Nothing sets the mood for a Halloween party like music. From organs that give you the creeps to heart-pounding bass, your party playlist goes a long way in setting the right atmosphere for your celebration. If you caught my post last week with my 5 killer tips for creating the perfect playlist, you’re already well on your way to doing just that this season!
Today, it’s on to those must-have songs that should be on everyone’s Halloween playlist.
These songs are Halloween classics for a reason. Most of them hold a certain collective pop culture nostalgia for all of us. And while your residential music snob friend (full disclosure: that’s me in some circles) might scoff at your need to go with the obvious…there’s just some songs you need to hear for it to be Halloween.
Here are my five staple songs that should go on every Halloween party playlist:
“Thriller” by Michael Jackson
We’ll start with the obvious. More than 30 years after it was released, this song is the epitome of Halloween songs. Fantastically creepy lyrics – even more fantastic music video. Everyone knows the words, and most of them can probably do a potion of the dance. It’s an all around crowd-pleaser, and the staple for Halloween playlists everywhere. You’d be making a major faux paus not putting in on your playlist.
“Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett
Another obvious pick. Devotee to 1960s pop that I am, I have always loved this song – plus the album that it’s on has some other fun, Halloweenish tunes that I’ve pulled onto my master playlist. Break up the creep factor of your music with this happy-go-lucky tune about iconic monsters getting together for their own Halloween bash.
“This is Halloween” by The Citizens of Halloween Town
(Or by Danny Elfman, depending on how you want to look at it…) You might need to be of a certain age (my age) to appreciate this song, and I love including it on my playlist for a hint of nostalgia for myself and my friends. Over the years, I’ve changed it up and diverted from the original to include Marilyn Manson’s rendition from “Nightmare Revisited”, which is infinitely more creepy. In recent years, I’ve added the instrumental version by the String Tribute Players, which I just switched to be my ringtone for all of October – that’s how much I loved it.
“I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Halloweenie Roast was pretty small the first year, but I remember so distinctly putting this song on the playlist the second year and being absolutely shocked my friends – even my music friends – had never heard it. “But it’s even in Hocus Pocus!” I told them. Still didn’t click, so I’ve included it every year to burn it into their brains. (I’m a good friend like that.) While the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins version is by far my favorite for all that blubbery screaming at the end, there’s also good versions by Creedence Clearwater Revival, She & Him and Jeff Beck with Joss Stone just to name a few.
“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
You might associate this song with football now, thanks to Budweiser. I prefer to keep it in the Halloween realm. Until those Bud Light commercials, this was one I knew I could pull out and all my friends would go “Ohmygod, I forgot about this song! It’s so great!” – that’s how I felt about it the first couple years. And depending on what kind of party you throw…a good, dancey tune to boot.
What’s your must-have ghoul-pleasing tune?
I’m always looking for more suggestions to include in mine, so fire away! You just might see it on the master playlist I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks so you can create your own creepy playlist for All Hallow’s Eve.
A version of this post originally appeared on my music blog, thegoodgroupie.com.
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