89 Best Halloween Songs EVER

Best Halloween Songs EVER

No Halloween is complete without a spooky soundtrack setting the morbid mood.

There is no shortage of terrifying tunes, from novelty songs to film scores, to help you turn up the terror.

Whether you're looking for tricks or treats, our list of the best Halloween songs of all time is sure to haunt you.


“The Monster Mash” by Bobby “Borris” Pickett

Song year: 1962

“The Monster Mash” is the quintessential Halloween song. Using spooky sound effects, Bobby “Borris” Pickett sings about a mad scientist that stumbles upon a new dance while working late into the night.

The song was a chart-topper in 1962 and continues to spook young and old every year.

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson

Song year: 1984

Michael Jackson had taken over the world by 1984. “Thriller” was the seventh top-ten single from its eponymous album, a nearly impossible feat.

The lyrics and production of the song are evocative of horror films, but it's the classic music video that pushes the Halloween theme over the top.

“(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult

Song year: 1976

Blue Oyster Cult's “Don't Fear the Reaper” is about not fearing death. But the Grim Reaper imagery and muscular guitar work of the song have made it a Halloween classic.

If you like cowbell with your cobwebs, look no further than this prog-rock ode to death.

“Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo

Song year: 1986

Before Danny Elfman became an in-demand Hollywood composer, he fronted the quirky new wave band Oingo Boingo.

In “Dead Man's Party,” Elfman flexes the macabre impulses he would employ in greater detail for his work on The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.

“A Nightmare on My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Song year: 1988

Will Smith imagines a run-in with Freddy Krueger, the classic villain of Nightmare on Elm Street, on his hip hop Halloween classic, “A Nightmare on My Street.”

Freddy Krueger terrified audiences throughout the '80s with his metal claws and dream inhabiting powers.

“This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

Song year:  1993

Arguments over whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas or Halloween movie aside, “This is Halloween” is a spooky song.

Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo wrote the song. It's clear his career as a new wave songwriter helped him balance the cheer and terror of this classic track.

“I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Song year: 1956

Screamin' Jay Hawkins used to pull up to gigs in a hearse with a snake in tow. His dedication to the voodoo character he played onstage was eerily impressive.

“I Put a Spell On You” is a classic blending of horror and love. The song is synonymous with Halloween and rock and roll.

“Halloween Theme” by John Carpenter

Song year: 1978

Film director John Carpenter was never planning to be a professional musician. But out of necessity, he wrote the theme to his movie Halloween.

The terrifyingly sparse synthesizer theme sent chills down the audience's spines as they watched villain Michael Meyers stalk the screen.

“Halloween” by Misfits

Song year: 1981

The Misfits' combination of horror and hardcore punk makes them a favorite of alternative fans every Halloween.

Their song “Halloween” isn't just spooky – it's part of the punk rock canon. The song's howling guitars boil to the surface of the mainstream's cauldron every October.

“Feed My Frankenstein” by Alice Cooper

Song year: 1992

For glam shock rocker Alice Cooper, every performance looks like Halloween. Cooper's stage show is a cacophony of horror imagery, with horror-themed props tied together by his hard-rocking songs.

“Feed My Frankenstein” is full of rock and roll double entendres and fits right along with the hair metal of the early '90s.

“I Think of Demons” by Roky Erickson

Song year: 1987

Roky Erickson, former frontman for the iconic psychedelic rock band 13th Floor Elevators, would expand his trippy garage rock style in the '80s with his horror-tinged solo work.

“I Think of Demons” is a mega-dose of Halloween imagery. Backed by the punkishly ragged guitars and vocals, the song sounds as scary as its lyrics suggest.

“Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell

Song year: 1984

Rockwell's new-wave-inspired R&B hit “Somebody's Watching Me” will turn your Halloween into a dance party.

With Michael Jackson's iconic hook and a slew of slithering synthesizers, this song could have only happened in the wildly weird world of the '80s. Thankfully, we can bring it back from the dead every October.

“Stranger Things Theme” by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

Song year: 2016

Netflix's Stranger Things has masterfully captured the tone of '80s horror films and combined it with Spielberg-esque childhood nostalgia.

