So you've got your Monster Mash, your Thriller, your Werewolves of London, your Dead Man's Party, your Sabbath and Alice Cooper, your Buffy, Crow and Rocky Horror soundtracks... your Hallowe'en party playlist is all set, right?
Sure, if you're pedestrian and bourgeois.
Here are some suggestions for songs you (and your guests) may not know, but will fit right in for any Hallowe'en party. In no particular order:
1) 'til the Following Night - Screaming Lord Sutch
Really, any Screaming Lord Sutch song will do, since he was a weird dude who liked to dress up in a cape and pretty much only sing songs about things that go bump in the night, but this one has ridiculous Joe Meek scary sound effects over top of it, as well as a groovin' saxophone, and as such has become his signature tune. If you want something even more obscure, try Dracula's Daughter which is just too perfectly silly for words, from the lyrics (bonus points for the "meet the old bat" pun) right down to the guitar riff ripped off from the Hawaii Five-O theme.
2) Werewolf - Five Man Electrical Band
Yes, this was a single. You gotta love the way Mama is rooting for her son to maul her husband towards the end of the song.
3) Don't Shake Me Lucifer - Roky Erickson
Roky's another one where you could use almost any song in his solo catalogue for a Hallowe'en mix, but I'm partial to this one, which is actually damn catchy while being light on the monsters but heavy on the Satan.
4) Excitable Boy - Warren Zevon
Wait a minute, there's another Warren Zevon tune worth playing at Hallowe'en? Hellz yeah there is. Excitable Boy is part of a long line of party-time rock tunes about killers which stretches all the way back to the Beatles' Maxwell's Silver Hammer *. Oingo Boingo's Only a Lad is another standout in the subgenre, but for my money Warren's entry can't be beat, what with the jaunty piano, yackety sax and happy ooh-waa backup singers providing a deranged counterpoint to lyrics like "he took little Suzie to the junior prom / he raped her and killed her, then he took her home".
* this is not actually a link to the Beatles' version of the song, but something infinitely more horrific. You've been warned.
5) Dig It Up - Hoodoo Gurus
The song the Cramps wish they'd recorded. (Also, add some Cramps to the Hallowe'en mix if you haven't already, even if it's just Human Fly). Dig It Up is also the best song about necrophilia ever. EVER. This is not an opinion, it's proven scientific fact.
6) Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) - Concrete Blonde
I wasn't going to put this on the list because I thought it was too obvious, but then I noticed that it wasn't on any of the "Top XX Hallowe'en Songs" lists I looked at before writing this. For shame, internets!
7) Jolene - Queen Adreena
This is not what Dolly Parton had in mind when she wrote the song.
In Queen Adreena's hands Jolene isn't just some jezebel, but a dead lover come back to claim her man and drag him down to hell with her, or maybe an autumn-haired succubus roaming the moors looking for fresh blood. Whoever she is, she sounds like somebody I want to party with though.
8) like a flickering celluloid moonbeam on the view screen - Prince Charming
This whole album, Psychotropical Heatwave, is the album your mother warned you about. It's indescribable, some sort of jungley-dubby-bassy-apocalyptic hellride through your subconscious, where just when you think you have a handle on what's going on, bam! They hit you with a Peter and the Wolf sample. I haven't gotten down to NYC for Blackout yet, but if this album were Blackout's soundtrack it wouldn't surprise me one bit.
I picked this track in particular because it's rather subtly unsettling, and also has the shortest title.