12 Essential Songs for your Halloween Playlist

Frankenstein likely shredding some monster THRASH.

Bang your head while you bob for apples with these twelve essential Halloween jams provided by Super Metal World.

As October comes to a close, that can only mean one thing…

Halloween! 

Specifically, Halloween parties. We here at Super Metal World want to make sure that you are properly equipped to supply your Halloween playlist with a steady mix of spooky hits and deep cuts. We understand that not all of these will be fan favorites, per se, but that is fine.   

Listen, some dude named Blair will probably invite you to his Halloween Bash this Thursday. He’s kind of weird, but he’s been your friend ever since Devin’s house warming kegger back in 2014, and helped you through that breakup with Karleigh. So, you feel obligated to attend. 

Now, Blair’s party is most likely going to feature some lame playlist with “Monster Mash” and “Thriller” on it. Hey, guess what? This isn’t a fucking sock hop from 1962 and no one genuinely knows how to perform the “Thriller” dance well

Disassociate yourself with that nonsense and broaden your horizons by listening to Super Metal World’s essential Halloween playlist. 

“Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie

Selection by: Ty Bommersbach

Year: 1998

Album: Hellbilly Deluxe

Tidbits: Part of the allure of this song is that it contains many little Easter eggs:

  • “Who is this irresistible creature who has an insatiable love for the dead?” in the beginning of the song is from the Lady Frankenstein trailer. 
  • The music in the beginning of the song is taken from the trailer of the Wes Craven film, The Last House on the Left
  • “What are you thinking about?/The same thing you are” at the beginning of the verses are taken from the 1971 film Daughters of Darkness
  • “Goldfoot’s machine creates another fiend so beautiful they make you kill,” is a reference to Vincent Price in the 1965 film Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and the 1966 film Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs
  • “Operation Filth they love to love the wealth of an SS whore making scary sounds,” is likely a reference to the 1974 film Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS.
  • The sleeve for the CD single features an image of Rob Zombie’s wife, Sheri Moon. 

Reason for selection: This song perfectly encapsulates the feel of an edgy adult Halloween party hosted by a guy named Blair. I’ve never been to such a party myself, but I think the most memorable Halloween I’ve had was dressing up in a green morph suit in college

But come on! This song has sex appeal, is a little spooky, and would be a perfect time to introduce yourself to that cutie in the bumblebee costume bobbing for apples.

“Dance Macabre” by Ghost

Selection by: Mark Radlund

Year: 2018

Album: Prequelle

Tidbits: Released as the second single off Prequelle, “Dance Macabre” deals with the Black Plague of the 1340s. First, Europeans would contract an awful flu, which catastrophically would worsen, and would die days later. With that, people would party like there’s no tomorrow, which “Dance Macabre” captures perfectly. Essentially, this is the fourteenth-century European version of YOLO. 

I hate myself for saying that. Carry on, folks. 

Reason for selection: A random internet commenter once described Ghost as being “ABBA metal,” which is the perfect description of “Dance Macabre,” and really, most of Prequelle. This groovy, satanic disco banger will surely be a crowd pleaser at your Halloween get-together.  There is no doubt that “Dance Macabre” should “be-witch you” and your friends on Halloween night. 

*sigh*

I’ll see myself out. 

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

Selection by: Lucas Miller

Year: 1976

Album: Agents of Fortune

Tidbits: Despite the long-term opinion the song promotes suicide, lead singer, Donald Roser (aka Buck Dharma) states he wrote it as a love song. He wondered what it would be like to die at a young age and came to the conclusion that if he did, at least he would be with loved ones who have gone before him in the afterlife. Death is inevitable, so why is everyone so scared of it? 

Reason for selection: “Don’t Feel the Reaper” is one of the most fun and equally polarizing songs of all time. The repetition of the same chords over and over again creates an atmosphere of anxiety like something’s chasing you, and you can’t get away. More importantly, there is no better use of a cowbell in any song, ever. Let me be totally clear: This is the BEST SONG ever released that features a cowbell. I stand with cowbells, and you should too. 

