Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:34 am
I've been building a collection of Halloween music for many years. There are of course classics, but after making countless mix CDs and playlists, you start to look for tracks beyond the usual Monster Mash and Thriller. So I've had to ask myself too - what qualifies as a "Halloween song"?
First, you can just go by the lyrics. Some songs are directly about Halloween, but in my opinion, anything with remotely spooky ideas is fair game. If I find a song that even mentions a word like "ghost" or "zombie" it gets added to my Halloween collection. This allows you to come up with a playlist with many different genres. My Halloween tunes include Classical, Country, Electronic, Funk, Rock, Pop, Surf, and many more.
Next, consider the musical style. Here I'm thinking of instrumental songs, which have no lyrics to influence you. Instead you're listening to the pure sound. Imagine some gothic ambient compositions. You know the ones I mean. It just sounds like the soundtrack to a haunted house. They might even have some creepy sound effects mixed in.
Also, sometimes a certain artist can have a strong enough association with Halloween that any of their songs become worthy of the holiday. Not every song by Alice Cooper or Rob Zombie is about ghouls, but the image of these singers is enough to make their entire albums appropriate for a Halloween party.
One other approach: Sometimes a song is used on a horror TV show or movie, and then it takes on that association to our favorite haunted holiday. For example, there was nothing spooky about Harry Belafonte's "Day-O" or "Jump in the Line" until they were used on the Beetlejuice soundtrack. Now they're part of my Halloween music collection.