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Top 10 Essential Halloween Songs

It's just about that time: From Michael Jackson to Marilyn Manson, check out the classics inspired by All Hallows Eve

1 / 10

Michael Jackson, "Thriller"

Every Halloween, there are some songs that people have come to expect to hear. Whether you're throwing a party or just need to get yourself in the holiday spirit, these are the 10 essential Halloween tracks you'll need year after year.

Why It's Essential:

  • There aren't too many songs that are catchy and creepy. MJ's hit has attained classic status not only for its novelty concept, but because it's also a legendary song.
  • Not only does everyone know the choreography, but it's easy enough that everyone can also participate.
2 / 10

Bobby "Boris" Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers, "Monster Mash"

Why It's Essential:

  • This novelty song held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962 just days before Halloween. It's been an annual favorite since then, meaning this song touches generations.
3 / 10

DJ Jazzy Jeff & Will Smith, "A Nightmare on My Street"

Why It's Essential:

  • Because the rap scene never got too into Halloween, this Nightmare on Elm Street-sampling track will add a little hip hop flavor to your party.
4 / 10

Ray Parker, Jr., "Ghostbusters"

Why It's Essential:

  • While there are tons of ghostly movie themes you could pick from, this one was also a hit single. The jazz-soul singer's track hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1984.
5 / 10

The Marketts, "Out of Limits"

Why It's Essential:

  • "Out of Limits" by The Marketts might not scream essential Halloween at first, but this surf-rock track was actually sued by The Twilight Zone TV show when creator Rod Sterling deemed the production too similar to his show's sinister theme. People will recognize the creepy sound, but continue dancing thanks to the peppy percussion and guitars. Perfect for a Halloween party!
6 / 10

Rockwell, "Somebody's Watching Me"

Why It's Essential:

  • The track's ominous synths, paranoid lyrics and creepy music video have helped this song last longer than Rockwell's career. 
7 / 10

Marilyn Manson, "This Is Halloween"

Why It's Essential:

  • Because what's better than having music's Prince of Darkness covering a classic Halloween film theme?
8 / 10

Bette Midler, "I Put a Spell on You"

Why It's Essential:

  • While Nina Simone made this haunting tune a classic, the jazz standard is more suitable for a relaxed Halloween night in. The Divine Miss M's pizzazz-filled rendition from Hocus Pocus will get everyone singing along.
9 / 10

Dead Kennedys, "Halloween"

Why It's Essential:

  • The underground hardcore-punk leaders were always in the holiday spirit with album titles like Frankenchrist and Plastic Surgery Disasters, but this 1982 single takes a more insightful look at people letting their social inhibitions go on All Hallow's Eve: "Because you're hiding in a mask / Take your fun seriously / No, don't blow this year's chance / Tomorrow your mold goes back on after Halloween." Deep and you can still rock out to it.
10 / 10

Various Artists, "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?"

Why It's Essential:

  • Not the most famous Halloween song, but this 2005 reinterpretation of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was a charity single to support UNICEF featuring a slew of all-stars including Arcade FireJenny LewisBeckKaren O and more. It's a classic that's still to become a classic, if you will.

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