When you think of Halloween, your first thought is probably costumes and horror movies. Both of those things are integral parts of the 31st day of October, but there’s more to it than that. Over the years, music has been used extensively to celebrate this creepy day. From straight-up spooky tracks to parodies and homages, the array of Halloween music available is more than enough to satisfy any listener. In the spirt of Halloween, we asked our staff to pick out some of their favorite Halloween-inspired or spooky tracks to help get you through this eerie day.
Gina Catalano: Danny Elfman – Beetlejuice “Main Titles”
The sounds of Danny Elfman are exactly what a Halloween soundtrack should be, at least in my opinion. He knows exactly how to intensify a sound that enhances a movie scene without making it cheesy, over-dramatic or over-compensating. From his work on The Nightmare Before Christmas and Men in Black to Silver Linings Playbook and Avengers: Age of Ultron, his work has spanned nearly four decades. His compositions on multiple Halloween-esque films, including many from Tim Burton, are recognized almost immediately by many generations. The one that sticks out most to me comes from the opening scene of the 1988 film Beetlejuice. Before the scene even begins, the uniqueness of instruments used in the first ten seconds alone would catch anyone’s attention. The faint sounds of Harry Belafonte classics mixes into the choir, the movie title comes and goes and suddenly you’re racing through a New England town to melodies you almost wouldn’t think would fit into a movie like this. It’s a main title that sticks out in my mind to this day – but that’s just the power of Danny Elfman.
Molly Hudelson: Ghastly – “The Spider’s Symphony”
What are the most quintessential things for Halloween? Black cats, witches, jack-o-lanterns… what about spiders? I’ve got one thing in common with Ron Weasley. I’m no red-headed wizard, but I sure am terrified of spiders, so my favorite Halloween song has got to be Ghastly’s “The Spiders Symphony.” To be fair, almost any Ghastly song would feel appropriate for Halloween, as the DJ has a penchant for ghosts and creepy, paranormal imagery – but there’s something about “The Spiders Symphony” that just puts me on edge. The song begins with a percussive intro that gets my spine tingling, along with a vocal sample tuned to a melancholy, off-kilter key. As the beat builds throughout and then drops towards the end, I can’t help but think of a whole bunch of spiders approaching and then descending upon us. Arachnophobe or not, “The Spiders Symphony” is sure to freak you out, but don’t worry – you’ll still want to dance.
Jackie Cular: Panic! At The Disco – “It’s Almost Halloween”
The only thing better than Panic At the Disco’s “It’s Almost Halloween” is Brendon Urie’s interview with puppies (damn you Buzzfeed!). This video is ten years old, but it doesn’t matter. Brendon Urie doesn’t even sing half of it, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a little bit B-movie; it’s a little bit Beatles; it’s a little bit someone’s creepy basement–but this song will be stuck in your head for the next three days and you will be all the better for it.
Logan White: The Maine – “Forever Halloween”
“Forever Halloween” is the closing track that also serves as the title-track to The Maine’s fourth full-length album. It’s a song that starts out slow but ends on a high-energy cathartic way. Forever Halloween was an album for the Maine in which they branched out and dove into a darker, more indie style of music and the title-track represents that perfectly. It’s a little bit indie in the vein of Wilco, but also could pass as the ballad on a number of grunge records in the 90’s. While John O’Callaghan’s vocals are layered with a haunting choir-esque, “Forever Halloween” overall serves as an up-lifting, positive track of encouragement to be whatever and whomever you wish to be. After all, “we’re all monsters living in a dream.”
Gabriel Aikins: Bob’s Burgers – “I Love You So Much (It’s Scary)”
Bob’s Burgers is consistently excellent in every aspect, but there are two things the show does better than anyone: holiday episodes and music. When those two aspects combine, the result is magic. Case in point, the Season 6 Halloween episode of Bob’s Burgers–”The Hauntening–gave us one of the best Halloween songs to ever grace my ears. I’m talking about “I Love You So Much (It’s Scary),” the spooky selection from Tina Belcher’s favorite boy band, Boyz4Now. As is the case with every Bob’s Burgers track, “I Love You So Much” works in part because it’s a legitimately well-written composition. The hook is incredibly catchy, and the synthy pop goodness blends with spooky sound effects for a fun time. Then there’s the completely earnest, silly humor the show infuses into every second. Rhyming “zombie” and “vampire” with “prom-bie” and “hand-pire” is not only hilarious, it’s something Boyz4Now would absolutely do if they were a real group. “I Love You So Much (It’s Scary)” is not only the perfect Halloween song, it’s a reminder of what makes Bob’s Burgers so special.