The show creators tapped composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein to create the score. Their textured, arpeggiated synthesizers are the sounds of nightmares.

“Black Magic Woman” by Santana

Song year: 1970

Fleetwood Mac wrote “Black Magic Woman,” but the way Santana plays it, you'd think it was their autobiography.

The Latin-inspired rhythms of Santana, and the deft guitar playing of Carlos Santana, help the song straddle the line between hippie and Halloween.

“Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon

Song year: 1977

“Werewolves of London” is such a jaunty little piano number that you almost forget that it's about a terrifying werewolf.

Warren Zevon was as literate and wry as songwriters come. The singer ends his story of a werewolf running amok in England by mentioning how good his hair looked.

“Season of the Witch” by Donovan

Song year: 1966

Donovan started his career as a Dylan-inspired folk artist that sang gentle songs about love. But as most folks in the '60s, he got into mysticism and drugs.

His song “Season of the Witch” blends the ghoulish with the groovy and makes any Halloween party cooler the second it starts playing.

“Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Song year: 2009

New York City rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs take decapitation to the dancefloor with their synth-pop hit “Heads Will Roll.”

By twisting Alice in Wonderland references into drug references, the song creates an eery feeling of being too young and too old for its age.

“Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads

Song year: 1977

“Psycho Killer” is art-rock pioneers Talking Heads' signature Halloween song. The song's wiry guitar work is wrapped tightly around its plodding rhythms, making the serial killer lyrics sound even more maniacal.

The song is a classic Halloween track, whether you're throwing a Halloween dance party or setting a spooky mood for trick-or-treaters.

“She Wolf” by Shakira

Song year: 2009

Anyone looking to spice up their Halloween needs Shakira's “She Wolf” on their playlist.

This horror-tinged electropop single is Shakira's appeal to let her freak flag fly – a perfect sentiment for Halloween. Turn it up and howl at the moon – or the disco ball above the dancefloor.

“Monster” by Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver

Song year: 2010

Kanye West invited the entire crew along for his single, “Monster.” With every rapper taking a horror-inspired verse, this song's composition acts as a rogue's gallery of hip hop demons.

The song is a standout on West's classic My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It's also notable for Nicki Minaj's incredible verse.

“Freaks Come Out at Night” by Whodini

Song year: 1984

The '80s R&B group Whodini's “Freaks Come Out at Night” isn't about monster-ish freaks but the freaky lovers of nightlife.

Ironically, using horror imagery to describe the excesses of partying makes this song perfect for partying on Halloween. Light up the dancefloor with Whodini and your fellow freaks.

“Runnin’ With the Devil” by Van Halen

Song year: 1978

Van Halen's “Runnin' with the Devil” is a metalhead's Halloween dream. With demonic lyrics and ripping guitar riffs, the song is pure devil horns in the air rock and roll.

David Lee Roth insists the lyrics aren't satanic, but that doesn't take away from the evil sounds of Roth's shrieks.

“Zombie” by The Cranberries

Song year: 1994

The Cranberries use the analogy of a Zombie in their alternative rock antiwar protest song “Zombie.”

The song became an international hit and is now synonymous with alternative rock. Due to its imagery, it's also become a Halloween playlist favorite.

“Spooky” by Dusty Springfield

Song year: 1968

British songstress Dusty Springfield makes love sound equal parts scary and groovy in her soulful single “Spooky.”

The song was initially only an instrumental but has become well known for its dozens of vocal covers. If you want your grooves spooky, stick to Springfield's version.

“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Song year: 1984

Ray Parker Jr.'s “Ghostbusters” was a chart-topping movie theme song that seemed to take on a life of its own. It has become woven into the fabric of '80s pop culture.

Whether you're nostalgic for pop or just light-hearted horror, Ray Parker Jr.'s fun-loving single is sure to please.

“In the Room Where You Sleep” by Dead Man’s Bones

Song year: 2009

Actor Ryan Gosling's band, Dead Man's Bones, utilizes children's choirs and morbid imagery for their indie-goth sound.

