Excomm’s Spooktober Playlist

text by digital-media

23 October, 2023

October is here and Halloween is just around the corner! KCSB’s Executive Committee put together a playlist of spooky songs to accompany all of your Fall activities. Whether you’re carving pumpkins, getting lost in a corn maze, or doing a seance, this playlist is the perfect way to get in a Halloween mood.


“The Candy Man” by Cibo Matto

  • Even though the lyrics sing of a sweet Candy man who brings joy and love to children, the actual sound turns these lyrics into a nightmare. The main rhythm of this song overlaid with the lagging “ooh, ahh” combined with the funky synths providing a ghoulish background for the vocals. Over and over the singers repeat “the candy man, the candy man can” to the point where it sounds like a prayer. Cibo Matto references Sammy Davis Jr’s original Candy man throughout the song but sings in a hauntingly hypnotizing way that contorts the Candy man into an evil being. 

“Trem Fantasma” by Os Mutantes

  • This song feels like a kid’s haunted house full of ghosts on strings, toilet paper mummies, and spiders with glowing eyes – a campy fun way to celebrate halloween without getting too scared.

“Meisai -Camouflage- (A Song From One of the Greatest Rainstorms of the Post-War Era)” by Sheena Ringo

  • In this song, Sheena Ringo manages to invoke vivid images of horror and build the tension as the song goes on. At the beginning of the song, it feels like walking through a dark misty graveyard, the bassline leads the way while Sheena’s eerie light vocals sing, “I’m so tired of this life. Come and take me away.” Suddenly the song delves into a quicker melody full of wailing guitars, eerie violins, and a bassline that continues to speed up. This new melody conjures imagery of horror movies where the characters are being chased by some witch or vampire and are finding horrible traps at every turn


“Ghost Town” by The Specials

  • Known for their ska and new wave sound, the specials veer toward a spookier feel with this track.

“Night Shift” by Siouxsie and the Banshees

  • What’s spookier than Siouxie Sioux, the mother of goth?

“Gothic Surf-a-rama” by Vampire Beach Babes

  • The theme song for a goth beach day. 


“Dissolved Girl” by Massive Attack

  • Trip Hop giants Massive Attack are masters at this dark, grungy sound which brings together electronic, hip-hop, and rock. Dissolved Girl is a an angry and even more so spooky track that really evokes the halloween spirit in my opinion

“A Forest” by The Cure

  • The genre of Post-punk really blends well with gothic themes and sonic elements and no band displays that better than the Cure. A Forest is an exceptionally fun and dark listen with all the different layers of instrumentals coming together and one that fits perfectly with Spooktober.

“Wax and Wane” by Cocteau Twins

  • Wax and Wane by the Coctwau Twins shows off the gritty and unpolished sound of their deburt album Garlands while still possessing that dreamy and dark sound we have come to define as Cocteau Twins-esque. This song is an essential listen to for when spirits and ghouls come out to play


“In Every Dream Home, A Heartache” by Roxy Music

  • The instrumentation of this one is extremely creepy- slow fuzzed-out guitars, an accompanying organ and saxophone which slowly builds and builds into an ominous climax. The lyrics, which begin by critiquing the seemingly perfect lives of people in beautiful homes, but become extremely dark when the singer begins to talk about an inflatable doll… yeah, I won’t spoil more. I heard this song for the first time while watching Mindhunter- the TV show about the two FBI agents who coined the term “serial killer,” so you can imagine why this tune spooks me. Definitely worth a listen though, it is a unique one for sure! 

“Halloween” by Sonic Youth

  • Sonic Youth’s distinctive 90s noise rock sound is, for me, intrinsically tied to the month of October. Of course, the title of this one is fantastically on-the-nose! I will admit that I am not exactly sure about what’s going on in the lyrics, but I do know that the characters in this song are up to something spooky, and absolutely up to no good. Really love the album cover of Bad Moon Rising, the record this song is from. 

“Obsession” by Animotion

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- something about new wave music is just SO Halloween. This one is particularly spooky because the lyrics talk about a pair of people who are so deeply obsessed with each other that they want to “capture” each other. It is also a song about changing oneself in order to fit into what another person is looking for… scary! Don’t abandon your identity for anyone, kids. 


“Spooks” by Louis Armstrong

  • This must’ve been on rotation at every Halloween bash in the 50s. And at mine, if I ever had one. It’s a romp! If this song had a music video, dancing cartoon skeletons would definitely be in it.

“Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us” by Robert Plant and Allison Krauss

  • These next two songs are what you hear after the party ends. You’re walking home alone. It’s chilly, and you tug your scarf up further. The wind is whistling and howling, unforgivingly and mockingly. Your hands are already stuffed in your pockets, protecting them from the cold but leaving you defenseless against the night. A branch cracks. The pace of your heart and your step quickens. Was that someone walking behind you? Or something? No, it’s just your imagination… “Strange things are happening everyday.” It’s a hell of an opening line, and Allison Krauss’ pure siren-like voice cuts through the fog of uncertainty. Whatever’s behind you most certainly isn’t from this dimension.

