Essential Halloween songs

It’s almost Halloween and I’m sure you’re probably busy planning for your parties and trying to decide what your costume(s) will be this year… so to help you out, gentle reader, I’ve come up with an eclectic list of songs to invoke the spirit of Halloween and provide a few more choices for your Halloween party playlist other than the standard Thriller and the Monster Mash.

You’ll notice that this list is heavily skewed in favour of 80s kitsch…My explanation is simple: I came into awareness during the 1980s and my memories of Halloween are intimately bound up in the pop music of the time. Also, the era of New Romantics and goths in the early to mid 1980s kept the spectacle of the macabre in the pop culture spotlight for most of the decade which subsequently led to a lot of Halloween-music being made 🙂

Here they are, in no particular order:

David Bowie – Scary Monsters (Super Creeps)

This song is a classic in the David Bowie pantheon of hits. The chorus alone is enough to get the attention of most costumed party-goers and encourage a rowdy sing-along! I’m sure there’s an official music video for this somewhere and I can remember seeing it on Much Music years ago, alas no luck. If you know where it is on the internet, please send me a link. I’d love to see it again!

Ministry – Everyday is Halloween

What can I say? The title says it all! Al Jourgensen’s snarling vocals combined with this song’s synthpop sensibilities make it a must-have for any Halloween playlist!

Unfortunately, no video was made for this song but, I found a great Halloween-themed youtube video edit that you can show at your party and no one will know the difference!

Gary Numan(Tubeway Army) – Down in the Park

Admittedly this selection seems a bit odd at first. Give it a listen and I think (I hope) it will become more obvious as to why I’ve included it. Haunting synths, Gary Numan’s weirdo voice, and lyrics about a dystopian robots hell-bent on rape and death.

This video is concert footage from 1981. The lighting rig and spinning pyramids are amazing!

Honourable Mention:

Marilyn Manson – Down in the Park

If you have a crowd that can appreciate Manson’s work, this cover of Down in the Park is top notch in my opinion. Wall of noise guitars, backwards speak, and Marilyn’s distinctive shrieks makes this in some respects even creepier than the original. I guarantee that you will bad-buzz at least one person with this song. And after all, Halloween is ALL about scaring the shit out of people.

Below is a youtube clip of the song with a static image of the cover of his “Lunchbox” single.

Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff – Nightmare on My Street

Fresh Prince is a king of getting goofy on the mic. Riffing on the famed Nightmare on Elm Street series, Fresh and Jazzy deliver a great song about the dangers and possible “realness” of Freddie Kruger. Pure Halloween kitsch.

Believe it or not there actually was a music video made for this song. However, New Line Cinema had other plans for the Nightmare franchise and, after a court-order, the video had to be yanked from the air….

If anyone has it…rip it and u/l it to Youtube! 😉

Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters [Extended Version]

There’s a ton of remixes of this song. If you’re djing a dance party you’ll have no problem finding something appropriate regardless of genre. If you’re hosting a haunted house party at home with mixed company; this is a sure bet.

Bustin’ makes me feel good!

Rockwell feat. Michael Jackson – Somebody’s Watching Me

Once again, there are a TON of remixes of this song for whatever crowd you are playing to. As soon as your guests hear MJ wail about people watching him, expect smiles all around.

The original music video…

A Number of Names – Shari Vari

Holy crap I love this song! It makes me think of hip, dandy vampires a la Lestat driving around the Motorcity, picking up girls, and creeping to badass beats. There have been a few remixes of this song but, I prefer the original.

Play this song late in the night.

This is a clip from Detroit’s vintage local dance show “The Scene” featuring the debut of A Number of Names – Shari Vari. I love watching these folks get down!

Harry Axt – Tag der Befreiung

Sorry that this is only a clip of the song, I couldn’t find a full version. But if you are djing a dance party, you need to buy this track. Harry Axt delivers a great eerie tech-house growler with stuttered whispered vocals, plenty of reverb, and enough oomph to get the floor moving.

“I was asleep…close the door…I’m saying no Charlie…chased me around the apartment…leave me naked.”

Honestly, I can’t believe more people haven’t heard this song. Don’t sleep!

DJ Assault – Trickin’

I love double entendres, puns, word play etc… In this case, “Trickin'” can refer to Trick or Treating, or “turning tricks.” I’m sure that some of you will be playing/djing at “Pimps and ‘Hoes” parties or will have many sexy kittens, mice, nurses, etc.. in attendance who will see this track as an opportunity to get freaky on the dancefloor. Trust.

No full-length mpfree fo’ yo’ cheap ass. Buy the damn thing.

Crookers – Sveglia

These dudes from Italy have been tearing it up major over the past year and their brand of high-energy party music finds it’s way into most clubs nowadays. What to expect? Fuzzy compressed basslines, crunchy and shuffled percussion, classic house samples built around a very well-known organ riff (original, help?) and will definitely get your audience doing a little scare-step, creep dance.

One response to “Essential Halloween songs

  1. Pingback: Technoir Vol.1 + LOOSE: Halloween Edition « Hot Jambalaya!·

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