Monday, October 28, 2013

Spooky Music for Halloween & the Day of the Dead (Updated for 2015)

It's that time of year for scary, spooky music. And whether you want such tunes for a party, your workplace, or just to listen to at home, we're got some options below—and you can listen to some of them free online.

Scary classical music for Halloween- album cover
One of the inexpensive Halloween albums on sale at

Pandora has a few Halloween-themed stations this year. I've been listening to the Spooky Symphonies Playlist, which includes scary or creepy classical pieces like "Night on Bald Mountain" and Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt suite. Pandora also has Halloween Party, which lets you rock out to familiar Halloween pop tunes like "Monster Mash."

If you've got young people around, the Family Halloween Playlist might be more appropriate, with its holiday-themed songs designed not to strike fear into the hearts of children.

Interested in buying and keeping some ghoulish music? has a number of albums for the occasion. For example, there are two "Halloween Haunted House" collections for just three dollars each. One features 250 songs and sound effects for spooking your friends and other guests, while the other offers a continuous music playlist.

And there are soundtracks to movies including "Rosemary's Baby" and "Halloween II." 

Similar to Pandora's "Spooky Symphonies" playlist is Amazon's "99 Must-Have Halloween Classics" for $5.49, and "Scary Classical Music for Halloween" for $5.99 $7.99. They include familiar pieces such as the theme from "The Exorcist," "Ride of the Valkyries," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and several selections from "The Rite of Spring." (Note: both the Pandora and Amazon collections contain songs that aren't really spooky per se, but sound dramatic, or were used in a dramatic movement of a movie (such as tunes from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" or "Harry Potter" films.)

If you want to observe Day of the Dead, check out my post from a couple of years back, "Spooky Spanish Tunes for Day of the Dead," which features videos from NPR Music's Alt.Latino program, and a list of the songs used in a seasonal episode of the defunct music podcast Ritmo Latino.

Update, Nov. 2015: Alt.Latino has put out a new Day of the Dead music mix this year, which it's calling the "horror movie mix-tape." See the tunes and listen to it here

Also new (new us) for 2015: Songwriter Andrew Gold (who penned such hits as "Thank You for Being a Friend" and "Lonely Boy") has a collection of Halloween songs for young people & adults called "Halloween Howls," which you can listen to on SoundCloud.

Happy scary listening!

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