to Your Playlist

    holidays 65 Halloween songs to get the party started Put these creepy classics, spooky rock anthems and karaoke tunes on this year's playlist. Inside the evolution and history of horror...

  6. 36 Best Halloween Songs for a Spooky Party 2023

    1. 'Ghost Town' by The Specials Okay, so technically this song is about unemployment, inner-city violence and urban decay, not decaying flesh.

  7. 54 Best Halloween Songs for 2023

    "Thriller" by Michael Jackson A must-have for any playlist of best Halloween songs, "Thriller" is iconic, with horror-movie actor Vincent Price's sinister-sounding narration and Michael Jackson's...

  8. 31 Of The Best Halloween Songs: Spooky Playlist

    2. "Ghostbusters" By Ray Parker Jr. The supernatural comedy film Ghostbusters is a cultural phenomenon popular among kids and adults. Its theme song, "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr., is equally popular, topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. What makes the song appealing is its catchy tune and supernatural-themed lyrics.

  9. The Best Halloween Songs To Usher in the Spooky Season

    It contains such hits as ' Drac the Knife ,' ' I Want to Bite Your Hand ,' and ' Monster Bossa Nova .'. Several decades and hundreds, if not thousands, of other albums later, it's ...

  10. 13 Spooky Songs to Listen to This Halloween

    Halloween Heads Will Roll Monster Mash Season of the Witch Somebody's Watching Me Spooky Songs The List The Monster This Is Halloween Thriller Werewolves Of London Witchy Woman Zombie...

  11. 60 Best Halloween Songs to Add to Your 2023 Playlist

    1 "Halloween Theme" by John Carpenter John Carpenter - Halloween 1978 (main Theme) Watch on This song might not have any words, but the minute the sinister beats starts, it becomes instantly recognizable! Don't worry, playing it won't summon Michael Myers at your doorstep. 2 "Heffalumps and Woozles" by The Disney Studio Chorus

  12. Best Halloween songs, including Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Michael Jackson

    Michael Jackson, 'Thriller'. Vincent Price was put to better use by Alice Cooper in a very similar scenario on "Welcome to My Nightmare." But Price is really good here, too. And while it may work ...

  13. 120+ Best Halloween Songs for Your Party Playlist

    1. "The Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett This classic Halloween song is a great way to shake the spookies out before they go trick-or-treating! 2. "Halloween Sharks" by Pinkfong If your...

  14. 53 Best Halloween Songs for Your Spooky Playlist 2023

    1. "Monster Mash" — Bobby (Boris) Pickett Watch on Yes, you've heard it all before. No, it has not gotten any less catchy — or less of an absolute essential Halloween classic! ADD TO YOUR...

  15. Halloween songs: a 66-song playlist for your Halloween party

    Listen to our playlist of the ultimate Halloween songs to make your party extra spooky below, and check out all of NME's Spotify playlists over on our Spotify page. 1 The Cure - 'Lullaby'

  16. 15 Lesser-Known Halloween Songs to Put You in a Spooky Mood

    Put aside "The Monster Mash," "Thriller," and the Ghostbusters theme. Spin these lesser-known songs in the lead up to All Hallows' Eve instead. 1. "A Nightmare on My Street," The Fresh ...

  17. 76 Top Pop, Rock, and Country Songs for Your Halloween Party

    Have an eerie good time! 1. "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt Kickers. So you're a mad scientist who is hard at work in your laboratory late one night ( work with me here, people ). The monster you're trying to create suddenly rises from his stupor. Awake, he starts to dance his electrodes off. Quick.

  18. 40 Halloween Songs To Welcome Spooky Season

    No matter how old you are, there's a perfect Halloween song to put you in a spooky mood, whether it's an obvious Halloween music classic like Monster Mash, or it's a song with a more subtly...

  19. 120 Songs for Your Halloween Party Playlist

    Howlin' for You - The Black Keys. Ain't No Rest for the Wicked - Cage The Elephant. Paint It, Black - The Rolling Stones. Knives - Kim Petras. American Horror Story Theme - Cesar Davila Irizarry, Charlie Clouser. Cold Cold Cold - Cage The Elephant. Keep Your Head on Halloween - Descendants Cast. Shake Your Bones - Marco Marinangeli.

  20. The 71 Best Halloween Songs For Your Spooky October Playlist

    The 71 Best Halloween Songs For Your Spooky October Playlist From upbeat dance beats to scary songs from horror movies, we've got your Halloween music playlist covered. Photo: Chattrawutt / Getty by Brittany Barber Updated Sep 28, 2023

  21. These Kids' Halloween songs are just the right amount of spooky

    In addition to those Halloween favorites, we've got a host of other picks that are just right for preschoolers and tots, like "Six Little Ghosts" by Super Simple Songs, "Spooky Scary...

  22. Halloween Music & Creepy Music

    Halloween Music & Creepy Music | 5 HOUR Halloween Mix (89 Original Tracks) - YouTube 0:00 / 5:10:44 Halloween music & creepy music that features spooky music about vampires,...

  23. 8 creepy songs to add to your perfect Halloween playlist

    Continuing my article from last year that lists 15 tracks to get you ready for the spooky season, here are eight more songs for you to add to your perfect Halloween playlist: "Dead As F**k" by ...

  24. Spooky Halloween Songs Playlist Relaxing Halloween Music ...

    Spooky Halloween Songs Playlist 🎃 Relaxing Halloween Music Playlist 👻 Halloween Background MusicCreate a spooky and fun atmosphere with these Halloween son...

  25. The 20 scariest pieces of classical music for Halloween

    J.S. Bach - Toccata & Fugue in D Minor. This is one of the biggies when it comes to scary music. J.S. Bach 's thunderous Toccata and Fugue in D minor been used in classic horror films like The Black Cat, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and even in Doctor Who. Read more: A solo viola plays Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor with monumental ...

  26. Best Classical Music For Halloween: Top 20 Most Terrifying Pieces

    20: Prokofiev: 'Montagues and Capulets' from Romeo and Juliet Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet is a dramatic musical interpretation of Shakespeare's tragedy. The well-known theme from 'Montagues...

  27. These Spooky Pop Songs Are Certified Halloween Playlist Bops

    1. "Black Magic" — Little Mix. Little Mix's May 2015 hit "Black Magic" appeared on their third studio album, Get Weird, and if you want to bring an eerie vibe to your next Halloween ...

  28. Reembrace your creepy old pal Edgar Allan Poe in 'Fall of the House of

    There's a deadly masquerade and a black cat and a tell-tale heart and an immurement (which is the walling up of someone in an enclosed space - but you knew that already, having read Poe as a kid ...

  29. Here's how you can make your house a spooky neighborhood sensation

    S pooky season is here and if you're looking for decoration ideas, Rich Brooks from Flyte New Media has you covered. He picked out some of his favorites from audio recordings to video ...

  30. 8 best spooky Bay Area home displays to explore this Halloween

    8 spooky Bay Area home displays to explore for Halloween — and revisit at Christmas These holiday enthusiasts elaborately decorate their yards for Halloween, then quickly turn around and deck ...