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Best Halloween Songs: 15 Creepy Cuts To Get You Hyped For Horror
EVGENY NEKRASOV / Alamy Stock Photo
List & Guides

Best Halloween Songs: 15 Creepy Cuts To Get You Hyped For Horror

From hellacious hip-hop to chilling theme tunes and paranoid pop, the best Halloween songs are essential for your spooky soirées.

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We all know that 2020 has been a scary year already, but with Halloween fast approaching we couldn’t resist compiling a list of the 15 best Halloween songs. Whether you fancy a bit of escapism or are planning on hosting a socially distanced spooky soirée, these are the essential songs to get you in the spirit!

15: OutKast: Dracula’s Wedding (2003)

OutKast’s iconic double-album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, had many hit tracks, including the likes of The Way You Move, Roses and Hey Ya!, but an often-forgotten cut is the Halloween-themed Dracula’s Wedding. The song is led by André 3000, who takes on the role of Dracula while guest singer Kelis sings as his queen. The track is a light-hearted Halloween tale as André sings on the chorus, “I wait my whole life to bite the right one/Then you come along and that freaks me out.” There aren’t many Halloween hip-hop songs, and maybe this forgotten OutKast cut is the reason why, but it’s still worth a play to help get you in the mood.

14: Iron Maiden: The Number Of The Beast (1982)

Heavy metal group Iron Maiden caused a stir in 1982 with the release of their anthem The Number Of The Beast, with its chorus, “666 the number of the beast/Hell and fire was spawned to be released.” Despite receiving a rocky reception from religious groups and concerned parents, the track was a big success with fans of the British band, who’s horror-inspired single remains one of the group’s most popular track, and a shoo-in contender among the best Halloween songs. To add to the haunting nature of the track, actor Barry Clayton was enlisted to read a section of The Bible for the introduction, before singer Bruce Dickinson takes the lead – screaming his way through the song. It may not be a Halloween staple for every listener, but October is definitely the only month it’s acceptable to be caught singing the lyrics to this Iron Maiden chorus by your friends or family… though it may still require some explaining!

13: DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince: A Nightmare On My Street (1988)

As well as creating one of the most iconic TV theme songs of all time, DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith) recorded a number of full-length hip-hop projects, with their second studio album, He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper, opening with their Halloween-inspired track A Nightmare On My Street. The song tells a story inspired by the horror franchise A Nightmare On Elm Street, as Will Smith raps of his interactions with the movie antagonist Freddie Kruger. The character crossover is not the only connection to the iconic films, as the beat of the track also samples from the original movie theme. New Line Cinema weren’t too happy that their franchise was being used for profit by the duo, ultimately leading to a legal dispute, an out-of-court settlement and the shelving of the song’s music video, which has since been uploaded online.

12: Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Heads Will Roll (2009)

American indie-rock group Yeah Yeah Yeahs wrote their hit single Heads Will Roll from the perspective of Lewis Carroll’s character The Queen Of Hearts, from the classic children’s book Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. The track fuses elements of rock and dance music as singer Karen O echoes out the chorus of “Off with your head/Dance ’til you’re dead”. The track may not be the scariest or most haunting entry on this list of the best Halloween songs, but thanks to a fantastic remix from DJ A-Trak, it is an essential play all year round, especially on Halloween.

11: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: I Put A Spell On You (1956)

Originally intended as a love song, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You is a classic rock and blues track, first released in 1956, which is sure to creep out any listener. Hawkins’ vocals really carry the song as the guitar, drums and brass act as a mere backing to his dominating voice. The story goes that a drink-fuelled recording session was all it took to turn the intended blues ballad into the creepy Halloween classic we know today. The 50s hit is the oldest track in our list of the best Halloween songs; despite it’s voodoo connotations, it had a massive impact on music, with everyone from Nina Simone to Annie Lennox, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bryan Ferry covering it.

10: Ramones: Pet Sematary (1989)

Written in 1989 for the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel of the same name, Pet Sematary became one of Ramones’ biggest hits. King’s novel and film tell the story of a haunted graveyard, which has the power to resurrect those buried within. The American punk band chant through the chorus, “I don’t wanna be buried in a pet sematary/I don’t wanna live my life again” – a sentiment most listeners likely share. The song has a simple structure, but a great chorus with classic punk drums and guitar: a staple throughout Ramones’ career.

