But don't stop there - we wanna hear your faves, too! After you get in the Halloween mood with the editors' selections and give the Spotify playlist a spin, share your favorite supernatural-leaning songs by adding to the list.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Johnny Fuller - "Haunted House"
There may be no subgenre I love as much as monster rock & roll songs, and there may be no scary rock & roll song as good as Johnny Fuller's Haunted House. It almost transcends Halloween, really: a guy moves into his new house, it was tough but he got it squared away, then finds a guy with one big eye and two big feet eating raw meat. Fuller stands his ground - he owns the house, now he’s boss - but the ghoul keeps taunting him, drinking hot coffee right from the spout. Fuller is there when the morning comes and he may have won the battle, but really it doesn’t matter: he’s holding his own against a rockabilly beat, and rock & roll is on his side.
Dave Edmunds - "Creature From The Black Lagoon"
The monster is almost incidental in this rocker, a celebrated creature evoked long after its peak - long after its debut as the first of Universal’s monsters in 3-D. Edmunds doesn't ignore the history of the Creature of the Black Lagoon - the lyrics address how all he wanted was a lady - but rock & roll supersedes whatever B-movie melodrama that lies beneath. It doesn't sound spooky but it sounds like the '50s, a three-chord boogie about a monster that you’ll never see.
Alien Sex Fiend - "Now I'm Feeling Zombified"
Alien Sex Fiend never got as much respect as fellow goth merchants Bauhaus and the Cure - and, frankly, they didn't deserve as much - but goth rock as a producer of quality music rarely got any better than their 1990 club hit "Now I'm Feeling Zombified," with a crackling electro groove, suitably murky production, and the savage vocals of Nik Fiend.
The Decemberists - "Shankill Butchers"
A haunting, cautionary lullaby about the Ulster loyalist group that terrorized the Shankill neighborhood of Belfast in the '70s, this song shows that real life can be a whole lot scarier than anything we can dream up.
Tom Waits - "God's Away on Business"
For some reason, this song has always felt distinctly Lovecraftian to me, with its ramshackle rhythms and bleak lyrics painting a picture of a rusty old world sinking under the weight of its own cruelty while its inhabitants furiously attempt in vain to bail it from its inevitable end.
Blue Öyster Cult - "Joan Crawford"
With so many black blades, Godzillas, and Reapers (don't fear 'em) in their discography, you could build a Halloween playlist out of BOC alone, but I'm gonna single out my current fave. "Policemen are hiding behind the skirts of little girls/Their eyes have turned the color of frozen meat", because "Joan Crawford has risen from the grave". Better loose those wire hangers, yo.
The Crystalites - "Blacula"
Lee "Scratch" Perry believes in curses, and while he never mentioned throwing the voodoo 'pon fellow reggae producer Derrick Harriott, things got pretty spooky once Perry's "Upsetter" nickname was borrowed for Derrick's own. After dubbing himself "the Undertaker", Harriott seemed damned to issue plenty of horror-themed dubs, like the curse-cleansing "The Undertaker's Burial" or, via his backing band, "Blacula". Warning: "You may be the next victim of Dracula's soul brother".
Jan & Dean - "Dead Man's Curve
Jan & Dean's 1964 hit "Dead Man's Curve" is a teenage tragedy song about a street race that goes bad. What makes the song so convincing is its exactness. The race, between the singer's Stingray and a rival Jaguar XKE, begins at Sunset and Vine, and the lyrics track it to the North Whittier Drive curve just west of Sunset Boulevard, a 90 degree right turn known locally as, you guessed it, Dead Man's Curve.
Alice Cooper - "Sick Things"
This one's not for the faint hearted. Alice Cooper's albums are all filled with gruesome imagery, and the majority of his rock hits from 1971's Killer to 1975's Welcome to My Nightmare would suit a Halloween bash just fine, but this is Cooper at his slowest and creepiest. Truly scary. Look away if you're afraid of snakes.
Chuckii Booker - "Crypt Jam"
A classic New Jack production courtesy of Chuckii Booker, with "skele-tons" of lame-brained Halloween puns by John Kassir, who you may remember as The Crypt Keeper, host of the '90s HBO horror series Tales From the Crypt. A nice contrast of fly girls and gore in the video, and the dance track's a great pick-me-up for a dying party. (Insert maniacal cackle here.)
Monster parties: fact or fiction? This question proved so upsetting, most experts refused to talk to us. Would monsters ever assemble in a group setting to dance or celebrate together? While skeptics declared it impossible, novelty songs seem to suggest quite the opposite. While Bobby "Boris" Pickett's timeless favorite "The Monster Mash" is the go-to anthem about ghouls getting down, the party doesn't stop there. Danny Hutton's 1966 jammer "Monster Shindig" serves as a slightly more psychedelic after-party and Bert Convoy's rockabilly romp "The Monster's Hop" actually predates Pickett's party by a few years. When did the monsters start partying? Do these songs hold the answers??!!??
Danny Hutton - "Monster Shindig"
Bert Convy - "The Monster's Hop"
Luna - "Season of the Witch"
Luna's cover of Donovan's spooky-ish "Season of the Witch" from the I Shot Andy Warhol soundtrack always drones its way into my Halloween playlist each year. While the song is basically only two chords and a lick, Luna still manages to infuse it with their usual atmospheric fuzz and unhurried chug. This song was about as sinister as the band ever got, and Dean Wareham uses the eerie paranoia of the song to his advantage - whispering and crying his warning: Beatniks are out to make it rich!
Let the monsters' party begin in Spotify playlist form, and keep the tunes going adding your favorites to the list! Not a Spotify user? Share your track picks on the AllMusic Facebook page or the AllMusic Twitter stream with hashtag #spookysongs.