Whether your plans for Halloween include trick-or-treating, getting down with ghosts or carving up pumpkins with friends, having the perfect soundtrack for all of your fall festivities is essential.
Wrap up the spooky season with this genre-inclusive set of creepy-crawly goodness.
“Trick Or Treat Dancefloor” – Cherry Glazerr
Cherry Glazerr’s signature fuzzy and sleepy pop sound in this slowed down track make “Trick Or Treat Dancefloor” the perfect come-down tune to close out your Halloween costume party. Frontwoman and guitarist Clementine Creevy mesmerizes with her delicate teenage-era vocals. Paired with the rest of the band’s dreamy melody–complete with sedated drum kit and dawdling bassline–“Trick Or Treat Dancefloor” melds a moody sendoff for the rest of your unearthly night.
“Haunted After Midnight” – Slim Martin
With its ghostly steel guitar wails and twilight-shrouded twang, “Haunted After Midnight” is almost like an alternate universe version of Patsy Cline’s 1957 hit “Walkin’ After Midnight.” In Slim Martin’s telling of a cursed nightly reminder, Martin laments to us about how he is plagued with an overwhelming guilt “for what I’ve done, for mistakes I have made,”—but what exactly are these terrible mistakes? It’s evident Martin has sabotaged his own relationship, but was it from infidelity—or could it have been something much worse?
“The Zombie” – C.W. Stoneking
Burrowing its way from the land down under, through the graves and into your earholes, “The Zombie” is a uniquely infectious should-be Halloween classic. Australian singer-songwriter C.W. Stoneking resurrects the sounds of American roots music and calypso to bring us this nightmarish track that possesses everything exciting and beloved about Halloween.
“Monstruo Verde” – Las Ultrasónicas
Mexican Riot Grrrl group Las Ultrasónicas take us for a spin on the dance floor with “Monstruo Verde,” a surf-punky tune about hallucinating and boogying with a green monster. You’ll want to freak out and get to stomping with the nearest guy or ghoul next to you when this number comes on.
“Six Foot/Feet Under” – Bob Fryfogle
“Six Foot Under” or “Six Feet Under” by Bob Fryfogle is another Halloween-worthy, vintage country track that fits nicely into the kind of anguished and sorrowful music that you might be looking for during the spooky season. This song is as peculiar as recording artist Bob Fryfogle’s career—of which virtually nothing is known about. However, the mystery of who (or what) Fryfogle was, does do something to enhance the song’s overall eeriness and gloomy message about wandering around an old graveyard, brokenhearted and all by your lonesome.
“Nightmare” – Artie Shaw and His Orchestra
“Nightmare” is no misnomer for this dark and brooding jazz number from 1938. The ominous tune might sound familiar to some horror TV fans, as it was notably featured in the first season of FX’s “American Horror Story.” In episode nine, titled “Spooky Little Girl,” Shaw’s “Nightmare” cements itself as the perfect soundtrack for the gruesome murder-mystery of Elizabeth Short, aka the Black Dahlia, as we witness the young starlet’s fated nosedive into Murder House purgatory. “Nightmare” is a hyper-realistic fever dream transcribed to music.
“California Hippie Murders!” – Red River Dave
Another country curio, “California Hippie Murders!” beguiles you as Red River Dave chronicles the Manson Family and the barbarous Tate-LaBianca murders in gruesome detail, essentially feeling like a true crime podcast set to music. Yodeling and strumming about real-life deaths, murders and mysteries wasn’t an uncommon practice for San Antonio native, Western film actor, singer and songwriter David “Red River Dave” McEnery, whose career jump started in the late 1930’s with a grim ballad about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
“Ratas” – Ratas Negras
“Ratas” feels like a song that could soundtrack a scene of Scooby Doo and the gang being chased by flesh-chewing rats through a maze of a giant spider-infested, booby-trapped castle dungeon. With a darker and witchier pop-punky sound and wickedly evocative lyrics of “pandemia, muerte y destrucción” (pandemic, death and destruction), “Ratas” is just an overall great listen and might even conjure up some amusing childhood-Halloween nostalgia.
“Still As The Night” – The Crystal Stilts
Listening to The Crystal Stilts’ vamped up cover of Sanford Clark’s 1956 original “Still As The Night,” the mind immediately stirs up images of a vampiric cowboy racing horseback through treacherous landscape to rescue their damsel in distress. The addition of the electronic organ from multi-instrumentalist Kyle Forester really adds another layer of supernatural feeling to the song’s already otherworldly sound. While the song’s subject matter isn’t as categorically spooky like most other songs on this list, the lovelorn lyrics accompanied with the mystic hypnosis of the rest of the musical crew make “Still As The Night” comparatively disturbing.
“Ghost Town” – The Specials
You probably didn’t have protest songs in mind when queuing up your Halloween jams, but this eerie track from U.K. ska legends The Specials is doom-inducing all the same. Released in 1981, “Ghost Town” soundtracked the fight back against social injustices perpetrated on Black youth and the poor state of the economy during a pivotal time of social unrest in the U.K. The anxiety-inducing flute, phantom-like vocals and unambiguous lyrics altogether set the mood for an otherworldly evening.
“Clown!” – Chris Thomas
The Carnival Ringmaster lures you into this eerie tune and successfully sends chills down any spooky, scary skeleton’s spine. You’re lifted up by the hands of circus clowns and acrobats and flung through a tent in this frightening musical experience.
“Evil Eye” – Franz Ferdinand
From the blood curdling opening scream, to the lyrics and Alex Kapranos’ dynamic vocals, “Evil Eye” is scary good at captivating the listener with its groovy sound. This song can help set the mood while pumpkin carving, crafting Halloween decorations, or turning up your speaker to headbang to.
“Black Magic” – Band Of Skulls
Not your typical Halloween tune, “Black Magic” will still enchant you with its funky drums, scuzzy guitar riffs, and bluesy sound in guitarist Russell Marsden’s vocals.
“Lonely Ghosts” – SWMRS
This is a great Halloween party anthem. With a white bedsheet on and scissors in hand, you’ll have assembled the perfect spooky ghost costume for this dance-friendly jam.
“Night Flier” – Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space
Combining horror-punk and psychobilly, “Night Flier” has a nostalgic sound and takes you through the mystical realms of a classic Halloween night.
“Freaks” – The Hawk In Paris
With just the right amount of edge, and pop-sound, “Freaks” could be a song you’d hear in a slasher film during a montage where the teenagers are gearing up to take revenge on the maniacal serial killer.
“Beautiful Dangerous” – Slash and Fergie
Another stylish tune, “Beautiful Dangerous” will make you feel like Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Play this song as you drape your long, black slip dress, set your big, poofy hair or dawning any other costume you have for the night.
“Silent Running” – Gorillaz and Adeleye Omotayo
Released earlier this year, “Silent Running” is destined to become an instant Gorillaz classic. Damon Albarn’s mellow voice fused with the song’s ethereal tone creates a natural mystery. Listening to this song will feel as though you are walking the streets of a foggy, dark night for Halloween candy.
“Knife Under My Pillow” – Maggie Lindemann
Maggie Lindemann’s singing in “Knife Under My Pillow” sounds believably frantic and frightened. Lindemann takes the listener on a tour of her thoughts. This song captivates the feeling of running through the halls of your house late at night and hearing noises of someone or something lurking when in reality it’s just your paranoia.
“Mystery Planet” – The Bomboras
This instrumental number is packed with an electrifying groove and is entirely reminiscent of classic, spooky cartoons.
Listen to the full Spotify playlist here.