Top 20 Halloween Songs

Top 20 Halloween Songs

Halloween

It’s that time of the year again: the shops turn orange and black and lots of us feel the urge to decorate the house with pumpkins, witches and trolls, spiders and bats or whatever. I feel a Halloween party coming up with dressed up kids and scary parents. We’ll eat spider soup, spooky cake, lots of candy and we’ll drink witches’ blood. But let’s do first things first:

The Halloween music playlist!

It’s hard to select the best Halloween songs, because if you’d ask me tomorrow, the list could be different. It’s a matter of “kill your darlings”. So, I’ve put together a top 20 list of songs that fit the Halloween spirit: scary ones, fun ones, creepy ones, funky ones, old ones, … Get inspired and don’t let the boogie man catch you!

  1. Thriller – Michael Jackson

    • The number one Halloween song for obvious reasons: the intro with the creaking door, the footsteps, the howling wolf and synths building up the tension. Michael Jackson definitely loved Halloween and understood how to create the mood. “Something evil’s lurking from the dark…” Brrr… And that disco-funk beat: it makes you want to dance like… a zombie?
  2. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell

    • Here’s Michael again, this time backed by his brother Jermaine Jackson, featured in a song by Rockwell. The song is a great Halloween classic, because it describes the paranoid feeling we get, when we are too conscious about ourselves when we’re alone on a dark winter evening. Just imagine that someone’s waiting for you getting out of your car when you’ve arrived from work. Whoohoo. Otherwise, a great tune that you wanna sing along to. But maybe not alone in your car on a winter evening…
  3. Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr.

    • Just the idea that you can call a Ghostbusters team to get rid of your ghosts and fears, as if it were a pest control team to kill the bugs in your house. As a kid it spoke to my mind and I just loved the movie theme song. I still do and the idea works fine talking to my kids. “Who you’re gonna call? Ghostbusters!”
  4. Super Freak – Rick James

    • Maybe not a song that Rick James pictured in a Halloween song list, but think about it: there are some “freaks” out there. Only thing is, the song puts our mind to rest. “That freaky girl, she’s a super freak. She’s alright with me.” So, it’s ok to be a freak! And think about it: imagine a cartoon with freaky monsters on the disco floor. Fun guaranteed!
  5. Graveyard – The Blenders

    • A stroll along the graveyard is not what you have in mind on a first date, do you? The character in this song tells a story about this girl wanting to make romance at the graveyard, but he’s clear: “It’s for sure, I’ll never go down there no more, down in the graveyard.” A song lesser known, but one of my old-time favorites. (Check out the A.F.O./S.A.R/Sue Records label)
  6. I Put A Spell On You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

    • Screamin’ Jay Hawkins has always been about spooky voodoo cult. Performing this song live, he wore a long cape and appeared onstage by rising out of a coffin in the midst of smoke and fog! But even without such a performance, this song fits perfectly in a Halloween list: nobody wants to be under control of some kind of spell. Halloween is all about taking control and scare away the bad ghosts.
  7. Le Freak – Chic

    • Simply an amazing disco dance tune that spurs you on to let it all go and get your freak out. It’s an amazing feeling to let the dance monsters take over and dance like you just don’t care! Ah, come on, with that Nile Rogers’ riff, you can’t keep still!
  8. Superstition – Stevie Wonder

    • Halloween is closely connected with superstitions and it might be a way of dealing with death in a playful way. Superstition is any belief or practice that is irrational – i.e., it arises from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science or causality, a positive belief in fate or magic, or fear of that which is unknown. According to Stevie Wonder “Superstition isn’t the way”. That might be true, but it’s a hell of fun to believe in it on All Hallow’Eve and dance on this funky soul masterpiece!
  9. Love Potion No. 9 – The Clovers

    • A classic Leiber & Stoller song by the rhythm and blues/doo-wop vocal group The Clovers. In the spirit of superstition and irrational thinking: what if we’d get our hands on a magic potion to get someone in love with the user? The lead singer of The Clovers describes the hilarious situation when it all goes wrong: the aphrodisiac causes him to fall in love with everything he sees, kissing whatever is in front of him, eventually kissing a police officer on the street-corner, who breaks his bottle of love potion.
  10. The Witch Queen Of New Orleans – Redbone