“The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati” by Rose & The Arrangement

Selection by: Danielle Jordan

Year: Originally recorded in 1973, released again by Dr. Demento in 1991 

Album: Dr. Demento 20th Anniversary Collection

Tidbits: This song was originally recorded by Rose & The Arrangement in 1973. They released it as a 45rpm single on side A anticipating it would be a much bigger hit than it actually was. Side B of this record, “Chula Vista,” ultimately was the more successful of the two singles. There is no record of Rose & The Arrangement ever performing this song live. Instead of the original group, “Cockroach” was made famous by disc jockey, Dr. Demento who re-released this song in a goofy compilation album nearly two decades later.

Reason for selection: As a child, my dad used to play my brother and I all sorts of weird songs. Among many others we loved, “Cockroach” was always a standout. In my parents’ bedroom, lying next to my dad’s record player, Neil and I would tightly cocoon ourselves under the covers as he played us this spooky tune.  It always had the effect of terrifying us and making us laugh simultaneously. Eventually, my dad put this song along with a handful of other eclectic choices on a burned disc, giving me my first real mixtape. 20 years later, whenever I have to make a Halloween playlist, this song is a non-negotiable. 

Thanks, Pops.

“Close Your Eyes” by Kim Petras

Selection by: Lucas Miller

Year: 2018

Album: TURN OFF THE LIGHT 

Tidbits: Petras is an up-and-comer from Germany, who underwent gender transition surgery at the age of 16, making her the youngest in the world ever to do so. “Close Your Eyes” is the second track off her debut EP TURN OFF THE LIGHT, VOL. 1, and was re-released in September along with six new songs to complete TURN OF THE LIGHT

Reason for selection: TURN OFF THE LIGHT is a Halloween-themed album that is the perfect combination of sounds from pop’s past, as well as modern experimentation with the synth-infused sounds of the future. Filled with club beats and throbbing electro bass, it’s the most fun ‘scare music-goers’ could have on a night out since mimicking the dance moves of the ending scene in the “Thriller” music video. 

“Skulls” by Misfits

Selection by: Mark Radlund

Year: 1982

Album: Walk Among Us

Tidbits: This Misfits classic originally appeared on Walk Among Us, before eventually being remastered for the band’s compilation album Collection in 1986. Legendary frontman Glenn Danzig wrote each track on Walk Among Us including the incredibly catchy “Skulls.” 

Reason for selection: “Skulls” is a perfect addition for your Halloween party soundtrack. It’s a quick and gory punk ballad that baits listeners in with an insanely addicting hook. Lyrically, “Skulls” reads like a twisted love letter, which is even more evident in this acoustic cover from the Lemondheads

“Feed My Frankenstein” by Alice Cooper

Selection by: Ty Bommersbach

Year: 1991 

Album: Hey Stoopid 

Tidbits: This song was famously featured in the 1992 film Wayne’s World, in which Alice Cooper performs it “live” in concert. 

Yes, Pete, it is. Actually, it’s pronounced “mill-e-wah-que” which is Algonquin for “the good land.”

Reason for selection: You know our guy Blair has this track on his “edgy Halloween songs to secretly impress Becky” playlist. Apparently, I have an appetite for sexy and spooky Halloween songs because Papa Ty just went for seconds. 

Feed my FRANKENSTEIN! 

“Making Christmas” by Pentatonix

Selection by: Danielle Jordan

Year: 2018

Album: Christmas Is Here!

Tidbits: This song was originally performed by the cast of Tim Burton’s film The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Grammy award-winning acapella group, Pentatonix made waves in 2018 by releasing their cover of “Making Christmas” as their first single off their third full-length Christmas album, Christmas Is Here! Considering Pentatonix typically releases their Christmas music in October, the single dropped at the perfect time for spooky season.

Reason for selection: I know, I know. Why am I including a Christmas song in a list of Halloween songs? Well… there’s an ongoing debate about whether or not The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas or Halloween movie. Personally, I think both answers are correct. And of course, Danny Elfman and the original cast of Nightmare did a great job in the film recording. I’ve just always preferred this version personally. In the film, the song occurs after Jack Skellington has tried to explain to Halloween Town what Christmas is.

In turn, they enthusiastically prepare for the upcoming holiday. However, we quickly learn that the inhabitants do not understand that Christmas is fundamentally different than Halloween in that nothing spooky is typically permitted. The characters singing about rats, bats, and spider legs while trying to make their Christmas perfect have always warmed my heart. My horror-movie-loving, Christmas-festive heart. A blending of spooky season and the holiday season… who could ask for more?

