Believe it or not, Halloween is here again, Boken readers! The crisp fall weather, the grey days and even darker nights, pumpkin latte’s and other “Harvest Foods”, scary movies, Charlie Brown, what’s not to like? A Halloween tradition at my house that is as important as carving jack-o-lanterns is the creating and enjoyment of the Halloween Playlist. It serves as the spooky soundtrack for all gatherings and activities throughout the season.
Instead of just handing over an already constructed playlist, I examined (or over-examined depending on how you look at it) the inner workings of this music spooktacular and want to hear from you, about your additions to this most sacred of holiday rituals. This way, together, we will build the most perfectly terrifying Hoboken Halloween Playlist.
These are the songs that EVERYONE puts on a Halloween playlist. The foundation or low hanging fruit, if you will. Any good set of songs needs to have a base of familiarity and these songs are where to start. Radio and TV have drilled these into our heads as the spookiest of spooky, or at least the ones that are on the station approved list and used during the Halloween cartoon specials. Let’s face it, there’s no Halloween with out Thriller, The Monster Mash or an Alice Cooper song.
- Thriller, Michael Jackson
- Monster Mash, Bobby Pickett
- Werewolves of London, Warren Zevon
- Welcome To My Nightmare, Alice Cooper
- Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Spooky, The Classics
Some of these can and probably should reside in the “The Classics” section, but in the guise of our examination we’ll bucket them in this manner. These are songs or theme songs or scores from classic Halloween viewing. Movies, classic monster TV shows and holiday cartoon specials dominate this grouping. But there are other ways to go with in this section. Namely, there is some really creepy classical music that has been used in many a horror film, Bartok (The Shining) is probably the most shining example of this (excuse the pun, I just had to).
- Ghostbusters, Ray Parker Jr.
- The Headless Horseman Song, Bing Crosby
- The Addams Family Theme
- The Munsters Theme
- This Is Halloween, Danny Elfman
- Beetlejuice: Main Title/End Title, Danny Elfman
- Great Pumpkin Waltz, Vince Guaraldi Trio
The Deep Cuts
Everyone who has ever attempted a similar playlist hits the same wall. You pull over the 10 or 12 you absolutely know MUST be on the list. Then, you’re stumped. This is where you really round out and balance the playlist. This is where you can impart some different feeling music into the set. Songs that don’t necessarily SCREAM Halloween, but their inclusion helps pop the more “Halloweeny” feeling songs. These songs can be marginal choices. Songs that have “spooky” words in the title but don’t necessarily have a ghoulish feel. This would include every song in the history of the world that has the words Devil, Witch, Bark, Howl, Evil and the like. The choices below are my personal favorites for rounding out and balancing the list.
- Nightmare on My Street, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
- I Put A Spell on You, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
- Psycho Killer, Talking Heads
- Howling at The Moon (Sha-La-La), The Ramones
- Season of the Witch, Donovan
- ZombieWoof, Frank Zappa
- Evil, Howlin’ Wolf
- I Ain’t Superstitious, Howlin’ Wolf
So there it is. The world’s most in depth look at a Halloween playlist. I’d feel a little silly posting this if I didn’t have as much fun as I did creating it. So what did I miss? What are your favorite Halloween dirges? Post submissions in the comment section and we’ll assemble The Boken’s first Halloween Playlist. Happy Halloween everyone!