So, as we all know, the Witching Season is soon upon us. It sneaks and crawls over the misty moors at night (do you have moors where you live?) and soon its to arrive on your doorstep ready to beg for candy in Dollar Store costumes. But after the childish revelry, well, that's when the real fun starts. Its time to call all your best boils and ghouls and celebrate Halloween Havok with a proper grown-up Halloween party.
And as we all know, there's no party without some proper Halloween music. You can't throw on Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" at your Halloween party without scaring all your guests in the wrong way. You need some appropriate Halloween tunes for the best Halloween party on the block. Be the host with the most and rock your guests from the crypt to the chips and dip with these 15 badass Halloween tunes.
Note: These aren't in any particular order.
- The classic, old-school Halloween song. It doesn't rock as hard as anything else on this list. Its a mellow, old-school jam that embodies a feeling of drying, browning leaves and a 60's hippie vibe of relaxing under dark skies and a less comercial Halloween. Halloween, in the eyes of Donovan isn't some bought-and-sold product you can buy at your local Target; its cold winds, drying trees, and a sense of place and season. And that's just what any good party needs.
- "I am the God of Hellfire!" Arthur Brown's "Fire" is the second quintessential Halloween jam. A little faster, a little heavier than "Season Of The Witch". "Fire" was scary to the hippies of the 60's and seems like a song out of time in 2015. "Fire" seems vaguely Satanic and Arthur Brown's vocals are almost hypnotic in their smooth hum. "Fire" is the perfect way to warm any party up.
- The first "chick song" of the night. Every good party needs one. Depending on the age of your party guests, this song's either going to be a welcome and well remembered favorite or your guests are going to ask why you didn't play "Hotel California" instead. Either way, "Witchy Woman" is still a killer classic rock track. Its just upbeat enough for a fun party atmosphere while fitting with the Halloween motif. Witches don't get enough love in terms of Halloween these days. This tune sets that right.
- Yeah, to be fair, the original version of this tune by KC And The Sunshine Band is more danceable and upbeat. But this is Halloween, baby! Rob Zombie and company took an upbeat and catchy dance track and grunged it up, making it into an industrialized groove metal jam. You can still dance to it, if you want, but it won't feel like your 2015 Halloween party is being plunged back in time to a 60's disco. Plus, any song that references "Halloween 6" can't be all bad.
- Less of a dance song and more background music. Any good party needs a song or two to cool down the partiers. Something low key that doesn't need to strut out and take center stage. Godsmack's "Voodoo", inspired by the late Wes Craven's classic film "The Serpent And The Rainbow", is a spooky, dark, quiet, and atmospheric piece that encapsulates the perfect mood to hold a proper party down while not being overbearing.
- And we've come to the top 10. This is where this list, your playlist, and your party stops playing around with 60's stoner music, ancient classic rock songs about evil women, and inexplicable covers of disco's greatest hits. Now its time to get serious. The spirits of Halloween Havok (or maybe just those spirits from the liquor store) should be enveloping your Halloween soul. The spirit of the season is kicking in. Remember, starting November 1st, you're supposed to be excited about over eating and Football. This is your last chance to get spooky and party down. So, let's have at it, boils and ghouls....
- Its time to kick off the top 10 of this list with a song that nobody would listen to outside of Halloween. Unknown Hinson, for those who don't know, is the voice of Early Cuyler, the sadistic, white trash Appalachian man-squid of "Squidbillies" fame. What most people don't realize is that Unknown (supposedly named after his absentee father) is, in his own words, the "king of country-western troubadours" and has been called a "hillbilly vampire". His brand of comedic, country-western inspired hillbilly jams, most tinged with a dark, comedic bent are perfect for any Halloween hootenanny. "Undead Blues" is a rockin' Southern-fried tune about why it sucks (no pun intended) to be a vampire. Great fun.
