When Halloween falls on a Monday, we tend to burn ourselves out all weekend long and do the scary movie thing at home. But for those gearing up to break out yet another costume change, we’ve got a list of audible Halloween treats to carry you through the night.
To be clear, we’ve intentionally left off “Monster Mash.” And our research has made us realize that Halloween novelty songs definitely hit their peak in the ‘80s. Now we have to endure the generic pop star Christmas album (and indie imitation) when we’d much rather be bombarded with over-the-top Halloween releases.
So let’s relish in a time when rapping the storyline of “Nightmare on Elm Street” warranted a Top 20 Billboard hit, the 14-minute video ruled and Rodney Dangerfield was a bona fide movie star.
Oingo Boingo: “Dead Man’s Party”
See what we mean? The ‘80s were a goldmine for ghoul-inspired Halloween fodder. And Danny Elfman (yes, that Danny Elfman) and his band Oingo Boingo were riding high. Not only did “Dead Man’s Party” soundtrack Dangerfield’s underrated sleaze fest “Back To School,” they also rocked out with Anthony Michael Hall in “Weird Science.” Sure, culture is cyclical. But if we were stuck in 1985, you wouldn’t hear any complaints.
The Misfits: “Halloween”
A leather clad classic! The Misfits were basically doing the Halloween thing every time they hit the stage. So when they focused their energy on penning the ultimate punk rock anthem for youthful pumpkin smashers everywhere, they really outdid themselves.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, “A Nightmare on My Street”
We have to give it up to big sisters everywhere for letting us borrow this cassette tape while they were away at camp. We’re not sure what’s more difficult to believe -- that Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith thought this was a good idea or that the song was actually a hit single. But upon closer review of “Big Willie Style,” neither is very farfetched.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: “I Put A Spell On You”
Not many songs can be both entirely haunting and oozing with sexuality at the same time. But Screamin’ Jay Hawkins managed to sandwich the two together for “I Put A Spell On You” back in ’56 (one of two exceptions to the ‘80s rule). Easily his most well-known tune and a staple at any spooky shindig.
Donovan: “Season of the Witch”
It’s not an obvious choice, but it’s one of our favorites. Troubadour Donovan was more smooth than scary and we’re pretty sure this song’s association with Halloween starts and stop with the word “witch.” But you can’t deny any dressed up house party this deep cut classic. You’ll earn extra points for thinking outside the mask.
Michael Jackson: “Thriller”
It’s obvious, right? So obvious it couldn’t be left off the list. We held off from numbering these songs in order of importance, but if we had, you know where this track would finish. The video itself is one of the finest achievements in the history of the music video. As for the theme? Pure Halloween. So put aside the next 14 minutes of your life and indulge in the best.
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