The track “In the Room Where You Sleep” finds the band describing a haunted room – a child's greatest nightmare. Using a children's to sing along adds to the song's sheer creepiness.

“The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley

Song year: 1958

1950s pop singer Sheb Wooley scored a number one hit with his sci-fi novelty song “The Purple People Eater.”

The song tells the story of an alien that comes to Earth not to terrorize humans but to join a rock and roll band. Its light-hearted kitsch and ambiguously defined aliens are tailor-made for Halloween.

“Howlin’ For You” by The Black Keys

Song year: 2011

The Black Keys' “Howlin' For You” is a lean and mean Halloween song.

The lyric's story of a love so strong that it makes the singer howl feels deeply resonated when sung over their swamp blues stomp. Maybe they're werewolves. Or just lovestruck fools. Either way, I'd stay out of their way.

“Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie

Song year: 1999

Some Halloween songs are light-hearted novelties or dancefloor anthems. And then, there's Rob Zombie and “Living Dead Girl.”

This song is scary. This song will give you the chills with its buzzsaw guitars and blood-curdling screams. It's no surprise that Rob Zombie has gone on to a successful career as a horror film director.

“Falling” by Julee Cruise

Song year: 1990

Out of context, “Falling” by Julee Cruise might sound like an adult contemporary ballad. But for fans of the TV show Twin Peaks, the song immediately calls to mind the mysteriously dark and psychically twisted story of a small town possessed by murder.

The eerie calm of the song's instrumentation only adds to the show's surreal nature. Fans of Twin Peaks will love hearing this on Halloween.

“Jesus I Was Evil” by Darcy Clay

Song year: 1987

New Zealand singer-songwriter Darcy Clay was the quintessential outsider musician. The DIY artist's brand of off-the-cuff punk takes a turn for the devilish on “Jesus I Was Evil.”

The song's ragged guitars underscore Clay's offbeat wordplay. As the track was a home recording, the song was a surprise hit in New Zealand.

“Ghost Town” by The Specials

Song year: 1981

While many Halloween songs are explicitly spooky, The Specials' “Ghost Town” serves as social commentary on the condition of Britain's cities in the '80s.

That doesn't mean the song isn't spooky, though. Taking their traditional ska rhythms and slowing them down, the band hits a deep groove that's as ghostly as their lyrics.

“Time Warp” by Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast

Song year: 1975

Every night is Halloween at a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This beloved glam rock musical is notorious for raucous crowds acting out the movie in the theatre.

The song “Time Warp” is one of the high musical points of the show, with the whole cast singing the instructions for this made-up dance.

“Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins

Song year: 1995

Nobody does brooding alt-rock like the Smashing Pumpkins, making their entire catalog a go-to for Halloween.

But of all these songs, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” represents the best of the batch. From its iconic opening lyric to its final frenzied screams, the song is a favorite for a moody October.

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

Song year: 1991

“Enter Sandman” is terrifying from its first ominous notes. Metallica's dark tale of nightmares is one of the band's signature songs, capturing their musical prowess while still pummeling the listener with intensity.

The band's imagery and riffs make this song perfect for a heavy metal Halloween.

“Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Song year: 1994

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' “Red Right Hand” is a creepy tale of demons and revenge. By using bells and staccato organs, the song sounds like a tumbleweed of evil is blowing through a church.

“Red Right Hand” has become the de facto theme song of the Scream horror franchise.

“Oh Klahoma” by Jack Stauber

Song year: 2017

Jack Stauber's lo-fi, keyboard-driven “Oh Klahoma” became a viral sensation on TikTok. Users film themselves dressed as ghosts over the song's quirky synthesizers and drum machine.

Whether you've done it yourself or merely enjoy watching them, these videos have imbued the track “Oh Klahoma” with the Halloween spirit.

“Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf

Song year: 1979

Meat Loaf's epic “Bat Out of Hell” is an eight-minute blast of rock opera that fits Halloween like a glove.

The song is a science fiction-inspired version of Peter Pan. But its imagery is pure fantasy, with Meat Loaf wailing about demons and damnation.

