Halloween theme music can include a wide variety of genres, from children's songs to movie soundtracks to rock and roll tunes. Halloween music can add life to a party, or become part of your trick-or-treat home ambiance on Halloween night.
Halloween Music for Kids
There are lots of instantly recognizable songs that you could use as Halloween theme music for children. They are upbeat and fit the occasion without being too creepy or scary.
"I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow
Help your kiddos pregame for trick or treating by playing "I Want Candy" while they're preparing to go out. It's the perfect song to play while little ones are getting into their costumes!
"Thriller" by Michael Jackson
While the video for Michael Jackson's Thriller might be a little scary for very young kids, the song itself is a classic tune with lyrics that are perfect for Halloween.
"Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett
"Monster Mash" has been covered by dozens of artists, but it's the version by Bobby Pickett that seems to resonate with most people. This is a fun tune that kids enjoy singing along with.
Soundtrack for A Nightmare Before Christmas
Most kids have seen this movie, so The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack will be familiar to them. The songs will perfectly set the mood for a kids' Halloween gathering.
"Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
While The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult favorite with adults, children will love Time Warp, especially as sung by the cast of Glee.
"Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr.
The Ghostbusters movie isn't scary at all. Its upbeat theme song is appropriate for any age group with its foot-tapping beat and sing-along chorus.
"Witch Doctor" by Alvin and the Chipmunks
This song has made the rounds throughout the years on television and in commercials, but it's the version of "Witch Doctor" by Alvin and the Chipmunks that will most delight children.
The Addams Family Theme Song
You can't go wrong at a children's Halloween party when you play the theme song from The Addams Family, America's first family of strange.
"Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley
"Purple People Eater" is a Halloween staple for kids. This goofy song is a great deal of fun and practically irresistible as a sing-along.
Scary and Spooky Music
Music for teens and grown-ups can be a lot spookier and a lot more diverse. You might consider putting together a mix of these songs to play on Halloween night.
"Born of the Night" by Midnight Syndicate
"Born of the Night" is a haunting instrumental piece by Midnight Syndicate, which is a goth band known for creating atmospheric music. "Army of the Dead" and "Darkness Descends" are also great choices by this band.
"Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones
"Sympathy for the Devil," the classic bad boy tune, epitomizes the Rolling Stones during their heyday and lends a dark and delicious touch to any gathering.
"Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon
This song isn't really creepy, but the werewolf theme fits the occasion. The song "Werewolves of London" is a well-known tune, so it's a nice addition to any Halloween soundtrack.
"Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden
"Number of the Beast," one of Iron Maiden's most popular songs, will rock the house and shiver more than a few spines.
"House of 1000 Corpses" by Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie knows a thing or two about powerful music, and "House of 1000 Corpses" is one of his classics. With its growling refrain and relentless beat, this creepy song will let guests know where the party is happening.
"This Corrosion" by Sisters of Mercy
"This Corrosion" is an extended song, featuring nearly eleven minutes of gothic angst overlaid by a spooky-sounding choir.
"Sign of the Southern Cross" by Black Sabbath
Nobody does heavy metal better than Black Sabbath. Their song "Sign of the Southern Cross" is a masterpiece of the macabre.
Movie Soundtracks for Halloween
If you really want to amp things up, here are some movie soundtracks that are sensationally spooky for Halloween theme music.
All of the Hotel Transylvania movies have terrifically terrifying soundtracks filled with great Halloween tunes. Fifth Harmony's "I'm in Love With a Monster" from Hotel Transylvania 2 is just one of the many terrific tunes on these soundtracks.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The next best thing to seeing this cult hit movie is listening to the soundtrack. All of the characters are straight out of a Halloween nightmare, and the music from The Rocky Horror Picture Show is both creepy and fun.
The soundtrack to the original Halloween movie was written by John Carpenter, who is a movie music expert. Here, he's crafted a soundtrack that tells a horror story and makes essential background music for any Halloween affair.
Also by John Carpenter, the theme to the movie Christine is a haunting instrumental song. This terrifying theme strikes just the right notes (of horror) for the big-screen version of Stephen King's terrifying novel about an evil car with a mind of its own.
The music from Eraserhead was written by David Lynch. This soundtrack is more a collection of funky electronic sounds than true songs, but it's a great conversation piece and perfectly appropriate for Halloween.
"Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield
"Tubular Bells" was used as the theme song to the movie The Exorcist, so you know it's going to be creepy!
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Written entirely by Wojciech Kilar, the renowned Polish film and classical music composer, the soundtrack for Bram Stoker's Dracula is filled from beginning to end with dark and moody orchestral strains.
Exorcist II the Heretic
If sinister and sumptuous symphonic arrangements are your thing, you're sure to love the theme song from Exorcist II, which was written by Ennio Morricone, the iconic Italian film composer.
For sheer musical fun at your next Halloween gathering, be sure and call out "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice." He might just show up with this hilarious and ear-tingling movie soundtrack from Beetlejuice.
Instrumental Halloween Theme Music
Some of the edgiest music you can play for Halloween comes from the classical genre, with pieces that offer everything from angst-filled orchestral sweeps to creepy chromatic scales.
"Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" by J.S. Bach
One of the most well-known pieces of Baroque organ music, "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" has become fused in the popular imagination with spooky and sinister scenes.
"Requiem in D Minor" by W.A. Mozart
Mozart's "Requiem in D Minor" is sure to send shivers up the spines of your Halloween guests, especially the section known as Confutatis Maledictis, a piece of music whose name means "The Accursed Silence."
"Hungarian Dance No. 5" in G Minor by Johannes Brahms
It's hard to listen to Hungarian Dance No. 5 at a Halloween gathering without imagining ghouls dancing by the light of the moon.
"Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky
Walt Disney brought "Night on Bald Mountain" to public attention in the movie Fantasia. Ever since then, this orchestral work has remained a quintessential Halloween favorite.
"Isle of the Dead" by Sergei Rachmaninoff
They don't come much spookier than "Isle of the Dead," in which Rachmaninoff musically depicts the mythological rowing of Charon across the river Styx.
"Robert Browning Overture" by Charles Ives
Creepy minor-chord dissonance characterizes this oh-so-strange work, the "Robert Browning Overture," and it is sure to lend an unsettled vibe to any Halloween gathering.
"Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint-Saëns
The name of this piece literally means "Dance With Death," so you can be sure this spooky orchestral piece is plenty spine-tingling.
"Infernal Dance" from Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky
From Stravinsky's ballet Firebird Suite, "Infernal Dance" is a richly-layered work. This haunting arrangement can't help but raise goosebumps on the skin of its listeners.
Oldies for Halloween
Plenty of oldies tunes will fit the bill for a Halloween gathering, and an oldies Halloween party can be a great deal of fun.
"I Put a Spell On You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
The throaty, bluesy voice of Screamin' Jay Hawkins as he croons "I Put a Spell on You" will add just the right mood to any oldies Halloween gathering.
"Bo Meets the Monster" by Bo Diddley
Let Bo introduce you and your party guests to the monster. "Bo Meets the Monster" is a gritty blues tune with a theme that's fitting for a spooky evening.
"That Old Black Magic" by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
"That Old Black Magic" weaves a wonderfully smooth and somehow spooky spell. This perennial favorite is a true oldie. That Old Black Magic was released by Miller in 1942 and again by Frank Sinatra in 1961.
"Ghost Riders in the Sky" by Vaughn Monroe
Ever heard a song about ghostly cowboys? Vaughn Monroe's "Ghost Riders in the Sky" hearkens back to the Old West and will doubtlessly become a hit on your Halloween playlist.
"Witchcraft" by Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra had one of the smoothest voices ever recorded, and his song Witchcraft is the perfect addition to any Halloween playlist, even if you're not focused solely on oldies.
"Devil Woman" by Marty Robbins
Country music isn't the first genre people tend to think of when putting together a Halloween playlist, but "Devil Woman," a folksy and freaky tune, somehow seems to fit.
"Love Potion #9" by The Searchers
Originally written by the Clovers, "Love Potion #9" as performed by The Searchers mixes a spooky vibe with fifties bee-bop.
"Black Magic Woman" by Santana
The famous Santana version of "Black Magic Woman" is actually a cover of a Fleetwood Mac tune. Latin rhythms lend Santana's cover a nuanced, eerie feel.
"Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult
With creepy lyrics married to a smooth, sultry beat, "Don't Fear the Reaper" casts one heck of a spell.
"Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed
Flashback to the 70s on Halloween with Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." After all, that's exactly what you're doing when you go out on the town on Halloween.
"Hotel California" by the Eagles
Enter the "Hotel California" if you dare! This classic rock tune by the Eagles is a must-play 70s classic that deserves a spot on your Halloween playlist.
Halloween Dance Music
Ratchet up the fun factor at your Halloween party by playing dance tunes with a funky, freaky beat.
"Bat Out of Hell" by Meat Loaf
For a classic rock song that makes everyone want to get up and dance, there's not a better choice for a Halloween gathering than Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell."
"Haunted" by Beyoncé
No dance party is complete without beats from Beyoncé. Her song "Haunted" deserves a place on any Halloween playlist.
"Rock Lobster" by The B-52's
No Halloween playlist would be complete without "Rock Lobster." It's hard to imagine a stranger, yet more danceable song, and Halloween is all about strange.
"Pet Sematary" by The Ramones
It's extremely difficult to listen to "Pet Sematary" without either singing along or tapping one's foot, and your guests will soon be up and dancing to this catchy tune.
"Hell's Bells" by AC/DC
No Halloween party is complete without at least a bit of heavy metal. "Hell's Bells" is the perfect song to play at the stroke of midnight.
"Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne
People are sure to stay on their feet and continue to groove when "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne comes up on the Halloween playlist. What could possibly be a better theme song for the shenanigans of Halloween?
"I'm Your Boogie Man" by KC and the Sunshine Band
"I'm Your Boogie Man" will introduce the fun and overall hilarity of disco dancing to your Halloween guests.
"She Wolf" by Shakira
With its spooky vocals and minor key, "She Wolf" will entice everyone at your party with its eerie dance rhythms.
"Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo
"Dead Man's Party" delivers creepy lyrics, a delightfully danceable beat, and a freaky little guitar riff, all in one fun musical package.
"Every Day Is Halloween" by Ministry
Put "Every Day is Halloween" on your Halloween party playlist and your guests will want to dance until daybreak. Ministry combines a great beat with gruff vocals for a haunting yet upbeat tune.
Turn Up the Volume on Halloween Revelry
Whether you like rock and roll, oldies, classical, or music from many genres, Halloween theme music is a great deal of fun to pick out. A playlist filled with music and Halloween sound effects can be just the thing for a party, or even if you're simply getting in the mood to greet ghosts and goblins trick-or-treating at your door. Great music makes the fun of Halloween even more enjoyable.