Collegian playlist: 10 songs to get in the Halloween mood

Nick Botkin

Two organists perform in the University Center for The Arts at Colorado State University
Collegian file photo

Organ music awakens the dead. Harpsichords and xylophones go wild. There is nothing spookier than Halloween music, and there is no shortage of songs to fit the bill. It is difficult to find just the right blend, but here are 10 songs to start the season off:

“Toccata and Fugue in D minor”


The opening chords of this Bach masterpiece embody the darkness of Halloween at its finest. This can evoke images of ghosts, vampires and bloodbaths. Bach’s masterpiece was featured in Fantasia, among other classic films. Listen to this on a dark and stormy night, if you dare. And watch out for the campus vampires.

“Danse Macabre” 

This 1874 tonal poem by French composer Camille Saint Saens is truly dark and whimsical. This dark piece is about death calling the dead to dance before him on a Halloween midnight. Death is represented by the scratch of a lone fiddle. Xylophones represent the rattling of bones. So, if you’re out strolling around campus at midnight,  listen to this piece at your own risk. And if you see dead people, I am not going to judge you.

“Ghostbusters Theme”

While the above pieces should scare the crap out of you, this one should fill you with confidence. Go hunt down every ghost in Fort Collins. Listen to this one as you stalk out into the dark and stormy night. Who you gonna call?

“Lake In The Moonlight”

This particular piece from the 1876 ballet Swan Lake was also used as the theme to the 1931 version of Dracula. The piece is replete with high-octane emotion, as one would expect of Tchaikovsky.

Fun Fact: In the Tchaikovsky ballet, a young woman is turned into a swan. That gives this piece serious Halloween street cred.

“Addams Family Theme”

A beloved theme from a classic 1960s show. With the opening chords and its famous finger-snapping sections, the song almost makes you want neighbors who are creepy and kooky. Hopefully they are mysterious and spooky for that matter.


“In The Hall of The Mountain King”

Grieg’s famous 1875 orchestral work  has become a ubiquitous staple of pop culture, even if you do not know it by name. It has been featured in an array of shows and movies such as Rat Race and Beavis and Butthead. As a result, the piece has taken on a comic, whimsical quality. So listen to this one when you are plotting some Halloween prank. Safe and legal obviously.

“Monster Mash”

Although released by Bobby “Boris” Pickett in 1962, the song has been a Halloween staple ever since. It is a testament to the power of classics. Performed from the point of view of a mad scientist, the song centers around a Frankenstein-like monster who rises from the dead to perform a new dance. The new dance: the titular Monster Mash.

Fun fact: The song was number one on the Billboard Top 100 charts from October 20-27, 1962.

“That Old Black Magic”

If you are in a romantic mood and need something to set the scene for an intimate Halloween scene with your girlfriend,  Frank Sinatra will do the job. This is especially appropriate if your loved one puts a spell on you…as he or she undoubtedly will this Halloween. This is a good song to listen to with a glass of wine and a cigar. Go old-school.

“Bad Moon Rising”

A Creedence Clearwater Revival classic. The lead single from their album, Green River, the song was released in 1969. According to songwriter John Fogerty, the energetic, fast-paced song is about an impending apocalypse. A metaphorical apocalypse. While Fogerty was specifically referring to the tumultuous events of the late 1960s, including the King and RFK assassinations, it seems apropos to Halloween.  If the world ends this Halloween and aliens eat our brains, this is the perfect soundtrack.

“One of These Nights”

While not a song associated with Halloween, the Eagles’ 1975 hit nevertheless takes on a dark and Halloween-like vibe with its R&B influenced melody. It also spooks and delights with lyrics such as “You got your demons, you got your desires, well I’ve got a few of my own.”

Check out the Collegian Spotify playlist here. 

Collegian reporter Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri can be reached at or on Twitter @dudesosad.