The best Halloween songs of all time
It's that time of year again when we deck the halls with cobwebs and irresponsibly send our nation's youth off to threaten pensioners for confectionary.
Yes, Halloween is upon us and to celebrate we've compiled a list of 19 of the most downright scary, haunting, murderous and other tenuously-linked songs of all time, ever, no-backsies.
Sit down, strap in and browse our rogues' gallery to find out which horrific - in a good way, mostly - tunes made the cut...
Me And The Devil
He may not have televised the revolution, but proto-rapper Gil Scott-Heron certainly brings the imagery of Robert Johnson's Me And The Devil Blues to vivid life in this powerful and chilling modern adaptation.
Superstitious types will note that it comes from his 13th and final album, I'm New Here. Others wont.
What's He Building In There
Coming across like a darker version of 1989 Tom Hanks vehicle The 'Burbs, this cut from Mule Variations sees Waits in sinisterly suggestive mood.
"He has no children of his own, you see. He has no dog. He has no friends. His lawn is dying. What's in those packages he sends?"
Endlessly hauled into lazy round-ups like this one, these days The Specials' biggest hit is more commonly rolled out as a novelty hit for Halloween.
That is both unfair on a modern masterpiece and ignores the very real fears it so ably channels - urban decay, unemployment and inner-city violence.
Despite an opening soundscape that sounds more than a litte like Monty Python And The Holy Grail's 'Bring out your dead' sequence, 'Sabbath's genre-defining classic instills a sense of impending doom rarely rivalled by their metal offspring.
Prior to West going totally off the platform and making videos about heavy petting on the highway, he made this absolute banger about his perceived ego.
The all-star line-up sees West, Jay-Z and Rick Ross take turns to tell us how good they are, before Nicki Minaj totally destroys all of them.
Highway To Hell
Because if anyone played like a band possessed it was AC/DC with Bon Scott, although the song's 'highway to hell' lyric was reportedly inspired by their notorious tour schedule.
As with any song to contain the word 'hell' and vaguely ominous lyrics, it's been covered by Marilyn Manson. Speaking of which...
This Is Halloween
Manson's cover version of This Is Halloween is a perfect pairing of content to artist - if the film hadn't existed this could have sat on any Manson album without anyone raising an eyebrow.
Kudos to Manson for doing all the voices too; though we still wouldn't recommend you get him in for the kids' bedtime story.
I Put A Spell On You
If anyone, anywhere, ever tries to tell you that this isn't the definitive version of this song, give them one of these.
Hawkins' and his band were reportedly so drunk when they recorded this that Screamin' Jay blacked out and awoke with no memory of the session.
Where The Wild Roses Grow
Probably the best song about murderising Kylie Minogue with a rock there is.
Cave's tale of a picnic-by-the-river-gone-wrong both benefitted from Kylie's 'girl next door ' innocence and simultaneously helped legitimise the Australian pop queen post-Stock, Aitken and Waterman. If you enjoy songs about homicide, check out the rest of Cave's Murder Ballads album.
We're not really sure what's left to say about Thriller, so we'll just summarise the common tropes of Thriller write-ups:
- Thriller's got an ace video
- Thriller sold about a cajillion (OK, 6.5 million) copies
- Thriller featured innovative use of sound effects/samples
- Thriller is still to this day probably the single most danceable song about zombies etc. Except perhaps...
It's a familiar scenario for concerned parents on Halloween: Pickett's proud Frankenstein-like scientist prefers his little monster to party in the safe confines of the family home and thus hosts a soiree for his ungainly child and his oddball friends.
Rather awesomely, that's Leon Russell on the piano in the background...
Feed My Frankenstein
Feed My Frankenstein became a hit partly off the back of Wayne's World.
Mike Myers originally wanted School's Out, but Cooper's manager held out, saying Alice wouldn't appear unless they got their future monster hit included. The blinding guitar solos come courtesy of a rare dual appearance from Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.
(Don't Fear) The Reaper
Initially misconstrued by us sensationalist media-types as an endorsement of suicide, BÖC-member and songwriter Buck Dharma has always claimed the opposite, saying "it's a love song where the love transcends the actual physical existence of the partners".
The fact that Buck was also the lead guitarist explains the lengthy solo. That and, you know, the '70s...
Fear Of The Dark
'Maiden's seven minute ode to nyctophobia was one of Bruce Dickinson's last vocal performances for the band before his seven year hiatus from the British metallers.
Still, that didn't stop it becoming one of their biggest hits and the album of the same name going to number one.
The boys in the black jackets wrote one of their biggest radio hits for the film adaptation of Stephen King's Pet Semetary (that's an intentional spelling mistake).
The mega-selling author is a huge fan of the band and also had another Ramones classic, Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, included in the soundtrack.
Despite its association with Johnny Cash, Delia's Gone was actually written by calypso singer Blake Alphonso Higgs and was based on the sad real-life story of 14 year-old Delia Green, who was shot and killed by her 15 year-old lover Moses Houston in 1900. Houston served 12 years, while Delia was laid to rest in an unmarked grave.
Runnin' With The Devil
Some people (idiots, mainly) interpreted the opening gambit of Van Halen's debut album as an admission of satanism.
According to the band, it's actually a reference to the freedom they found on the road. That said, a Robert Johnson-style deal with the devil would certainly explain their namesake's prodigious guitar skills.
Waltz In Black
The Stranglers have always had a healthy knack for the completely unhinged. They are called The Stranglers after all.
This instrumental is basically a walk through a closed amusement park after dark and is utterly un-nerving. Especially, if you watch this upsetting clown montage video that someone felt the need to make...
Theme From Ghostbusters
Frankly, what is the point of Halloween without Ray Parker, Jr. and the Ghostbusters theme? Exactly - it would be a sham of a holiday based around nothing but superstition and pagan tradition smashed together in the name of crass commerciality.
Fortunately, Ray Parker, Jr. is here to remind us all of the true meaning of Halloween: busting makes us feel good.
Spooky Scary Skeleton Dance Remix
Right - now we've horrified you to your core with our fiendishly scary, hastily-assembled Halloween run-down - we leave you with this catchy ditty to haunt you throughout the night.
Just try and play it only once... Mwhahahaha!