As the eerie winds of October whisper through the trees and the jack-o’-lanterns light up our doorsteps, one thing is certain – Halloween is upon us. It’s a time when we delve into the shadows, embrace the supernatural, and let our inner ghosts and ghouls roam free. And what’s Halloween without the perfect playlist to set the spooky mood?
Tunefind lists fan-favorite Halloween songs – those spine-chilling, soul-stirring melodies that send shivers down your spine, whether you’re trick-or-treating, hosting a haunted house, or just getting into the spooky spirit. We’re diving deep into the dark heart of Halloween, armed with the pulse of listener appreciation and the magic of sync placements. We’ve summoned the spectral spirits of song statistics, called upon the voices of loyal listeners, and scoured the world of entertainment for those unforgettable moments when music and Halloween continue to collide in perfect harmony.
So, grab your broomstick, light the candles, and prepare to be enchanted. In this article, we’re unveiling the top fan-favorite Halloween songs, where music is the key to your most hauntingly memorable Halloween.
The Nightmare Before Christmas, released in 1993, narrates the journey of Jack Skellington, the ruler of Halloween Town, as he unexpectedly discovers Christmas Town and hatches a plan to dominate the Christmas holiday. The film’s music, including both songs and the score, is composed by Danny Elfman, who also lent his singing voice to the character of Jack.
The film’s ability to seamlessly weave together the elements of Halloween and Christmas, its captivating visuals and characters, and the exceptional soundtrack have solidified The Nightmare Before Christmas as one of the most iconic Halloween films of our time. ‘This is Halloween’ serves as the opening song as the characters of the film introduce themselves, and the setting of the film is established. The track captures the essence of Halloween, from its eerie charm to its playful spookiness.
In 1962, Bobby “Boris” Pickett introduced ‘Monster Mash.’ This novelty song made its debut as a single in August 1962, accompanied by a full-length album titled “The Original Monster Mash,” which featured various other songs with monster themes. ‘Monster Mash’ soared to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the October 20–27 period that same year, just ahead of Halloween. It has remained a beloved Halloween classic ever since. In 2021, almost six decades after its initial release, ‘Monster Mash’ made a reappearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, securing the 37th position.
Since its release in the 60s, this track has an extensive history and has been covered many times and has been brought to life in many different covers and versions. ‘Monster Mash’ has an extensive sync history with over 20 appearances on Tunefind. The song has been featured in series such as The Watcher, True Blood, and Parks and Recreation, just to name a few. Its enduring relevance and timeless appeal ensure that ‘Monster Mash’ will continue to be a sought-after choice for sync placements due to its ability to conjure the essence of the Halloween season and encapsulate the Halloween spirit so effectively.
Released in 1982, ‘Thriller’ by the legendary Michael Jackson is a musical masterpiece that needs no introduction. This iconic track, accompanied by an unforgettable music video, has become a quintessential part of Halloween celebrations worldwide. The song’s hauntingly catchy beat and chilling lyrics, combined with Jackson’s mesmerizing performance, have turned ‘Thriller’ into a Halloween anthem that continues to thrill audiences year after year.
Songwriting icon, Rod Templeton explained the cinematic inspiration behind ‘Thriller’ sharing, “ I got to know Michael. He loves movies, so I came up with the idea that I should write something really theatrical.” Templeton continued, “ I’d been really impressed with Michael’s participation in the rhythm section when recording ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’, so I wanted to write something with the same power, but a really dramatic melody structure.”
Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells,’ famously known as the theme song for The Exorcist, is a spine-tingling piece of music that adds a layer of dread to the horror genre. At first, ‘Tubular Bells’ had a gradual start in terms of sales, but its global recognition spiked in December 1973 when its opening theme was featured in the soundtrack of the horror movie The Exorcist. This unexpected exposure led to a significant boost in sales, elevating Mike Oldfield’s reputation and contributing significantly to the expansion of the Virgin Group. The album remained within the top ten of the UK Albums Chart for an entire year starting from March 1974 and even claimed the number one spot for a single week during that period.
Its haunting melody and eerie instrumentation have been sending shivers down the spines of moviegoers since the release of The Exorcist. This instrumental masterpiece has the power to instantly conjure an unsettling atmosphere making it a go-to choice for any Halloween playlist or spooky film scene. ‘Tubular Bells’ has received placements in series such as Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Derry Girls, and Welcome to Wrexham.
Ray Parker Jr.’s ‘Ghostbusters’ is not just a song; it’s a cultural phenomenon. Released in 1984, it’s the catchy, playful anthem of the beloved Ghostbusters franchise. The song’s infectious chorus and lyrics celebrate the fun side of the paranormal, and it’s an absolute essential for any Halloween party or event.
Parker was tasked by the film’s producers to create a theme song, despite having just a few days to do so and facing the challenge of incorporating the film’s title into the lyrics. However, he found inspiration late at night while watching television and came across a commercial for a local service, which reminded him of a similar fictional commercial within the movie. This revelation inspired him to write the song as a kind of advertising jingle that the film’s business could have used as a promotional tune. Who you gonna call?
Donovan’s ‘Season of the Witch,’ released in 1966, is a folk-rock classic that has stood the test of time. With its cryptic lyrics and bluesy guitar riffs, it’s an evocative piece that brings an air of magic and mystery to any Halloween setting. Donovan’s version of ‘Season of the Witch’ is no stranger to sync placements, having appeared in series such as 9-1-1, House, M.D., and Riverdale. ‘Season of the Witch’ has been covered numerous times by various artists, some specifically for film soundtracks. For example, Lana Del Rey recorded a cover version that was featured in 2019’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell on You’ is a bewitching song that oozes with charm and allure. Originally recorded in 1956, this bluesy, soulful track has been covered and reimagined by various artists. Its sensuous lyrics and Hawkins’ distinctive vocal delivery make it a favorite choice for Halloween-themed scenes and playlists. ‘I Put A Spell on You’ has appeared in series such as Supernatural and movies such as Just Like Heaven, and The Curse of Bridge Hollow.
John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween Theme’ is a sinister composition that’s synonymous with the horror genre. Composed for the 1978 film Halloween, this minimalist yet powerful theme sets the tone for suspense and terror. Its repetitive, eerie piano melody has become an iconic motif in horror cinema and a must-have for any Halloween soundtrack.
by Vic Mizzy
From The Addams Family
Vic Mizzy’s ‘The Addams Family Theme’ is a quirky, kooky, and altogether ooky piece of music that has delighted audiences for generations. Featured in the classic TV series The Addams Family in the 1960s, the theme is a perfect mix of spookiness and humor. Its catchy snap-clap rhythm and quirky lyrics make it a lighthearted and enjoyable addition to any Halloween gathering.
‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ was recorded and written by American singer Rockwell in 1984, as the lead single from his debut studio album of the same name. It features guest vocals by Rockwell’s childhood friends Michael and Jermaine Jackson. The track’s haunting atmosphere and distinctive vocals have cemented it as a spooky anthem, providing a dose of tension to Halloween-themed media. ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ has received placement in films such as My Best Friend’s Exorcism and Hocus Pocus 2.
by Screaming Lord Sutch