Halloween Songs You'll Want to Listen to All Year Long

Pumpkin musical notes

Spooky season is here... Muhaha! Have the right soundtrack handy?

As soon as the wind starts to chill, people start talking about winter holidays. But what about those of us who appreciate the fall? Where’s the excitement for people looking forward to falling leaves, warm cider, and Halloween? Yes, Halloween—a holiday crafted for kids, but equally enjoyable for adults. It’s one of the few holidays that requires no holiday stress and no feast to cook. Just black and orange decorations, fun costumes, and sweet stuff. Speaking of which, what's your favourite candy?

Have you made a Halloween playlist yet? If not, you’re in luck. With a mix of oldies and modern hits, these spooky tracks are sure to get everyone in the spirit. So cue them up, make a Halloween-inspired drink (I am Shirley Temple type, which is OJ, not a splash, but a lot of pomegranate juice and mineral water) and prepare to dance the night away. 

1.Stevie Wonder: "Superstition" Because just the bassline of this classic alone will make you look like you’re cursed to dance for eternity.

2. LCD Sound System: "Someone Great". As I previously stated, this is a list of songs that you will want to listen to, not just on Halloween but all year long. Why? It's a "great", but sad song with some painfully heartfelt lyrics. A song that is about loss and is ideal for Day of the Dead, which is on November 1. It's a song that always hits me hard! 

3. Nine Inch Nails: "The Becoming" Where should the backup vocals come from? You can’t leave this one on your spooky playlist.

4. Bobby Pickett: "Monster Mash" because it's a graveyard smash.

5. Alice Cooper: "Ballad of Dwight Fry" A song about a distressed man’s admittance to a psychiatric ward, Ballad of Dwight Fry is also an ode (of sorts) to the actor of the same name, who played Renfield in the original Dracula film. Doubly horrific.

6. Rihanna: "Distrubia" Because only Rihanna could make “bum, bum, bee-dum, bum-bum, bee-dum-bum” sound like an ancient spell to cast you into a night of darkness.

7. Black Sabbath: "Black Sabbath" Black Sabbath's self-titled song tells the story of meeting Satan—you can't really get much darker than that.

8. Alice Cooper: “Feed My Frankenstein” Really a love song, just with a little Halloween-y twist.

9. Sufjan Stevens: "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." Can a song give you nightmares? It turns out the answer is yes when it’s about the life of one of America’s most notorious serial killers.

10. Nelly Furtado: “Maneater" because Nelly Furtado literally gave us a symptom-by-symptom guide to recognizing maneaters in case of a zombie apocalypse. They make you work hard, make you spend hard, and look nothing like the Walking Dead extras. The doggy at the end of the video makes it all good. :)

11. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs: “Heads Will Roll—A-Trak Remix" Because the Project X soundtrack is an ominous presence that still haunts playlists to this day. And this Frankenstein revival of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ original hit takes the cake for the most gruesome party ever.

12. Rocky Horror Picture Show: “Time Warp” A jump to the left and step to the right are the heart and soul behind the cult classic . Because if you’re not the kind of person to attend the midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show every Halloween, it’s at least in good practice to pour one out for their dedication at your party.

13. Rockwell (remember from the 80s?): "Somebody's Watching Me" Because if the paranoia of feeling like you’re constantly being followed doesn’t plague your psyche, then the recurring memory of the googly-eyed money stack from the “Somebody’s Watching Me” Geico commercials has to.

14. Luniz ft. Michael Marshall: "I Got 5 On It" Because if you have seen Us once, then this remix of Luniz’s hit from the '90s will make you super uncomfortable. Keep an eye out for red jumpsuit lookalikes.

15. Radiohead: "Creep" because the haunting guitar melody and Thom Yorke’s vocals are as sincere as they are unsettling.

16. Bow Wow: "I Want Candy." Because adult Halloween doesn’t have to mean switching the sweets for spirits. 

17. Billie Eilish: "Bury a friend." Because Billie Eilish's dark, horror pop has become one of the most fully realized debut personas in recent years, Bury a Friend is a dark and poignant song that blurs the line between fear and an absolute banger.

18. Whodini: "Freaks Come Out at Night" This little '80s earworm will stay in your head long into November.

19. Taylor Swift: "Haunted" Because on the absolute poppiest side of the fence, Taylor Swift’s “Haunted” is an orchestra-filled, dramatic, drum-heavy break-up anthem that lingers on the edge of being unhinged.

20. Shakira: "She Wolf" Because Shakira's weird world of werewolf transformations is a necessary addition to any Halloween playlist. Bonus points for performing in what can only be described as the bedazzled interior of a cave?

