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Mixing up your Halloween party playlist

People dressed up as zombies during a Halloween Eve Party in Belgrade on October 30, 2011.
People dressed up as zombies during a Halloween Eve Party in Belgrade on October 30, 2011.

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Heard “Monster Mash” one too many times? Wish Halloween was over already? We can’t make time move any faster, but we can offer up some more interesting Halloween music.

Drew Tewksbury chats with Alex about his top Halloween music picks.

Well, before I tell you some great tunes for this Halloween. I have to make a quick confession. I love heavy metal. I adore songs that sound like horror movies, but for this list, i refrained from putting a single Slayer or Gwar song on here. Instead, I've compiled a list of a couple songs that could work for whatever kind of Halloween party you will be throwing. So if you're throwing one of those classic Halloween parties, with the bobbing for apples, all that, I've picked a classic staple: Screamin Jay Hawkin's I put a spell on you:

This may seem like an obvious choice, but to me Screamin' Jay Hawkins is the epitome of Halloween. He was the original shock rocker, before Alice Cooper, before Ozzy, before KISS. He'd be wheeled out in a coffin on stage, and dressed like a voodoo spirit too. In the 90s he had something of a resurgence too, he appeared in Jim Jarmusch's film "Mystery Train," he covered Tom Waits songs. But my favorite piece of Screamin' Jay trivia is his attempt to meet all of his illegitimate kids. 

He was apparently very busy while on the road. His biographer set up a website called Jay's Kids, and urged people who thought Jay might be their father to write in. 33 people were identified, and they all met up with him at the House of Blues in L.A. 

If Screamin' Jay Hawkins isn't quite creepy enough for you, maybe a Murder Ballad would spook up your party. Here's "Red Right Hand" by Nick Cave and the bad seeds :

I love Nick Cave, and this era from the mid-90s was his best. I met him a few years back, and in person, he really looks like a vampire, or just needed a transfusion for something. Nick's gone on to write some great films lately too, like "The Proposition" and "Lawless," which just came out. 

Speaking of movies, if you have friends who are serious movie nerds but also like to get down, this song from Busta Rhymes mixes the Bernard Herman's great soundtrack for "Psycho" with some killer beats:

I would love to imagine this party of super movie geeks and hip-hop heads mingling together. Busta has kind of fallen off the radar in the last few years, he has been trying to transition into the movie world. And not very successfully. But there's one actor who has made a song that should be part of the new canon of Halloween songs. 

It's Ryan Gosling. yes, the Gos. Typically the idea of actors-turned-musicians yields terrible results, but Gosling collaboration with Zach Sheilds was actually pretty great. It was called Deadman's Bones, and here's their song "My Body's A Zombie For You":

This would be a good song for any Halloween party with some kids around. For this song, they enlisted the Silverlake Children's Choir to sing backup. I spoke with their label last week, and they said there's no sequel for this cute and spooky project in the future, so enjoy it while it lasts. 

Here are some additional tracks you can add to your list: