It’s the most spooky-ful time of the year, my haunted babies! Halloween is nigh, and most of us are probably celebrating at home (again). If you’re on the hunt for some witchin’ music, then never fear, for I’ve got a spooky playlist to scare up a good time.
Be sure to check out my playlist suggestions from last year. Then, snatch up a bottle of pumpkin spice vodka (it’s legit, folks), ask that decorative skeleton for another dance, draw on black eyeliner like you’re Gerard Way during his My Chemical Romance days and get ready to boogie.
“Witching Hour” In This Moment
In This Moment burst onto the music scene as a heavier act, but their sound evolved over the years with more instrumental experimentation and softer vocals from frontwoman Maria Brink. “Witching Hour” employs eclectic instrumentation and an overall spooky aesthetic on a song that’s literally about witches.
“Bad Moon Rising” Rasputina
I included Rasputina on my playlist last year, and they’re back with another perfect tune for your Halloween rotation. It’s a cover of “Bad Moon Rising,” originally by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Rasputina is mostly a strings act emphasizing the cello, but they utilize guitars from time to time. This version of “Bad Moon Rising” melds strings and guitars for the optimal blend of classical and rock, all while injecting a bit of darkness.
“Bark at the Moon” Ozzy Osbourne
It’s a Halloween staple — Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Bark at the Moon.” This song is quintessential 1980s heavy rock with supernaturally spooky lyrics. What more could you want?
“Halloween” Phoebe Bridgers
Much like the rest of the world, I also fell head over heels for indie-folk artist Phoebe Bridgers, whose poignant, frequently cut-to-the-quick lyrics feel like you’re reliving your latest breakup all over again. “Halloween” is a melancholic, acoustic-driven piece, and it’s a nice tune to insert between the hard rock that’ll dominate your playlist.
“Wild Hearses” Lucifer
Not to be confused with “Wild Horses” by The Sundays, that one sad song you recall hearing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lucifer hails from Stockholm, and their music fuses 70s hard rock with a tinge of heavy metal and doom and gloom. “Wild Hearses” gets groovy with some classic guitar riffs while talking about gravestones and morbid covenants.
“Werewolf” Cat Power
Cat Power‘s “Werewolf” is pretty self-explanatory — it’s all about a werewolf. Power’s haunting vocals accompany an equally haunting, minor key-infused string arrangement and a strumming acoustic guitar. I can picture that werewolf now.
“What’s A Girl To Do?” Bat For Lashes
We continue on the solemn indie train with “What’s A Girl To Do?” by Bat For Lashes. While the tune’s about a breakup, the instrumentation evokes that spooky vibe we all love and even puts a 1960s girl group twist on it. I’m all about innovative artistry, and this song ticks off all the boxes for me.
“Time Warp” The Rocky Horror Picture Show
“Devil’s Face” Nova Twins
We all know how much I love my Nova Twins, so they needed a spot on this list. “Devil’s Face” is a punchy, in-your-face punk anthem with creative lyrics and — the devil’s got your face on! Look at your reflection! Put this on for a fun head-banging session.
“Death at My Door” The Creepshow
If you’re itching for a solid rockabilly act, look no further than The Creepshow. “Death at My Door” is about death, and what’s more “Halloween” than that? It’s a toe-tapping, slicked back rockin’ time with a bit of organ action if that’s your thing.
“Satan’s a Woman” Twin Temple
Remember when I asked what was more “Halloween” than death? Twin Temple is the answer to that question. Pioneers of “Satanic Doo-Wop,” Twin Temple infuses occult aesthetics with the 1950s and 1960s rock ‘n roll. “Satan’s a Woman” will have you twisting and shouting, so don your black poodle skirt and let’s go to the sock hop!
“Ghostbusters” Ray Parker Jr.
No Halloween rotation is complete without the “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. from Ghostbusters! This tune is for all of your Gen X/millennial pals who are feeling nostalgic. Play this for a ghostbusting fun time because busting makes you feel good!
“Burn the Witch” Queens of the Stone Age
Ah, Queens of the Stone Age — one of my favorite rock bands. They never disappoint. “Burn the Witch” is a fiery hard rock tune that sizzles and burns like the, um, witch.
Here’s a haunted, piano and strings-driven spookfest by Hexvessel. The lyrics for “Halloween” are reminiscent of a country song in that they take on a story-like, anecdotal quality. If you’re not wearing a witch’s hat while listening to this, you’re doing it wrong.
“Wicked Way” Imelda May
If your Halloween needs a bit of spice, look no further than “Wicked Way” by Imelda May. It’s sultry, sexy and 50 shades of steamy. Plus, “wicked” is in the title, so that lends itself to all things spooky.
“All The Pretty Corpses” Schoolyard Heroes
Teenage Melody would’ve dug Schoolyard Heroes back in the mid-aughts, but let’s be honest; she loves them today. “All The Pretty Corpses” is every emo kid’s wet dream, evoking the punk rock horror aesthetic that’s perfect for Halloween, complete with blaring guitars, dramatic vocals and macabre lyrics.
“Spiders” by Slipknot emits a creepy vibe solely from the simple piano riff that echoes in the background. Throw in a few haunted guitar licks and a song about spiders, and you’ve got a recipe for Halloween.
“Hex Girl” Dreadlight, Maiah Wynne
“I’m a hex girl, and I’m gonna put a spell on you.” Dreadlight is another act that draws inspiration from classic hard rock, combining sweet-sounding harmonies with face-melting guitar descants. “Hex Girl” is pretty self-explanatory, so put on this tune and get to hexing.
“Pet Sematary” The Haxans
Here’s a slower, acoustic-laden jam inspired by Pet Sematary from The Haxans. It’s a sorrowful, beautifully sung ballad riddled with macabre imagery. Throw it on for a breather from all the dancing.
“A. Creature” Psychedelic Witchcraft
It’s all in the name — Psychedelic Witchcraft is the modern world’s answer to contemporary psychedelic rock. Mix in occult imagery with blues and a pinch of heaviness, and that’s “A. Creature” in a nutshell. Stoner music, but with creepy elements for good measure.
“Rosemary’s Baby” Fantomas
As you can probably guess, “Rosemary’s Baby” by Fantomas spookily covers the lullaby from Rosemary’s Baby, complete with intricate guitars, eclectic instrumentation, somber strings and even some screams. Listen to this in the dark to get the whole horror-filled experience!
“Halloween Theme” John Carpenter
Who doesn’t get goosebumps when they hear the iconic theme from Halloween by John Carpenter? Those first few piano notes are enough to send shivers down your spine. While this might seem like an overly used choice on Halloween playlists, think of it this way: popular tunes are popular for a reason. Just be on the lookout for masked serial killers!
So, here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it — combine these songs and last year’s selections on one monumental playlist to rock your Halloween to its core. Or don’t; it’s chill.
What songs are on your spooky rotation for this year? Sound off in the comments below!
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