Creating the Ultimate Halloween Playlist

As we creep closer to Halloween, most of us have already put a nice dent in our October horror movie lists (See Red River Horror’s list here).  Let’s not forget about another important list- the Halloween music playlist!  To me, a solid Halloween playlist is as important as a good Christmas playlist.  However, I’ve personally never been a fan of the curated playlists available on platforms such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple, etc.  I personally find those lists either totally cliche or completely random and confusing.  Over the past few years, I have come up with a method of perfect Halloween song selection that I would love to share with you.  Here are my requirements for a perfect Halloween playlist.

  1. The Standards
Thriller - Michael Jackson - Red River Horror
Michael Jackson in the iconic “Thriller” video – image via YouTube

These include all of the traditional songs we associate with the Halloween season.  These are songs that you will definitely find on any curated list.  The beautiful thing about making your own list- leave out the songs that you absolutely hate or are just plain tired of hearing.

Examples: “The Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers

                  “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

                  “Time Warp” by The Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast 

                  “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

  1. The “Creepy” Songs from the “Creepy” Artists
Rob Zombie - Red River Horror
Rob Zombie – image via Kerrang!

This group includes artists whose music we can listen to year round but really shine at Halloween.  These artists are usually “shock” artists and their lyrics fit the Halloween season perfectly.

Examples: “Dragula” by Rob Zombie

                  “Feed My Frankenstein” by Alice Cooper

                  “Rats” by Ghost

                  “The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson

  1. The Songs That Have Halloween-Related Words in the Title
Evanescence - Fallen - Red River Horror
Fallen by Evanescence (album cover) – image via Amazon

This is one of my favorite categories to include in my playlist (and ironically, the category that tends to annoy me the most on curated lists).  These are the songs that you play and the people around you go, “Huh?  Oh, I see what you did there”.  Sometimes, if you listen closely, the lyrics to some songs that you would have never thought of as Halloween songs can actually fit the season pretty well.

Examples: “Say You’ll Haunt Me” by Stone Sour

                  “Evil Woman” by E.L.O

                  “Haunted” by Evanescence 

                  “Black Magic Woman” by Santana 

  1. Songs that Make You Laugh
Boyz 4 Now - Bob's Burgers - Red River Horror
Boyz 4 Now (Bob’s Burgers) – image via YouTube

            This group is one of the newer groups I’ve included on my list.  These are songs that are 

            either intentionally funny, did not age well, or are just ridiculous enough to get a laugh       

            out of most people.

            Examples: “I Love You So Much (It’s Scary)” by Max Greenfield, H. Jon Benjamin, et al. 

                              (From Bob’s Burgers)

                             “A Nightmare on My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

                             “Pet Sematary” by The Ramones

  1. Theme Songs and Scores
Halloween 2018 - Red River Horror
Halloween 2018 – image via Crypt Teaze

As a musician, one of my favorite aspects of a good horror movie is the score.  I always include some of my favorite music from the best horror movies and tv shows on my list.

Examples: “Halloween Theme” by John Carpenter

                  “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield 

                  “This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman 

                  “Stranger Things” by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein

  1. The Songs that Just Work
Voodoo Child - Jimi Hendrix - Red River Horror
VOODOO CHILD book cover – image via Goodreads

These are songs that just plain work for the season.  It could be the lyrics, the tone, the overall theme of the song, or any other factor.  You hear these songs and they just feel right for Halloween.  This is my absolute favorite group of songs on my playlist.

Examples: “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult

                  “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix

                  “Season of the Witch” by Donovan

                  “Love Potion No.9” by The Clovers

Interested in listening to my full Halloween playlist?  Listen on Spotify here.  You won’t find every single example I’ve listed here on my list but that’s the beauty of making your own playlist- you get to pick and choose what you like.  I’m always adding new songs and occasionally getting rid of songs I no longer feel like hearing.  Let me know what you think and share some of your favorites as well.  They may just end up on my list.

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