Halloween is almost upon us. While some cultures may celebrate the holiday with traditional rituals or parades, the United States is known for celebrating All Hallows Eve by dressing up in suggestive costumes, getting drunk, and throwing serious parties. If you’re one of the party-throwers this holiday season, you’ve got a lot on your mind already. You’ve got to get the refreshments and snacks sorted, figure out how to provide enough alcohol for a good time, drunk-baby proof your venue, and get your guest list solidified in time. We certainly hope you didn’t forget about the all-important playlist… did you?
If you’re hiring a DJ to spin at your party, then you may not have much to worry about. But who pays a DJ for a hardcore house party? And don’t you think you’ll want some pump up jams for before the party anyways? We’ve hand selected for you fifteen songs you need on your Halloween party playlist, whether you’re listening to it to pregame, using it to tolerate touring your kids around to trick or treat before you throw down, or using it to underscore the entire evening. These songs, all from different genres and a variety of amazing up and coming artists, were all released in the last couple of years and are all emerging hits that your guests are certain to love. Who wants to play mainstream music all the time anyways? Throw in some variety and culture your friends’ music palettes with these must-have songs on your party playlist this Halloween.
*For the full Spotify playlist with even more additions, follow Carmen Lawrence on Spotify:
1. ‘Ghosts,’ by Charlie
There’s no mistaking that this is a perfect Halloween jam. Not only does it have a killer beat and her voice absolutely rocks, but the lyrics are as Halloween-themed as it gets…
Empty house full of sins, lightbulb flickering
Cracked walls caving in
Cobwebbed corners, shivering shoulders
Backing down endless halls…
You get the point. This chick is totally getting her Halloween on. It’s the perfect song to add to your playlist if you’re throwing a party where socialization is the priority, rather than drunken screaming and chugging beer, or if you’re simply looking for something to get in the trick-or-treat mood while you suit up into your costume.
2. ‘Exorcism,’ by Clairity
If Charlie has any competition for sick, Halloween tunes with on-point spooky lyrics, Clairity has got to be the source. Just check out some of this lyricism…
You mess, you mess with my head
Playing games so sick and twisted
Just to hear me call for help.
It sounds like the beginning of an Insidious movie! Her 2015 release, ‘Exorcism,’ is not only rife with spooky and creepy references but has a deep meaning that extends far beyond any holiday. The song, which is certainly Clairity’s greatest hit, is about an unhealthy relationship that must be ‘exorcised,’ and entirely expunged from her mind and body. Though it’s a great end-of-relationship song to jam to if you’re having a bad month, it’s also the perfect spooky song to jam to at your party, if your goal is to keep people happy but not rowdy or rambunctious.
3. ‘Wicked,’ by Luna Aura
Alright, let’s stop being so literal: we’re not trying to make a soundtrack for a horror movie, we’re trying to party! If you’re looking to throw down and turn up this Halloween, this is surely one song you cannot forget to put on your playlist. ‘Wicked’ is the kind of song you jam out to as you strut into the party: all eyes on you and the costume you put so much work into, the bass beat and smooth voice are enough to make anyone feel like a sexy badass. After all, there’s no rest for the wicked kids like us.
Side note: if you have a chance to check out the album art, you won’t regret it. It looks like artwork straight out of the comic book series Saga and could be a stellar costume in and of itself.
4. ‘The Grave,’ by Black Tiger Sex Machine feat. Apashe
Here’s some more music for those wicked ones looking for an absolute rave this Halloween. “Straight from the grave,” Black Tiger Sex Machine has been rising in popularity for years now but they’re still unknown enough that the guests at your party will certainly be trying to Shazaam what song this is. It’s the perfect song for when everyone’s hyped up and buzzing and feeling the undeniable urge to dance. So when you’re putting together your hype-up playlist, REMEMBER: THE GRAVE.
5. ‘Burn the Witch,’ by Radiohead
Let’s slow it down a little bit, shall we? Everyone loves a good rager but we’ve got to come down and take a break at some point. When you’re getting the vibe from your guests that things need to come down a notch, you need to listen to it. People need to be able to take time to refill their drinks, say hi to guests that came late, find someone new to dance with because their old partner was not as fun as they’d anticipated. When you feel that vibe setting in, turn to Radiohead. ‘Burn the Witch’ certainly has an eerie sound to it, almost akin to some of Muse’s older work, but the lyrics will give you chills if you listen closely enough to discern them…
Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows
This is a round up.
Don’t freak your guests out too much as you cue up this dance break, but definitely give your guests a chance to take a breather.
6. ‘The Monster,’ by From Indian Lakes
If you’re looking for more music to keep guests engaged but give them a break from the dancefloor, this song is exactly what you need. Do your guests look pretty content to have a few conversations and have a few refills before raising the stakes of the party again? No worries! How about we pull out some more indie music with a band like From Indian Lakes. This song sounds very 1980s alternative rock and you’ll be likely to fall in love with it. Though your guests probably won’t be dancing to it a whole lot, you’re bound to see a lot of swaying hips and nodding heads, as well as people looking to the speakers clearly thinking, “What is this song? This is awesome!”
