Get Your Halloween Play List Here
Halloween is one of the only times I can get my children to willingly listen to classical music. Heavy organ music, spooky oboes and clarinets, the odd sound effect tossed in for good measure – Halloween music is fun. Of course, not all Halloween music is classical. I believe a well-balanced Halloween play list should pull from various musical genres. Whether you are throwing a party and want background music, or want music to play on the front porch as the trick or treaters come and go, or just like the spooky sounds of the night, Halloween music is available – from serious to whimsical. Here, for your edification and amusement (likely more the latter than the former) is my Halloween play list. I provide links for each one where you can either get more information or listen to the music.
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, J.S. Bach
The BWV 565/Toccata in particular is THE classical piece that most embodies creepy Halloween organ music – probably because the intro was used to denote the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. Watch and hear it played on a grand pipe organ here.
Peter and the Wolf
Hosting a kids Halloween party? Here’s your music for the whole of the party right here. This amazing score is not too scary, tells a story, and teaches kids about musical instruments – brilliant! Hear it narrated by David Bowie here, or buy it narrated by Patrick Stewart here.
It will be hard to keep your feet still during Michael Jackson’s epic and you’ve got to love the narration by Vincent Price with the bonus Vincent Price famous creepy laugh at the end. Watch the video in all its 14½ minute glory here (the actual song will begin at about 5 minutes in), or learn the Thriller dance here.
This hilarious song is right up there with Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Use it to lighten the mood.
Did you see the Exorcist? Then you’ll get why this seemingly peaceful piece is chill inducing.
Werewolves of London
This Warren Zevon classic can lighten the mood a bit. Listen here. Your guests can win a prize if they can name the Tom Cruise movie in which this song was played. (Answer: The Color of Money).
The 13th Hour
This isn’t one piece, but an entire album. The combination of sound effects and creepy orchestrations create the perfect gothic ambiance. This is not some cheesy compilation with intrusive sound effects (ridiculous screams and growls), but an imaginative new take on Halloween background music that is refreshingly inspired. Find more information here.
Main Theme from Halloween
This simplistic melody from the movie Halloween works – must be the strong base note undertones once it gets going. Listen here.
Dracula Main Title
Okay, I’m a fan of the 70’s version starring Frank Langela. His delivery of the classic line, “I never drink . . . wine” is spot on and his Dracula had major sex appeal. The main title, composed by John Williams, is a glorious combination of beauty and terror. The soundtrack is not in current release (which is so wrong), but you can hear a bit of it here (scroll down to disk three, track eleven).
Theme from Dark Shadows
Did you ever watch Dark Shadows -the horror soap opera from the late 60’s and early 70’s? It had a theme that was creepy back in the day, but will now add a bit of camp to any party. Here it is.
Jack Nicholson as a werewolf (typecasting?) in a movie scored by the brilliant Ennio Morricone – yum! This music is more beautiful than scary and would be good to play toward the end of a party to get folks relaxed and ready to go home. Get more info here.
A Night on Bald Mountain
This classic is really too intense to for background music, but it is such a grand piece of music that is belongs in a Halloween collection nonetheless. It has all the elements – scary melody, lots of crescendos, and a strong bass section. Hear it here (scroll down to the Media section to play). If you’ve seen Walt Disney’s Fantasia (a glorious compilation of classical music in its own right), then you’ve heard this piece.