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Halloween Playlist Collection Volume One: The Classics

Updated on July 6, 2013

Volume One

Many's the time I've seen a webpage or a blog dedicated to building the perfect Halloween playlist. I've used them myself, enjoyed the playlists, and built on them. In fact, I've collected so many Halloween songs over the years that it's hard to keep them all together.

Therefore I have decided to give you several different categories of Halloween music and the playlists I have formed for each. Some of these songs are quite rare, and took me a great deal of time to find. Let's see if you have them all!

Boris Karloff in his Legendary Role as Frankenstein's Monster

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The Classic Halloween Songs

These are the songs you hear at every Halloween party. we all know the artists, we all know the lyrics, and in some cases we even know the dances that go with these macabre melodies! No spooky playlist is complete without them!

  • "Monster Mash"- Bobby "Boris" Pickett- Widely considered the granddaddy of all Halloween party songs, this little piece has been done and redone a thousand times. It is a tongue and cheek all-out party with guests of honor stepping right out of the old monster movies to pour a glass of punch and do a little dance as the lightning strikes and the dynamos surge. You gotta love it, and you gotta have it!
  • "Thriller"- Michael Jackson- I have to confess, I've never been a huge fan of Michael Jackson. I've always found him overrated, overplayed, and just all around overdone! But with that aside, I have to admit that "Thriller" has its place among the best Halloween songs out there. I've been to many zombie walks and costume parties, and they just wouldn't be complete without this little gift from the 80s.
  • "Werewolves of London"- Warren Zevon- This little piece combines the clunky, lighthearted ragtime tavern piano with lyrics right out of a Lon Chaney Jr. movie. The result? A fun musical romp through the foggy streets of London, werewolves at every turn. It is widely considered a classic of rock and roll music, and one of the most essential songs for the Halloween season.
  • "Halloween" theme- John Carpenter- John Carpenter's thriller film "Halloween" taught us that it does not take a big budget or elaborate music to make a really terrifying scary movie. Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the theme song, a few notes being played over and over again on a piano with a few occasional sustained notes on a synthesizer. As simple as it is, there are very few people who can listen to this music and not get the shivers.
  • "The Addams Family"- Vic Mizzy- The theme song for a goofy show about a morbid family and their misadventures in the real world, this also happens to be among the catchiest songs ever. No matter who you are or what you are doing, the Addams Family theme starts playing and your fingers will magically begin snapping whether you have willed them to or not! Next time you play it at your party, look around the room to see how many people suffer from this same condition!

Classic Haunted Mansion

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  • "Purple People Eater"- Sheb Wooley- Ah yes, the age-old story of a young extraterrestrial descending from the sky and following his dream of becoming a rock and roll musician despite his crippling addiction to eating people and his skin color reminiscent of Grimace from McDonald's lore. It was a hit novelty song in its day, and remains a staple on any Halloween party list. (Personally, I bloody hate this song!)
  • "Ghostbusters" - Ray Parker Jr.- Who can forget the theme song from that hit 80s movie that combined cheesy horror with goody comedy and made a classic for all ages? We'll never look at the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man the same way, and we'll never let a Halloween go by without listening to this song!
  • "Time Warp" - Rocky Horror Picture Show- A textbook example of a cult classic, the bombastic musical creature that is the Rocky Horror Picture Show features aliens, transvestites, monsters, Meatloaf, a giant gong, and sex. It's certainly an experience, and this song from its soundtrack manages to claw its way out onto the airwaves every October. What does a time warp have to do with Halloween, you ask? Who knows? If that's the only question you find yourself asking when the Rocky Horror Picture Show is discussed, well... I really don't have an answer for you!
  • "I Put a Spell on You"- Screamin' Joe Hawkins- Another classic which has been done and redone, this little tune sounds like a Bourbon Street serenade with hints of voodoo and witchcraft. It's not exactly a dancing tune, but certainly haunting in its own way. I don't know if it will make it to your playlist, but I know it's on MIIIIIIIIIINE!
  • "Tubular Bells"- Mike Oldfield- The theme for the controversial, disturbing, and downright terrifying hit film "The Exorcist", this song begins with a very chilling medley of bells ringing menacingly. After about a minute or so, though, I've always found this song a real disappointment because it changes track from the menacing bells to a more mainstream 80s movie theme with synthesizers and guitars and increasingly uplifting music. I usually switch to the next song about 90 seconds in, but the beginning of this song belongs right up there with the "Halloween" theme, as though all the demons of hell are dancing to it.
  • "Grim Grinning Ghosts" - Buddy Baker, with X Atencio- The theme song for Disney's Haunted Mansion attraction, this song fits its venue perfectly, as it does the season of Halloween. It is innocent and fun, whimsical and goofy, yet, much like the mansion, it also has undertones of a terrifying evil. The European version, Phantom Manor, took the song even further, making a remix with piano and cello which sounds beautiful and another with a music box that chills you to your bones. This song is a must for those who appreciate the fun and festivity of the holiday, but have not forgotten its dark roots.
  • "This is Halloween"- Danny Elfman- Finally, there is Tim Burton's bard, Danny Elfman and one of his earliest masterpieces, the introduction for "The Nightmare Before Christmas". In this song, we follow the lyrics through an entire town of ghosts, monsters, creeps and creatures who live Halloween on a daily basis. It is an interesting concept and a charming movie, and this song fits it perfectly, being all at once spooky but playful.

Well, there you have it; the Halloween classics. Are they the best songs ever written? Not necessarily. A few of them downright annoy me, but God help you if you don't have them playing at your next Halloween party!They are mood setters and nostalgia- bringers, songs we grew up with and play for our children.

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