Moody music for your Halloween monster mash

Jeff Yerger

Halloween is coming up, and the question is always “What are you going to dress up as?”

If you are throwing a party, it doesn’t matter whether you’re dressed up like the Joker or Keith Richards, you still need that creepy background music to set the mood. If you are confused about what to play at your monster mash, here’s a couple suggestions to get the mood right, because let’s face it: as catchy as “Party in the USA” is, it’s definitely not a good Halloween song.

Talking Heads –

“Psycho Killer”

On the Talking Heads’ debut single, frontman David Byrne sings about the thoughts that go through the mind of a murderer.

It’s like your favorite horror movie as a song. Not only are the lyrics extremely creepy and diabolical, but Byrne’s vocal delivery is menacing all on its own.

Alice Cooper –

“Welcome to My Nightmare”

Cooper made a career for himself dressing up like a ghoul as he invented the term “shock-rock,” with his scary persona and music to boot.

“Welcome to My Nightmare” invites you into his dark mind, and even though he claims in the song that he hopes he didn’t scare you, one can’t help but wonder if the guy is joking.

Blue Oyster Cult –

“Don’t Fear the Reaper”

What is Halloween without a visit from the grim reaper? Blue Oyster Cult tells you not to fear the reaper, but the song’s lyrics and eerie guitar interlude beg to differ.

This song is about as spooky as they come, and if that isn’t enough to scare you, just picture a scantily clad Will Ferrell playing the cowbell from that SNL skit featuring this song. That image alone is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine.

John Lennon –


Nothing gives you that spooky feeling more than a lone wolf howling in the distance on a cold, windy night. That’s the first thing you hear in the opening of this Lennon track. The whole song is about Lennon being scared, and the brooding instrumentals fit the tone of this song perfectly. He always had a knack for giving an honest vocal delivery, and you can really feel the fear coming out of him.

Genesis –

“Home By the Sea”

If you like songs about ghosts, shadowy figures and things that go bump in the night, then look no further because the fan-favorite Genesis hit “Home By the Sea” is the perfect song for you. This song is about people who move into a home by the sea, which happens to be inhabited by ghosts who tell their dreadful stories and condemn the new tenants as prisoners to their new home. Never has a house on the beach sounded like such a bad thing.

The Rolling Stones –

“Dead Flowers”

You can say what you want about the meaning of this song, but on this obscure track from “Sticky Fingers,” the Rolling Stones use their British tongue-in-cheek humor to create a song about death and graves that is so upbeat it’s creepy! It is their version of a country song, but once you get past the cheery façade, this song is actually pretty dark and fit for any funeral parlor.

Warren Zevon –

“Werewolves of London”

Way before Kid Rock used the hook from his song in “All Summer Long,” Warren Zevon was singing about well-tailored werewolves with perfect hair mutilating little old ladies and causing havoc on the streets of London. Zevon howls and sings, warning his listeners that if you hear a werewolf howling outside your door you better not let him in because he’ll rip your lungs out. You’ll never want to open the door for a little werewolf trick-or-treater again!

Deadmau5 –

“Ghosts n Stuff”

So maybe classic rock isn’t for you; maybe you just want to get your ghastly fiesta pumpin’. Well have no fear, for Deadmau5 is here with his electro fright fest that is “Ghosts n Stuff.” This song is complete with a creepy distorted organ hook and frightening violin riffs that would do well in any vampire movie. It is a track that’ll get any Frankenstein dancing, so put this song on and get your Halloween bash a-poppin’!

Michael Jackson –


Finally, what is a Halloween party without the inevitable “Thriller” cameo? This song is a must-have for any Halloween bash. Not only is Thriller about zombies, ghosts and pretty much everything Halloween, but it also contains one of the scariest spoken-word verses in history. Try not to scream. Of course, we all know the video and the lyrics to the song are enough to get you screaming, but nothing was scarier than watching the basketball team trying to do the dance at Hoops Mania last Friday. This is really scary stuff here.

So now that you got the songs, it’s time to get your groove on this Halloween. Paint your face, work on your best zombie impression and grab as much candy as you can because this is a “thriller” night. Happy Halloween!