Whether you’re into cult horror films like Jennifer’s Body or devising a killer costume, Halloween is a holiday that anyone can appreciate. Though it’s synonymous with all things eerie and gory, there’s also a ton of music, and entire bands, inspired by the scary holiday. That means it’s essential to create a playlist filled with frightening numbers to help you have a bloody good time this season. There are plenty of givens — Alkaline Trio, AFI, and Creeper immediately spring to mind — but we turned to our readers and asked them to pick the best Halloween songs of all time instead.
Read more: 10 terrifying sci-fi horror films where no one can hear you scream
From Ice Nine Kills’ “Stabbing in the Dark” to Misfits’ “Halloween,” find the top fan picks ranked below.
5. Motionless in White – “Werewolf”
With their striking makeup and ghoulish appearance, Motionless in White seem to ring in Halloween all year long. The band have a slew of darkly titled songs that would be appropriate to soundtrack the holiday, but perhaps none better than “Werewolf.” The Scoring The End of The World cut is creepy, ferocious, and theatrical — all the best parts of MIW’s sound. The music video’s werewolf dance (and the band’s slick red jackets) even pay tribute to “Thriller,” which leads us to…
4. Michael Jackson – “Thriller”
When Michael Jackson released Thriller back in 1982 — when he was only 24 years old — it was hard to anticipate its power. One of the biggest-selling records of all time boasted the supernatural title track, which was given greater life by its campy music video, directed by John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers). Practically a mini-movie, the visual brimmed with romance, graveyards, and an immortal zombie dance that’s still performed to this day. It’s no wonder it went on to take over MTV.
3. Ice Nine Kills – “Stabbing in the Dark”
Ice Nine Kills’ music embodies the ultimate slasher movie. The band’s love of horror, especially frontman Spencer Charnas, is what drives them to dream up tight, unique concepts with a fair amount of gore. “Stabbing in the Dark,” off 2018’s The Silver Scream, reflects this greatly. Besides a chill-inducing title, the cut comes with an eight-minute visual, which is a tribute to John Carpenter’s horror franchise Halloween and features Michael Myers doing what he does best. It even nods to A Nightmare On Elm Street, as Ricky Dean Logan plays the security guard.
2. Danny Elfman – “This is Halloween”
Everyone knows The Nightmare Before Christmas is really a Halloween flick, and Danny Elfman’s “This is Halloween” is easily the most enduring song from the soundtrack. The track appears early in the film, performed by the community of Halloween Town and introducing their devotion to the holiday. Elfman even pulled out the song at Coachella in 2022 and could again when he plays Sick New World next year.
1. Misfits – “Halloween”
With Misfits, every day is Halloween. The New Jersey ghouls made an unstoppable legacy out of their love for horror films, comic books, and Edgar Allan Poe. Naturally, the punk song is eternally associated with the season, rippling with distorted, pummeling energy and Glenn Danzig’s ghostly cries. It’s even been picked up by their successors Alkaline Trio and AFI, which are drastically different covers but endearing nonetheless.