“We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, and Me)” by The Ink Spots

  •  Welcome to purgatory! This song is so perfectly unsettling and eerie; it’s being alone, personified. The sparse instrumental, the simple yet otherworldly backing “oohs,” Bill Kenny’s famous crooning voice… When I listen to this song, I can’t think of anything but nighttime, the only light being from a lone, flickering street lamp and an ever-fading moon. I picture a willow tree at the end of a dead-end street, its long, drooping branches humbly moving with the wind. It’s all at once peaceful and unnerving: who knows what hides under those leaves?



“Flores, Estrellas Y Luna” by Los Impala

  • Pioneers of Venezuelan rock music in the 1950s and 1960s, Los Impala combines multiple genres to create something super unique. “Flores, Estrellas Y Luna” takes a darker turn than the rest of the album, starting off with the opening notes of Edvard Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16: I. Allegro molto moderato” and immediately catapulting listeners into a thunderstorm of sound. While this song doesn’t conjure any specific scary images to mind, it kind of reminds me of walking into a room and hearing something you shouldn’t have… something creepy that you can’t exactly put your finger on, more of a feeling than anything else. 

“Trash” by Alex G

  • This song reminds me of spending your first Halloween as a “grown-up”- that is, someone who doesn’t trick or treat. The hokey-yet-eerie keys in the beginning are reminiscent of a kid’s Halloween, kind of like a traditional “Monster Mash” type of Halloween song, but the lyrics are about realizing the scary reality of growing up. Grounding the fun, danceable instrumentals in serious lyrics, Alex G evokes that funny feeling of knowing you’ll be nostalgic about the moment you’re in.

“Darkness” by Sean Nicholas Savage

  • There’s something just a bit off about this song, which is why I like it so much. The piano scale in the beginning is what strikes me as “spooky”- the rest is just easy listening for when the days get shorter. 


“I’d Rather Be Burned As A Witch” by Eartha Kitt

  • Opening with the eeriest flute scale my ears have ever been blessed with, Eartha Kitt’s voice is smooth enough to coat a candied apple three times over. Most of all, Kitt’s rendition has a charming theatrical quality that brings me back to the scariest time in my middle school career – my musical theater phase. 

“Norma’s Gallery” by Franz Waxman

  • This Sunset Boulevard soundtrack pick is as ominous as they come. Short but sweet, it plays on a loop in my head as I enter my spooky season villain arc. Mwahaha. 

“Mon Autre” by Juniore

  • This Juniore track is the perfect October accompaniment. Chilling but sultry harmonies, scattered screams, haunting echoes and staccato phrasing come together to create a cheekily sinister ambiance. 

“Canopic Jar” by Hiatus Kaiyote

  • Oh my god, Yas suggesting another Hiatus Kaiyote song. We get it. Seriously though, when you get a ghostly intro, distorted vocals, cutting percussion, drastic vocal interval play, and an evil laugh track… I have no choice but to include.

Evelyn’s RECS 

“Breeze – in Monochrome Night” by Akira Yamaoka

  • As a lover of horror ambience (but also too wimpish to consume horror media) I have inevitably become enthralled with the aesthetic of the silent hill series. This track is a somber one and certainly not the most traditionally frightening but it really sets the mood for silent hill’s grungy environment. Here’s to hoping the series gets remastered so that I can finally play them for myself and experience the soundtrack as it was meant to – while sweating profusely.

“Holy, Sad & Sly” by Susu Laroche

  • Susu Laroche is one half of the fertile crescent, both recent discoveries of mine so I don’t have as much of a personal connection to this piece. Nonetheless, her music truly entrances; it’s witchy, mystical, dark and really, what more could you ask for?

“Vampires” by Bat For Lashes

  • Natasha Khan’s album Lost Girls works as a concept album for her ideations of an all-girl biker gang roaming the streets of an 80s-scifi LA. Vampires is my favorite track; with its sultry sax and 80s infused synth, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a night ride through the seedy streets of LA whilst destroying public property and exsanguinating whatever misfortunate soul comes across your way.

Ari’s RECS 

“Haunted House on Zillow” by The Garden

  • The Garden is already well known for combining punk rock and crazy audio sampling to make their unique sound. This song is especially Halloween themed in my head because the maniacal laughs in the background and the intro/outro dialogue talking about ghosts and whatnot. It’s a great combination of the punk aesthetic and Halloween vibe.

“Carousel. {i}” by bliss3three

  • Bliss3three uses some pretty heavy distortion and sampling to make this track sound like you’re in some weird abandoned mall all alone. Very strange vibe, definitely on the calm side but a little bit eerie. Would recommend checking out the rest of the album too.


“A Cold Freezin’ Night” by The Books

  • Initially, this song sounds like unrelated, unsettling audio jammed together, using the voices of two children — a boy and a girl — alongside jumpy, impulsive guitar and drums. As the boy says, sing-songy, “a cold freezin’ night,” the girl says increasingly violent phrases and that she wishes she were a boy — a choice Fader Magazine suggests expresses her growing feminist rage. 

Shirley’s REC

“Bushel Hyde” by Jessica Pratt

  • I would argue that Jessica Pratt has one of the most autumnal voices ever heard…she can sound haunting, warm, and dark all at once. In this song, she calls for some otherworldly presence. The simplicity of her voice and the guitar creates a ghostly atmosphere that remains comforting nonetheless as she reminds us there are beings and places outside of us that we cannot access easily.

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