It’s that time of year again when people start getting out their jumpers and hoodies, the leaves on the trees become all pretty and start falling, people drink pumpkin spiced lattes from their local coffee shop, and – most importantly – look forward to the most exciting seasonal event of the year – Halloween!
For some of the more darker minded individuals out there, Halloween is a time to celebrate the love of witches, werewolves, vampires, ghosts and all things gothic and horror. Oh, and sweets from the annual trick or treat round! But of course, all these things need a soundtrack, so here we have come up with a list of songs to celebrate this spooky period of Halloween and horror!
The Cure – Burn
First appearing on the soundtrack for 1994’s gothic horror hit The Crow, ‘Burn’ has become a favourite for fans of The Cure and lovers of the now classic soundtrack.
Its slow build intro sets the atmosphere perfectly as Brandon Lee’s titular character applies that infamous make up to get his revenge. And for a film set around Halloween, or “Devil’s Night”, as the film’s antagonists call it, ‘Burn’ is the perfect song to celebrate the holiday – and the best possible start to this list!
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Ministry – Everyday is Halloween
Before they became industrial metal monoliths, US band Ministry were more of an electro-pop act, and this song certainly proves that!
But for those surprised and maybe put off by that, don’t be, because ‘Everyday is Halloween’ is such a catchy number you’ll be nodding your head and dancing away in no time. Originally released in 1984, ‘Everyday is Halloween’ remains quite a popular song with Ministry and Halloween fans, and of course the title speaks for itself.
Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
This classic rock song appears on pretty much every ‘best rock songs ever’ compilation and it’s easy to see why.
The song’s infectious riff and melodic vocals really finds its way into your dark soul and stays there, making it a perfect choice for our Halloween soundtrack. A cover of the song was also featured on the soundtrack for mega-hit slasher Scream in 1996. Performed by the band Gus, it’s a more acoustic take on the song but still pretty haunting.
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
Featured on Talking Heads’ 1977 self-titled debut album, ‘Psycho Killer’ is a catchy little rocker with some dark lyrics and one that will get you dancing around with your bag of sweets, perhaps laughing manically due to that sugar high.
Maybe it’s not about Halloween specifically, but the dark lyrics aligned with the catchy tune definitely make it a solid partner for your Halloween music line-up!
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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand
Always popular with Nick Cave fans, ‘Red Right Hand’ found a new lease of life on the soundtrack to, again, Scream.
The 1994 song has a creepy vibe throughout, the lyrics hinting at, possibly, a deal with the devil, and it was definitely a perfect fit for a film about a masked killer stalking a campus. Now whenever the song starts you are immediately brought back to the Woodsboro campus and the events of the 1996 classic.
The Pretty Reckless – Witches Burn
It wouldn’t be Halloween without talk of witches.
This grungy number from US rockers The Pretty Reckless‘ hit 2021 album Death By Rock and Roll serves up some dark and hard hitting lyrics, presumably from the view of a witch, along with a big, captivating chorus that draws you in to their coven effectively, the band putting you under their spell and setting you up for a rocking Halloween.
The Cramps – I Was A Teenage Werewolf
Originally released in 1980 on their Songs the Lord Taught Us album, rockabilly heroes The Cramps wrote the perfect number to celebrate our Lycan brethren here.
Catchy with a great, creepy vocal delivery, ‘I Was A Teenage Werewolf’ is danceable and fun as well as a horrific Halloween treat.
Alice Cooper – Feed My Frankenstein
Released on his 1991 album, Hey Stoopid, it was obvious that legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper would have a song on our soundtrack.
‘Feed My Frankenstein’ is the perfect uplifting hard rocker to get you in the mood for spooky times.
Air guitars at the ready. Ok, the song might not be specifically about Frankenstein or his monster but there is a loose connection, plus it’s an awesome song anyway so turn it up and get rockin!
Creeper – Midnight
UK goth-rockers Creeper released the great American Noir album this year, and ‘Midnight’ is definitely one of the highlights.
A dark love song duet, where the piano-led music might lead you astray somewhat but the song is so captivating.
When you listen to the lyrics the song’s dark heart is revealed, with lines such as “The satanic midnight moon can hear us say” and “Hold me like a gun with the safety off” pointing towards the darkest of love songs. Perfect for the Gomez and Morticia Addams-esque lovers out there!
Rob Zombie – Living Dead Girl
Like Alice Cooper before him, in real life and on this list, what Halloween soundtrack would be complete without US shock rocker-metalhead-filmmaker but never forgetting his horror roots, Rob Zombie?!
There are many RZ songs we could have put on this list obviously, but ‘Living Dead Girl’ (along with its old school-style horror video) encapsulates Rob Zombie’s sound and horror in general in many ways.
Featuring on his debut solo album Hellbilly Deluxe in 1998, it might be an oldie (as far as Rob’s solo career is concerned anyway) but ‘Living Dead Girl’ is definitely a goodie.
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Danny Elfman – This is Halloween
Perhaps the ultimate Halloween musical, The Nightmare Before Christmas has a devoted fanbase, and Tim Burton’s gothic-horror fantasy is a must watch for many over the Halloween period.
The song, as you might imagine, is popular not only with fans of the film but with goth rockers also, with Marilyn Manson doing a decent cover version of ‘This is Halloween’ in 2006 for a special edition release of the film’s soundtrack.
A simple sing-along chorus and its spooky theme make this a Halloween soundtrack must!
Bobby “Boris” Pickett – Monster Mash
Like Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie, but this time with one particular song, the ‘Monster Mash’ is an absolute must for any Halloween playlist.
Originally released as a novelty song in 1962 and after that quickly becoming a hit single, this ridiculously catchy number has lived on ever since and is still a firm Halloween favourite.
Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Time for a bit of goth, and this gothic epic, at nearly ten minutes long is a firm creepy favourite.
Released in 1982, this creepy classic might get you winding down but still provides those eerie Halloween vibes.
Ramones – Pet Semetary
Released on the punk rockers’ Brain Drain album in 1989, the song, of course, is featured on the Stephen King film adaptation of the same name and is a catchy little three minute punk blast with a catchy chorus that you could be singing/shouting along to for days after first hearing it.
Plus, zombie pets – what’s not to love?!
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Time Warp
The ultimate ending to this Halloween playlist that is sure to get everyone dancing.
This number from the universally loved 1975 musical film and later stage show is catchy and crazy in the best possible way, and the perfect ending to our Halloween playlist!