Which artists are indebted to the best holiday of them all?
11:30 16th October 2020

It's the most wonderful time of year: Halloween is just around the corner. Get ready to strew cobwebs around the corners of your house, put in a pair of red contact lenses and scream at the head-spinning scene in The Exorcism for the hundredth time.

Music-wise, we you know all of the classics. And if you want an Alternative Halloween Playlist filled with dark but not-so-obvious bangers, you can head here. But what about the essence of the holiday? Does it feed into musicians' work at all levels? For some artists, we would argue yes.

We put a list together that we'll be adding to as we go. So let us know on Twitter: who needs to be included? 

Words by Jessie Atkinson, Ryan McConnell, Cameron Sinclair Harris, Sofie Lindevall, Ross Carley, Ben Willmott and Maddy Howell.

  • BAND OF SKULLS - From their skeletal name, to their inimitable brand of bluesy garage-rock, Band of Skulls are a band that seem to have Halloween running through their veins. The Southampton group provide more than enough bangers to keep the party going through the night, but are never shy about their spookier side; choice cuts such as ‘Asleep at the Wheel’, ‘Killer’, ‘Death By Diamonds and Pearls’ and ‘The Devil Takes Care of His Own’ will spark fires in the darkest parts of your souls, and make you dance like you’ve been possessed by spirits from the other side. (CSH)

  • BILLIE EILISH - With a debut album praised to heights as far from graves as you can get, popstar Billie Eilish also managed to become the queen of Halloween last year with the delightfully spooky When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Having defined a style of pop that is glossy, Gothic and thrilling all at the same time, and with themes and spooky basslines bringing us into the darkness that inhabits her aesthetic, Billie Eilish and Halloween is a match made in heaven. Her distinctive style, a perfect combination of bold, spooky and stylish, could be seen all over the internet as many took to honour the artist at Halloween parties big and small, making it one of the biggest Halloween trends of the year. (SL)

  • THE CRAMPS - The purveyors of Halloween shows and Balls. All hail the human flies. (JA)

  • THE DAMNED - If the original punk band's reams of spooky songs and visual identity didn't convince you that The Damned should make this list, then 2019's Halloween stunt certainly should: David Vanian showed up to the seasonal gig in a coffin placed in a horse-drawn hearse. Dressed in vampiric prosthetics, he proceeded to lie on stage until the start of the set. Iconic. (JA)

  • MARILYN MANSON - His own spin on The Nightmare Before Christmas' 'This Is Halloween' is just one of hundreds of dark tracks from his solo project - and his first band Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids. His music was so extreme to the tender ears of Americans in 1990s that it was partly blamed for the Columbine school shooting. (JA)

  • LADY GAGA - Her fans are Little Monsters and her role as The Countess in American Horror Story: Hotel earned her a Golden Globe. "You ever notice on Halloween everyone's always smiling, everyone's always having so much fun?" she once asked ABC News, "everyone should dress up like that have have fun and themed things more often." (JA)

  • ALICE COOPER - Is there any artist out there who personifies the nature of Halloween more than 'The Godfather of Shock Rock' himself, Alice Cooper? With his extravagant dress sense, and haunting vocals on hits such as 'Poison' and 'Cleansed By Fire' coalesced with his theatrical performances using fake blood and Guillotines, to emerging from the backstage shadows draped in Snakes, the Rock N Roll hall of famer exhibits both shock and horror in equal measure. "It's my favorite time of year and I'm stealing the scene" he sang in 2009. Here's to many more years. (RM)

  • THE HALLOWEENS - A piano rock duo consisting of The Vaccines’ Justin Hayward-Young and Tim Lanham, The Halloweens music isn’t explicitly spooky (bar those minor key piano riffs) but come on - their damn name is The Halloweens. Here's hoping they surprise us yet with an on-the-nose Halloween song. (RC)

  • BLACK HONEY - With a love for theatrics and a cinematic spin on lyricism, it’s no surprise that Black Honey have  managed to draw from classic horror and cult movies to write some enticing Halloween tracks. In 2017, the band went as far as releasing a Halloween vinyl featuring their spookiest tracks ‘Ghost’  and ‘Bloodlust’. ‘Ghost’ is a beautifully reverb-drenched track with a declining almost slacker-like vocal line, this accompanied with the upbeat ‘Bloodlust’ made for a “spooktacular” holiday record. But to top it off they’re set to release a new number this coming Halloween called ‘I Like The Way You Die Boy’, a haunting melody that takes inspiration from Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.  (RC)

  • CREEPER - Weaving their musical timeline around a long-running narrative of paranormal investigators, mysterious disappearances and unexplained resurrections – Southampton’s Creeper are no strangers to the spookier side of life. After feigning their demise in theatrical Ziggy Stardust-esque style onstage at London’s Koko in 2018, the band’s rebirth came in the form of their latest album Sex, Death & The Infinite Void, released earlier this year. Continuing their Gothic narrative of angels, demons and everything that lies between within a rock opera of apocalyptic proportions, when it comes to embracing the darkness – no one does it better. (MH)

  • PHOEBE BRIDGERS - Fans will say that Halloween was invented after the Punisher track of the same name. Stans know that Phoebe has been a lover of the holiday for much longer. In 2020, she told Stereogum that "murders in general are such a dark obsession" of hers, namechecked Jeffrey Dahmer on early cut 'Killer' and counts ghosts and skeletons as a very strong centre of her whole aesthetic. (JA)

  • KIM PETRAS - If there's a crown for Halloween Queen, Kim Petras wears it. In 2019, the popstar released an entire album themed on - and released for - Halloween. Turn Off The Light is a 17-track ode to the best time of year. 'Boo! Bitch!' indeed. (JA)

  • POST MALONE - Post Malone has always had a penchant for the darkness. From collaborating with the Prince of Darkness himself on 2019 track ‘Take What You Want’, to the theory that he’s been cursed by the world’s ‘most haunted’ object, he’s a man of little fear. However, nothing amplifies that message more than the video for his collab with Young Thug, ‘Goodbyes’, a cinematic affair starring a zombified Posty. Brutally murdered before rising from the grave, terrifying civilians and heading to a bar to come face-to-face with his killer whilst drinking a crisp Bud Light – it’s one for the Halloween playlists. (MH)

Photo: Press