The Ultimate Halloween Party Playlist

crypt-kicker-fiveIt’s pre-Halloween weekend, and besides scrambling around for last-minute costume ideas and counting down the days until candy is half-off, you know what that means?

Yes. Parties.

If you’re the one throwing the spookiest throw-down on the block, or you’re just looking for the best sort of holiday soundtrack while you’re getting ready, you need music.

I am here for you.

Music for Halloween can be a little tricky. There aren’t a lot of well-known songs specifically about the actual day, like there are for Christmas, which is arguably the leading party-throwing, playlist-needing holiday. That’s really fine, though, because it gives us a chance to get creative, and who doesn’t like that?

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I do. And what creativity (and also fun) means for me when I craft a playlist is first of all going with a mix of musical genres. The worst thing any party soundtrack can be is boring, and a way to avoid that is to shake up the sounds in order to appeal to a broader cross-section of people. A look at my list shows a range from rock to R&B to old-school crooning, with a punk song or two thrown in, and even a television theme song. I also love a good novelty song, and if Halloween gives us anything, it’s the annual opportunity to rock out to “Monster Mash.” You know you want to. I see you over there, and you should. There simply is no better novelty tune in my world than this one, and I should be embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve listened to it while I compiled my playlist. Short answer: a lot of times (and likely one fewer time than I’ve listened to “Thriller” at this point.) Also? The kids in your life will get a kick out of the Groovie Goolies music video that accompanies the song, and it’s quite possible that you will too.

Halloween is one of those days to throw caution to the October wind, and have a good time. Music can be key in that endeavor, so here’s a list of what I think is a perfect trick-or-treat bag full of tunes to make up your ultimate Halloween party playlist.

  • The Ultimate Halloween Party Playlist 1 of 31
  • The Monster Mash 2 of 31

    Let's go ahead and get this out of the way. It's the staple graveyard smash, featuring Dracula, Wolfman, and the inimitable vocal group, The Crypt-Kicker Five. 

    I dare you not to smile your way through singing "Vatever happened to my Transylvania Twist." I can't. Oh, and if you'd like to know how to do the actual Monster Mash? Here's one set of directions

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Werewolves of London 3 of 31

    The late Warren Zevon's trippy ode to werewolves (and Chinese food?) in England's capital city is a staple Halloween tune. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Rolling Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil" 4 of 31

    "Just call me Lucifer/Cause I'm in need of some restraint/So if you meet me/Have some courtesy/Have some sympathy, and some taste/Use all your well-learned politesse/Or I'll lay your soul to waste, um yeah"

    If there's a day for a devil song, it's Halloween, and watching this live version of "Sympathy for the Devil" on the Stones' official channel made me recommit to seeing them live for the first time. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Harry Belafonte, "Zombie Jamboree" 5 of 31

    I had never heard of this song until this week, I admit it, and I love it. The video features Harry Belafonte, fire, and zombies: hard to go wrong there. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Ray Parker Jr., "Ghostbusters" 6 of 31

    Bustin' make you feel good? If you grew up in the '80s, you know this song, and if you didn't, you probably know it, too. This tune is definitely for the singalong portion of your celebration, or the time around the campfire when you want to pretend you ain't afraid of no ghosts. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Alice Cooper, "Feed My Frankenstein" 7 of 31

    Alice Cooper is perfect Halloween playlist material. You may recall "Feed My Frankenstein" from a hilarious concert scene in Wayne's World

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Rockwell, "Somebody’s Watching Me" 8 of 31

    As YouTube commenter Adam Kontras said, "Only Michael Jackson can sing 7 words and make someone's entire career." Showers probably still remind Rockwell of Psycho too much, but that's still arguably better than the IRS watching him, IMHO. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Sammy Davis, Jr., "Candy Man" 9 of 31

    I'm a bit of a wimp about scary things, but if there's one thing I can get on board with for Halloween, it's candy. Luckily, Sammy Davis, Jr., is there for me.

    "Who can take a rainbow/ Wrap it in a sigh 
    Soak it in the sun and make a groovy lemon pie?" 

    The candy man, that's who can do that, and really, what more can I ask for? 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Edgar Winter Group, "Frankenstein" 10 of 31

    I'm not sure what's more epic, that keyboard or the collective of hair, but "Frankenstein" is appropriate for front-and-center on any spooky rock and roll playlist. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Santana, "Black Magic Woman" 11 of 31

    "But she's a Black Magic Woman and/she's trying to make a devil out of me."