“Halloween” by Phoebe Bridgers

Song year: 2020

Phoebe Bridgers uses dressing up for Halloween as a metaphor for identity and relationships in her song “Halloween.”

This song isn't the traditional goofy or spooky seasonal fare, which makes it a unique palette cleanser on a day filled with sweet candy and novelty pop songs.

“Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath

Song year: 1970

Nothing is darker than Black Sabbath. The band's eponymous single, “Black Sabbath,” is a plodding heavy metal tale of the occult and satanism.

Singer Ozzy Osbourne would go on to a wild career that included biting the head off of a bat on stage.

“Spellbound” by Siouxsie and the Banshees

Song year: 1981

Using a spell as a metaphor is a well-worn territory in pop music, but Siouxsie and the Banshees breathe new life into the trope with their goth-punk single “Spellbound.”

The song's manically strummed acoustic guitars swirl alongside Siouxsie Sioux's haunting vocals. The resulting sound casts a spell all its own.

“Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” by Tracy Morgan and Donald Glover

Song year: 2010

Novelty pop songs aren't as popular as they once were, making 30 Rock‘s “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” feel simultaneously nostalgic and fresh.

The track is a parody of songs like “The Monster Mash” and “The Purple People Eater” and is a hilarious addition to any Halloween playlist.

“Are You Ready for Freddy” by The Fat Boys

Song year: 1988

The Fat Boys' “Are You Ready for Freddy” is the theme song for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

While Will Smith would also release a Freddy Kreuger-themed rap in 1988, The Fat Boys' version boasts a verse from the Dream Master himself.

“Baby You’re a Haunted House” by Gerard Way

Song year: 2018

My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way goes solo for his Halloween-themed single, “Baby You're a Haunted House.”

The song's chorus is instantly catchy, juxtaposing horror imagery with bubble gum pop melodies. The combination of horror and fuzzed-out guitar work makes this song is a treat for powerpop lovers on Halloween.

“I’m Wicked” by Twin Temple

Scary songs for Halloween

Song year: 2018

Twin Temple is tailor-made for Halloween. The band describes themselves as satanic doo-wop, and they perform their songs like rituals.

“I'm Wicked” is a clever play on the rock and roll trope of a sexually empowered woman being evil. Only this time around, Twin Temple is being literal.

“Pet Sematary” by Ramones

Song year: 1989

Punk pioneers the Ramones wrote “Pet Sematary” for the film adaptation of Stephen King's book of the same name.

The Ramones' style compliments the movie well. Both are kitschy fun that references the dark side with a light touch.

“Hells Bells” by AC/DC

Song year: 1980

After AC/DC's frontman, Bon Scott, died of drug abuse, it seemed the hard rock group had met its demise. Instead, they came back with their classic album Back in Black.

“Hells Bells” is one of several tracks on the album that takes on a darker tone given the context of their recording.

“The X-Files” by Mark Snow

Song year: 1993

The mysteriously catchy theme to The X-Files is instantly recognizable to anyone that lived through the '90s.

The echoing synthesizers and lilting melody of the whistling will remind everyone that the truth is out there. I want to believe, especially on Halloween.

“I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by The Cramps

Song year: 1980

Horror punk pioneers The Cramps' “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” is a menacing romp inspired by a 1957 horror film.

The song's slinky guitar work and howling vocals sound downright dangerous. If it weren't so catchy, it would actually be terrifying.

“Spaceship to Mars” by Gene Vincent

Song year: 1962

Gene Vincent might not be a household name, but he is a towering figure in the world of rockabilly. His high-energy performances and eccentricities are legendary in rock circles.

Vincent recorded “Spaceship to Mars” for the rock and roll film Ring-a-Ding Rhythm.

“Haunted” by Beyonce

Song year: 2013

Beyonce took a minimalist approach on her single “Haunted.” Instead of bombastic R&B production, keyboards and atmosphere frame the singer's lusty lyrics.

The music video serves to highlight the song's allusions to horror. Here, Beyonce encounters terrifying visions while walking through a mansion.

“Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones

Song year: 1968

Considered by many to be one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever, some critics believed the Rolling Stones worshipped Satan upon hearing “Sympathy for the Devil.”