9: Billie Eilish: bury a friend (2019)

When Billie Eilish released bury a friend, it wasn’t intended as a Halloween-themed song, but the hit single is filled with disturbing sound effects and eerie lyrics (Eilish has said it was written from the perspective of the “monster under your bed”). The synth-pop and experimental production makes the song really stand out, while the chorus and bridge are also quite creepy, but musically captivating as they sound like nursery rhymes. If you need any more convincing that this is one of the best Halloween songs of recent years, just watch the music video and tell us it didn’t freak you out.

8: The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Time Warp (1975)

1975’s film adaptation of the comedy horror musical The Rocky Horror Show would become a true cult classic, as fans fell in love with the outlandish costumes, over-the-top storyline and, above all, the cheesy songs. Beyond the musical, the song Time Warp grew massively popular and is certain to be heard at most throwback nights, weddings and Halloween parties. The lyrics teaches the listener the full dance routine, and though it was initially intended as a parody of dance-craze songs, Time Warp is essential for your Halloween party and certain to get everyone on their feet.

7: Talking Heads: Psycho Killer (1977)

When American post-punk group Talking Heads released their debut album, Talking Heads: 77, they included the track Psycho Killer. It would go on to become one of their most well-known songs, though the subject matter is pretty unconventional. Written from the perspective of a serial killer, the catchy funk/New Wave cut shows the split personalities of the killer, who switches between French and English in the track. A bizarrely brilliant song with an infectious bassline and unforgettable chorus.

6: Rockwell: Somebody’s Watching Me (1984)

Rockwell’s synth-pop track Somebody’s Watching Me is a paranoia-filled anthem, as the Motown performer sings of his anxieties over being followed by someone. The premise of the track is a bit random, but creepy lyrics (“When I’m in the shower I’m afraid to wash my hair/’Cause I might open my eyes and find someone standing there”) and homages to classic Hitchcock horror movies (“People say I’m crazy, just a little touched/But maybe showers remind me of Psycho too much”) make this one of the best Halloween songs. Also, the chorus features backing vocals from both Michael Jackson and his brother Jermaine, which helped the single peak at No.2 in the charts on its initial release.

5: Ray Parker, Jr: Ghostbusters (1984)

Not content with writing one of the best Halloween songs of all time, Ray Parker, Jr, also delivered arguably the most iconic movie theme song in history. His theme for the 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters is a catchy dance-pop track which will have you screaming “Who you gonna call?” at the top of your voice as soon as you hear its opening refrain. The song’s lyrics are cheesy and simple, but musically it’s got all the essential 80s elements you want to hear, even if some of them were borrowed from Huey Lewis…

4: The Specials: Ghost Town (1981)

Originally intended to sum up the wave of unemployment, violence and financial woes that plagued Britain in 1981, this reggae-infused track from British band The Specials is a great song to get you in the mood for Halloween. In a post-lockdown landscape, the opening verse has taken on a slightly new meaning: “This town, is coming like a ghost town/All the clubs have been closed down/… Bands won’t play no more.” As depressing as the lyrical connotations may be, the ska rhythm is still irresistibly spooky.

3: Danny Elfman/Cast Of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’: This Is Halloween (1993)

The opening number to Disney’s Halloween-themed animated classic truly sets the scene of the fictional Halloween Town in which the movie is based. Despite being a Disney production, This Is Halloween is definitely one of the creepier entries in our list of the best Halloween songs. The orchestral backing and chanting of ghostly-sounding choral singers transports listeners straight into the world of lead character Jack Skellington. Successfully getting the listener excited for the movie that follows, the song has developed a life of its own and become a staple track of the spooky season.

2: Michael Jackson: Thriller (1982)

Just missing out on the top spot is Michael Jackson’s disco- and funk-infused track. Thriller is perhaps best known for its iconic music video/short film directed by horror-movie director John Landis, with incredible zombie-themed choreography still known today by listeners young and old. Easily one of the top-selling Halloween tracks of all time, Thriller provided an iconic moment for 80s pop culture.

1: Bobby Pickett: Monster Mash (1962)

Was there any doubt this would top our list of the best Halloween songs of all time? Since its release, in 1962, it has become synonymous with the Halloween season. Pickett takes on the persona of a mad scientist telling the story of how he invented the newest dance craze for monsters and ghouls across the land. With cameo appearances from zombies, werewolves and even Dracula himself, Monster Mash has it all – including an infectious chorus that we know is already stuck in your head while reading this!

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