Emma Off The Record: Season of the Bruja

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” - one of the witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

This spine-tingling quote has always been one of my favorites. My mind goes into full cinematic mode as I imagine a smoky room with cabinets full of mysterious jars of pickled oddities or a forest of gnarled trees where swarms of bats are lurking in the twisted branches. I love letting my imagination run wild in this Ray Bradbury-esque spooky universe, and with Halloween coming up soon, I’ve been reminiscing about how I’ve celebrated this time of the year in the past.

Of course, there were marathons of every Halloweentown and Twitches movie, nights spent carving pumpkins at my kitchen table, and lots and lots of candy. I distinctly remember trick-or-treating with my friends one year dressed up as an old-fashioned candy shop (yes, shop, not just employee), and stealing business from the houses by handing out my own stash of sweets. Not really sure where that stroke of inspiration came from, but it seemed to be a crowd-pleaser nonetheless. 

Halloween is now a bittersweet holiday for me. I’m too old to go knocking on stranger’s doors asking for candy and I’m too busy to go shopping for whimsical decorations that I’ll only keep up for about a week. I’m not trying to sound like a soulless Scrooge who has lost all of her spooky spirit and couldn’t care less about Halloween. In fact, Halloween is hands down my favorite holiday. Growing up, I would plan my costumes a year in advance and spend weeks gathering all of the materials for my masterpieces. I carefully constructed my designs with assistance from my team––shoutout to my mom––and would show up to school ready to strut across the stage at my elementary school’s annual Halloween parade, a.k.a. my own personal Oscar's red carpet. I was an animal cracker, a piñata, a shooting star, Linguini from Ratatouille (complete with Remi under my chef’s hat), and my magnum opus, the ACTUAL HOUSE from UP. In case you’re wondering, yes I did carry those balloons around all day, and yes I did include the mailbox. 

Photo Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

As an homage to my glory days as a Halloween virtuoso, I have created a playlist that encapsulates the apple cider-drenched, sticky-fingered memories of Halloweens past. While making this playlist, I imagined throwing a swanky cocktail party at the Addams family residence with a guest list including Frankenstein (and his bride), Dracula, Jack Skellington and Sally, Beetlejuice, the Wicked Witch of the West, and every other spooky character you can think of.

I went with a more vintage approach this time around because there are a ton of older tunes that I truly feel capture the essence of this holiday. I decided to start off with Donovan’s classic, “Season of the Witch” since this song is practically the official anthem of Halloween. Plus, Lana Del Rey just did a cover for the new Guillermo Del Toro movie based on the book, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” and I wanted to include both versions on this playlist. Dusty Springfield’s “Spooky” and Nina Simone’s “I Put a Spell on You” are full of the kind of black magic energy that I’d imagine witches would enjoy bopping to. The Doors’s “People Are Strange” and Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” are a little more upbeat and embody a creepy-crawly kind of feeling. I also included a few modern songs like “Gooey” by Glass Animals and Teagan and Sara’s “Walking with a Ghost,” which pair nicely with the dustier tracks on this playlist.

There’s something on this playlist for everyone, whether you’re a ghost, a ghoul, or simply a plain old fool. Yeah, I know that was pretty cheesy, but I’m trying to embrace my inner child here. I hope this playlist fills you with all of the Halloween spirit that your spooky heart desires. :)



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