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Though Halloween music may be more obscure than music for other holidays, these 10 songs can liven up any spooky playlist.

With Halloween weekend looming, preparing the perfect spooky-season playlist may be at the top of your to-do list. Alongside a great costume, a bowl full of candy and some spooky decorations, one of the many ways to celebrate Halloween is through music. With songs typically pulled from films or classic anthems that over time have become associated with the holiday season, Halloween is incomplete without a playlist to keep the party going. Whether it’s the sing-along classic hits or dance-inciting remixes that suit the occasion, here are 10 songs to strengthen your Halloween playlist.

“Somebody’s Watching Me” — Rockwell

Categorized as a paranoia-rock anthem, this eerie Halloween classic sets the tone for a spooky playlist. It’ll leave you feeling as if you’re being watched — yet, you won’t be able to fight the urge to sing along. The chilling lyrics and synth beat create a song worth jamming out to — especially with Michael Jackson’s background vocals. 

“I Put A Spell On You” — Nina Simone

This song has been covered by many artists, and any Halloween junkie will probably recognize it from Bette Midler’s cover in the classic Halloween film “Hocus Pocus.” Nina Simone’s original jazz-pop hit best conveys the witchy energy of her love spell. This slow song might not elicit fistbumping and dancing, but the eerie tone of the lyrics best suits a Halloween function.  

“Thriller” — Michael Jackson, Steve Aoki Midnight Hour Remix

It’s not a Halloween party without at least a little bit of Michael Jackson in the playlist. This Steve Aoki remix brings the party and will get anyone on their feet dancing — and don’t worry, the iconic dance moves of Michael Jackson’s backup zombie dancers still suit this remix. 

“Spooky Scary Skeletons” — Andrew Gold

This Halloween classic is alarmingly sinister for a song initially intended for children. However, it makes the perfect sing-along for any spooky playlist. This tune may be familiar from its recent popularity as a TikTok sound, an upbeat remix of the original, used on nearly every Halloween-themed video. The catchy lyrics are irresistible and will have everyone joining in. 

“This Is Halloween” — Danny Elfman

From the hit Halloween movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the citizens of Halloween Town perform a chilling roll-call of sorts, setting the appropriately creepy yet cheerful tone familiar in any Tim Burton animation. The spine-chilling chants of the Halloween spirit are contagious to any listener.

“Season of the Witch” — Lana Del Rey

In a cover for the movie “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” Lana Del Rey brings her classic Americana and witchy-songstress style to the original song by Donovan. The tune will have you wanting to light a few candles and tell some scary stories. With ominously groovy lyrics, this song sets the tone for a witchy Halloween. 

“Ghostbusters” — Ray Parker Jr.

“Who you gonna call?” It’s a question we all, hopefully, know the answer to. The theme song for the ’80s classic movie “Ghostbusters” is a tune you can’t help but jam out to. This classic will never go out of style and is a crucial addition to any Halloween occasion. 

“Monster Mash” — Bobby Pickett

This catchy track is bound to be on every playlist as an essential classic to the Halloween experience. Released in the ’60s, this hit has stuck around and makes its awaited return every Halloween season. Despite many covers over the years, the original remains a holiday favorite — it’s a graveyard smash.

“Heads Will Roll” — Yeah Yeah Yeahs, A-Trak Remix

Taking the gruesome theme of decapitation and translating it into an irresistible dance-inciting hit may sound impossible. With references pulled from the Red Queen in “Alice in Wonderland” and the rave party craze, this song packs in lots of imagery and will get you dancing despite the lyrics’ gory messages. 

“I Got 5 on It” — Tethered Mix from Us, Michael Abels

From the horror film “Us,” this chilling remix of the original song by Luniz will give you goosebumps. The eerie melody incites the feeling of being stalked and, with imagery of the film in mind, will have you looking for your look-alike in a red jumpsuit all night. Whether you’ve seen the film or not, this song will make anyone feel uncomfortable — perfect for a night of horror-movie viewing or a party playlist with scary movie enthusiasts. 

Halloween music is far more obscure than the music of other holidays. In the spirit of Halloween, the perfect playlist is up for interpretation — how you put together the perfect playlist depends on whether you prefer the classic pop songs of the season, the theme songs from your favorite horror films or the catchy Halloween jingles that come around every year. These 10 songs can help inspire the perfect Halloween playlist.

Contact Megan Crews at crewsme@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.