21. The Police: "Every Breath You Take" Because it sounds very innocuous until you really listen to the words. Is it probably well-intentioned? Sure. Does it sound like a big creeper song? Also sure.

22. David Bowie: "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) Because we'd follow David Bowie down a haunted path any day.

23. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: "John Carpenter's Halloween" Because Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor's movie score genius is best applied to one of the greatest horror themes of all time.

24. Fleetwood Mac: "Sisters of the Moon" because Stevie Nicks can make anyone feel a little witchy.

25. Marianne Faithfull: "Witches' Song" because you need a song to sing along to with your coven.

26. Nina Simone: "I Put a Spell on You" because no one could put as much heart and soul into a love spell quite like Nina Simone.

27. The Rolling Stones:  "Sympathy for the Devil" Because of all the songs written about Satan, this one packs the biggest punch—even 50 years later.

28. AC/DC:  "Who Made Who" Because it's the best part of Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive.

29. Annie Lennox( one of my favourite artists): "Love Song for a Vampire" Because who knows? Maybe you'll slow dance with Dracula at a Halloween party this year.

30. Blondie (saw her pre-pandemic shuffle her feet on stage at The Okeef Centre in Toronto or whatever it is called now): "Rapture" Because Debbie Harry and Co. were mixing together new wave and hip-hop in a song about clubbing with aliens way back in '81.

31. Talking Heads: "Psycho Killer" Because the oversized David Byrne suit is an underrated Halloween costume

32. Michael Jackson: "Thriller" Because this song is to Halloween what Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is to Christmas.

33. Frank Sinatra: "Witchcraft" Because Frank Sinatra was clearly bewitched and lived to tell the tale. The least we can do is hear his story! Thank you for opening up, "OlBlue Eyes".

34. Beyoncé: "Sweet Dreams" Have you heard how this song starts? Not to mention the further references of "beautiful nightmare[s]" and a relationship that seems so good... it feels like a trap.

35. Ryan Adams – "Halloweenhead" I have no words to describe this tune.

36. Kate Bush: "Get Out of My House" Most of you know her hit, Running Up the Hill, which was featured in "Stranger Things," but do you know how she described this song... as her own Shining. That movie scared the you know what out of me, so all I can say is scareee...eek! 

37. Warren Zevon: "Werewolves of London" Because as tempting as it is to include the Grateful Dead howling live on Halloween about this hairy, hairy Chow Mein-eating man, nothing quite touches the way Zevon unfurls the bit about Lon Chaney, Jr., walking with the Queen.

38. Willie Nelson: "Gravedigger" Dave Matthews wrote it, but Willie, 74 at the time of recording, sells it.

39. Fiona Apple: "Werewolf" Because, admittedly, the "werewolf" in the title is too fleeting for this to be a true Halloween song, the way she uses a "full moon" reference to take some of the blame off a lover that left her for dead is a clever little slice of songwriting nonetheless.

40. Fleetwood Mac: "Rhiannon" With two songs from FWM in this playlist, can't you tell I like 'em. Not just because "Rhiannon" doesn't just sound like she could be a witch, OK? This song was actually based on the story of the Welsh witch or goddess of the same name.

41. Phoebe Bridgers: "Halloween" The name alone makes this an obvious choice. But, beyond that, Phoebe Bridgers's haunting vocals and that hypnotizing melody will put you in a trance.

42. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein: "Stranger Things" Theme Is there anything more perfect for Halloween than this? And these Runnin' Up That Hill Sneaker Socks are built to outrun monsters!

Runnin' Up That Hill Sneaker Socks

43. Ray Parker Jr.: "Ghostbusters" Theme Who are you going to call? That's right, the Ghostbusters. These movies are classic. If you haven't watched them, you gotta!

44. Last, but not totally least, The Cranberries: Zombie. The year: 1995. Your obsession: This Dolores O'Riordan song.

Dolores O'Riordan is one of my favourite 90s artist. We miss you, and your heartfelt songs with the Cranberries!

The other is, of course, Alanis Morrisette. I was trying to think of one song you want to hear all year, but I would have to list all of her songs. If I were forced into it choosing a Halloween tune, it would probably be "Uninvited," which is "driven by four piano notes and builds to an instrumental climax and haunting atmosphere accompanied by cryptic lyrics."

Encore - Katy Perry ft. Juicy J: "Dark Horse" Katy Perry wanted this song to have a "witchy, spell-y kind of black magic-y" vibe, and she totally nailed it. via esquire

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