There are a lot of fun things to do on Halloween. Of course, if you’re not a child, then trick-or-treating is probably out. Fortunately, there are places for adults to gather at by night – namely, karaoke bars!
The only question then, is, are there any songs suited to Halloween? Why yes there is, and I’m glad you asked because, in this guide, we’re going to be looking at the best Halloween karaoke songs.
“Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Song year: 1982
It’s hard to think of a better song to kick off your Halloween karaoke party than Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” I mean, you have seen the extended music video (short film), right (if you haven’t, put it at the top of your priority list now)?
And if you really want to make it a memorable night, you should learn all the dance moves along with a couple of your friends. Before you know it, the whole bar-going crowd might erupt in an unforgettable “Thriller” dance-off, and that’ll make it a Halloween to remember.
Assuming you don’t drink to excess, of course…
“Zombie” by The Cranberries
Song year: 1994
Released at the height of the popularity of grunge, The Cranberries' “Zombie” was far less abstract than, say, Nirvana or Pearl Jam.
Protesting The Troubles in Northern Ireland, “Zombie” has widely been recognized as an alternative rock masterpiece and a significant departure from typical Cranberries fare.
The Troubles may be long over, but it’s never too late for Halloween to appropriate “Zombie” for its own ends, is it? Okay, that sounded far more exploitative than intended. So, let’s move onto…
“People Are Strange” by The Doors
Song year: 1967
People are strange… but so is this late 60s Doors classic.
As Doors drummer John Densmore recalls, Doors singer Jim Morrison showed up depressed at his doorstep (at the time, Densmore and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger were roommates).
The group took a long walk by Laurel Canyon, and Morrison returned from the walk feeling much better, along with an early draft of “People Are Strange.” Once Krieger heard the vocal melody, he was convinced the song was hit bound.
This vibey psych-rock tune is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your Halloween karaoke party.
“Time Warp” by Richard O’Brien
Song year: 1975
Probably any song from The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show will do for the occasion, but the rock and roll of “Time Warp” should amp up the fun factor at your karaoke party way passed 11.
From the spoken-word verses to the gang vocal choruses, “Time Warp” allows everyone to join in another treacherous journey through time.
“I Put a Spell on You” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Song year: 1966
Originally written by singer-songwriter, musician, actor, film producer, and boxer Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins, “I Put a Spell on You” has been recognized as one of the greatest songs of all time. No wonder Creedence Clearwater Revival saw so much potential in it.
Reportedly, Hawkins originally wanted to put together a refined slow blues love song but ended up with something horrifyingly different when producer Arnold Maxin brought chicken, ribs, and booze to the studio and loosened everyone up (intended or not).
The demented sound of “I Put a Spell on You” pushed Hawkins over the edge in his performances, prompting him to wear a cape and rise out of a coffin onstage accompanied by smoke and fog. Hawkins was later joined in by snakes, fireworks, and a cigarette-smoking skull too.
Oh yeah, the Creedence Clearwater Revival version isn’t half bad, either.
“Them Bones” by Alice In Chains
Song year: 1992
The grotesque, jump-scare doom-rock drone of “Them Bones” should make for another Halloween shoo-in. From the detuned chromatic guitar riff and unusual time signature to the ambiguously bizarre music video, Alice In Chains seems to be just what the evil bone doctor ordered (and he’s got a bone to pick with you!).
“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult
Song year: 1976
At this point, Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” might be best known for the More Cowbell meme. Before it was a comedy classic, it was a psych-rock classic about mortality, much like Alice In Chains’ “Them Bones.” Though to be fair, this one is about not fearing death.
Setting aside Saturday Night Live comedy skits, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” should prove a worthy mood maker for your Halloween karaoke excursions.
“Dragula” by Rob Zombie
Song year: 1998
I honestly can’t go another Halloween without the chilling late-90s industrial metal of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula.” Well, maybe I could, I just wouldn’t want to. This Halloween, I am for sure digging through the ditches and burning through the witches to slam in the back of my Dragula (okay, not literally).
“Du Hast” by Rammstein
Song year: 1997
When I was in high school, rumors were flying that German band Rammstein’s song “Du Hast” literally translated to “I eat you” (with many variations on the same). Based on the menacing growl of vocalist Till Lindermann, and the razor-sharp heavy guitar riffs, I was inclined to believe this to be true, at least at the time.
Ultimately, the lyrical entendre of “Du Hast” has left many scratching their heads, but the band says the song is in effect about loyalty to each other. They even likened their partnership to a marriage, which if you’ve played in a band before, you can probably relate.
“God of Thunder” by KISS
Song year: 1976
We all know that KISS doesn’t stand for Knights In Satan’s Service and that the band was ultimately more bark than bite. They were (and maybe still are) after the girls and the money, not people’s faith in religion.
Even if it was just for show, it’s no surprise some people thought Gene Simmons was demonic, and “God of Thunder” may well be one of his evilest. Consider the lyric “I was raised by the demons / Trained to reign as one / God of thunder and rock and roll.”
“Master of Puppets” by Metallica
Song year: 1986
“Master of Puppets” is easily one of Metallica’s most disturbing. The eponymous album art depicted a graveyard, the thrash metal guitar riffs were upsetting, and if that wasn’t anxiety-inducing enough, lead vocalist James Hetfield offered no comfort with his proclamation that he’s your source of self-destruction.
Of course, while “Master of Puppets” has the potential to jump-scare your young ones, metalheads are far more likely to headbang their way through the eight-minute ordeal.
“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne
Song year: 1980
Probably the scariest thing about Ozzy Osbourne is how unscary his songs truly are. His ode to madness, “Crazy Train,” does feature the terrifying triple-tracked guitar work of the late and great Randy Rhoads, though, so maybe that’s where the terror stems from.
“Friday” by Rebecca Black
Song year: 2011
Our swing vote for Halloween goes to this poorly written, badly nasal sung excuse of a song that nevertheless propelled singer and YouTuber Rebecca Black to internet famous.
In this song, the narrator’s greatest worry is where to sit in the car with her friends on the way to what we assume is a rather tame teeny-bopper sleepover “party” (Black would have been 15 or 16 at the time of the song’s release).
This is no slight against brunette knockout Black, however, as she is still only 26 and probably has her best years ahead of her.
This song will still send people screaming, mind you.
“Warming a Frozen Rose” by Harem Scarem
Song year: 1995
Okay, so this is a personal favorite more than anything, but I always thought Harem Scarem’s dark and brooding 1995 studio album Voice of Reason had major potential as waking nightmare fodder.
And while there is more than enough material on the album to corrupt the most sanguine, the one song that sticks out among others, at least for me, is “Warming a Frozen Rose.”
From the delicate and beautiful piano in the intro to the horrific wah-drenched guitars that enter shortly after, the song is sure to scare the pants off the faint-hearted.
Top Halloween Karaoke Songs, Final Thoughts
When it comes to Halloween songs, there are just so many to choose from! And they aren’t all dark and moody either – there are plenty of goofy, fun, and random Halloween songs too. So, no matter what you might be looking for – from metal to musicals – there should be something for everyone.
Have a great time and let us know how that Halloween karaoke party goes.