When I decided to come up with a list of my favorite Halloween songs, I imposed only one rule: I couldn’t think about it too much. It would keep me from getting too “cute” or “cool”, but I’m sure I left a metric ton of great entries off the list. So do me a favor and tell me where I whiffed in the comments…
Sam the Sham – “Little Red Riding Hood” (1966)
“Little Red Riding Hood / I don’t think little big girls should / Go walking in these spooky old woods alone. / Owoooooooo!”
Arthur Brown – “Fire” (1968)
Arthur Brown, wearing a helmet with flaming horns, proclaims himself “the god of hellfire” and it only gets Halloweenier from there.
Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath” (1970)
Black Sabbath, singing a song called “Black Sabbath” using a diminished fifth / augmented fourth interval known as diabolus in musica. Bam. Halloween.
Alice Cooper – “The Ballad of Dwight Frye” (1971)
Dwight Fry (no ‘e’) portrayed “R.M. Renfield” in the 1931 screen adaptation of Dracula. Alice Cooper added the ‘e’ and the actual insanity later.
Kiss – “God of Thunder” (1976)
The Demon makeup is nice, but what really makes this work is the gallons of stage blood and oblique references to being Satan’s offspring.
Roky Erickson – “I Walked with a Zombie” (1981)
I had to pick just one Roky Erickson song for this list? Are you kidding me?
The Cramps – “Surfin’ Dead” (1985)
I think this was the theme of my senior prom. But don’t quote me on that. I didn’t go.
Pantera – “Cemetery Gates” (1990)
Remember this one from the soundtrack to Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight (1995)? This song is scarier than that movie.
Marilyn Manson – “This is Halloween” (2006)
Pumpkin Jack approved. This version appears on the 2006 special edition release of The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.
Rob Kleiner – “Devil in Disguise” (2011)
I heard this song performed live at The Beat Kitchen in Chicago, and then what’s that? It’s on the soundtrack to The Collapsed (great film, if you haven’t seen it).