Skip to main content

13 Best Halloween Songs of All Time — Halloween Party Playlist

Halloween may be the scariest yet, and not exactly in the way we were pulling for. A global health crisis has many of us trading in trick or treating and partying for something mellower and safer at home.

But that does not translate to a Halloween-less October 31. You can keep the spooky spirit alive with the help of a good drink and a well-appointed playlist. A good soundtrack functions like the spike in a punch — it improves the mood and sets the tone for fun almost immediately, something we could all use a bit more of this year.

halloween music

For the record, we’re not just talking about playing Thriller on repeat. A good Halloween playlist is as much about discovery (do stream the 1964 classic Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House) as it is classic songs about monsters, murderers, curses, and mayhem.

Here are thirteen tracks to stream to enhance the scariest of days:

Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett

Bobby Pickett "Monster Mash"

There’s no denying the greatness of this Halloween classic. Playful, catchy, and timeless, it will forever be a mid-autumn musical staple. It’ll make you want to run through a graveyard with reckless, Halloween-fueled abandon.

Is There a Ghost by Band of Horses

Band of Horses - Is There a Ghost [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

This track from Ben Bridwell and Co. is pure, unadulterated indie rock. Bridwell’s falsetto is ghostly, floating atop a sturdy core of raucous guitar work and crashing drums. It’ll have you simultaneously stomping your feet and searching under your couch and in your closet for ghosts.

Vampire Again by Marlon Williams

Marlon Williams - Vampire Again (Official Video)

If you don’t yet know Kiwi sensation Marlon Williams, get on it. The heir to Roy Orbison, Williams sings with incredible inflection and resonance. It’s a crooning track devoted to the romance of becoming a blood-sucking vampire.

Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.

Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters

Your Halloween needs the bounciness that comes with 80s pop. This movie theme song would be great in its own right, even without the help of Bill Murray and an all-star cast.

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult - (Don't Fear) The Reaper (Audio)

There’s a prevailing creepiness to Blue Oyster Cult’s signature song, even after Will Ferrell gave it the cowbell treatment. Full of layers, the 1976 song touts intricate melodies, complex vocal harmonies, and an epic mid-song breakdown full of howling guitar speak.

Spooky by De La Noche

This slow burner from lesser-known act De La Noche is perfect for after-hours Halloween fun. It’s a dark and brooding slow jam great for winding things down as you move from the living room dance party to the couch to settle in for a horror flick.

Every Breath You Take by The Police

Every Breath You Take

Face it, this song is terrifying. Why it continues to be a go-to wedding tracks boggles the mind. It’s clearly about aggressive stalking and therefor ideal for the spooky voyeurism of Halloween. It’s easy to imagine a serial killer listening to this song and repeat as they carry out their craft.

Revolution 9 by The Beatles

Revolution 9 (Remastered 2009)

This bizarre track from the world’s greatest rock band is a heady collage of found sounds. In the end, it functions like a drugged-out trip, spiraling into the ether. Be advised when coupling this song with cannabis as the results can be dark and lasting.

I Put a Spell on You by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Screaming Jay Hawkins - I Put a Spell on You (Audio)

This isn’t just a great Halloween track, it’s one of the best R&B songs of all time. Legend had it, the song’s producer brought in dinner and booze to the studio before it was recorded and got the whole crew drunk. The result is glorious, with Hawking belting like somebody possessed and a simple building melody made of keys, horns, and drums.

Batdance by Prince


One of Prince’s greatest achievements was his Batman score from 1989. The final track from the soundtrack is a Halloween party in a bottle. It mixes Prince’s vintage pop mastery with some industrial sounds reminiscent of a misty night in Gotham City.

The Shining (Main Theme) by Wendy Carlos

The Shining (1980) - Main Title Theme

The theme song to the scariest move ever made is fittingly chilling. It’s a staggering number built out of bubbling instrumentation that immediately evokes Jack Nicholson meandering through a snowy hedge maze. It sounds like a dark burrow into the twisted mind of a killer.

Oogie Boogie’s Song by Danny Elfman

The Nightmare Before Christmas - Oogie Boogie's Song

This spine-tingling track from the delightful The Nightmare Before Christmas score is nothing if not haunting. Even away from the inherent uneasiness only claymation can inspire, the song is plenty unsettling and perfect for a foggy Halloween evening.

Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss

Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 - Strauss

The theme from the fantastic yet jarring Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey is not an obvious choice. But the tension of the track has Halloween written all over it. It’s airy and emotive, with a vastness that allows the mind to wander into cryptic terrain.

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
The 21 best food documentaries of all time
Looking for a hard-hitting documentary about food? Here's a list of the best options
for grace documentary

When it comes to high-quality viewing, the culinary world has all of the ingredients for maximum entertainment. The pressure, the skill, the high stakes — it all makes for great television. Documentaries about food take this one extra step; often focusing on a sensational or troubling plot within the industry or how a chef or restaurant grew to prominence (or came crashing down).

Whether it's simply witnessing what it's like to be a Michelin-star talent in the world of cooking or digging into a scandal that plagued the entire wine realm, the food doc is must-see TV. These great films can change the way we eat for the better, inspire us to cook at home, give us a new appreciation of a particular cuisine, and so much more. Just be advised, you may need something good to munch on while you take in these food-heavy movies (or at least a good nightcap cocktail).
Here they are -- 21 of the best food documentaries out there.
Bon appetit!

Read more
The 16 best music movies of all time to watch now
From Purple Rain to A Star is Born, these are the best music movies to add to your must-watch list
spinal tap band

Any music fan knows that it's almost impossible to replicate the feeling of attending a music festival. The sheer joy of seeing bands perform on a massive stage is hard to beat, but when a music festival is too far away or too pricy, we have great music movies to fill the void. The best music movies remind us of the joy that music brings us and also the way that the music industry can swallow up many of the stars it creates.
Of course, it also helps if these movies have really good music to back them up. Ultimately, though, these music movies serve as inspiration for every aspiring musician. Whether they're actually true stories or they just feel like true stories, every great music movie should leave you moved and excited about the possibilities of music.
Here are the best music movies to stream now.

Almost Famous (2000)

Read more
The 12 best romantic comedies of all time
From Moonstruck to Sideways, these are the romantic comedies to stream now
Scene from The Princess Bride

Whether you're having a great day or a terrible one, a wonderful comedy can make your day. Comedies are designed to be pick-me-ups so I'm not exactly saying anything new. The romantic comedy, though, is a particular subgenre that can be transcendent when it's great.

The best romantic comedy movies are not for everyone, and that's OK. If you'd rather watch an action movie or a sci-fi movie, nobody blames you. For those of you here to escape into a world of romance and love, look no further, as we have compiled a list of the best romantic comedies of all time for your viewing and streaming pleasure.

Read more