Friends singing at a Halloween party

Friends singing at a Halloween party (Photo by VGstockstudio on Shutterstock)

If you’re a fan of all things spooky, Halloween songs are a must-have on your fall playlist. Many of those earworms spark memories of Halloween’s past — like dancing at costume parties or bobbing for apples with childhood friends. Personally, I like to pump up the best Halloween songs while pumpkin carving. 

Maybe you’ll play some festive tunes while sorting all that Halloween candy. The best Halloween songs create a spine-tingling atmosphere that perfectly complements the eerie spirit of the holiday. They often feature haunting melodies and dark, mysterious lyrics that capture the essence of Halloween. These tunes are a thrilling blend of nostalgia and modernity, as they can be both classic and contemporary, catering to diverse musical tastes.

Whether it’s the sinister and captivating rhythms or the enchanting vocal performances, these songs are guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. They have become an essential part of any Halloween playlist, invoking a sense of excitement and nostalgia as they set the mood for a night of tricks, treats, and all things supernatural.

No matter what All Hallows’ Eve activities you are planning, the best Halloween songs will have your ghosts and goblins bopping while enjoying that sugar rush. That’s why StudyFinds put together a list of the top creepy tunes from ten expert websites. Did your favorite song make the cut? As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!

A group of people dressed in Halloween costumes
A group of people dressed in Halloween costumes (Photo by Dean Drobot on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Halloween Songs, According to Experts

1. “This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman / The Citizens of Halloween

Getting the top spot on our list, is a popular Halloween anthem written by Danny Elfman. This catchy tune is from the 1993 Tim Burton cult classic film, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

“Elfman perfected his unique horror-tinged musicality with Oingo Boingo, but he let loose on this smash hit that kicks off ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. Its jingle-jangle craziness and chorus of ghouls guarantees its inclusion on any best Halloween songs list,” according to Music In Minnesota.

“It’s a kids’ song full of bloodthirsty clowns and whispery vampires, all of whom come together for a chant of the song’s title, all but cementing it in the Halloween canon,” suggests Time Out

Smooth Radio adds, “in the movie, it is performed by the residents of the fictional ‘Halloween Town’, and it was later covered in a metal-style by Marilyn Manson.”

2. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

What makes this mega hit by Michael Jackson such an attention grabber? Today notes, “‘Thriller’ starts off with a creepy coffin opening and finishes with poetic prose by the late, great master of horror films, Vincent Price.” 

The song’s music video and short film by director John Landis captivated the world. “There’s nothing quite like a posse of zombie back-up dancers. You just can’t resist mimicking all their iconic moves,” suggests Good Housekeeping.

“Easily one of the top-selling Halloween tracks of all time, ‘Thriller’ provided an iconic moment for 80s pop culture,” adds Dig!

3. “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell

Ever since its early ’80s release, Rockwell’s creepy hit song has been a Halloween staple. Men’s Health notes, it’s “another 1984 synth- and bass-heavy favorite—what’s spookier than being watched?” 

So, what makes it so memorable? “A couple of eerie lyrics about being followed, punched up with a little ’80s pizzazz, make for one spooky song,” according to Good Housekeeping.

Dig! points out, “the chorus features backing vocals from both Michael Jackson and his brother Jermaine, which helped the single peak at No.2 in the charts on its initial release.”

4. “Ghostbusters” Theme by Ray Parker Jr.

Written by Ray Parker Jr., the theme song to the hit movie “Ghostbusters” took the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August of 1984. “For one of the greatest movies of the 1980s, rapper Ray Parker Jr came up with a perfect theme tune,” suggests Smooth Radio.

The catchy lyrics became synonymous with catching ghosts. Reader’s Digest adds, “you can’t hear the title ‘Ghostbusters’ without immediately asking, ‘Who you gonna call?’ It may be the most fun theme song to any movie soundtrack.”

Parade points out, “when you’re jamming to this classic, you won’t have time to be afraid of ghosts!”

5. “Monster Mash” by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & The Crypt Kickers

Rounding out our top five, is this ghoulish nostalgic hit from 1962. Dig! highlights the song’s story, noting that “Pickett takes on the persona of a mad scientist telling the story of how he invented the newest dance craze for monsters and ghouls across the land.”

“It’s essentially Frankenstein the musical, complete with special guests Dracula, Wolfman and Igor. No-one knows why this groovy ghoulie group was doing the biggest dance craze of the time, but hey: Halloween isn’t the same without a little mystery,” according to Sing King.

Time Out adds, the song’s “been covered by maybe the most eclectic group of bands of any song ever (the Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen, Vincent Price, Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Smashing Pumpkins and The Misfits, to name but a few), but the moldy old original is still the preferred classic.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. 

About Melissa Kraus

Melissa is a freelance writer, based out of New Jersey. She has over two-decades of writing, editing, and producing experience for Radio, TV, and Digital Media.

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