7. ‘The Dead Don’t Dance (IV Fridays),’ by Brooke Fraser and Suren Unka
At some point in any party, you’ll notice a few antsy guests. People have gotten their drink refills and they’re starting to get loud and rambunctious. It’s time to turn this party up to eleven. But don’t be reckless and jump wildly from mellow indie jams and alternative rock to crazy bass heavy club jams! You’ve got to ease into it, just like we ease ourselves into more hardcore drinks and shots as the night goes on! Crank up ‘The Dead Don’t Dance’ for a low key electronic jam that will get people to wrap up their conversations and start to boogie a bit more without feeling like an abrupt intrusion on their party vibe.
8. ‘Into the Wild,’ by Wrabel
Let’s continue our foray into dance heavy jams. Your guests have certainly found people they want to party with, whether it’s a new romance a-brewing or friends that haven’t had a chance to let loose in a while. Give them something they can dance together to! It’s baffling that Wrabel isn’t more popular than he is currently. His music is always stellar and he’s got a sizable fan following, but not nearly the size he merits. This song strikes the perfect balance between seductive and plain rockability. Whether your guests want to get a bit too close during this song or they just want to let go and make fools of themselves, no one will be able to resist dancing to this song.
9. ‘Hypnotic – Vanic Remix,’ by Zella Day
At some point, we want no more nonsense in our playlists! There will come a time in your night when your guests will be at least a few drinks deep, feeling good, and they will want to turn up. Give the people what they want! It’s time to get a good, sexy song that everyone can start dancing to. If Zella Day knows anything, it’s how to infuse her songs deep into your bones; it’s nearly impossible not to sing and dance to her music, and that’s when listeners are sober. This song is certain to transfix all your guests and pull every nervous dancer or designated driver to the dancefloor.
10. ‘Monsters,’ by Ruelle
You’ve got no place to hide.
Ruelle is certainly not kidding: this song is going to keep everyone on the dance floor and sipping their drinks. The best part of this song is that its heavy beat and hypnotic sound are sure to ensnare the attention of all the parties feeling the beat. The means that whatever drama that is threatening your party – because there is always some drama, like someone who drank too much and is either throwing up or crying incomprehensibly – that drama will go entirely unnoticed because everyone will be too busy digging into this beat to care.
11. ‘Psycho,’ by Rozzi Crane
As your party goes on and the night grows later, you’re likely to experience a few staples of Halloween parties. People will surely be going overboard with the booze or getting swept away in the romantic Halloween excitement, and you’ve got to have a secret weapon if you hope to keep your party on its rails and extending late into the evening: something that will distract the party from the dude that just ran outside to vomit in the hedges, or something to cool the loins of the couple desperately looking for a secluded place to retreat to. Enter The Voice protégé Rozzi Crane and her self-loving song, ‘Psycho.’ The song is one of those ever so slightly divisive jams that will get all the ladies to rally together and remember they didn’t come here to find a hookup and it’ll get all the guys to either desperately try to win their dates back or get them to rally together in efforts to play hard to get. Sure, it could incite a bit of hookup drama but more importantly, it’ll inspire a self-loving mosh pit in the middle of your party (and every party needs one of those).
12. ‘Raise Hell,’ by Dorothy
Consider Dorothy’s album “Rock is Dead” for any occasion you want to feel like a tough son of a gun. Dorothy has some amazing pump up jams on her 2016 release, the most popular of them being ‘Wicked Ones’ (which also has a great Halloween theme, if you’re interested). We urge you to peruse all of “Rock is Dead,” since Dorothy has so many rockable songs that have already been featured in video games (like Telltale’s The Walking Dead) and movie trailers (like War Dogs); any pro can see that Dorothy is going to do quite well for herself in this industry. No matter what you think of most of her songs, you’re likely to love the blues infused ‘Raise Hell’ and it’s impossible to hold still while listening to it.
13. ‘Paranoia,’ by Max Frost
If you’re loathe to let go of Halloween playlist classics, like Rockwell’s ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ (the song commonly mistaken to be Michael Jackson’s, though he was only a featured artist), we totally understand. Further, we urge you to keep the classics in your playlist; as great as new music is, every party enjoys hearing classics they’ve listened to their whole lives. However, if you’re looking for something new to replace the (let’s be honest) mediocrity of ‘Somebody’s Watching Me,’ one of our favorite emerging artists has a great hit for you. Max Frost’s most popular song, ‘Paranoia,’ is perfect for any Halloween party as it keeps that psycho-thriller feel while it throws down a beat that you can drink, dance, or socialize to.
14. ‘We Are Skeletons,’ by Urban Cone
We caution you listeners: give it a second. Urban Cone has a very unique sound and a very interesting tone to most of their songs, but their intros are not for everyone. It really only takes the interesting group a few measures to reconcile the dissonance they create at the top of their song ‘We Are Skeletons,’ but it’s just long enough to turn some people off to the entire song. Give it a moment and it won’t be long before your head starts bobbing, your feet start tapping, and your shoulders start shimmying. It’s the perfect song for a blooming romance or for tipsy partiers!
15. ‘Dark in My Imagination,’ by Verona
Our final suggestion is a bit more dated than the rest of the list but just as crucial an element on your Halloween playlist! If you dig more of the creepy, ominous music in your playlist, like Panic! At the Disco’s cover of ‘This is Halloween,’ Evanescence, or Fiona Apple type music, you’ll fall in love with Of Verona and their eerie, dark tone. ‘Dark in My Imagination’ is another one of those songs with deeper and kind of depressing tendencies but, when played on the right occasion (say, at a Halloween party), all that really matters is that the music is cool and creepy and a bit haunting.