Too ghoul for school: scary songs for the spooky season

Playlist of the week 10/29/21

TJ Disabato, Staff Writer

The time is once again upon us—haunted houses, hayrides, bobbing for apples (do people actually do that outside of movies?) and TPing the house of your annoying neighbor—you’ve gotta love Halloween. Although most of us have grown out of trick-or-treating, that doesn’t mean that college students shouldn’t get in on the seasonal fun. On campus, this time of year means that parties will be in full swing, with several fraternities promising a spooktacular time, whether it be through raves or haunted house events. One fraternity also has a pumpkin smashing event on the Case Quad, which is always a smashing time. 

However, the thing that sets the mood every holiday season is the ominous music, as seen in horror movies, whether it be accompanying a young couple being chased by a masked man in a slasher film or someone confronting their own psyche or personal demons in a psychological thriller. Regardless of the movies you enjoy watching during October, our respective fall playlists help us get into the spirit of the season. So here are some hits from the past 50 years that are sure to make even the most emotionally stoic individual tremble in fear (or more likely, just get you in the Halloween mood).


“A Forest” – The Cure

The fast-paced instrumentals hook you from the very beginning and give a visceral feeling of terror and loneliness deep in a dark forest at night—a must-have on any spooky playlist. 


“Careful with That Axe, Eugene” – Pink Floyd

A slow burn that builds up to Roger Waters’ infamous inhale scream—this one possibly being the most powerful in the band’s entire discography. 


“Ghosts of American Astronauts” – Mekons

This is an extremely underrated 80’s gem. Just listen to the lyrics, starting with “John Glenn drinks cocktails with God, in a cafe in downtown Saigon…” I mean, the whole song is just pure poetry.


“It Came in the Night” – A Raincoat

Could it be? A Halloween song that is more catchy than “Monster Mash?” I doubt it, but this one certainly gives it a run for its money. 


“Halloween” – Siouxsie and the Banshees

Omitting the Queen of Goth would have been a crime—I mean just look at the name of the song. I apologize to Phoebe Bridgers, who also had a great song titled “Halloween,” but I had to give the edge to Siouxsie Sioux on this one. 


“The Ghost In You” – The Psychedelic Furs

This one isn’t scary, but the title is enough for inclusion, so take this time to prepare yourself for the extra spooky songs remaining. Also enjoy Richard Butler’s fantastic British accent in this—and every other—Psychedelic Furs song.


“Reptile” – The Church

This song starts off similar to “A Forest,” as it hooks you in right away with enticing instrumentals. The song describes a “rattling, slithering reptile” that comes alive through the sounds of a tambourine, mimicking the sound of a rattlesnake.


“Witchy Woman” – The Eagles

I spent the first 16 years of my life hating The Eagles because I based my opinion only on “Hotel California.” Fortunately, I looked past that, and the rest of their discography has yet to disappoint. 


“Swamp Thing” – The Chameleons 

If I called “Ghosts of American Astronauts” underrated, then I can only say that it is a “grave” injustice that this song is barely known. Yes, pun intended.


“Eyes Without A Face” – Billy Idol

This is almost a perfect song—minus that godawful, guitar-driven rap section halfway through. It also gets points for being almost as creepy as “Every Breath You Take.”


“Sisters of the Moon” – Fleetwood Mac

If you want an extra dose of spooky, check out the live version from their 1982 Mirage tour, where Stevie Nicks starts speaking in tongues. Cocaine is a hell of a drug.


“bury a friend” – Billie Eilish

My 21st century inclusion. You’re welcome.


“Ghost Town” – The Specials 

It could’ve also been titled University Circle, circa March 7, 2020 through Aug. 15, 2021. Also, my ska inclusion. You’re welcome. 


“Waking the Witch” – Kate Bush

I juggled between this one, “Get Out Of My House” and even “Pull Out The Pin,” but I realized you can’t go wrong with any Kate Bush song. I have dreamt of her getting inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the potential of a rare live performance from her in Cleveland. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. 


“Dead Man’s Party” – Oingo Boingo

Before he became the singing voice of Jack Skellington, Danny Elfman got experience singing from beyond the grave. Ironically, it sounds like the most lively, upbeat party of the year.


“Psycho Killer” – The Talking Heads

This is a classic head-thumper featuring David Byrne “butchering” the French language. Pun entirely intended, once again. 


“In Every Dream Home A Heartache” – Roxy Music

I honestly don’t know what is creepier about this song—the lyrics describing a romantic relationship with a blow-up doll or the soft, sultry way Bryan Ferry describes it all. This is quite the slow burn that reaps heavy rewards if you can get through the first half.