The Prince of Darkness himself narrates this groovy '60s rock song, making it a match made in Hell for Halloween.

“Dracula’s Wedding” by Outkast

Song year: 2003

Atlanta hip hop duo Outkast was always a little different than the rest of the acts in the rap game. But “Dracula's Wedding” stands out, even for them.

With bright acoustic guitars and buzzing synthesizers, this tale of a vampire afraid of love is a catchy addition to the canon of Halloween hip hop.

“Monstrance Clock” by Ghost

Song year: 2013

Given the ghoulish appearance of the metal band Ghost, you would imagine that their song “Monstrance Clock” had a sinister background.

In reality, this song is about two people consummating a relationship, albeit with all the bells and whistles of a demonic celebration.

“Shout at the Devil” by Motley Crue

Song year: 1983

Motley Crue loved stirring up controversy, and the hyper-conservative Christian groups of the '80s were more than willing to take the bait. These groups believed that due to songs like “Shout at the Devil,” Motley Crue was worshipping Satan.

“Unsolved Mysteries Theme” by Gary Malkin and Michael Boy

Song year: 1987

Whether it was highlighting missing persons, alien lifeforms, or the occult, the theme song for the television series Unsolved Mysteries always set a creepy tone.

There's no way to hear this creepily cold '80s synthesizer composition without feeling an ominous chill.

“Bark at the Moon” by Ozzy Osbourne

Song year: 1983

Ozzy Osbourne plays into his image as a wildman on the single “Bark at the Moon.” The song tells a quintessentially Halloween tale of a beast out for revenge, with the chorus evoking werewolf imagery.

The song is considered one of Osbourne's best solo tracks and turns up the volume on any Halloween celebration.

“You’re Dead” by Norma Tanega

Song year: 1966

Norma Tanega's “You're Dead” was an obscure folk track for nearly fifty years before becoming the theme song for the vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows.

The song's lyrics are spot-on for a show about the undead, making them bone-chilling outside of a comedic context.

“Halloweenhead” by Ryan Adams

Song year: 2007

Ryan Adams' “Halloweenhead” is a haunting slice of power-pop. The song's lyrics use the surreal experience of walking around on Halloween night to frame the feeling of wanting to get into trouble.

Considering Adams' well-publicized fight with addiction, the song feels like an anxious admission that destructive urges are always around the corner.

“Sweet Dreams” by Marilyn Manson

Song year: 1998

Marilyn Manson's horrifying brand of shock-rock broke into the mainstream with a cover of '80s new wave hit “Sweet Dreams.”

Manson would go on to even greater success later in the '90s, but “Sweet Dreams” is still one of the scariest songs he ever put to tape.

“Walking With a Ghost” by Tegan and Sara

Song year: 2004

Identical twin indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara's “Walking with a Ghost” is a ghoulish metaphor for lost love.

The song's tight start/stop guitar rhythms create an uneasy feeling as the lyrics recall being haunted by a former lover, making it essential Halloween listening for the lovesick.

“Dearly Departed” by Shakey Graves ft. Esme Patterson

Song year: 2014

Indie-folk group Shake Graves' “Dearly Departed” makes a haunted house sound like a whiskey-drenched hootenanny.

The song's infectious melody and clap-along rhythm are such fun that even if you saw a ghost in your house, you might just offer them a sip of your moonshine.

“The Mummy” by Benji Hughes

Song year: 2008

Benji Hughes' “The Mummy” is a shaggy dog story revolving around famous monster characters and a beer-drinking mummy.

The song is a short blast of pop-rock that's as sweet as any candy you could bring home from trick-or-treating.

“U.F.O.” by Jim Sullivan

Song year: 1969

That Jim Sullivan mysteriously disappeared in New Mexico in 1975 adds a mysterious layer to his psychedelic pop song “U.F.O.”

Whether the groovy sound of “U.F.O.” is Sullivan foreshadowing his disappearance or just a coincidence is up to you to decide as you sway along to this Halloween deep cut.

