A sinister soundtrack for your student Halloween get together

You’ve created a costume from bin bags, bought every novelty Halloween decoration in Poundland, and made a blood-red punch. You’re all set to haunt your home with the zom-boys and ghouls from university and party until the unholy hours. And then you have the shock of your life: you realise you’ve forgotten the music.

Don’t fear, we’re on hand to save you from this nightmare with a spine-chilling soundtrack designed to take your party to new levels of dreadful. In a good way.

Start with the classics

As people start to drag their bodies through the door, it’s a good idea to have a few staple spooky sounds setting the mood. Get things going with the graveyard smash that is the Monster mash, before progressing to the 70s howls of the Werewolves of London. You can’t go wrong with the Nina Simone version of I put a spell on you, but I’ve dialed up the fear-factor by including the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins original instead. Finally, throw in some petrifying punk, courtesy of Pet cemetery by the Ramones.

  • Monster mash – Bobby Pickett
  • Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
  • I put a spell on you – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
  • The time warp – The Rocky Horror Show cast
Siouxsie Sioux
Halloween fancy-dress parties are always a bit of a non-event for Siouxsie Sioux. Photograph: ITV/Rex Features

Show them your dark side

With your ghastly guests settled in and getting into the spirit of things, it’s time to dial up the darkness with some choice gothic favourites. Be sure to pepper the selection with some new-goth floor fillers, such as Ruins by O. Children, if only to stop people from thinking your dad is DJing .

  • Bella Legosi is dead – Bauhaus
  • Halloween – Siouxsie & The Banshees
  • Dominion/Mother Russia – Sisters of Mercy

Death disco

While I would happily spend any evening listening to miserable goth music, most ghouls just wanna have fun, so you’d better play some upbeat pop music too. Thriller will be sure to get them dancing, and what could be more terrifying than seeing the nerdy geography undergrads from flat B17 screaming along to Lady Gaga at 2am?

  • Michael Jackson – Thriller
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads will roll (A-Trak remix)
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! Right after you call direct enquiries to get their number. Photograph: Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar

Nightmarish novelties

By now your Halloween party will be in full swing and your fiendish friends will be devilishly drunk. They’ll never be a better chance to get away with playing some novelty soundtracks. Get started with the theme from Ghostbusters, before dropping the Addams Family theme and playing “spot the one guy who is too drunk to click along in time”.

  • Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jnr.
  • This is Halloween – Disney Characters

Hair-raising hip-hop

After 1am on any given night, hip-hop is (factually) the best genre out there. Halloween is no different, so including a spread of old-school and newer hip-hop rhythms in your playlist is a good idea. I’ve also snuck in (witch-house anthem) King night by Salem, as I reckon it’ll be a laugh to see people dancing to some of the darkest music every committed to tape.

  • A nightmare on my street – DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince
  • Nightmare – Tyler, The Creator

You might need to pad out the above with a few of your own suggestions (unless, like me, you are hoping to be in bed by 9pm), but hopefully this list will be the starting point for a truly horrific evening.

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