    If they're going to come out, it's going to be on All Hallow's Eve. 

    Image credit: YouTube


  • Black Keys, "Howlin’ For You" 12 of 31

    Newly featured in a film about a female assassin, this Black Keys tune is one of the more recent that would fit in just fine on a Halloween playlist. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • The Munsters, "Theme from The Munsters" 13 of 31

    One of the campiest and best tv shows ever to hit the small screen had, unsurprisingly for a show about a monster family, a theme song that doubles as the perfect Halloween party instrumental tune

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Steve Miller Band, "Abracadabra" 14 of 31

    When Steve Miller sang "I wanna reach out and grab ya" he may not have been talking about haunted house-style, but that fits for the holiday. 


    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • The Doors, "People Are Strange" 15 of 31

    People are rarely stranger than when they dress up in elaborate costumes and go from house to house begging for candy, so with its creepy overtones, "People Are Strange" works for Halloween on multiple levels. 

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, "Nightmare On My Street" 16 of 31

    If you haven't listened to "Nightmare on My Street" in as many years as I haven't, you should do so immediately. So much fun. This song belongs at your Halloween party, even if it's only a party for one.  

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Stevie Wonder, "Superstition" 17 of 31

    Nobody brings the party like Stevie Wonder, and "Superstition" is one of those songs that either gets you moving, or I'm checking your pulse. Plus? Lyrically very Halloween-appropriate. Win. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • David Bowie, "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" 18 of 31

    If David Bowie can't get you in the Halloween mood, I don't know who can. "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" sums up the holiday better than most titles. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Reverend Horton Heat, "The Halloween Dance" 19 of 31

    Rockabilly Halloween? The Reverend Horton Heat brings it, with "The Halloween Dance." Super fun. 


    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Oingo Boingo, "Dead Man’s Party" 20 of 31

    "Waiting for an invitation to arrive/Going to a party where no one's still alive." Sounds like a Halloween jam to me. "Dead Man's Party" popped up in "Back To School" in 1986

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Talking Heads, "Psycho Killer" 21 of 31

    Hopefully the only one of these anyone runs into on Halloween is a person playing dress-up, but "Psycho Killer" the song works just fine. 

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Dusty Springfield, "Spooky" 22 of 31

    Dusty Springfield has one of the best voices in pop music, and her "Spooky" is fantastic. Put it on your party list — I promise it'll be a hit. 


    Image credit: YouTube

  • Peggy Lee, "That Old Black Magic" 23 of 31

    Peggy Lee's version of this song is lesser-played, in my experience, but I like it. "Same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine" works better on Halloween than most other days.



    Image credit: Wikipedia 

  • Frank Sinatra, "Witchcraft" 24 of 31

    Ah, Frank. Witchcraft never sounded so good. 


    Image credit: YouTube

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Bad Moon Rising" 25 of 31

    Most people know "Bad Moon Rising" and it's a fun, if lyrically foreboding, addition to your party. 


    Image credit: YouTube


  • The Police, "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" 26 of 31

    Magic. A magical holiday. Any excuse to break out The Police? Pick your reason, and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" works. 


    Image credit: YouTube

  • Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, "I Put a Spell On You" 27 of 31

    Screamin' Jay is worth watching for his stage gear alone. The skeleton wand alone is very Halloween-friendly.  "I Put a Spell On You" is perfect blues to rev up your celebration. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Misfits, "Halloween" 28 of 31

    Want at least one punk song on your playlist? It should be "Halloween" by the Misfits


    Image credit: YouTube

  • Marilyn Manson, "This is Halloween" 29 of 31

    Marilyn Manson's "This is Halloween" from Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas might creep out some little ones, but it's Halloween spooky perfection. 


    Image credit: YouTube

  • Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock, "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" 30 of 31

    Does anything from 30 Rock ever need any explanation? If you can explain Tracy Jordan's "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" to me...Well, yeah, I'm pretty sure you can't. Simply behold. 

    Image credit: YouTube

  • Michael Jackson, "Thriller" 31 of 31

    It needs no introduction, accept no substitute: "Thriller" is the best spooky any-day song of all time, and therefore the best for Halloween, of course. What other pop song has a Vincent Price voiceover and a zombie dance video? None. No contest. 


    Image credit: YouTube


Image credit: YouTube

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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