If we’re being true to ourselves, I think we can admit that sometimes “Monster Mash,” the “Ghostbusters” theme song and “Thriller” feel a little stale. So in the interest of adding something new to your Halloween party playlist, here are eight spooky songs by Texas artists and one about Texas.
1. “Dearly Departed” by Shakey Graves feat. Esmé Patterson
Let’s get this one out of the way early: When it was released in 2014, it became an instant Halloween classic. With lyrics like “You and I both know that the house is haunted / You and I both know that the ghost is me” and “You used to walk around screamin’, slammin’ all them doors / Well, I’m all grown up now, I don’t scary easy no more,” this one is on topic through and through.
2. “Trouble in Paradise” by Tele Novella
This slinky song is pure Halloween poetry, utilizing eerie imagery that will definitely give you a shiver: “Soft leaves, scratches and stings / The antenna of a snail / I’m one of the nocturnal things / Bringing trouble to paradise.”
3. “Daddy Longlegs” by Band of Heathens
“You’ve been creepin’ / You’ve been crawlin’ up my spine.” This is a song for those of us who have been using the Who’s “Boris the Spider” as a Halloween staple for years and need a fresh creepy-crawly tune.
4. “Monsters” by Conner Youngblood
This one’s for anyone who wants a little wub-wub with their creepy music. “The grass here won’t grow / The colors won’t flow / There’s something creeping / Beneath my sleeping.”
5. “Bad Vibrations,” the Black Angels
“Drink her last tear / Yeah, you die for your dear / Bad vibes around her / She’s eating hearts again.” We’ve all been there.
6. “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs
Fun fact: The singer of this 1966 classic went to what is now the University of Texas at Arlington. This one’s the best kind of mix of sweet and creepy: “What a big heart I have / The better to love you with / Little Red Riding Hood / Even bad wolves can be good.”
7. “Don’t Go,” Bovine Joe & the Buffalo Heard
This solemn tune gives me chills, and it too rides the line between romantic and eldritch. “And I know you hear voices in your head / They’ll be roamin’ the ground till you’re dead / But don’t go.”
8. “Dancing on my Grave” by Ghostland Observatory
If you’re hoping your costumed friends will dance at your party, this one is for you. “You’ll always get your way / And you just keep dancing / You’re dancing on my grave.”
9. “Leather Face” by Figure
I hope this song is a Halloween staple of “Thriller” proportions in 35 years. Figure isn’t a Texas artist, but this song is about “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and manages to be both terrifying and hilarious, so it deserves a spot on this list. Say it with me: “L-l-l-leatherface.”