Looking to get bewitched, bothered, and bewildered this Halloween? Look no further! A haunting and harrowing October playlist is here to save the day! The songs featured below are some of my all-time favourites for getting me in a spooky mood.
- “Season of the Witch” – Lana Del Rey
Although problematic at times, Lana Del Rey consistently nails the theme of dark and sultry. I find myself listening to her in the autumn months, and her song “Season of the Witch,” featured on the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) movie soundtrack, is my go-to Halloween season song. Paired with Del Rey’s velvety vocals is a funky, upbeat rhythm that makes the song instantly catchy. Not a Lana fan? No problem. Opt for the original song by Donovan from his 1966 album Sunshine Superman. It has a 70s psychedelic energy to it and is just as hypnotizing as Del Rey’s version.
- “Into the Night” – Julee Cruise
Anything related to Twin Peaks (the 90s TV show directed by David Lynch) instantly reminds me of fall, with deep red tones, pine trees and apple pie. Of course, the actual show is much darker than that as it’s known for its surreal style, following the murder of town sweetheart Laura Palmer. Julee Cruise’s “Falling” was the show’s theme song, but I find “Into the Night,” another song from her “Falling Into the Night” album, almost unearthly. It’s curious and mystifying. Something about Cruise’s soft voice and eerie instrumentals makes you feel like someone’s watching you. This one might not get a Halloween party bumping per se, but I highly recommend it for a cozy night indoors…with the curtains drawn, of course.
- “Spooky” – Dusty Springfield
If you want something more light-hearted, Dusty Springfield’s “Spooky” is a 60s pop/soul song perfect for a brisk fall day, clicking your heels against the pavement as you bump down the street to class. It reminds me of Bewitched (1964), or the old-school Sabrina the Teenage Witch series from the 2000s. It’s quirky, fun, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Springfield’s songs are charming, and “Spooky” specifically has a witchy twinkle to it.
- “Flowers Grow Out of My Grave” – Dead Man’s Bones
So as it turns out, Ryan Gosling can sing. His band, Dead Man’s Bones, has one of the most unique, ghostly albums I’ve ever heard. Gosling was inspired by his experience growing up in a haunted house and his subsequent obsession with all things ghost-related. The band was created after Gosling and the band’s co-founder Zach Shields, discovered a shared love of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. The song “Flowers Grow Out of My Grave” features spoken word poetry that leads into whimsical, upbeat harmonies. The album features the Silverlake Conservatory of Music children’s choir, giving the song a childlike and supernatural effect.
- “I Put a Spell On You” – Nina Simone
Nina Simone’s deep, rich voice paired with jazz instrumentals and a saxophone solo is intense and gut-wrenching. “I Put a Spell On You” is wicked and heartbreaking; no one captures love and pain as Simone does. If you’re looking for Halloween movies that fit a similar vibe–I recommend The Love Witch (2016) or Practical Magic (1998).
- “Harvest Moon” – Neil Young
I’m not sure if this song was ever actually featured on Gilmore Girls, but its dreamy, romantic rhythm makes me want to teleport to the Stars Hollow gazebo. I imagine myself huddled under a blanket, watching the moon above while sipping on a cup of warm apple cider. Young’s notorious folk/rock song, featuring a slow and methodical banjo guitar reminds me of hayrides and pumpkin patches. A romantic and idealistic fall evening.
- “I Wanna Be a Witch” – Teen Suicide
If you’re into sad alternative music, Teen Suicide is definitely for you. The band’s tracks are simultaneously dreamy and punk-ish. With many songs referencing hell, being haunted, goblins etc., it fits a gloomy October mood. “I Wanna Be a Witch” specifically reminds me of being in grade 10 and riding the bus to school while the leaves were changing. It’s a mellower track on this song recommendation list, but definitely, not one you should skip.