Halloween is one of the occasions that deserve a dedicated playlist. While vigorously working on mine, packing it up with over sixty songs, I started wondering, which are the ones that are absolutely vital for the occasion.
After a tough selection process I came up with the six tracks I think tend to get overlooked but must have a reserved spot in any Halloween playlist. Of course, this is strictly a personal list, so you don’t have to agree with it. I am also probably overlooking a lot of great, perfectly fitting songs simply because I am not familiar with the bands in question. With this disclaimer cleared out, take a look at my Halloween must-have-in-my-playlist choices!
I wouldn’t say I get overly excited about Halloween. However, I do find this time of the year particularly cosy and charming. Maybe it is the shift of seasons and drastic change of the atmosphere outside; the decorations and hype around the holiday – all the pumpkins, witches, ghouls, and candles; the urge to binge horror movies and series. Nevertheless, this year I felt the need to arrange a dedicated playlist celebrating the Halloween spirit.
It ended up with over sixty songs featuring a mix of pure terror of sounds and stories, playful attitude and jolly autumn atmosphere, iconic movie soundtracks, and tracks I personally find fitting the generally eerie vibe.
You can check my full playlist and follow it for updates here
While picking the music I kept thinking that some of it is just necessary – a Halloween playlist wouldn’t feel right without those songs. And that was the perfect occasion for a spontaneous blog post – I tried to narrow it down to the six songs I think deserve the title of absolutely essential.
I stayed away from the obvious choices such as This Is Halloween, I Put A Spell On You, Superstition, Creep, Zombie, or Bury A Friend. Mentioning beloved chilling soundtracks like The Phantom Of The Opera or Stranger Things seemed a little too straightforward as well – we all have them in our playlist… Right?
I trust you remembered to put this one in your playlist as well
Instead, I tried creating a list of songs I think most people might overlook. Check out my full playlist for more inspiration and a clear vision of what Halloween looks like in my head. Also, since I find opening tracks and introductions to playlist very important, I will add some suggestions at the end of the post.
Marilyn Manson – SAY10
Marilyn Manson is one of the artists automatically popping up when it comes to creepy, dark music. His whole artistic persona is quite terrifying and he boldly pushed all kinds of limits to bring it to life.
SAY10 is one of the crucial songs I think should be present in every Halloween playlist.
The video of the song is a small horror movie itself. Or maybe just a normal day in the life of Manson and Johnny Depp
This track is 100% eerie, demonic, bloody, and gory. The video, the lyrics, the instrumentals – it all perfectly fits Halloween, creating a dark but irresistible atmosphere. Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson make the lyrics come alive in the well-executed video and bring the track to the next haunting level.
The lyrics might seem solely unholy, but if you think about it, they do have quite a powerful socio-political tone as well. Manson even specified that “the song is about the desperate acts of people who believe something that is preached by an unbeliever.” It is the perfect Halloween track, nevertheless, no way to deny that.
Hollywood Undead – Dead Bite
I have said it before, I will say it again – Hollywood Undead is one of the most diverse bands out there. They have a song for literally every possible situation, mood, and emotion.
Furthermore, due to their brand image and specific style, a considerable part of their discography contains songs matching the mood of Halloween to perfection. I have added several to my playlist but the one I think is absolutely essential is Dead Bite.
Even though the start of the video strongly reminds an opening scene of a porn film (Lisa Ann does help make that impression), it eventually develops into an all-out mini-horror story reminding of the haunting at The Overlook (The Shining)
The track is vicious and creepy in a very attractive way. Packed with references to The Shining (it seems this is the main inspiration behind the song), it unveils a short horror story (supported by the video). The lyrics, as expected from Hollywood Undead, are packed with badass remarks, sublime wordplay, and clever references – the more careful you listen, the more you uncover.
The sound is also very appealing – creating a hyper-energetic vibe and urging you to rock out with the band.
Ghost – Rats
Ghost is another incredible band with strong Halloween energy. The perfected storytelling and theatrics they play out with unwavering dedication are what makes everything about them so wickedly good.