“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder

Selection by: Mark Radlund

Year: 1972

Album: Talking Book

Tidbits:“Superstition” was a turning point in Stevie Wonder’s career, as well as mainstream African American music in general. Popular music was on the verge of shifting gears, as Soul and Funk began to gain steam in the industry. Lyrically, the song is fairly straightforward. Wonder never believed in anything superstitious like black cats or the number 13, which he alludes to in the chorus: 

[Chorus]
When you believe in things
You don’t understand
Then you suffer
Superstition ain’t the way

Reason for selection: Much like Michael Scott, I’m not superstitious, but a little stitious. Props to Stevie for disregarding that kind of stuff. 

As for the song itself, this is a logical choice for a Halloween playlist. It not only fits the holiday’s theme, but it is literally impossible not to boogie to this song. As displayed in the concert footage above, people of all races, ages, and genders are getting down to “Superstition.” If some midwestern-geriatric folk can bust a move to Stevie’s jam, than you and your friends can too. 

“Gods and Monsters” by Lana Del Rey

Selection by: Lucas Miller

Year: 2012

Album: Paradise

Tidbits: Del Rey’s breakthrough came in 2011 after the release of “Video Games,” the mesmerizing and hypnotic lead single off her second studio album, Born to Die, which has sold over 7 million albums worldwide and spent over 300 weeks on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. 

Reason for selection: “Gods and Monsters” is a track off Paradise, Del Rey’s second major studio release, and also featured on her short film Tropico. It peaked at #15 on the US Hot Rock Songs Chart and was later made re-popular by Jessica Lange, who covered it on American Horror Story: Freak Show. The song, like much of Del Rey’s work, is propelled by her smoky vocals, as well as themes of moral dilemma and loss of innocence. Del Rey is the ‘moody jam Queen,’ and we hail her this Halloween and every other one. 

Also, stream Norman F****** Rockwell.   

“Tip Toe Thru’ the Tulips with Me” by Tiny Tim

Selection by: Danielle Jordan

Year: 1968

Album: God Bless Tiny Tim

Tidbits: Listen. I could have linked a video of Tiny Tim performing this song live in his perfect falsetto. Really, I could have. But the reason it’s on this list is because of its creepy placement in James Wan’s film Insidious, so why wouldn’t I choose to link that clip?! Before James Wan, this song was annoying, maybe grating at worst. Now, its connotation is downright sinister.

Reason for selection: For as long as I can remember I’ve been a horror movie buff. I have memories of being 13 years old and my mom buying me tickets to see the latest Saw movies because I wasn’t old enough to purchase my own yet. I’ve always had a fascination with paranormal films, with slashers, with the classics (and their remakes), but especially with James Wan horror films. He has released some of the best horror films of the 2000s without a doubt. Two of the most breathtaking frights I’ve ever experienced during a scary movie happened while watching Insidious. The first scare occurred during the face scene with Patrick Wilson at the dining room table. I need say no more. If you know, YOU KNOW.

My second bone-chilling scare occurred during this clip where the demon sharpens his nails to “Tip Toe Thru’ the Tulips with Me,” momentarily oblivious to Patrick Wilson’s presence in the dream-world. The demon’s face in the window, his serpent tongue licking the glass, is an image that will stay with me forever. God BLESS the horror genre!

“The Upside Down” by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein 

Selection by: Ty Bommersbach

Year: 2016 

Album: Stranger Things, Vol. 1 (a Netflix Original Series Soundtrack) 

Tidbits: This is the background music played whenever the characters from Stranger Things enter the alternate dimension running parallel to their own dimension, The Upside Down. The ‘jaws-like’ note repetition is also mixed in sporadically whenever the Demogorgon appears or is mentioned on screen. 

DUN…DUN…DUN…DUN…DUN…DA…DUN….DUN  

Reason for selection: Uh, Blair? What’s that noise in the basement? Blair? …Blair!? Blair!!! Oh, God…Becky? Wait? Where’s everyone else that was at the party? Where am…ahhh! 

*cut to sound effects of Demogorgon munching on my neck