October is less than a week away, which means that Halloween is nearly upon us. Whether you’re still figuring out your Halloween costume or have had it planned several months in advance, it’s almost time to set out your decorations and create plans for a killer Halloween party. With that all in mind, you’ll need some tunes to create the perfect vibe for the chilling, horrifying season. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here are 15 songs, from metalcore to Motown to musicals, to supply you with the spookiest vibes for October.
“Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell
Released in 1984, Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” really encompasses the paranoia and freaked-out nature of what one feels like going through a haunted house or creepy corn maze. With the chilling and eerie synths underneath the lyrics describing the narrator living through his own version of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960), this song is the perfect contestant to get you ready for the spooky season. It’s also worth mentioning that Michael Jackson’s vocals feature in this song as he sings the chorus, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me,” which certainly carries an eerie melody. Speaking of The Prince of Pop…
“Thriller” by Michael Jackson
No list of Halloween songs would be a list without mentioning Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” released in 1982. Along with its iconic music video full of gnarly-looking zombies and horrifying werewolves, this track is the embodiment of a classic Halloween-themed tune with lots of creepy sound effects, ghostly synths, and lyrics describing the haunting tale of the “thriller.” Vincent Price’s menacing monologue describing “the evil of the thriller” near the end of the song is truly chilling to the bone and sets this song’s place as one of the spookiest songs to create the perfect Halloween vibe.
“Stabbing In The Dark” by Ice Nine Kills
Since we’re talking about Halloween-themed tracks, Ice Nine Kills’ “Stabbing In the Dark (2018) is undoubtedly the epitome of a Halloween-themed song, considering it’s inspired by the movie “Halloween” (1979), directed by John Carpenter. If you’re a massive fan of the franchise or consider the movie your favorite horror flick to watch during the spooky season, this song is certainly for you. Set in the perspective of Michael Myers, the film’s antagonist, the song retells the story of the original movie with lots of references and instrumentals that play to the movie’s skin-crawling main theme. It’s sure to set you in a frightful mood for all of October.
“Hunter’s Moon” by Ghost
On the topic of “Halloween” soundtracks, Ghost’s “Hunter’s Moon” (2021) is one of the spookiest tracks to come from the “Halloween Kills” (2021) soundtrack. This song is certainly an off-putting track with its bright guitars that also play to the original movie’s main theme, demented background vocals, and deep, booming drums. The lyrics are also quite concerning since they are also set from the perspective of the film’s boogeyman. It’s a catchy, arena-rock track that plays to the overall creepy vibe the band gives off - if you know Ghost at all, then you understand what I’m saying - and it’s a perfect fit for this list.
“Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie
Moving on from “Halloween”-inspired tracks, although not straying very far, the next track on this list is “Living Dead Girl” (1998) by the legendary horror icon, Rob Zombie. Well known for his horror movies (notably his 2007 “Halloween” remake and 2009 sequel as well as 2005 “The Devil’s Rejects”) and thematically horror music, Rob Zombie is certainly the man to create the perfect horrifying track. Included on horror movie soundtracks such as Bride of Chucky and Gus Van Sant’s 1998 remake of “Psycho,” “Living Dead Girl” is truly an iconic song that has solidified its place in horror history. With its ghostly background synths, deep and distorted guitar riffs, and Zombie’s gravelly growl in his vocals, this track is undoubtingly one of the most devilish songs on this list.
“The Whole “Being Dead” Thing” by Alex Brightman & Beetlejuice Original Broadway Cast Recording Ensemble
Devilish could also describe the next track on this list. “The Whole “Being Dead” Thing” is the opening number from the hit Broadway musical, “Beetlejuice” (first performed in October of 2018), which is based on the 1988 movie of the same name. First, if you love the movie but haven’t heard of or seen the musical, I suggest you go look it up or listen to the album because it’s an amazing adaptation of the film and all of the songs are fantastic. However, this song sticks out the most since it perfectly encapsulates the mischievousness of the iconic Halloween movie. With Alex Brightman portraying the devilish Beetlejuice, the vocals are rough yet melodic and the lyrics, from Beetlejuice’s point of view, present a cynical and sarcastic perspective about death. Some notable parts of the instrumentals include bright, jazzy horns, ukulele (it’s for a bit, trust me), ghostly woodwinds, and capturing drum fills. Overall, it’s a great musical number to prepare you for Halloween.
“Time Warp” by Tenacious D
Another great musical number to provide you with spooky vibes comes in the form of Tenacious D’s cover of “Time Warp” (2020), originally from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975), directed by Jim Sharman. Don’t get me wrong, the original version of this song is creepy in its own right, but Tenacious D’s cover has a certain flare to it that sets it apart from the original. From Jack Black’s braying, playful vocals to the rocking drums that seem to keep up the song’s pace, the cover does the original justice in ways that I find more exciting and intriguing. Nonetheless, both songs are stellar tracks that will fulfill your need for a fun, frightening season.
“Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)” by Fall Out Boy & Missy Elliot
“Who ya gonna call?” Fall Out Boy, of course, for the next spooky cover on this list. “Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)” was written for the 2016 remake of “Ghostbusters.” While this track heavily samples the original “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr., I think this track stands out from its inspiration and breathes a new life into the 1984 version. This song is much more face-paced with drums and distorted guitars carrying the beat rather than synths and brass. The sound is similar to the album Fall Out Boy released just a year before the movie’s release, “American Beauty/American Psycho” (2015). Fall Out Boy’s vocalist, Patrick Stump, makes this cover stand out with his powerful vibrato and killer falsetto. It’s also worth mentioning the feature of this song, Missy Elliott, who is an excellent addition to this cover as she raps on a small portion of the track. All in all, it’s a great cover, and it’s a great song to listen to this Halloween.
“What’s This” by Flyleaf
While we’re on the topic of spectacular covers, Flyleaf’s cover of “What’s This” from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) is one of my favorites from this list as it sends goosebumps down my arms every time I listen to it. One may consider the film a “Christmas movie,” but Danny Elfman’s score and music have always been weirdly creepy even with its jolly tone. On the other hand, Flyleaf’s cover turns this creepiness into something truly haunting and chilling. The instrumentals are slowed down and stripped back to create an uncomfortably beautiful track. Lacey Sturm’s vocals are hauntingly beautiful with her quavering tone and breathy whispering. It’s truly an awe-inspiring track that will put you in the perfect mood for this spooky season.
“Killer Klowns” by The Dickies
Speaking of stellar horror movie soundtracks, “Killer Klowns” (1988) by The Dickies is the star track from the soundtrack of Stephen Chiodo’s “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” (1988). First, if you haven’t watched the movie, I highly suggest that you watch it this October. It’s a campy ‘80s horror movie about - you guessed it - killer clowns from outer space that invade a little college town and start killing people. The song reflects the storyline within the lyrics and the instrumentals reflect the brightly colored, yet horrific circus theme of the film. The guitar riff heard throughout the song is a sample of composer Julius Fučík’s “Entrance of the Gladiators” (1897), which is a very well-known theme correlated to circus music. Although the track is very upbeat and playful, there’s still an eeriness to it that makes you feel a little uncomfortable listening to it. It’s an exemplary vibe for your creepy Halloween playlist.
“A Nightmare on My Street” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Continuing with songs inspired by horror films, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s track, “A Nightmare on My Street” (1988), is inspired by Wes Craven’s classic ‘80s slasher, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984). The movie’s main theme is the backing beat for this song as The Fresh Prince retells the tale of his encounter with the infamous Freddy Krueger. The lyrics are very tongue-in-cheek with a lot of references to the original movie, even Freddy’s voice is included on the track. With its creepy instrumentals and swinging vocals, this song is sure to set you in a spooky mood this Halloween.
“Communion Of The Cursed” by Ice Nine Kills
The next song on this list is yet another Ice Nine Kills track, “Communion Of The Cursed,” (2015) which is inspired by the iconic horror novel, “The Exorcist” (1971), written by William Peter Blatty. If you are unfamiliar with Ice Nine Kills (INK), a large portion of their discography is inspired by different horror films and novels, so it only makes sense to have at least a few tracks of theirs on this spooky list. It was really hard to choose which songs of theirs to put on this list, but “Stabbing In the Dark” and “Communion Of The Cursed” were my top contenders since they brought forth the creepy vibes so well. Like the former song, “Communion Of The Cursed” has plenty of references to its inspiration, including the voice of the possessed little girl from the book, Regan, and creepy music box noises. The operatic background vocals paired with the demented screaming of INK’s frontman, Spencer Charnas, create a truly demonic dynamic that flows throughout the song. It’s a perfect fit for this list of demonic Halloween tracks.
“Season Of The Witch” by Lana Del Rey
Originally recorded by Donovan in 1966, Lana Del Rey does an amazing cover of “Season Of The Witch,” (2019) which was initially recorded for the soundtrack of the motion picture, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019). What was originally a folk rock song, Lana Del Rey turns this song into something much more macabre and eerie. The instrumentals are very light with soft guitars, piano, and bass. Her vocals are very airy and delicate as she sings the chorus as well as the background harmonies, whispering, and other vocal riffs. It’s truly a hauntingly beautiful track that I feel will fuel you with spooky vibes for this Halloween.
“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
“Superstition ain’t the way,” sings Stevie Wonder on the next track of this list. “Superstition” was released in 1972 as the lead single of his 1972 record, “Talking Book.” With braying horns and groovy synthesizers, this song creates a mood of funk as the narrator describes certain superstitions in our culture and how they tend to have negative effects on the people who believe in them. Not only is the main clavinet riff unnerving, but the trumpet and tenor saxophone adds an extra level of chilling to the track. With Wonder’s smooth yet powerful vocals, this song is certain to bring a funky mood to your Halloween plans.
“Blood” by My Chemical Romance
Last, but certainly not least, is My Chemical Romance’s “Blood,” released as a hidden track on their 2006 concept album, “The Black Parade.” It’s a pretty stripped-back track considering that the only instrumentation is the harsh plucking and tickling of piano keys. Ghostly moaning and disgusting gargling can be heard in the background all while Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance, sings the main melody and small backing harmonies. Way’s vocals have always been oddly off-putting (in a good, unique way), and on this track, they are no different, especially when the meaning behind the lyrics is horrific (lyric analysis here). It’s truly a creepy track, and it’ll be the perfect vibe for your spooky season.