Set the stage for a night of frightful fun with this spooktacular playlist. There are the requisite Halloween-themed classics as well as alternative selections.
“Thriller” – Michael Jackson
No Halloween playlist is complete without MJ’s “Thriller.” It’s the the most-downloaded Halloween-themed hit of all-time, according to Nielsen SoundScan. All the better that there’s a dance that goes with it.
“Superstition” – Stevie Wonder
Stevie tells us that “superstition ain’t the way” in this hit song, but all his talk about walking under ladders, broken mirrors and seven years of bad luck has us scared anyway.
“Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr.
I ain’t afraid of no ghost, thanks to this thumpin’ track from 1984. It’ll get your party dancing and singing along to the “Ghostbusters!” refrain faster than a shot from a proton pack.
“Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” – David Bowie
The late, great David Bowie sings of monsters that have him running scared in this pop-rock title track on his album of the same name.
“I Put A Spell On You” – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
An unnerving song about bewitching someone into loving you, whether they want to or not. For an extra witchy factor, go with Bette Midler’s “Hocus Pocus” version.
“Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell
We can all relate to feeling paranoid alone in a dark house. In his music video, Rockwell’s house is haunted by creepy floating heads, ravens and a tombstone engraved with his own name.
“Monster Mash” – Bobby Pickett
OK, this one’s a little hokey. However, the novelty of this “graveyard smash” is what makes it a holiday favorite.
“The Boogie Monster” – Gnarls Barkley
It starts with a “Wooouahaha” and ends with lyrics about the living dead. Overall an on-theme, soulful Halloween song from an unlikely source.
They Are Night Zombies!! – Sufjan Stevens
The full title is “They Are Night Zombies!!! They Are Neighbors!!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!!! Ahhhh!!!” How can you not love a song with that title? The chorus is a bit nonsensical, but it sounds eerie all the same.
“Hudson” – Vampire Weekend
Far from Vampire Weekend’s usually upbeat, jangly numbers, “Hudson” is a slow march of a song with spectral, high-pitched backup singing.
“Clown Asylum” – Ryan Adams
“Clown Asylum” comes off Adams’s Halloween-appropriate album, “Vampires.” It’s really just a creepy voice talking over instrumentals, making it perfectly off-putting haunted house music.
“Howlin’ for you” – Black Keys
An upbeat, drum heavy track about wanting someone so bad you feel like howling. It’s got the signature guitar edginess of the Black Keys, making it a good fit for bash.
“Pumpkin” – Starlight Mints
C’mon, you need at least one song about a pumpkin.
“She Wolf” – Shakira
Shakira makes turning into a werewolf sound (and look) super sexy. Turn up the heat and let your inner she-wolf out to this party hit. Dance cages not required.
“Heads Will Roll” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Disco-infused synthpop that demands you “dance ‘til you’re dead.” The music video includes an homage to MJ’s “Thriller” before the dancer/monster starts shredding (other people) on the dance floor.