Are you all prepped for Halloween celebrations? Let’s see… Have you stockpiled candy for trick-or-treaters, eaten most of it then restocked? Carved at least one jack-o-lantern out of a pumpkin? Hired a ghoulish outfit? Experimented with, practised and perfected your Halloween makeup? Shopped for, and put up, Halloween decorations? Baked multiple batches of creepy cookies (preferably creepy witch fingers)?
Hmmmm, got a feeling we’ve forgotten something… A Halloween-appropriate playlist! Let’s face it, you can’t just play any old regular music to mark this spooky annual occasion. But don’t stress, we’ve got you! Here’s ten of the very best Halloween choons out there.
Skyhooks – Horror Movie
I mean, this song’s creepy intro alone is enough to set the Halloween scene and get you in the mood. “Horror movie, right there on my TV/ Shockin’ me right out of my brain” – the lyrics are super-easy to pick up for those less familiar with Skyhooks’ first #1 single. Make sure you’re all ready to howl along, werewolf-style with this song’s outro as well. Just a thought: why not dress up as a member of Skyhooks for Halloween? Red Symons in particular would be just the ticket. Alice Cooper – Feed My Frankenstein
It’s impossible to hear Feed My Frankenstein without an image of Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World dropping to their knees before The Godfather Of Shock Rock and exclaiming in unison: “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy! We’re scum!” “Yes, yes, I know you’re hungry/ Ah, and here comes dinner!” – eep! This classic Cooper track is terrifying stuff from the get-go. And don’t forget to get your air guitar warmed up for Feed My Frankenstein’s blazing axe solo! Let’s face it, Coops is pretty much the poster boy for Halloween and dresses appropriately for these annual festivities all year ‘round. Siouxsie And The Banshees – Spellbound
Another cool Halloween costume idea would be dressing up as the incomparable Siouxsie Sioux. From the intensifying tambourine to the pummelling drums and jangly guitars, dropping Spellbound is bound to enliven any dancefloor: “It sends you spinning/ You have no choice…” Gotta love Siouxsie’s careful enunciation – like she’s adding an ‘r’ between the ‘a’ and ‘n’ of “danced” and “entranced” – during this song’s outro as well.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You
Oh how we wish we were around to experience this exhilaratingly terrifying performer live! Check out the clip above and be sure to watch it the whole way through to see Screamin’ Jay emerging from a coffin, lighting a ciggie mid-performance and somehow conjuring pyros from his fingertips – it’s spellbinding, alright! Bloody sexy song as well, TBH.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand
Our very own Prince Of Darkness, Sir Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand has gotta be one of the most sinister pieces of music we’ve ever heard: “You’ll see him in your nightmares, you’ll see him in your dreams…” It’s all about the percussive flourishes: that recurring chime, weird sound you’d swear was an actual ghost howling and güiro that sounds like someone trying to scratch their way out of a coffin – HALP! We’re even freaking ourselves out! Cave & The Bad Seeds’ song about divine vengeance is the main theme song for Jack Irish and was also (somewhat bizarrely) used in an ad spruiking South Australia’s Barossa Valley. But as the Peaky Blinders themesong of choice with cover versions by various artists also featuring in the series – Arctic Monkeys, FIDLAR, Laura Marling, PJ Harvey, and an Iggy Pop/Jarvis Cocker duet – Red Right Hand has legs! “You’re one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan/ Designed and directed by his red right hand” – Cave is such a lyrical show-off and we’re all for it! Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
You just can’t not dance to this fa-fa-fa-faaaaantastic song by Talking Heads. It’s a shoo-in for inclusion on any party playlist, but also totally suites a Halloween theme. The Specials – Ghost Town
This chart-topping ska classic featuring ominous organ parts is also a powerful piece of social commentary in case you need a talking point. Exploring themes of deindustrialisation, urban decay, unemployment and violence, Ghost Town by The Specials was a hit around the same time as violent riots spread across British cities in 1981. Ghost Town is also the last single recorded by the original seven members of The Specials: “Too much fighting on the dance floor…” Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
“Off with his head/ Dance ‘til you’re dead/ Heads will roll/ Heads will roll/ Heads will roll/ On the floor…” – get the Halloween party started right with this synth-pop banger. And if you really wanna take it there, choose the A-Trak remix. Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
“I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand/ Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain/ He was looking for the place called Lee Ho Fooks/ For to get a big dish of beef chow mein…” – LOL, we’ve never really tuned into this song’s lyrics before, but Werewolves Of London belongs on every single Halloween playlist just for its, “A-HOOOOOOO!” werewolf-mimicking choruses alone. Michael Jackson – Thriller
It’s not too late to learn and master MJ’s Thriller dance, you know. Even if it’s just the side-to-side travelling chorus choreography with swinging creature arms. Or why not go rogue and perfect Vincent Price’s spoken-word part – impressively recorded in just two takes – to lip sync at this year’s Halloween party instead? “Darkness falls across the land/ The midnight hour is close at hand…” – it’s too good! Did you know: Price was given the choice between a flat fee of $20,000 or a percentage of the album’s royalties when he agreed to lend his majestic pipes (and sinister cackle) to Thriller and chose the $20K – d’oh!