Guest mixtape crypt keeper Chris Rooney returns with a selection of spooktacular proportions!
Looking to pair the right “Boo Wave” song with the perfect Halloween treat, whether you are hosting a party on October 31st or need some background music while handing out candy to trick-or-treaters? Read on… (To listen to this and other Mad World mixtapes on Spotify, click here.)
“Dead Man’s Party” Oingo Boingo (1985)
Just prior to the release of Oingo Boingo’s best-known song, “Dead Man’s Party,” frontman Danny Elfman’s career in film and TV soundtrack composing took off with Tim Burton’s directorial debut, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. It began a long-term music score friendship with the cinematic auteur of such dark, quirky horror and fantasy films as Batman, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow and Dark Shadows.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Lifesavers
Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (1979)
Often credited with releasing the first Gothic rock record, Bauhaus’ debut single got greater attention in the opening credits of the 1983 cult vampire film, The Hunger, starring David Bowie, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Wax Fangs
“Ghost Town” The Specials (1981)
The ska revival band The Specials scored their biggest hit with their 1981 single, “Ghost Town,” a vivid snapshot at the time of the inner city decline in Thatcher’s England.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Skittles
Ministry, “(Everyday is) Halloween” (1984)
With its opening lyrics, ‘Well, I live with snakes and lizards and other things that go bump in the night’, Ministry’s 1984 12″ record, “(Everyday is) Halloween” was a goth club favorite. Eventually the Al Jourgensen-led band became more of an industrial metal outfit by the late 1980s and abandoned their earlier Gothic synthpop sound.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Candy Cigarettes
The Police, “Spirits In The Material World” (1981)
So much for the motto “All for one, one for all” from this trio. Having written the song on a synthesizer, Sting wanted to record it that way instead of having Andy Summers play it on guitar. After a considerable argument between the two of them, they compromised by recording on both instruments. The end product had the synthesizer drowning out much of Summer’s guitar. Seems like the lyrics’ commentary on the nature of man’s existence and the failure of our institutions goes hand-in-hand with the band’s conflicting egos.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Three Musketeers
Bollock Brothers, “Horror Movies” (1983)
Numerous references to classic Hollywood and Hammer Studio horror creatures abound as the Bollock Brothers share their love of watching them on the big screen every Friday night with their girlfriends.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Popcorn Balls
The Comateens, “Ghosts” (1981)
Epitomizing “New York City cool” whether it is 1981 or now, the new wave trio built a small cult following with their brittle, deadpan pop.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Pop Rocks
Fred Schneider, “Monster” (1984)
With a silly delivery, silly lyrics, and even sillier claymation, how could anyone take the solo single from B-52’s singer Fred Schneider so seriously? Apparently, MTV wouldn’t play it on the air because of its over-the-top double entendre references to the monster in Fred’s pants. Fred did get some love though from his B-52’s bandmate Kate Pierson who provided backing vocals in addition to appearing on its music video along with Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, artist Keith Haring and drag queen Ethyl Eichelberger.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Charms Blow Pops
Siouxsie & The Banshees, “Halloween” (1981)
Who better to embrace the haunted holiday, than Siouxsie Sioux, the Queen of Goth, with her tousled jet black hair and signature cat-eye makeup?
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Black Licorice
Mental As Anything, “Spirit Got Lost” (1983)
Drawing comparisons to their British contemporaries like XTC, Squeeze and Nick Lowe, the Australian band delivered their brand of new wave with a quirky, ironic sense of humor and a decidedly suburbian local flavor.
Recommended Halloween candy pairing: Violet Crumble candy bars from Down Under
The Psychedelic Furs, “The Ghost In You” (1984)
Richard Butler’s voice and style has often been compared to David Bowie, one of his major inspirations, and it’s most apparent on The Furs’ 1984 light and fluffy song, “Ghost Inside You.”
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Milky Way candy bars
Kate Bush, “Waking The Witch” (1985)
One of the songs on the more experimental second side of Kate’s album, The Hounds of Love, “Waking The Witch” is the spine-tingling pinnacle of her character’s nocturnal journey drifting alone at sea.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Kit Kat bars
“Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” David Bowie (1981)
Bowie welcomed in the 1980s and the third act of his career with his album of the same name as this track. Concurrent to the album’s release, Bowie was doing a three-month run on Broadway starring as the lead character in The Elephant Man.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: (Life On) Mars Bars
“All You Zombies” The Hooters (1985)
Perhaps the high point of their careers, The Hooters performed their mystical, Bible-referencing minor hit, “All You Zombies” at the Live Aid benefit concert in their hometown of Philadelphia. Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof has publicly stated that he didn’t see the Hooters as a high-profile band suitable for Live Aid, but that the band was forced on him by Bill Graham, the legendary American concert promoter for the Philly venue.
Recommended Halloween treat pairing: Really old, shriveled-up Sun-Maid raisins