The Chronicle Playlist: Get Your Spook On


Justin Prather

(Photo by Justin Prather | The Daily Utah Chronicle).

By Haley Oliphant, Editor-in-Chief

Though true believers of Halloween began celebrating on Nov. 1, 2018, we have now entered the “socially acceptable” 2019 spooky season. From the controversies of candy corn to ritualistic sacrifice, this time of year holds something for everyone with —or without — a soul. But all-in-all, nothing brings family and friends together better than the sweet and sinister sounds of Halloween. Here’s an eclectic song mix to help all you ghosts, ghouls and non-binary entities get into the spooky spirit. 


“Dead Man’s Party”
Oingo Boingo

Nothing gets a bone-rattlin’ shindig started better than this skeleton song. Oingo Boingo released this track in 1986, and we’ve all left our bodies and souls at the door ever since.


“The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie”
Colter Wall

The lonely guitar and gravely sincere voice of Colter Wall will make you regret selling your soul to Satan for a Klondike bar. Hence it’s the perfect moody track for Halloween.


“Creepy Doll”
Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton brings your descent into madness to life in the form of everyone’s favorite plaything. This song toes the line between unsettling and comedic, so it’s a good way to cope if you’re home alone and you have an abundance of porcelain dolls whose eyes seem to follow you.


Ray Parker Jr.

Joining the phone book alongside famous numbers like “867-5309,” this song is a call-back to the Halloween movie classic of the same name. Ray Parker Jr. leads this synthesized 80s hit as an irresistibly catchy infomercial tune you can boogie to.



With a music video that definitely gave me arachnophobia as a child, Rihanna takes the spooky dance floor to the next level with this 2000’s bop. Losing your mind in the club has never sounded so appealing.


“This is Halloween”
The Citizens of Halloween



“Toccata and Fugue in D minor”
Johann Sebastian Bach

No one makes bangers like Bach — and this song is no exception. This ghoulish organ solo was (probably) written by Bach but published by Felix Mendelssohn in 1833. You might recognize it as “the Dracula song,” but this tune has made its mark on spooky culture since the silent film era.


“A Little Wicked”
Valerie Broussard

This witchy femme-power ballad was recently featured on the Netflix show “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” Valerie Broussard’s soothing and powerful vocals make taking up witchcraft to overthrow the patriarchy oh-so-tempting.


“Heads Will Roll”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Dancing and decapitation are Halloween staples, making this Yeah Yeah Yeahs song a shoo-in for any monster mash.


“Monster Mash”
Bobby (Boris Pickett) and The Crypt Killers

This novelty song parodies both horror film actor Boris Karloff as well as the “Mashed Potato” dance move of the early ’60s. What began as — and definitely still is — a goofy song is now solidified in the Halloween music canon and has even captured the hearts of “The Simpsons” fans on Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.


“Love Potion No. 9”
The Searchers

This rock-n-roll lover classic was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Though The Clovers originally played the song in 1959, The Searchers recorded the most well-known version in 1964. Regardless of who did it first or best, the song has been playfully referenced in all facets of pop culture, most creepily appearing on the soundtrack of “American Horror Story: Asylum.”


“bury a friend”
Billie Eilish

Released on Jan. 30 to ring in the new year, Billie Eilish combines classic horror sounds with eerie lyrics to create a chillingly chill song. The pulsing bass and quiet, demonic back-up singer will definitely put a sprint in your step for any Halloween stroll.


“Re: Your Brains”
Jonathan Coulton

Another comedic song from Coulton, dedicated to all the pencil-pushers and cubicle zombies who die a little inside every time they go to work.


“Halloween Theme”
John Carpenter

If you don’t think you can get down with Michael Myers, think again.

“Psycho Killer”
Talking Heads

A bit of a laidback track, with lyrics that still stab if you’re paying attention. The insistent bassline of the song helps articulate the inner monologue of a serial killer, which is sure to both disturb and delight.


“The Addams Family”
Vic Mizzy

The Addams Family embody the true meaning of Halloween: creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky. Wiser words have never been spoken.


“Burn the Witch”
Shawn James

Shawn James’ folksy elegy hearkens to the Salem Witch Trials of the early 1690s, where he sings from the perspective of a witch being burned at the stake. Perhaps the eeriest part of this song is that it was released just last year, and James credits modern-day discrimination as the driving force behind his composition.


“Werewolves of London”
Warren Zevon

Similar to Monster Mash, this song began as a joke between Phil Everly and Warren Zevon, but quickly became a howling hit in 1978. The simple three-chord progression and silly lyrics make for a casual and playful Halloween tune.


“I Put a Spell on You”
Nina Simone

No disrespect to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (who originated this song) but Nina Simone’s jazzy feel for the tune is more intimately spell-binding. The soulful strings and piano in the song combined with Simone’s powerfully direct singing create an atmosphere ripe with pleading magic.


“Time Warp”
The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Rock-n-roll meets creeps-n-shrieks — what could be better? Plus, the easy-to-follow dance instructions will ensure that you’ll be doing the time warp again and again.


“all the good girls go to hell”
Billie Eilish 

In Eilish’s latest song, the artist joins the ranks of other young climate activists like Isra Hirsi, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Autumn Peltier and Greta Thunberg. Why is this on a Halloween playlist? Because few things are scarier than today’s climate crisis.


“Oogie Boogie’s Song”
Ed Ivory & Ken Page

This playfully spooky R&B track is sung by the Boogie Man in Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Tasked with getting rid of Santa Claus, this song taunts, teases and talks of torture in the catchiest way possible. Also, it’s a sprinkle of Christmas for those who put their tree up way too early — you heathens.


“Season of the Witch”

This chill track is the perfect way to ring in the season. Though Lana Del Ray recently covered this song for the new “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” movie soundtrack, something about the original just eases you into a spooky mood.


“Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd”
Stephen Sondheim 

The demon barber of Fleet Street would be nowhere without his trusty razor or his iconic theme song. This song is perfect to play when cooking the best pies in London, just make sure your meat met his end justly.


“Hall of the Mountain King”

Based on “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg, this cello-shredding metal cover amps up the intensity of the classical piece. The grating strings and quick rhythm make this an easy Halloween headbanger.


Michael Jackson

Did you think I would forget “Thriller?” Foolish mortal. No one can save you from the “Thriller.”


This playlist is far from extensive, but hopefully, it starts your craving for the sweet and scary season. Check out The Daily Utah Chronicle’s other playlists on our Spotify, and remember to practice safe soul-stealing this Halloween. 


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