Six Must-Play Songs About Halloween

It's the time of year when lots of people are putting together a playlist of songs for Halloween and Halloween parties, and plenty of spooky tunes to choose from. But rather than just throw on a bunch of novelty songs like "Monster Mash," it might be more fun to try to find tunes that are played less often.

For some reason, even though Halloween is gaining on Christmas in popularity, there are a ton of Christmas songs, and not so many paying tribute to the darker holiday. Yet we can always hope for more.

"This Is Halloween," Danny Elfman In 1993, Tim Burton and a crew of very talented artists created The Nightmare Before Christmas, which remains one of the most ambitious stop-motion puppetry films ever made. The story of Jack Skellington and his town of monstrous pals, all responsible for scaring people on Halloween, has since become a huge cult classic.

Besides the movie's amazing visuals, thought, the score and songs by Burton's collaborator Danny Elfman also stand out. "This Is Halloween" remains one of the finer songs celebrating the holiday.

"Everyday Is Halloween," Ministry Originally released in 1984, during the influential industrial rock band Ministry's very early days, this catchy tune a perennial favorite at underground industrial and gothic dance clubs such as Houston's own Numbers. It defends those of us who were into darker things and out of step with "normal" society. To this day, myself and quite a few of my friends really do feel like every day is Halloween.

"Halloween Girl," Seraphim Shock Combining elements of gothic, industrial and metal, Seraphim Shock packs some heavy riffage into several songs that name-drop our darkest holiday. This rockin' song from their 2004 album Halloween, Sex 'N Vegas seems to describe the types of women I usually dated in the past. It's a fun tune, and perfect for that Halloween-party mix tape.

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"Halloween," Siouxsie and the Banshees When the Banshees' seminal album Juju was released in 1981, it was a thematic move into dark territory. "Halloween" adequately fit that bill with a spooky post-punk sound and downbeat lyrics evoking past memories of trick-or-treating and a suggestion of murder. The creepy, rolling bass line and atmospheric guitar work as a perfect backdrop for Siouxsie's unique vocals.

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"Halloween," Helloween Helloween is a German power-metal band that has been around for 30 years now. They are considered pioneers of the subgenre, which is similar to speed-metal but with notable differences and a less dissonant sound than thrash-metal bands like Slayer.

I usually preferred the heavier stuff like Celtic Frost, but Helloween's 1987 tribute to the holiday has a seriously catchy chorus and some great guitar pushing things along. The lyrics mention trick-or-treating, the Peanuts gang's search for the "Great Pumpkin," and warn of sinister spirits that will be stalking the streets soon. It's all pretty goofy, but the chorus makes it all worthwhile.

"Halloween," The Misfits The Misfits are well-known nowadays, but way back in the '80s, they were sort of a secret - a horror-punk band with a comic-book monster image that was unique at the time. The band released the song as a 7-inch single on October 31, 1981 on their own label, Plan 9 Records. The melody is catchy, and lead singer Glenn Danzig belts out some of the darkest lyrics about Halloween ever recorded:

Bonfires burning bright, Pumpkin faces in the night, I remember Halloween Dead cats hanging from poles, Little dead are out in droves, I remember Halloween...

And that's just the beginning of the song; it only gets scarier from there.

Six Must-Play Songs About Halloween
Photo by Chris Lane

Halloween is many people's favorite day of the year, and some of us take it very seriously indeed. There are entire genres of music for fans of things that are spooky or scary, but fewer actual songs that actually mention Halloween by name. These are a few suggestions for anyone wanting to dig a little deeper.

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