Halloween is my favorite holiday.
I wish it got as much consideration as lengthier holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but alas, I must accept that the conventions of gluttony and capitalism are inescapable.
I have countless fond memories of early Halloweens: watching "Halloween" with my dad, marking my first first exposure to a scary movie; dreaming up costume ideas and getting my grandmother to help me create them; carving pumpkins with friends; and hosting Halloween parties almost annually between my kindergarten and sophomore year of high school.
My mom and I always attempted to match our costumes – Miss Piggy and Kermit, Dorothy and the Tin Man and Minnie and Mickey Mouse among others – while my dad was always behind the camera, donning the infamous shirt that read “this is my costume.”
Costumes and movies are some of the most obvious markers of Halloween culture, but Halloween music is often an underexplored medium.
Sure, Phoebe Bridgers wrote a song, “Halloween,” about the hauntingly limitless evening of Oct. 31. Sure, Michael Jackson dedicated one of his best-selling singles, “Thriller,” to the art of the horror film. Sure, Kim Petras released “Turn Off the Light,” a practically impeccable Halloween album.
But artists are just not releasing Halloween albums as frequently as they release Christmas albums. And I think this should change.
There’s so much untapped material in the sinister realm. For example, I want more songs about witches. “Rhiannon” and “Black Magic Woman” are excellent, but it’s not enough. I want more ditties about demons, more melodies about monsters, more vamps about vampires and more beats about beasts.
Instead of curating a face-value playlist of “This is Halloween,” “Monster Mash,” and “Spooky Scary Skeletons,” I have attempted to curate a collection of songs whose lyrics and production reflect the essence of Halloween – reflective of the deep smell of fog machines, the flashing of neon lights, the campy chill of fear and the slow burn of a witch’s cauldron.
From “I Put a Spell on You” to “Black Smoke Rising” to “Monster,” I have compiled a genre-crossing list of tracks that put me into the mindset for the spookiest night of the year.
I hope this playlist finds you well.
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