Spooky Scary Songs

New Halloween songs for the spooky season.

The air begins to chill, the leaves fall and turn brown, and floating eerily on the wind are the haunting notes of… the same overplayed songs as last year. A handful of recycled songs make up short playlists every Halloween, and quickly become tired. But there are other songs out there, some unconsidered gems to mix among the Ghostbusters, Thriller and Monster Mash to bring in a refreshing autumn breeze and make a brand new Halloween playlist.

– “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult
A doom portending hit by Blue Oyster Cult from 1976, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is a love song of sorts, with a uniquely macab feel. Included in two movies in the Halloween slasher franchise as well as the opening to the TV adaptation of horror-master Steven King’s “The Stand”, the song carries a somber note throughout most of it, changing tune only temporarily for a truly foreboding, dark and Halloween worthy instrumental bridge.

– “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo
“Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo from 1986 is an unforgivingly fun song on it’s own, and with lyrics like, “It’s a dead man’s party, who could ask for more? Everybody’s comin’, leave your body at the door,“ it really summons that classic Halloween party feeling. The band brings their own well-known and well-loved brand of new wave party music to the Halloween scene, and is a staple to have on any good Halloween playlist.

– “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Holding its place on many top-song lists since Screamin’ Jay Hawkins released it in 1956,”I put a Spell on You” is certainly a tune that waits in the back of your mind once it’s heard. It’s been covered by a true menagerie of artists and bands, and almost always manifesting high on the charts as the new version. The reason the original 1965 release is on this list however, is the story and feeling of the recording. It was originally intended as a love song and a blues ballad before Hawkins’ producer turned the recording day into a wild party, and the new, weirder version was sung. This song brings out the otherworldly and oddities that come along every October, and can’t be more welcome.

– “Evil Eye” by Franz Ferdinand
Introducing itself with a classic spooky scream, Franz Ferdinand delivers a fantastically catchy rock song from 2013 filled to the brim with Halloween sounds and themes. The foreboding lyrics, seamless sound effects, a spooky bridge and the aforementioned scream – really it’s fantastic – work together to reel in a Halloween feeling faster than most other songs about the holiday can. “Evil Eye” absolutely deserves to be played early on any Halloween playlist to launch the listener right into the seasonal mood.

– “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” by David Bowie
A song that brings forward the enjoyable unease that only David Bowie can, “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” is an easily overlooked song for Halloween. Released in 1980, It’s easy to see how this song has influenced future ones, just like Bowie has done throughout his career. As seen in the opening of this song, a low drumming noise is heard, and is reminiscent to us now of the coffin creek from Micheal Jackson’s “Thriller”, which debuted just two years after “Scary Monsters”. With ominous lyrics hinting at something more, this song masterfully brings out that quaint All Hallows Eve fear.

– “Grim Grinning Ghosts” by Buddy Baker
The song that plays through the Haunted Mansion rides in Disney parks since the 1960s, “Grim Grinning Ghosts”, composed by Buddy Baker, was practically built for Halloween. It relies heavily on imagery of the season, invoking classic but effective tropes. The song sings of doorless chambers and flickering candlelight, crypts and tombstones and of course, grim grinning ghosts. This song may be overlooked, but it is still known to many, providing a familiar feeling introduction to the haunting season.

– “The Headless Horseman” by Bing Crosby
A classic Boogie Man song from a classic time, “The Headless Horseman”, sung by Bing Crosby, brings a vintage feel to a Halloween playlist. Appearing in the 1949 Disney adaptation of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, this song, sung by the character Brom Bones in an attempt to terrify Ichabod Crane, tells of the cursed spirit of the Headless Horseman, and eerily sets up the terrifying night time ride that culminates the story. Supported by a classic voice, this tune summons forth both the feeling of that old Halloween era as it does the old ghost itself. Beware, take care, and remember, he rides alone.