- More 80's cheese, this time a rockin' 80's tribute to 'ol crispy himself, Freddy Krueger. The lyrics here are just generic enough that you don't need to know much about Freddy or "Nightmare On Elm Street" to dig it, and its not too heavy to be disruptive. Remember, there's a difference between a moshpit and a party. That's why this entire list isn't just Slayer and Iron Maiden tunes. No song about a child murdering pedophile should be this catchy or fun, but Dokken does it. Remember guys, it ain't rockin' if it ain't Dokken.
- Another tribute to the "big three" of horror. This one plays it closer to the chest. "Michael" is named after the main killer of "Halloween" and absolutely rocks. In typical Rob Zombie fashion, "Michael" uses voice clips from Rob Zombie's much maligned "Halloween" remake in its introduction and then lurches forward, much like its namesake, with heavy droning guitars and bass. "Halloween", compared to a lot of other songs on this list, might be a little heavy, but its the perfect atmospheric punch to the gut a good Halloween party needs.
- The ultimate tribute to nearly every 80's movie franchise out there, The Murderdoll's "Dead In Hollywood" is a bouncing, bounding piece of horror-punk cheese from 2003. Its a less obvious choice than anything by The Ramones (no, "Pet Cemetary" won't be on this list) and it still captures the punk spirirt of those classic punk pioneers. Its fun, funny, and hits nearly every Halloween song cliche. Its awesome Halloween fun. Plus, the lead singer is the drummer from Slipknot. So, there's that cool piece of music trivia.
- If we've learned anything in writing this list, its that Halloween, for as "scary" as it is, benefits from humor and cheese for the sake of having fun. That being said, sometimes Halloween actually needs to be scary. Legitimately fucked up, dark, and twisted. Marilyn Manson's first (but not last) contribution to this list sees to that quite well. "I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies", is, much like a lot of Manson's work, a psychosexual wall of sound. Its ambient, violent, and groovy all at once. Its a loud industrial fan made into music. "I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies" isn't totally a tribute to horror movies, but it feels like one. Its a sonic kin to "A Serbian Film" more than it is any cheap 80's slasher or cornball drive-in horror. Its the darker side of Halloween fun.
- Yep, a second Murderdolls song on this list. Even more so than the first, this song screams "cheesy, b-movie" love. Its a punked up, face painted love letter to all those b-movie women we love. Its loud, fast, and short. Perfect party playlist filler that fits a mood and, despite being a little loud, brash, and obnoxious for the "mainstream" crowd, doesn't overstay its welcome.
- Admittedly, kind of an odd fit. But its hard to leave a song like "Zombie" off of any Halloween-themed playlist. This song's a double shot of horror. At once, being a reflection on the real life horrors suffered by the people of Ireland during "the troubles" - a series a of terrorist attacks and constant political and social upheavals and being named after one of the hottest horror monster archetypes. Dumb down the meaning (or dumb yourself down with some store-bought "Halloween spirits" it is a party, right?) and this song becomes a song of survival against hordes of flesh eating ghouls. "And their tanks and their bombs and their guns... zombie, zombie, zombie..."
- Ah yes, the Halloween love song. Stonesour's song "Say You'll Haunt Me" is a love story from beyond the grave. It rocks hard enough to keep a good energy without being overbearing or too disruptive. If you're partying with your signifigant other, this is the song to play late at in the night. When the Halloween spirits are their strongest, this song breaks the mortal plain. You're not going to slow dance under the pale light of the moon with this one, but you'll be able to rock your way to a November 1st post-Halloween hangover with the target of your desiccated desires with this haunting tune.
- And that's a wrap. That's 15 killer tunes for any great Halloween party. 15 tunes that run through different eras, genres and tastes. Feel free to mix it up. Use these songs with your own. Make Halloween yours. Buy some beer, throw out at a platter of your favorite Halloween treats (and tricks), and get ready to jam. November 1st is on its way. And that, to me, is the scariest thing of all.