The whole unholy narrative the band is developing since 2010 fits the spirit of Halloween really well. However, I find Rats from their 2018 masterpiece Prequelle perfect for the spirit of the holiday.
Let me know if you watch the video and manage to resist trying to copy Cardinal Copia’s moves
The song is greatly inspired by the Black Plague and has a terrifying tone masked under the energetic, dancy instrumentals and catchy vocals. Both the lyrics and video of the song showcase humanity being punished for our sins. Rats are used as a symbol of devastation and horror in the face of the deadly, inescapable disease. Supporting instrumentals, as expected of progressive metal masters, are also incredible and add-up to the overall creepy atmosphere.
Cardinal Copia’s hypnotizing dance moves seem slightly amusing but will undoubtedly make you want to try them out yourself. This also ties to another great plague – The Dancing Plague of 1518 and confirms Rats is perfect for your Halloween playlist.
Hayley Williams – Creepin’
Despite all the horror-inspired and truly terrifying tracks around, there are some songs which achieve a different level of fright.
Creepin’ is scarier than any other song simply because it tells a real-life story of a devastating phenomenon. It deals with human toxicity in the form of emotional torture – something we unfortunately quite often find in our own lives.
The image of a vampire is used to depict a person sucking out the joy and energy out of your life. The whole song is strongly metaphorical and uses gradation to show how easy it is to get caught up in something that seems innocent at first, but completely destroys you emotionally step by step. This is the horror of real life.
It always starts as something so simple and innocent but
Too much of anything, you’ll never know how to quit, ah
You had a taste but you don’t want to forget it
Oh, just keep on suckin’ on the memory of him
The song also achieves the effect of creepiness thanks to the well-executed vocals fitting the narrative and the suspenseful, slightly devastated instrumentals. The homemade video showing snippets of everyday life mixed in with creepy, dark imagery casually blended in makes it a true thriller for the listener.
Also hear: Afraid (The Neighbourhood)
Valerie Broussard – A Little Wicked
Stepping a little bit away from pure terror, A Little Wicked is another type of a must-have-in-my-Halloween-playlist track.
Just a really, really good song in general as well
Valerie Broussard’s incredible voice and charm create a bewitching atmosphere in this particular song. It tells a captivating story using a step-by-step gradation of patience, persistence and conquering. It is the perfect soundtrack to a dark, eerie story of thrill and revenge (rightfully used in Lucifer and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) – slightly mysterious, very confident, and essentially… wicked.
The vibe is just screaming Halloween in a non-intrusive way. It has the horror element, which is just the right amount of haunting. The instrumental supports the vibe perfectly well and contributes to an irresistible atmosphere you can’t walk away from.
Also hear: Season of The Witch (Lana Del Rey Cover)
Warren Zevon – Werewolves Of London
Halloween is fundamentally about horror and creepy vibes but this doesn’t mean it cannot also be playful and uplifting. Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London is a good example of a humorous song that fits the vibe of the holiday quite well.
The track is extremely playful with a heartwarming, dancy instrumental. It uses engaging storytelling to follow a werewolf’s journey in London on his comical quest. It was written in fifteen minutes as a joke, yet it became one of Zevon’s highest-charting tracks due to its irrespirable charm and light-hearted nature.
The song still features warnings of the viciousness of werewolves. However, it remains purely comedic. The vibe is really cosy, but it fits the Halloween motive very well.
This is how Halloween sounds like to me! I think those songs capture the essence of this day of the year best. I am sure there are more fitting examples, which I am not aware of at this stage, so feel free to drop a comment with your personal choices. I would love to enrich my playlist.
I will most likely keep updating it with new songs I discover during the year. So do follow it if you like the general vibe.
As I said at the start, I find introduction tracks for playlists very important. Setting the vibe the right way and building up to the mood is a mandatory ritual. So, I am ending the post with a quick list of fitting Halloween playlist intro tracks – they are all quite short with stunning instrumentals capturing the mood.
Broomsticks by The Pretty Reckless
Devil Church by Ghost
Stranger Things by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
Pas De Deux by Michael Abels
A Murder of Crows by Sum-41
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