“Halloween Parade” by Lou Reed

Song year: 1989

Punk progenitor Lou Reed uses the annual New York City Halloween Parade as the backdrop for his character study of those living in the margins on his song “Halloween Parade.”

Reed always had a taste for the underground, but this reflective song deals with the fallout of excess and the AIDS crisis.

“Bloodletting” by Concrete Blonde

Song year: 1990

Concrete Blonde wrote their version of a vampire story, “Bloodletting,” after reading Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire.

The song's gothic rock sound is uniquely '90s, especially its guitar tones and group sing chorus. The result is equal parts nostalgia and creepy.

“Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” by David Bowie

Song year: 1981

David Bowie's “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps),” a tale of a woman succumbing to madness, takes an edgy, punkish approach to his typically fanciful songwriting.

The song is notable for lead guitar work from Robert Fripp of King Crimson, which is wildly masterful and deserving of any Halloween shindig.

“Wolves” by Selena Gomez and Marshmello

Song year: 2017

Selena Gomez uses werewolf imagery to describe her uncontrollable urges in the EDM-influenced pop song “Wolves.”

Producer Marshmello lends his trap-inflected beats to the song, adding grit and urgency to Gomez's hair-raising desires.

“Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield

Song year: 1974

Mike Oldfield's song “Tubular Bells” is a 49-minute long composition that takes up both sides of his debut album. The prog-rock tune didn't catch on with the general public until its inclusion in the classic horror film The Exorcist. It is now inextricably linked with Halloween.

“Burn the Witch” by Queens of the Stone Age

Song year: 2006

Modern rock outfit Queens of the Stone Age's “Burn the Witch” was written by singer Josh Homme after facing scrutiny for personnel decisions in the group.

The song is a spooky-sounding blues stomper that uses the terrifying story of the witch trials and society's need for a scapegoat at all costs.

“The Great Pumpkin Waltz” by The Vince Guaraldi Sextet

Song year: 1966

Vince Guaraldi's jazz lilt lent the Peanuts characters an intellectual whimsy for their '60s television specials.

Charlie Brown and the gang's Halloween special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown benefits from Guaraldi's treatment again, particularly with “The Great Pumpkin Waltz.”

“Evil Woman” by Electric Light Orchestra

Song year: 1975

Electric Light Orchestra's blend of power-pop and prog-rock finally came together to bring them their first bonafide hit with “Evil Woman.”

The band's songwriter Jeff Lynne wrote the song without much thought, considering it filler. Instead, it's become one of ELO's signature songs.

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus

Song year: 1979

Goth rock pioneers Bauhaus recorded “Bela Lugosi's Dead” as a tribute to the actor that played Dracula in the 1931 film.

Many critics consider the song the first goth rock record ever, making it required Halloween listening.

“The Witch” by The Sonics

Song year: 1964

Often lost in the story of rock is the influence of Tacoma, Washington's The Sonics. Their track “The Witch” is a blistering take on rock and roll. Its exceptionally dark lyrics were uncommon in the early '60s and a forebearer of punk.

“The Munsters Theme” by Los Straitjackets

Song year: 1998

The '60s sitcom The Munsters satirized prototypical suburban life by casting monsters in the role of average Americans.

The show amassed a cult following over the years, and its spooky surf theme song became iconic. Luchador-themed surf rock band Los Straitjackets' cover is quintessentially Halloween.

“Devil Inside” by INXS

Song year: 1988

Australian alternative rock band INXS scored a massive hit with their ode to bad behavior, “Devil Inside.”

Whether you're getting ready for a Halloween party or getting hyped up for trick-or-treating, this song will get you in touch with your inner demons.

“The Vampires of New York” by Marcy Playground

Song year: 1997

Marcy Playground uses vampires as a metaphor for the nightcrawlers of a depraved city in “The Vampires of New York.”

This acoustic-based alternative song is a wry tale that sounds perfectly '90s but has managed to age well – much like an actual vampire.

“The Killing Moon” by Echo & the Bunnymen

Song year: 1984

Echo & the Bunnymen singer Ian McCulloch sang words he heard in a dream to compose their hit, “The Killing Moon.” The creepy imagery combined with the song's orchestral flourishes is arresting.

