Best Halloween Party Songs

Posted October 28, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

You cannot have an infectious Halloween party without these songs on a mix CD. Here’s our 5…or 7 faves.

There are countless eerie songs to bug your friends and enemies for the Halloween season. Just put on John Carpenter’s “Halloween”theme song, the “ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma” chants from Friday the 13th or Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (the theme from the Exorcist) and you’re bound to get a few of them terrified. But you can always add life to the party with a few Halloween party favorites that’s both scary and exuberantly infectious. We’veselected five Halloween favorites from the history of pop music that will certainly put a smile on your carved pumpkin’s face. We bended the rules a little to include two tie-breakers, so we’veturned this 5 Faves’ trick into a treat we all can live with.

The Monster Mash
Bobby Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers

Released as a novelty record for Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers, “Monster Mash” gave Pickett his only No. 1 hit. But the song’s endurance has proved itself over the years; leaping back into the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970 and again in 1973. Its powers continued to spread to the UK in October 1973 when it soared to #3. Done in the tradition of the dance tunes of the day like the “Peppermint Twist” and “The Mashed Potato,” Pickett – in the eyes of a mad scientist – is found telling a story in Boris Karloff-style about his Frankenstein experiment rising from his table and jumping into a new dance. After all these years, Halloween parties gravitate to this gem for its ageless spooky fun.

Michael Jackson

There’s no escaping the powers of Michael Jackson’s haunted masterpiece. It’s so good, that it’s worth revisiting beyond the last day of October. It’s iconic powers, even with its historical 14-minute concept video, revolutionized the foundations of pop music forever. Assembling fright pioneer Vincent Price atop Rod Temperton’s spooky composition added that extra spice to the single. But the single’s biggest prop, its music video, gave life to a dance number containing everlasting remembrance like the zombie walk, those creepy slide movements and the werewolf paces. The song charted at #4 pop/#3 r&b/#1 dance and landed at #1 in Belgium and France.

#3 (tie)
Time Warp
The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Just about in every corner of America around Halloween, you will see or hear either a re-enactment of the hit musical or a theatric release of the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Lifting just one memorable song from the soundtrack is always a challenge, especially with Rocky Horror groupies, but “The Time War,” led by Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien), Magneta (Patricia Quinn) and Columbia (Nell Campbell) in the film, probably remains the crowd favorite. It has that instantaneous “sing-a-long” magnetism and the spirit of rock ‘n roll (captured best in its line dance), that will spruce up any party.

#3 (tie)
Ray Parker, Jr.

Merging scary synthsinto a funky R&B groove made this Ray Parker, Jr. single a blockbuster #1 hit. Like most successful theme songs from a motion picture, it elevated the success of its companion film, Ghostbusters. The concept video for “Ghostbusters” was just as big on MTV. Those infamous lines (“I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost, Who you gonna call?”) are submerged into the conscious of millions of baby boomers and Gen X. Because of their love for ‘80’s culture, this song remains a karaoke favorite and an even popular hit at Halloween gatherings.

#4 (tie)
Somebody’s Watching Me

Berry Gordy knew his son didn’t have what it took to be a pop singer. But with some help from former labelmate Michael Jackson on background vocals and with some of the greatest paranoiac lyrics penned, “Somebody’s Watching Me” was released and hit #2 pop/#1 R&B. Rockwell proved to be a ‘80’s one-hit wonder, but the song remains a Halloween classic. The music video is also worth watching for its haunted house/Psycho tributes.


Nightmare On My Street
DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

Just when the rap duo exploded withthe success of their first single “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” the label decided to release “Nightmare On My Street.” The song, like its predecessor, tells a story withWill Smith (Fresh Prince) in a haunting first-person narrative. He and his buddy (Jazzy Jeff) is being haunted down by Freddy Kruger himself. Unfortunately even with the success of the single, the people at New Line Cinema didn’t want it on their soundtrack for their latest “Nightmare on Elm Street” horror flick (The Dream Master). If they only knew what they were missing.

Boris The Spider
The Who

Penned by The Who’s bassist John Entwistle, this song – never released as a single – became a popular staple in their live shows. All credit goes to those daring low bass notes and Christine Hart’s ghoulish death growl. That vocal effect has now become a trademark in the extremely dark heavy metal sub-genre best known as death metal. But it’s not so dreadful, the tag on the chorus is sing-a-long worthy for any Halloween party (“Creepy, crawly”).

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine

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