Halloween Songs

Sure, there are plenty of songs for this time of year. There's "The Monster Mash" and all its brothers; there's Michael Jackson's macabre "Thriller"; there's even special "scary sound" and "haunted house" recordings one can buy from specialty shops (or, in fact, from just about any corner store around Halloween time).

But what about those of us who don't think of this holiday in terms of heebie-jeebies, costumes-n-candy, and scary movies? What about those of us for whom October 31st is a holiday about the coming of winter, the last harvest, the somber communion with passed-on relatives, and the death of a god?

For me and other Pagans, October 31st marks the arrival of the Samhain season, and just like many other people we often have parties for the occasion. Usually the "parties" involve coven members instead of costumed guests, and usually the Samhain recipes differ a little from candy corn and Snickers, plus there is usually a ceremony of some sort amid whatever merrymaking comes to pass.

Since one of the main themes of Samhain is communion with dead relatives and it is generally a more serious, introspective time of year for Pagan folks, the usual soundtrack for Halloween just won't do. So, for those under the Pagan umbrella who would wish to add some music to their festivities (and for those non-Pagans who nevertheless wish to get in touch with the roots of the holiday for any reason), I have collected here a list of appropriate music, with explanations. Enjoy. (If you'd like to read more about misconceptions of Halloween, check out my rant here, or if you want to see more about the Pagan celebrations of the Samhain holiday, check that out at my Craft site.)

I am quite sure there are more, but these are the songs that stood out to me from my own collection. I would be glad to hear suggestions for songs to add to the list, but I am not interested in songs that are just about death in a general way, are morbid beyond the level of appropriateness, or are just silly monster tunes. You might also enjoy my original song, "Halloween," which has a music video here.

Any comments left here are PUBLIC. If you are not comfortable with that, mail me directly.

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Comments from others:

Mikey:This was a great list I have found many upon it that deserve the mention that you have given here, and like what is said many songs just capture the right feeling upon the season/ritual time. And I think that it awesome that Ms. Loreena McKennitt was given the respect that she has well so earned on this.

Mari: Not so much samhain but a decent pagan group is Within Temptation. I suggest looking up mother earth and forsaken at least. ^^*

Your list fits so well, I'll have to put at least a few of these to use next turn.

Sean Brown: I love the fact that most of the songs you've listed can easily be sampled in iTunes!
The BEST version of From the Goddess I've ever heard is by Robert Gass & On Wings of Song. It is beautiful and melodic and does a great deal for mood & atmosphere! It's about a 30 minute piece of music, perfect for meditation & ritual.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think!

Robert Gass & On WIngs of Song also has many other pagan/Wiccan sogs available as well which are easily sampled on iTunes.

Synesthesia: I shall have to listen to those. I always think Dead Can Dance sounds very pagany. A lady that had a nice witchcraft shop thrilled me by playing their songs. Summoning of the Muse is an epic sort of song because it makes me think of angels or gods with enormous wings either ascending or decending. It's awesome due to the vocal layering that sounds like Lisa Gerrard is literally calling on the muses. Plus it has BELLS. Every song should have bells. It makes my skin feel good. The Promise Womb by Dead Can Dance is also nice, but mostly due to its texture and lovely use of viola de gamba.
Xavier, The Carnival is Over, Lifetime (Possibly also listed as Our Kingdom, it's a rare song that can be found on Youtube under that name), Black Sun, Ullyses and other hauntingly beautiful tunes are sung by Brendan Frasier. Who lives in a church in Ireland. Emmeleia is sung by both members and is dark, beautiful. Stark and desolate.
Lisa Gerrard's solo album the Mirror Pool is filled with very pagany sacred sounding strange awesome music. I especially love Glorafin's use of a CHINESE DULCIMER. Their music is ideal for spinning around in circles and rituals and the like. Plus one can't go wrong with sad Irish songs, especially those sung by women. Which I need more of.
Ooo. And Patrick Wolf! His music sounds so pastural (sp) and delightfully ENGLISH. He has a wonderful version of Army Dreamers and Wind in the Wires is such a delicious song.

I'm starting to go outside of Halloween sort of songs to general good songs. Time to stop.