Music Mondays: 25 Songs To Get You In The Halloween Spirit

Something wicked this way comes — no, Driskel isn’t coming back to start for homecoming – because Halloween is less than a week away.

Ah, October 31, a day when ghouls and ghosts come out to play, students invade Midtown and kids make candy a sixth food group. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because there are so many ways to celebrate. You can watch scary movies, eat candy corn, go to Halloween Horror Nights (or my version at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party), or even just listen to music to get you in the mood.

If you’re not in the Halloween spirit just yet, I’ve put together some songs, both oldies and newbies, which would make a great pumpkin-carving playlist.

1. “This Is Halloween” – Danny Elfman

This song is stereotypical, but it’s also a staple. Director Henry Selick also just confirmed that the Tim Burton classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas, is indeed a Halloween movie, not a Christmas movie.  (Better luck next time, Santa. You still have Elf.)

2. “Once Upon A Dream” – Lana Del Rey

Del Rey’s eerie take on the romantic, birds-chirping-in-the-background Disney love song for 2014’s Maleficent is sure to leave you with a few chills running down your spine. Who knew someone so young and beautiful could sing something so unnerving and haunting?

3. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker, Jr.

With a reboot scheduled for a release next summer, this ‘80s jam is probably going to get real old, real fast... so get it out of your system now! (If you’re from Jacksonville, Mike Shad’s already helped you with that.)

4. “Time Warp” – Richard O’Brien/Patricia Quinn/Neil Campbell/Charles Gray

If you haven’t seen the brilliance that is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, steal your roommate’s HBO password and watch it now. It’ll make you never think of The Wild Thornberrys the same ever again, but it might ironically make you a lot less scared of It. (And remember, it’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right…)

5. “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” – Harry Belafonte  

Quite arguably one of the best scenes in cinematic history played out to this song. The possessed dance number in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice made me afraid of shrimp for a few years, but also made me secretly wish Beetlejuice could help me do those groovy dance moves.

6. “I Put a Spell on You” – Bette Midler

This curse-casting song was written and initially recorded by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in the ‘50s, and sure, his original is great. However, Midler’s version from everyone’s favorite Halloween movie Hocus Pocus has to come first on a holiday playlist. You can even see the Sanderson sisters perform it live at Disney World until Nov. 1.

7. “Black Magic” – Little Mix

Don’t all guys and gals wish they had a potion to make that one person fall head over heels in love with them? Sure they do, and the British girl group Little Mix sings about those #strugs in this upbeat song (which kind of sounds a little bit like that one from Anastasia).

8. “Thriller/Heads Will Roll” – Glee Cast

“Thriller” and “Heads Will Roll” are great ghostly songs by themselves, but – porque no los dos? That’s what Ryan Murphy said when Glee performed this insanely awesome mashup with all the characters dressed as cheerleader and football-player zombies.

9. “Dracula’s Lament” – Jason Segal

Segal’s breakout moment in Forgetting Sarah Marshall – besides breaking out his junk – was performing this heartfelt piano ballad to Mila Kunis about a lovelorn count. He’s since performed a full version on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, but let’s hope a full musical is on the horizon soon for Segal and his sad little vampire.

10. “Back To Black” – Beyoncé, featuring Andre 3000

This song is included on the list because I feel like it’d be ideal for vampires getting crunk in the club. I’m surprised they haven’t used it on the soundtrack for The Vampire Diaries, but Jay-Z probably has it copyrighted Tidal-only. Thankfully, that’s what YouTube is for.

11. “Magic Dance” – David Bowie

I’ve sworn by Labyrinth since I was 11 years old, but I’ve also never been able to get the image of David Bowie in tights out of my head. This song from the movie is one of my favorites and is sung among hundreds of Jim Henson goblins — totally scary, right?

12. “Disturbia” – Rihanna

“Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum” goes the song in which Rihanna sings about an ever-present Disturbia that’s a thief in the night, a creep, a disease, can control you and makes you feel like a monster. So, it’s about Donald Trump? Now, that’s scary.

13. “Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell

If you’ve been wanting to know who’s watchin’, needing someone to tell you who’s watchin’, who’s watchin’ you, then you’re out of luck because this song doesn’t know either. But it’s a classic creeper song, and I really wanted to use that gif.

14. “Bad Moon Rising” – Mourning Ritual

The most badass scene in all of Teen Wolf  history happened with Dylan O’Brien strutting down the halls of Beacon Hills Memorial with his ninja BFFs to this downright sinister twist on the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit. Was “Void Stiles” super terrifying? Yes. Was he still super attractive? Duh.

15. “Witch Doctor” – Alvin and the Chipmunks

No other Chipmunk cover comes close in comparison to the absolute thrill that is “Witch Doctor.” I can’t deny it’s a fun song, which gets even better when you imagine Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney singing it.

16. “Supernova Girl” – Prota Zoa

Sci-fi is a Halloween genre, right? Well, hopefully it is because that was my only basis for including this song from Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.

17. “A Nightmare On My Street” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Yes, you read the artist name right. Best friends from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Jazz and Will (a.k.a. Jeffrey Allen Townes and Will Smith) got together on this rap track to play on the 1984 Wes Craven film. The franchise even sued the duo’s record label at one point for copyright infringement, and the two were forced to take down the music video for the song.

18. “Shia LaBeouf” – Rob Cantor

Is there anything scarier than an actual cannibal Shia LaBeouf? (Probably just Donald Trump.)

19. “Hungry Like The Wolf” – Duran Duran

C’mon, everyone loves a good werewolf song and cute boys holding cute dire wolves. (Also, a new 5SOS song sounds exactly like this one. Weird.)

20. “The Monster” – Eminem, featuring Rihanna

Rihanna’s second appearance on this Halloween playlist comes with a not-so-popular rapper from somewhere in Michigan. We’ve had some character development with the singer, though – while she wanted to distance herself from the monster she became in “Disturbia,” now the monster inside her head is her best friend.

21.“Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” – Tracy Morgan & Donald Glover

Morgan’s character Tracy Jordan comically performed this spoooooky, scaaaaary song on 30 Rock, but this glorious three-minute version was later released that included the guy better known as Childish Gambino on the track. He also wrote and produced the song, which begs the question: What can’t Donald Glover do?

22. “The Headless Horseman” – Bing Crosby

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a classic Disney short film that told the story of the Headless Horseman before Johnny Depp. It’s only 30 minutes long, so to get even more in the Halloween spirit, you can watch the whole movie here.

23. “Dracula’s Wedding” – OutKast

Dracula has moved on from the heartbreak he sung about in his lament and is now getting married — with André 3000 and Big Boi as the officiators. (That’s actually not the premise of the song, but it’d be dope if it were.)

24. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” – Buddy Baker

Because all Halloween playlists need the song that makes you wish you were riding the Haunted Mansion at every waking moment.

25. Just in case you want a little extra somethin' somethin'...

I hope you enjoy listening to this playlist as much as I enjoyed making it. Actually, no I didn’t – AVADA KEDAVRA! (See, wasn’t that scary?) Don’t forget to make your own Halloween playlists to compare – did I include your favorites? Do you want to use the killing curse on me because I left the best songs out? Let me know!

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