October is here and so begins the month-long celebration of the spooky and macabre as we count the days until Halloween. Unfortunately this also means that in a mere 32 days, before the fake cobwebs have been cleared away, we will be clobbered with the treacle noise that is Christmas music. I’ve always found it curious that Christmas enjoys the most musical representation. This is not to say that I prefer radio airwaves clogged with holiday songs all year round. Certainly a month of Easter songs would drive me bananas. But I can appreciate an October playlist heavy in minor keys, creepy organs, and skeletons that gleefully play their own rib cages in lieu of xylophones. With that in mind, I’ve created a playlist of Halloween “carols” to celebrate the season.
You’ll find that I’ve left out Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s Halloween staple, “Monster Mash” as I’m fairly confident that we’ll hear it elsewhere this season. Instead, I opted for a ska version of “Monster Mash” by Eskalator which works nicely when paired with “Ghost Town” by The Specials. I’ve also intentionally left out other Halloween go-to’s like Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater,” but have included the similarly themed “Slime Creatures from Outer Space” by “Weird Al” Yankovic in its place. However, I have included songs that enjoy heavy Halloween time airplay, like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (still the king of Halloween songs in my opinion) and Danny Elfman’s “This is Halloween.” But while many top ten “Essential Songs for Your Halloween Party” lists include Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” for me it always conjured Tom Cruise showboating in The Color of Money rather than anything remotely Halloweeny. Instead, I chose to wolf-out to lycanthropic selections by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, The Cramps, and delightfully corny “Big Bad Wolf” from the Teen Wolf soundtrack.
You’ll find a sampling of novelty Halloween songs, selections from horror movie soundtracks, and eerily themed songs from a wide array of artists across many genres. Some of it is genuinely haunting (just try listening to Fantômas take on “Rosemary’s Baby” alone in the dark) while some of it is almost embarrassingly goofy (I’m looking at you DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince). Hopefully I’ve managed to include enough Halloween treats for everyone to enjoy.