Impact’s Music Essentials: Halloween Hits

Ellie-Mae Davies

Halloween is a great opportunity to listen to some of the spookiest or even cheesiest songs. There are so many iconic Halloween songs, most that have come from movies and TV shows, that emphasise its uneasy, scary feel, so why not celebrate some of the best music for the spooky season? Impact’s Ellie-Mae Davies gives her top picks for songs to listen to during the Halloween period.

Thriller – Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson’s Thriller is arguably the most iconic Halloween song. The song was originally released in the UK on November 1983, after the actual Halloween period. However, its inclusion of horror sound effects including wolf howls, a creaking door and the famous spoken-word section by horror actor Vincent Price has led to its association with Halloween. Not only is the excellent spooky composition what makes it so popular but also the famous music video, consisting of Jackson himself dancing with a bunch of zombies in the iconic red jacket. The music video gained so much success during the 80s, an impact that has stood the test of time, and has frequently been labelled as the best music video of all time, such as by Time Out.

Monster Mash Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt Kickers
Heading back to the 60s, Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt Kickers hit the charts in 1962 and held the number one spot that year on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 20th October and 27th October with Monster Mash. Ever since that year, it has become a staple anthem of Halloween, being covered by various artists and featuring in shows such as Stranger Things, The Office and The Simpsons. Its storyline is certainly the reason for its popularity at Halloween. The lyrical content is the epitome of the gothic, telling part of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein through song.

Time Warp – Richard O’Brien and Richard Hartley, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Halloween banger Time Warp comes from its equally excellent musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Along with its iconic dance routine explained through the lyrics of the song, I believe it’s a go-to pick to get yourself into the party mood of Halloween. I would also totally recommend watching the film adaptation, it completely represents the gothic and horror in a unique way. Though it’s a more cheesy suggestion, it’s a great dance and singalong song to play at a party.

This Is Halloween – Danny Elfman, from The Nightmare Before Christmas
Another example of a song gaining popularity from its featured film is This Is Halloween. Written and created by Danny Elfman, the song featured in the 1993 Halloween classic film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s best known for the film scene that introduces all of the different monsters living in Halloween Town. The lyrical content and musicality completely fits the spooky theme of Halloween with all of the characters singing in unison and repeating the lyrics “This Is Halloween” throughout the song. I would certainly recommend adding this to a party playlist as well as watching the film during the Halloween period!

vampire – Olivia Rodrigo
A more recent recommendation is Olivia Rodrigo’s song vampire, from her album ‘GUTS’ which came out earlier this year, as it is a perfect example of a new addition to a Halloween playlist. vampire’s popularity has soared over the last few months, after its single release in June 2023, and it has dominated the charts as well as taking over TikTok. The song’s gorgeous piano accompaniment and rock interval part way through, as well as the lyrical content referencing the Halloween association of vampires, makes it an ideal belter to play at a party, especially this year.

Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr., from Ghostbusters
From the classic film Ghostbusters, its main theme song, also named Ghostbusters, is an essential pick for any Halloween playlist. The song was released as part of the soundtrack to the film on 16th June 1984 and reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 almost two months later, and stayed in that spot for a further three weeks. However, its legacy as a song is much more creditable. The song is highly recognisable, especially for its iconic synth intro and the “who you gonna call?” recall part of the song with its response “ghostbusters” being shouted.

Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
Another 1980s classic is Rockwell’s Somebody’s Watching Me featuring Michael and Jermaine Jackson. The song was released on 28th January 1984 and spent 19 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Jackson brothers’ distinct vocals mixed with the synth-feel of the track makes it a great dance hit of the era as well as in the present day, especially during the spooky season. The song’s paranoid lyricism takes the idea of being haunted or followed to a whole new level, and the music video accentuates this paranoia with Rockwell walking through a house seeing different faces in different rooms and even finds a tombstone with his name on it. The spooky elements of the music video and the paranoid lyricism of the song makes it a Halloween classic.

The Addams Family – Vic Mizzy, from The Addams Family
Another example of a popular main theme is the song The Addams Family from The Addams Family TV series. Vic Mizzy created the theme to introduce the characters for the TV show and it has now become recognisably associated with the characters, the show and other adaptations, such as various films. The song is also well-known for its finger-clicking section, a staple action when listening to the song. Also, a version of the song was recorded by Christina Aguilera in 2021 for The Addams Family 2 film as well as the song gaining popularity on social media after the debut of Wednesday in 2022 on Netflix.

Coraline soundtrack – Bruno Coulais
Coraline is a popular, spooky kids film that was released in 2009, based on a novel written by Neil Gaiman, published in 2002. I’ve added Coraline’s soundtrack to this list because it plays a massive part in emphasising the eerie atmosphere of the film. One of my favourites from the soundtrack is titled Exploration which is a very child-like, playful song that I believe helps set up the distorted feeling of the film. Many of the songs were sung by the Children’s Choir of Nice and the lyrics are actually gibberish, adding to creepy feel of the soundtrack. I would highly advise both listening to the beautifully composed soundtrack as well as watching the film to see how the music fits in.

Ellie-Mae Davies

Featured image courtesy of David Menidrey via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

In-article videos courtesy of Michael Jackson, Decca Records, MOMENTI RIDERE, DisneyMusicVEVO, Olivia Rodrigo, RayParkerJuniorVEVO, RockwellVEVO, Zelda’s Lounge, Sakura Jurai via YouTube.com. No changes made to these videos.

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