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I wanted to post about my top Halloween songs, I think there's something for all tastes here. Well, maybe that's a bit misleading. There's no way to suit all tastes, is there? I mean if you only listen to bespectacled Peruvian artists who yodel, you probably won't find anything here. But for anyone else who just wants to sprinkle a bit of Halloween over their music at this time of year - hopefully this will inspire you! I purposely didn't include Michael Jackson's Thriller. It seems to be the go-to song for most radio stations around the last week in October every year so I'm sure you'll hear it a million times anyway. It's the Fairytale of New York of Halloween. With better choreography.
In no particular order:
1. Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett
I love the Monster Mash. It's so fun, and it's timeless. It's good fun to sing along to and it's cheery and cheesy, not scary.
2. Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Another one that's just full of fun, this is great craic to sing or dance along to. If you haven't seen the film, please do watch it. It's a cult hit for a reason - it's completely bonkers - but it's also brilliant.
3. I Put a Spell on You by Bette Midler
From my all-time favourite Halloween movie Hocus Pocus, this is one of the catchiest Halloween songs out there. A cover of the (creepy) original by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, this is much better and much more fun to listen to.
4. This is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas is equal parts Christmas and equal parts Halloween. Released in 1993, conceived by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick, this is a stop-motion animation film that has that signature dark creepy Burton feel. This song is sang by the whole cast, including Danny Elfman. This was my ringtone for a very long time, useless fact fans.
5. Ice Dance by Danny Elfman
Is there a piece of music that makes you cry? This is mine. I loved Edward Scissorhands the minute I saw it - it was the first film I ever bought on video, and the CD soundtrack was the first thing I ever ordered from Amazon. Every single time I hear this piece of music, I end up in tears. It's so emotional, it's so beautiful, I'm slightly peeved that British Gas have robbed it for an ad, but hey - if it makes more people find it, then it's all good. I adore this. It has just enough magic in it to qualify for Halloween.
6. Casper's Lullaby by James Horner
The late James Horner is my second favourite composer after Danny Elfman - he sadly passed away this year, but what a legacy he has left behind. I still like to listen to both Titanic soundtrack albums, but this one is also a favourite - Casper stars Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman, and is my second favourite Halloween film after Hocus Pocus. Obviously this will mean more to people who have seen the film, but even if you haven't, this is a lovely soothing piece of music with lots of emotion and a teeny tiny bit of a ghostly presence.
7. Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield
Also known as the theme for The Exorcist, in itself one of the scariest films I ever saw as a child. This is another song without words - but it doesn't need them, it's bloody creepy.
8. Jace Everett - Bad Things
This is the theme tune to HBO series True Blood. I never really got into it - I own the first three seasons but I don't think I've watched past the first one, I always meant to read the books but I never got round to it. This is a little more dirty country than Halloween, but it's got just enough twang in there to qualify for a Halloween playlist.
9. How Soon is Now by Love Spit Love
I do love the original Smiths song, but it just doesn't give me the Halloween feels the way this Love Spit Love cover does. Used as the theme tune to witchy drama Charmed and featured in The Craft, this is definitely another one of my favourites to play at this time of year.
10. I Only Have Eyes For You by The Flamingos
Stay with me here. This has been covered by hundreds of people from Melanie C to Elaine Paige - but this version by The Flamingos is the best, in my humble opinion. Featured in an (underrated) episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 2 Episode 19) and more recently in creepy doll horror Annabelle, I think this song is terrifying. Others may listen to it and think I'm cuckoo but I swear I could not listen to this in the dark and not feel scared.
So - what's your favourite Halloween song? Or is there a song that creeps the bejaysus out of you for no apparent reason? I'll give you a bonus one that will not be on any playlist of mine, ever, because even listening to it now reminds me of how much it scared me as a child - anyone remember this?
In fairness, I was only 8 years old when this was released. It was on one of those compilation tapes I got for Christmas, and I was not off my face listening to it, so I don't think I was the target audience. I used to know when it was coming up at the end of Tape 1 Side A or whatever and swap the tape over to the other side. Avoidance FTW!
Still makes me shudder.