There’s so much to do before the spooky season begins, especially if you’re hosting a Halloween party. And while you still have some time to sort out your Halloween decorations and DIY costumes, it’s never too early to start building your party playlist with tons of classic, fun and downright scary Halloween songs. After all, music sets the tone for any (and every) party!
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Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with all the best songs, spanning different genres, decades and creep factors.
You’ll most certainly want to include some of the most popular Halloween songs of all time, like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me.” Then sprinkle in a few tracks from your favorite thrillers, cult classics, and Disney movies, including “Hocus Pocus” and “Psycho.” Both kids and adults will get a thrill out of matching the songs to the correct movie soundtrack — a solid party game, don’t ya think?
From classical tunes with eerie, spine-chilling melodies to singalong rock hits that’ll take you right back to the good ol’ days, all of the songs on this list are sure to make your Halloween positively spooktacular. Keep scrolling, press play and see for yourself.
“Monster Mash” by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett
Released in 1962, “Monster Mash” is the “hit of the land,” which means that no Halloween party playlist is complete without it.
“Disturbia” by Rihanna
This popular song Rihanna is not only a total chart-topper, but it’s spooky dance beat makes it perfect for Halloween costume parties. Also, it’s Rihanna. Enough said.
“Spooky, Scary Skeletons” by Andrew Gold
This catchy (and mildly unsettling) earworm was released in 1996 by Andrew Gold before going on to become a viral sensation on TikTok.
“Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo
This hit by ’80s band, Oingo Boingo is about “goin’ to a party where no one’s still alive,” or, in other words, a funeral. Grim stuff, but it’s a fan-favorite when it comes to Halloween songs.
Fun fact: The band’s frontman Danny Elfman went on to write the songs and score for “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” as well as sing Jack Skellington’s songs in the film.
“Stranger Things” by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
If you’ve got your “Stranger Things” Halloween costume all picked out and ready to go (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) you might as well add the show’s theme song to your party playlist.
“This is Halloween” by The Citizens of Halloween
The theme song from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is the essential Halloween song by which all others should be measured for the rest of all time. The end.
“I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
This tune by Jay Hawkins is a total Halloween staple, which is why it’s listed here. It’s been covered by dozens of singers since its release, but the most famous version is by the Sanderson sisters in the Disney classic, “Hocus Pocus.” And, dare we say, their version even spookier than the original.
“Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Probably the most popular Halloween song of all time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” starts off with a creepy coffin opening and finishes with poetic prose by the late, great master of horror films, Vincent Price.
“A Nightmare on My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Released in 1988 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, “A Nightmare on My Street’s” lyrics are a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the classic slasher film, “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr.
If there’s something strange going on in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! Throw the “Ghostbusters” theme song on your playlist to scare aware the ghosts — or at least try to.
“Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult
This ’70s rock tune gets new life every year — and makes us all question if Romeo and Juliet are actually together for all of eternity. So, thoughts?
“Highway to Hell” by AC/DC
AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” is sure to take you a wild ride. Although it’ll make a great addition to your Halloween playlist, it’s also fitting for your next family road trip — totally your call!
“The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley
This one’s for the kids (and the kids at heart). In case you need a reminder, this 1950’s hit by Sheb Wooley tells the tale of a one-eyed, one-horned, purple-people-eating alien that comes to Earth to join a rock band.
“Season of the Witch” by Donovan
Although it appeared in “Season of the Witch,” the 1972 movie about housewives that get mixed up in witchcraft, this song was actually recorded by Donovan a few years prior. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page even played guitar on the original recording, according to Billboard.
“Clap for the Wolfman” by The Guess Who
This super-catchy song by The Guess Who is guaranteed to get everyone singing and clapping along. It’s actually a tribute to radio DJ Wolfman Jack, and you’ll even hear his voice several times throughout the tune.
“Hedwig’s Theme” by John Williams
Calling all “Harry Potter” fans! This classic from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” will transform your house into Hogwarts — for a few minutes, at least.
“You Can Do Magic” by America
This infectious ‘80s pop record is all about casting spells, getting hypnotized and seeing things that aren’t really there — all ingredients for an awesome Halloween song.
“Bark at the Moon” by Ozzy Osborne
The one-time singer of Black Sabbath is the self-proclaimed “Prince of Darkness,” and this song is all the proof we need. With lyrics about waking the dead and finding heaven in the mouth of hell (yikes!), this one might be the scariest song on the list.
“The Blob” by The Five Blobs
Beware of the blob — it creeps, leaps, glides and slides. This completely silly (but undeniably singable) song is from the 1950’s movie by the same name.
“People Are Strange” by Echo and The Bunnymen
If you haven’t seen “The Lost Boys,” this Doors cover will give you a sense of what the cult classic vampire film is all about. Press play and prepare to be transported to Santa Carla, the “Murder Capital of the World.”
“Spooky” by the Classics IV
We’ll just come right out and say it: It’s not officially Halloween until you hear this song. And if you’re planning to propose on October 31, then you’ll definitely want to put this song on repeat.
“The Phantom of the Opera Overture” by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Sounding like a spooky carnival (clowns = scary), this instrumental overture from “Phantom of Opera” is heavy-handed on the organ and the drama.
“Witchy Woman” by the Eagles
Rumor has it that this vintage Eagles song was inspired by Stevie Nicks, but, according to the Eagles’ Don Henley, it’s actually about women in the ‘70s practicing white witchcraft. Either way, this tune will have you spellbound.
“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
The writing’s on the wall: Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” is a favorite on Halloween and beyond.
“Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell
Are the neighbors watching? The mailman?The IRS? Rockwell certainly thinks so.
“Abracadabra” by Steve Miller Band
Play this song to cast a spell on your Halloween party guests. Just be sure to have your magician hat ready!
“Materia Primoris (The X-Files Theme)” by Mark Snow
The truth is out there — and it’s that this song is loved by all people, even those who’ve never seen the hit ‘90s TV show, “The X-Files.”
“Witchcraft” by Frank Sinatra
It’s all about witchcraft, wicked witchcraft! Though it wasn’t originally intended to be a Halloween song, this Frank Sinatra smash has grown to become a favorite during the spookiest time of year.
“Ghost Town” by The Specials
If you read between the lines, you’ll realize that this haunting tune is about far more than tumbleweeds and deserted streets. Mournful in sound and feeling, this 1981 release was considered to be a “poetic protest” amid the riots in London.
“Theme From Halloween” by John Carpenter
More than 30 years after its release, John Carpenter’s “Halloween” remains the gold standard for slasher films. Crank up the movie’s theme ahead of the newest release in the franchise, slated for October 2022.
“Bad Moon Rising ” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
This classic by Creedence Clearwater Revival strikes the perfect ominous tone, aka it won’t bring down the mood of everyone at the party.
” I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow
The chorus sums up the whole point of Halloween: You want candy — and lots of it.
“Time Warp” by Richard O’Brien
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has firmly established itself as a madcap movie for the ages, and its breakout song, “Time Warp,” is vital to any Halloween playlist.
“O Fortuna” by Carl Orff (London Philharmonic Orchestra)
This intense, operatic piece of classical music is sure to bring the drama. Play it on loop to make your trick-or-treaters feel like they stepped into a movie scene.
“Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads
Looking for a Halloween movie to watch? Add “Psycho” to the cue, then add “Psycho Killer” to your Halloween playlist to stay in the spooky spirit.
“Halloween Spooks” by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
This jazzy trio sums up the spooks that Halloween brings. Oooh-wah!
“Myer’s House” by John Carpenter
Nothing says “Help! I’m being stalked by a lunatic serial killer on Halloween,” like this song from the original “Halloween” soundtrack. This one will have you checking under the bed before you go to sleep.
“Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon
Watch out: Werewolves are taking over Lindon! Warren Zevon sets the scene with this tune, which describes all the mischief that these fictional creatures are getting into — with the Queen, no less.
“Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys
“Good Vibrations” is everyone’s favorite beach song — unless, of course, you’ve watched “Us.” Then it scares the daylights out of you.
“Heffalumps and Woozles” by The Disney Studio Chorus
How can a song from “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” be scary? Give it a listen and you’ll understand.
“In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett
Everyone knows that ghosts and goblins come out when the clock strikes midnight. This song celebrates witching hour — and will get everyone dancing.
“Full Moon” by The Black Ghosts
If you’re hosting a “Twilight” movie marathon for Halloween, then this automatically goes on the list. Whether you’re Team Edward or Jacob (duh, the winner is obvious), we can all agree that “Full Moon” is as spooky as it gets.
“Toccata & Fugue in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach (Academy of St. Christopher Orchestra)
Yet another classical song associated with Halloween, this centuries-old masterpiece is literally the musical version of a Transylvanian castle during a thunderstorm.
“Friends on the Other Side” by Randy Newman
With lyrics about voodoo and spooky premonitions, this song from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” is deliciously dark and kid-friendly.
“Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
“Peaky Blinders” fans, this one’s for you. But don’t worry, you don’t need to watch the British drama to appreciate the dark, sinister tone of “Red Right Hand,” a song about blood vengeance.
“Duel of the Fates” by John Williams
Set this high-octane piece of classical music to your Halloween show for an epic night of “Star Wars”-inspired fun.
“You’re Dead” by Norma Tanega
Fans of “What We Do in the Shadows,” already know this macabre song by Norma Tanega. Even if you haven’t seen the movie or TV show, “You’re Dead” is sure to get your toes tapping even though the lyrics are all about — you guessed it — being dead.
“Double Trouble” by John Williams
Something wicked this way comes in John Williams’ short, but oh-so-thrilling track off the “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” soundtrack.
“Cry Little Sister” by Gerard McMann
The theme song from the popular vampire movie, “The Lost Boys,” is dark, menacing and just right for when you come across a gang of bloodsucking vampires.
“Tales From the Crypt” by Danny Elfman
HBO’s “Tales from the Crypt” may have ended in 1996, but its spooky theme song lives on.
“Midnight, The Stars and You” by Al Bowlly
Recorded way back in the 1930s, this song sounds innocent enough — unless you’ve seen “The Shining.” In which case, it’ll send chills right down your spine.
“Magic” by Pilot
This classic Pilot song, which was remastered in 2003, is total Halloween magic — even if you never believe it’s not so.
“Tubular Bells (Pt. 1)” by Mike Oldfield
“The Exorcist” is definitely not for the faint-of-heart. Even if you’re not a fan of scary movies, it’s eerie instrumental theme will pair well with any of your Halloween activities.
“Day- O (Banana Boat Song)” by Harry Belafonte
This folk song from the “King of Calypso” will forever be associated with the iconic dinner scene in the 1988 movie, “Beetlejuice.” Watch and see why.
“Grim Grinning Ghosts” by The Melomen
Happy haunts will materialize when you listen to “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” perhaps better known as the music from The Haunted Mansion ride at Disney theme parks.