    • New Orleans has inspired a lot of music artists and The Witch Queen Of New Orleans by Redbone is a good example (although the band is from Los Angeles). The song is about a 19th century practitioner of voodoo from New Orleans named Marie Laveau referred to in the song lyrics as “Marie la Voodoo veau”. The chorus line with a pumping rhythm bring you in a trance like state. This song works!
  11. There’s A Ghost In My House – B.E.F. featuring Paul Jones

    • A Holland-Dozier-Holland song and originally recorded by R. Dean Taylor for Tamla/Motown, but I find the version by B.E.F. featuring Paul Jones more “in your face”, thanks to the electronic synth-sounds and the “ooo-ooh”-shouts on a high note in between. It sounds as if there’s really a ghost there!
  12. Black Magic Woman – Fleetwood Mac

    • Just be careful for the spell of this Black Magic Woman, guys! Peter Green was under his spell, singing “she’s a black magic woman and she’s tryin’ to make a devil out of me”. Fantastic song about what you’re attracted to and are afraid of at the same time.
  13. Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon

    • When you hear Warren Zevon telling about a werewolf, I’m locking all doors and windows! He sounds like he’s the werewolf himself, with this “Aaoooo!”-shouting, doesn’t he?
      •  If you hear him howling around your kitchen door
        Better not let him in
        Little old lady got mutilated last night
        Werewolves of London again
        Aoooooo!
        Werewolves of London!
        Aoooooo! (repeat)
  14. Whistlin’ Past The Graveyard – Tom Waits

    • Tell me, if you hear a greasy hoarse voice whistlin’ past the graveyard and singing:
      • sometimes I kill myself a jackal
        suck out all the blood
        steal myself a station wagon
        drivin’ through the mud
        whistlin’ past the graveyard
        steppin’ on a crack
        I’m a mean Mother Hubbard
        papa one-eyed jack
    • … Well, then, ehm… I don’t know about you, but I’m going home fast!
  15. Highway To Hell – AC/DC

    • AC/DC make it sound like going to hell is a real party ride, because:
      • Ain’t nothing I would rather do
        Going down, party time
        My friends are gonna be there too
        I’m on the highway to hell
        On the highway to hell
  16. Little Ghost – Boy George

    • Halloween is the party of little ghosts and freaky girls, isn’t it? So, here he comes, our Little Ghost, Boy George. You’ve got to love his “ghostly” voice.
  17. Henry Lee – Nick Cave featuring PJ Harvey

    • This traditional in the thrilling version of Nick Cave and PJ Harvey tells the story about a man who spurns a lady’s affections and gets murdered by her in revenge with a little pen-knife held in her hand. A creepy song performed marvelously by Nick Cave’s dark voice and PJ Harvey’s dreamlike singing.
  18. Little Monster – Royal Blood

    • A band called Royal Blood singing about the love between a monster and a wolf? How Halloween-sweet this is! A monstrous powerful song.
  19. Season Of The Witch – Dr. John and The Blues Brothers Band

    • Dr. John’s interpretation of the Donovan song with his haunting voice and the New Orleans’ voodoo arrangement is so exciting. Soon you’ll be under the spell of this witch as well. “It’s strange… So very strange… Must be the season of the witch…”
  20. Halloween Parade – Lou Reed

We can’t do without Lou Reed’s song in which he paints a beautiful picture of the annual New York’s Village Halloween Parade and of friends gone. Because Halloween is also about remembering the dead. R.I.P. Lou Reed.

 

Listen to the complete Halloween playlist on the I Dig Music Blog channel.

eva

I’m just a passionate music fan that loves digging after the story and history behind it.
At about the age of 8, I got my first radio and my first single. OK, one was by the Smurfs and the other was by Nicole, the Eurovision Song Contest winner in 1982. Anyhow, this was the start of a great musical adventure.

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