Forget the "Purple People Eater" and "Thriller" and go ahead and rifle through your old fourth-grade gym bag for a yellow plastic 45 insert, pop open a couple tubes of Smarties, and crank up those burlap-covered Radio Shack speakers, because these two slices of pumpkin pie are true Halloween classics.
Vince Guaraldi, "Great Pumpkin Waltz" (sample). Of all the autumnal vices (cider, monogrammed walking sticks, L.L. Bean windbreakers), sitting alone in a pumpkin patch waiting for a supernatural being with a mammoth gourd for a head to bring you toys may be one of the most worrisome. Even as an adult itâ€™s hard not to find the notion of the Great Pumpkin to be significantly terrifying, but the image of the Peanuts gang with their blocky brown shoes shuffling through crudely drawn piles of leaves as they make their way to confront Linus about his (drinking) problem is fused to our collective conscience like a hot caramel apple or the smell of elementary school lunch (yellow gravy, tomato soup, the nutty Doritos-infused stench of a plastic lunch box). Taken out of context, Vince Guaraldi's breezy West Coast jazz seems a poor counterpart to Snoopyâ€™s hallucinogenic quest for the Red Baron and Charlie Brownâ€™s depressing sack of Halloween rocks, but when they meet on the screen itâ€™s like getting shot in the head with a Snickers bar. Nostalgia, be it sepia-toned, grainy, or clear, as the first ice in November rarely spans this many generations.
Angelo Badalamenti, "Twin Peaks Theme" (sample). If the â€œGreat Pumpkin Waltzâ€ is the soundtrack to the joys of trick or treating, then Angelo Badalamenti's ode to the fictional Washington hamlet of Twin Peaks must surely play during that last stretch of unpopulated road between you and your house that must be covered quickly, lest the arms of some terrible undead thing reach out and snatch away your candy, as well as your trachea. Hidden behind all of the syrupy, soap opera melodrama is the earthy scents of dirt mixed with blood, pine needles soaked in gasoline, and endless cups of pungent coffee that suffer from the effect of a fish having been caught in the percolator. The Morricone-inspired guitar, supermarket string section, and creepy electric piano are as integral to David Lynchâ€™s masterful television series as the death of Laura Palmer herself. As Special Agent Dale Cooper so thoughtfully mused upon one of his many visits to the Great Northern Hotel's austere dining room, "This must be where pies go when they die."