Some years ago, I deejay'd for an online radio station which doesn't exist any longer. On my show, I took to doing themes. Around September eleventh of one year, I played all the songs located on Clear Channel's list of questionable songs, including a half dozen or so songs by Rage Against The Machine. When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit, I played as many songs as I could find which had something to do with weather. That was fun. One October, I decided to go for the Halloween theme for a couple weeks, so I amassed the list below.

A list of this sort is an intermittent (pseudo-annual) work in progress, but this list is arguably one of the more extensive you will find on the Internet. I welcome any and all suggestions for inclusions or commentary about present inclusions. I posted this list elsewhere on the Web when I started it, but I've noticed that E2 is one of the few places that didn't either disappear off the web or remove my list after some cobwebs developed. I've decided I'm going to break this list up into two groups. The first is Artists, and the second is Songs.

The first list contains talented bands or people whose work largely falls into the macabre or the suspenseful. With obvious exceptions, almost everything these artists churn out will fit in with your own Halloween festivities. Even if a song doesn't actually have in its lyrics Halloweeny words, it will probably still help set the mood or tone for any October gathering. I created the Artists list because there's some talents who have so many great examples for Halloween it's just hard to choose which is best. The second list consists of talents who have in their repertoire one or two songs which contribute to this theme well, but the rest of their stuff may or may not be as welcome at a spooky party. The chosen song titles are those which in my not so humble opinion, no Halloween party should be without. They're the halloween songs that are unquestionably of the season. If you're with a group of people, chances are some of them have heard it before, and they'll be appreciative, and the ones who haven't heard it before will be quickly educated by those who have.

Admittedly, this list is very commercial and not at all pagan inspired, like the other node entry. This is simply a different approach to the idea of Halloween songs, and it's not intended to diminish the other list which is equally valid, or yet still other lists which others may offer in the future.

    Most anything by these artists and bands will work for Halloween. I will note a few examples, but you'd be best served by reviewing their discographies..

  • Alice Cooper - Two obvious examples are Welcome to My Nightmare and Teenage Frankenstein but frankly, anything that has ever passed this man's lips rings Hallow. This man personifies the holiday in a way that no one else can. If James Brown is the godfather of soul, Alice Cooper is the godfather of reap.
  • Bernard Herrmann - theme from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, music for Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio broadcast and the film Citizen Kane, his work for Cape Fear, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and anything he did for Ray Harryhausen. Let's face it, this composer knew how to chill us to our bones. Repeatedly.
  • Danny Elfman - motion picture soundtracks for Army of Darkness, Batman, Batman Returns, Beetlejuice, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Darkman, Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks!, Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Tales From The Crypt, and others (see also Oingo Boingo). I honestly don't know if this guy can compose music that isn't deliciously dark and creepy. Even when he's being light and happy, like in the theme song to the Simpsons or his work for Pee Wee Herman movies, Elfman's got one foot in the clouds and one foot in the grave.
  • David Seville - Witch Doctor is an absolute must, and to a lesser extent I recommend any random pop covers by Alvin and the Chipmunks (just not the xmas album). I recommend this with mild hesitation. You should incorporate Seville into your Halloween music in small doses only, mixed in with all this other stuff; otherwise you may start a riot.
  • Elvira, Mistress of the Dark - aka Cassandra Peterson, has been since 1981 the penultimate queen of bad horror movies, bad jokes about blood, gore, cleavage, and all things that bump around at night. Though more widely known for her *ahem* visual presentations, she recorded five albums worth of comedy and music for the Rino records label. She's also done radio spots, and other random things. If you can find anything with Elvira's voice on it, you should make it a part of your personal Halloween collection.
  • Mark Mothersbaugh was the lead singer for DEVO in its heyday and has since done his share of composing for film and television. Like Elfman, Mothersbaugh's work has always embraced the shadows. I would suggest Whip It for a mainstream audience. A more thorough Halloween collection might include music from the film Mystery Men, or the cartoons Rugrats, or Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue.
  • Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath - definitive examples include Bark At The Moon, and Children Of The Grave, but anything by Black Sabbath when Ozzy was with them is a certainty. Anything by either Ozzy or Black Sabbath after the breakup is probably worthy of Halloween, with few exceptions.
  • Tim Curry - early in his career, Mr. Curry portrayed Frankfurter for the motion picture version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of course Sweet Transvestite belongs on this list. In the years since RHPS, Curry has built a career in film and music that is unparallelled, including three albums in the late 70s and early 80s. Although not always Halloween-oriented, Curry's unmistakable voice is welcome on any list focusing on the harvesting season. I recommend "I Do The Rock," and his cover of Bob Dylan's "Simple Twist of Fate." He also did a song for the movie Ferngully called Toxic Love which is deliciously creepy. Oh, and long ago he did a strangely fun low-budget video (high quality effects for the time tho) where he actually sings about Halloween. If you can find that, you're set.


Share and enjoy. =)

All input regarding this list is appreciated. Here's some input I've gotten thus far.

Andromache01 says Erm. re: Halloween songs : The Smashing Pumpkins song you have listed is actually titled "Bullet With Butterfly Wings". And you didn't mention any of the big name psychobilly bands: the Nekromantix, the Cramps, Mad Sin, the Horrorpops, or Demented Are Go!, for starters. Given that most of them specialize in songs about the undead, I would have thought they were shoe-ins.

drownzsurf says re Halloween songs : You have to mention the oldie, Dinner with Drac by a guy named Zacherly, seriously. And, The Monster Mash did you have 'I put a spell on you' CCR? Where's 'Highway to Hell' You have Kiss, but no Genesis? Voodoo Chile by Hendrix and or Stevie Ray Vaughn?

izubachi says re Halloween songs : I'm sad to see Type O Negative's "Creepy Green Light" didn't make it on there, as it's one of my traditional "pop it up on the mp3 player and talk a walk through the Halloween night" songs, but then again, nearly everything I've heard of Type O Negative's could fit the theme. Nice work.

General Wesc says re Halloween songs: Rammstein's Mein Teil may be worthy of this list.

Loreena McKennitt - All Souls Night
Loreena McKennitt - The Old Ways
Loreena McKennitt - Samhain Night
Inkubus Sukkubus - Dark Mother
Philip Riley and Jayne Elleson - Spin The Circle
Rumors of the Big Wave - Burning Times
Moonstruck - We All Come From the Goddess
Moving Breath - We All Come From the Goddess
Tamarra James - Wild Hunt
Coven 13 - Book of Shadows
Steve Reel - Shadowfest