11 best and scary Halloween songs, including Michael Jackson and '80s hits

  • When you think of Halloween, you probably think of pumpkins, ghosts, and trick-or-treating.

  • You'll also likely think of these iconic Halloween songs.

  • Below are 11 of the most popular and scary Halloween tracks.

"Thriller" by Michael Jackson (1983)

michael jackson thriller
Michael Jackson in "Thriller."Michael Jackson/YouTube

The most iconic Halloween song of all time, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was released as the seventh single from Jackson's 1982 album of the same name.

In the song's equally iconic music video, a zombified Jackson performs a dance routine with a horde of his fellow undead.

"Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon (1978)

Warren Zevon in the music video for "Werewolves of London."
Warren Zevon in the music video for "Werewolves of London."YouTube/Warren Zevon

The idea for Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" is said to have originated from Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers, who, after watching the 1935 movie "Werewolf of London," suggested to Zevon that he adapt the title for a song and dance craze.

"I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand / Walking down the streets of Soho in the rain," sings Zevon in the song's hilarious opening line.

"Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett (1962)

monster mash
"Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett.NRRArchives2/YouTube

Bobby "Boris" Pickett's novelty single "Monster Mash"  went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on October 20, 1962, and stayed there for two weeks.

"Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell (1984)

Rockwell in the video for "Somebody's Watching Me."
Rockwell in the video for "Somebody's Watching Me."YouTube/Rockwell

Featuring guest vocals from both Michael Jackson and his brother Jermaine Jackson, Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" topped the charts in Belgium, France, and Spain, and reached No. 2 in the United States.

Rockwell, real name Kennedy William Gordy, is the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy.

"Enter Sandman" by Metallica (1991)

Metallica frontman James Hetfield in the video for "Enter Sandman."
Metallica frontman James Hetfield in the video for "Enter Sandman."YouTube/Metallica

The lyrics to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" are already dark enough.

"Hush little baby don't say a word, and never mind that noise you heard / It's just the beasts under your bed, in your closet, in your head," sings lead singer James Hetfield.

When you find out the song was originally intended to be about a baby dying in its crib, it becomes even more disturbing.

"I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins (1956)

Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins.YouTube

A song about lamenting the loss of an ex-girlfriend, Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" was banned from radio because of its voodoo overtones and "cannibalistic sounds."

In response to backlash, Hawkins famously began performing the song dressed as a witch doctor and wielding a skull on a stick.

"Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads (1977)

David Bryne.
David Byrne.YouTube/

The lyrics to  Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" provide an insight into the mind of a serial killer who is struggling to control his dark desires.

"Better run, run, run, run, run, run, run away," sings frontman David Byrne.

"Ghost Town" by The Specials (1981)

The Specials.
The Specials.YouTube/The Specials

Recorded in the midst of an economic recession in the United Kingdom, The Specials' "Ghost Town" tackles themes of unemployment, urban decay, and violence.

In the song's music video, the group drives through derelict areas of London in the early hours of the morning.

"Ghost Town" spent three weeks at No. 1 in the UK.

"Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr. (1984)

ghostbusters music video
Ray Parker Jr.RayParkerJuniorVEVO/YouTube

Recorded as the theme tune to the 1984 movie of the same name, Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Shortly after the film's release, Parker Jr. was sued by Huey Lewis for plagiarism. Lewis alleged that Parker Jr. had copied the melody for "Ghostbusters" from a song by Huey Lewis and the News called "I Want a New Drug."

The case was settled out of court in 1985 for an undisclosed sum.

"Zombie" by The Cranberries (1994)

zombie music video the cranberries
A shot from the "Zombie" music video by The Cranberries.The Cranberries/YouTube

"Zombie" is a protest song written by The Cranberries' lead singer Dolores O'Riordan in response to the death of two children in an IRA bombing in the English town of Warrington.

O'Riordan told Vox magazine in 1994 that she was "devastated" by the attack and was upset that those who carried it out claimed to have done so in the name of Ireland.

"The IRA are not me. I'm not the IRA," she said. "When it says in the song, 'It's not me, it's not my family,' that's what I'm saying. It's not Ireland, it's some idiots living in the past."

"Dragula" by Rob Zombie (1998)

Rob Zombie in the video for "Dragula."
Rob Zombie in the video for "Dragula."YouTube/Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie is the undisputed king of Halloween.

Not only has he directed a handful of modern horror movie classics like 2003's "House of 1000 Corpses" and the 2007 remake of "Halloween," but he also boasts an impressive discography filled with horror-themed hits.

"Dragula," a song based on the drag racing car of the same name from the sitcom "The Munsters," is the pick of the bunch.

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