The song is a standard of October and one of the best of the new wave era.

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Song year: 1969

Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Bad Moon Rising” is about impending doom – namely, the apocalypse.

Written by John Fogerty after watching a scene in a movie with a hurricane, Rolling Stone called it one of the greatest songs of all time. It's certainly one of the best for Halloween, too.

“Wolf Like Me” by TV On the Radio

Song year: 2006

New York art-rock group TV on the Radio scored their biggest hit with “Wolf Like Me,” catapulting them from the underground to the Billboard charts.

The song's blend of synthesizers and guitars creates a spooky texture while the singer's lusty desire overtakes him like a monster.

“The Ghost Inside” by Broken Bells

Song year: 2010

Danger Mouse and Shins frontman James Mercer combined forces to form the indie-pop super duo Broken Bells.

Their electronically laced indie-pop single “The Ghost Inside” examines the darker corners of humanity and the price people will pay to sell their souls.

“I Will Possess Your Heart” by Death Cab for Cutie

Song year: 2008

In the spirit of The Police's “Every Breath You Take” or Phil Collins' “In the Air Tonight,” Death Cab for Cutie uses the framework of a love song to explore the depths of obsession on “I Will Possess Your Heart.”

“Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” by The White Stripes

Song year: 2002

The White Stripes' single “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” evokes a cold fall afternoon when the heart's longing feels especially icy.

Between blasts of blues-punk guitar, singer Jack White extols the virtues of his lover and his desperation without them. He's coming home to them, but the listener wonders if that's a good idea.

“Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran

Song year: 1982

Duran Duran's “Hungry Like the Wolf” is about a voraciously lustful beast hunting for love. This new wave classic's monstrous metaphor for romance is a staple on Halloween due to the horrific tale and the song's disco-inspired drum machine beat.

“Vampire” by Dr. Dog

Song year: 2012

Dr. Dog filters '70s rock and roll influences through their indie-rock sensibilities on the Halloween-worthy tale of bloodsucking heartbreak, “Vampire.”

The song's vampire imagery is the stuff of classic Halloween songs, and its tale of an evil ex is relatable regardless of the time of year.

“Cemetry Gates” by The Smiths

Song year: 1986

It quickly becomes apparent that The Smiths aren't having any fun on the gloomy brit-pop single “Cemetry Gates.”

Though the acoustic guitars give the song a bright lift, we soon realize that the band is trying to escape a beautiful day for a macabre stroll through a graveyard.

“Devil Town” by Bright Eyes

Song year: 2006

Bright Eyes cover of outsider musician Daniel Johnston's “Devil Town” combines all the nervous energy of Johnston's acapella original while sweetening the deal with ragged electric guitars and plaintive piano accompaniment.

The song is a fully realized version of the rough sketch of painful torment that Johnston's original mapped out.

“The Twilight Zone” by The Ventures

Song year: 1964

The Ventures' are one of the most famous surf bands of all time, which makes their song “The Twilight Zone” a bewildering but fun Halloween listen.

The song utilizes the classic surf rock aesthetic to build a structure around the iconic Twilight Zone melody, and the result sounds like surfing on Mars.

“The Devil” by PJ Harvey

Song year: 2007

PJ Harvey sings as a woman possessed in her song “The Devil.” We soon realize that Harvey enjoys the possession, even going so far as to call it upon herself. 

The song's stomping percussion, stabbing piano, and haunting melody will sufficiently spook any listener on Halloween.

Top Halloween Songs Of All Time, Final Thoughts

Halloween is one of the best times of the year. From adults acting like kids playing dress-up to kids acting like monsters trying to get candy, everyone is in on the fun.

Sometimes, the only thing the Month of Macabre needs more than fake cobwebs hanging from the ceiling is a great playlist. Playing songs from this list of the best Halloween songs will surely keep you in the spirit of Halloween.

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One Comment

  1. Wow, you missed Legend of the Wooly Swamp, Devil Went Down to Georgia, little Red Ridding Hood, Psycho by Eddie Noack, and other good ones.

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