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Top 13 Halloween Songs

Frazer Harrison / Buda Mendes / Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Halloween is the one night every year when things get really weird — and everybody’s cool with it. Some people celebrate the thinning of the veil between this world and the great beyond. Some celebrate a chance to wear a costume and collect candy from strangers. And others celebrate the chance to throw together a half-assed costume and drink like it’s St. Patrick’s Day.

Whatever your nefarious designs may be tonight, they’re best done to a killer soundtrack. We’ve compiled some of the darkest, scariest, mysterious tunes we could find into a Halloween playlist, fit for a drunk ninja just as much as your friendly neighborhood necromancer. Proceed with reckless abandon.

“Convinced of the Hex”

The Flaming Lips



Halloween draws its mystique from the long-held notion that it’s the one night when you can’t trust reality — that the impossible might happen. The Flaming Lips understand this, and they’ll explain it to you with the psychedelic sounds of “Convinced of the Hex.”


“Monsters In the Parasol”

Queens of the Stone Age



It being Halloween, you’re apt to see something impossible, or at least out of the ordinary. Queens of the Stone Age have seen some stuff — some very strange stuff. And apparently this stuff was covered in hair.


“The Soapmakers”




Behind the curtains of the world you perceive are those who manufacture our reality. These beings are beyond our perception, but some rare few have seen them. The ancient Greeks saw them as the Kindly Ones. The Irish saw them as the Fair Folk. And Clutch saw them as the Soapmakers. And they were workin’, workin’.


“Floyd the Barber”




Often, terror can be found in unexpected places. It happens so easily. You find yourself in a wholesome, comforting environment. Everyone is laughing at some good-natured joke and the sheriff buys everybody a bottle of ice-cold soda. Then you realize they’re all stealing glances at you. We don’t want to spoil it for you, but events take a sinister turn in Nirvana‘s “Floyd the Barber.”


“Bad Things”




The saccharine-sweet sounds of Cults often belie a tale told from the shadows. Cults’ Madeline Follin knows of such things, including the inevitable. Her voice is just quiet enough that you move in closer to hear better without even noticing. Have you stopped to consider that perhaps the bad thing the song refers to is the one singing? It’s probably nothing. Don’t worry about it.


“Rosemary’s Baby”




Fantomas are perfect for Halloween. Any song from their album Director’s Cut would fit in perfectly on this list. For the sake of variety, we chose our favorite. But watch out for anything unusual if the party happens to have one of those odd quiet moments when this song starts. That’s probably a bad sign.


“Stand By Him”

Ghost B.C.



After you finish listening to this playlist, just put on Ghost B.C.’s Opus Eponymous. They’ve cornered the market on heavy-yet-catchy devil music. “Stand By Him” is the perfect blend of sing-along poppy and ’70s horror film evil.


“I See a Darkness”

Bonnie “Prince” Billy



Anybody can face monsters and ghosts and all that is supernatural, but few can turn toward the darkness within themselves and face it down. It’s often best left alone, honestly. Once you look at it, it often starts looking back at you. And nobody wants that. If you doubt it, Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s “I See a Darkness” will help you understand.



Nine Inch Nails



At least once in everyone’s life, everyone should attend a stereotypical “underground” Halloween party. A party that looks like one of the sets from The Crow — the Brandon Lee one, of course. Nine Inch Nails‘ “Heresy” is blaring from unseen speakers as fog machine smoke spills across the floor. It’ll be awesome once you find the keg and the dude selling the cups.


“Black Saint”




More witches! Earlier, Ghost B.C. sang to us about the night of the witch. Now the doom metal band Witch, featuring modern guitar legend J. Mascis on the drums, sings to us about ancient witches and rituals in “Black Saint.” Get your bubbling cauldron and your dead rats ready — time to do some magic.


“Rill Rill”

Sleigh Bells



This song is a bit of a stretch for a Halloween playlist, but we’re pretty sure Sleigh Bells‘ “Rill Rill” is about something evil, or at least untoward. There’s mention of a switchblade and we know she says 666 in there somewhere. Just go with it.


“Black Bock”

The Melvins



The Melvins‘ “Black Bock” is a charming and sweet little tune about a boy and his goat. It sounds so quaint until you notice the lyrics. Did he just sing something about being happy about watching his goat bleed out? Um, we’re just gonna walk away now. Carry on with the goat business and pay us no mind while we escape quietly.


“Subway Song”

The Cure



The perfect song to close out our list of perfect songs for Halloween, The Cure‘s “Subway Song” will put you in the right mood for your subway ride back to your neighborhood.


Next: Best Christmas Albums

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