Are you like me, and find yourself wanting to enjoy Halloween but struggling because of a dearth of decent songs associated with the holiday? I mean, in terms of inspiring music, it’s not Christmas, that’s for sure. I just find that I can’t stand listening to the Monster Mash and the Addams Family theme and the Munsters theme again and again on repeat this year. I need some actual, non-novelty music.
And we’re in luck! There are actually plenty of real, pretty awesome songs that have a stealth-Halloween theme to them. Here’s a selection of some of my favorites.
1. The Eagles, “Witchy Woman”: Sure, it’s easy to rag on the Eagles as being the dad-est of Dad Rock, but they did some fun songs. This one carries the witch metaphor throughout pretty strongly, and fits right in with our “real song but Halloween-y” theme.
2. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “I Put a Spell on You”: Yeah, I know, the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins version is probably better, and certainly more Halloween-y, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to include a CCR song on a playlist.
3. The Beatles, “Devil in Her Heart”: Not even a little bit of the right tone, barely even mentions anything Halloween-related (the titular devil in her heart, which is more metaphorical than actual), but it’s the Beatles, and it’s my playlist, so nyah.
4. Warren Zevon, “Werewolves of London”: There was a 0% chance I wasn’t going to include this. An obvious but classic choice.
5. Tom Petty, “Zombie Zoo”: “Sometimes you’re so impulsive/You shaved off all your hair/You look like Boris Karloff/But you don’t even care” is probably the best line in any song ever, and I will fight you if you say otherwise.
6. Josh Ritter, “The Curse”: A love song about a mummy told as sincerely as this is proof this world is sometimes better than we deserve.
7. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, “Red Right Hand”: Honestly, you could just put a Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album on for Halloween it’d be fine. If I have to go with one song, though, this is the one. The Pete Yorn version from the first Hellboy movie isn’t half-bad, either.
8. Jeremy Messersmith, “Ghost”: A haunting beautiful (get it?) song about disappearing out of someone’s life.
9. The Flaming Lips, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Part 1”: War of the Worlds, if it was fought between a Japanese pop singer who knows karate and giant pink robots that want to eat people.
10. The White Stripes, “Walking with a Ghost”: I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one. I just wanted another song about ghosts on here.
Happy Halloween, everyone!