Fisher’s Ultimate Halloween Playlist
October 23, 2021
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the atmosphere — the crisp air, crunchy leaves, smell of pumpkin, brown and orange color scheme and the music.
I have found that nothing puts me in the Halloween spirit more than spooky music. But it often gets overshadowed by Christmas in the festive music canon, and I find myself in a rut.
There are only so many times you can listen to “Monster Mash,” which is why I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of 84 songs that are specifically not “Monster Mash.” Here, you can cover a wide variety of styles and genres, but all with the intention of getting you into the spooky spirit.
Even without any words, all of these tracks can send a chill down the spine and conjure the Halloween spirit. Camille Saint-Saens “Danse Macabre in G Minor” is instantly recognizable, with violins that speak of something supernatural.
The rustling, misty theremin on “The Journey Begins” from “Over the Garden Wall” makes one feel as though they are walking through a New England forest at night even if you aren’t.
The discordant piano piece “Musica Ricercata II-Mesto” by György Ligeti is the most frightening music I have ever heard.
Also included are pieces from horror movies and television shows, such as the themes from “Halloween,” “Drag Me to Hell,” “The Shining,” “The X-Files” and “Tales from the Crypt.”
While we may not be partying as hard as we would like this year, we could still use a pick-me-up. What better way to do that than listening to a goofy song about Dracula throwing a party?
For some dancing around the house I have chosen such songs as “Frankenstein Twist” by The Crystals, “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr., “Skully Gully” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers, “A Nightmare on My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and “Zombie Jamboree” by Harry Belafonte.
Rounding things out is a satire of the ’60s Halloween novelty song “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” from the TV Show “30 Rock.”
Halloween and its various trappings have been a frequent muse for songwriters. The holiday itself has inspired performers like Phoebe Bridgers and Siouxsie and the Banshees who both have songs titled “Halloween.”
Several talented songwriters have been able to tell mini horror stories such as in “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads, the cover of “Me and the Devil” by Soap&Skin, “The Yawning Grave” by Lord Huron, “The Room Nobody Lives in” by Cass Elliot, “The Ghost Who Walks” by Karen Elson and “Season of the Witch” by Donovan.
Others such as “The Killing Moon” by Echo and the Bunnymen, “My Boy Builds Coffins” by Florence and the Machine and the Tethered Remix of “I Got 5 on It” by Luniz contain no overt horror themes, but manage to unsettle through a combination of macabre lyrics and eerie production design.