The Ebbtide on Spotify: Halloween Deep Cuts


Shoreline Community College via Facebook

Pumpkins surrounding SCC’s entrance sign.

Nova Clark and Emma Dortsch

Tired of “Thriller”? No need to scream: Below we’ve stitched together a variety of not-so-common spooky picks so you can end the Halloween season with a refreshed playlist for next year and without an earworm headache.

“Castin’ My Spell” by Johnny Otis and Marci Lee (1959)

This song was in a Disney sing-along special I used to watch every year as a kid that was basically the epitome of Halloween. “Castin’ My Spell” has that fantastic cheesy feel of many old-timey songs, and to me sounds as if someone canned the prime essence of Halloween festivities and is now transmitting music via tin can telephone. —Emma Dortsch, Copy Editor

“Halloween Theme” by John Carpenter (2018)

Not only is this iconic tune attached to a film that epitomizes Halloween, but its eerily simplistic piano riff stimulates the imagination as to what’s right around the corner — or just down the street. While Carpenter’s original 1978 recording will always prevail, I opted for the 2018 reimagining which utilizes electric guitar stingers and boosted synths to drive the sinister mood. Take it from me: This classic theme is best enjoyed while walking through dark alleys in your neighborhood on damp autumn evenings. —Nova Clark, Editor-in-Chief

“Headless Horseman” by Kay Starr (1948)

Bing Crosby’s performance of “Headless Horseman” was another of my favorites from the Disney sing-along special. However, when I went looking for it on Spotify, I stumbled upon Kay Starr’s version and quickly became obsessed. Considering how much I love her Christmas tune “The Man With the Bag,” it only makes sense that Starr tops another of my holiday song lists. —Emma

“Over at the Frankenstein Place” by Richard O’Brien (1975)

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a Halloween staple for sci-fi, theatre and horror buffs alike. I’ve been watching this movie for as long as I can remember and it will always evoke long-lost memories of my old apartment building on dark fall nights. In the film, “Over at the Frankenstein Place” sees protagonists Brad and Janet approaching a looming castle during a rainstorm where their lives will be forever changed — a visual that will always transport me to my former neighborhood as the bittersweet chorus ushers in autumn. —Nova

“Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo (1985)

I have to admit it: I hated “Weird Science” at first — but that’s probably because of how frequently it played on the Halloween radio at my thrift store job. After taking a long break from listening to any of that playlist’s tracks, I gave Oingo Boingo another chance and fell in love with the evil laboratory energy this song gives off. —Emma

“Shock Treatment” by Richard O’Brien (1981)

If you haven’t watched “Shock Treatment,” the pseudo-sequel to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” go do it now; or better yet, make it a double feature on Halloween night. This rock ‘n’ roll romp features a myriad of catchy tunes, but the subject matter of its title track sufficiently captures a “mad doctor” vibe that’s perfect for a raucous Halloween party. —Nova

“Ghosts” by Ladytron (2008)

One of my general favorite songs in high school, “Ghosts” is catchy and upbeat yet still manages a paranormal-esque sound with its minor harmonies. The synth gives me big “Stranger Things” vibes when I listen to it now, which is only more reason to love it. —Emma

“The Hell of It” by Paul Williams (1974)

While a number of songs from Brian dePalma’s cult classic “Phantom of the Paradise” are picture-perfect for the Halloween season, “The Hell of It” wraps up the film with a fun-loving ode to societal rejection as harpsichord faces off with electric guitar to create a sound that’s devilishly whimsical. —Nova

“Season of the Witch” by Donovan (1966)

Another throwback to my thrift store Halloween days, “Season of the Witch” is maybe the one song I didn’t mind listening to on repeat. ‘60 and ‘70s songs about witches are, in my opinion, another cornerstone of Halloween music (although I have yet to figure out why.) —Emma

“Theme from Carrie” by Pino Donaggio (1976)

The opening theme of Brian dePalma’s “Carrie” could not set the scene any better for the vengeful events that are about to transpire. Its poignant piano and strings conjure up an innocent, unassuming atmosphere — a sharp contrast to the prom-night horror that has yet to ensue. —Nova

“Get Out of My House” by Kate Bush (1982)

This song was my introduction to Kate Bush, and although she’s one of my favorite artists now, I got out of her possibly-donkey-possessed house as fast as I could after my first listen. I eventually found my way back with an open mind, and now adore this “Shining” inspired song. —Emma

“Main Title (The Shining)” by Wendy Carlos (1980)

If “Carrie”’s theme sets the scene, Wendy Carlos’ “Shining” theme hijacks the scene and smothers you in intrinsic fear while doing so. No matter where you are, its haunting orchestral drones are guaranteed to transform your current whereabouts into a living nightmare. Listen to it on a long drive if you dare — it’s not even the most haunting piece on the soundtrack. —Nova

“Boris the Spider” by The Who (1966)

This silly song always makes me grin. It also accurately narrates the deep fear of many: Encountering a spider. —Emma

“Lucretia My Reflection” by The Sisters of Mercy (1985)

Halloween is not complete without a healthy dose of goth, and “Lucretia My Reflection” has all of the right ingredients for the ultimate gothic anthem. From the driving bass to Andrew Eldritch’s lower-than-low vocals, its lyrical subject matter will make you want to embrace the spirit of Halloween and the very darkest aspects that go with it. —Nova

“Lavender Town” by Video Game Music Box (2018)

Originally a track from the Nintendo games Pokémon Red and Blue, the infamous in-game town this song serves as theme for is home to a graveyard of the dead creatures. Even more eerily, an urban legend purports high frequencies in the song caused a number of deaths after the games’ release. This music box version only amplifies the track’s creepiness. —Emma

“Laura Palmer’s Theme” by Angelo Badalamenti (1990)

There’s only one time of the year that’s truly fitting to watch David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks,” and that’s fall. I associate the eccentric series with two selections from its score: The show’s ethereal intro tune and the theme of Laura Palmer, the murdered high schooler that the series revolves around. “Laura Palmer’s Theme” excels at unease, starting out with an eerie drone alternating between three different notes before poignant piano builds to a swelling, melancholy crescendo until abruptly switching back to its dark origins. If one piece of music could serve as the universal theme for mystery, this would be it. —Nova

“Sis Puella Magica!” by Yuki Kaijura (2011)

This euphonious, floaty tune was composed for “Puella Magi Madoka Magica,” an anime about magical girls fighting witches. It conjures a more peaceful feeling: The image of a witch alone in a hut practicing spells comes to mind. However, the lyrics are a little darker, and the show’s storyline is far from lighthearted, which makes this song all the more haunting. —Emma

“Don’t Go Out” by Hall and Oates (1981)

When you think of Hall and Oates, the first emotion that comes to mind probably isn’t ‘unease.’ But this previously-unreleased outtake from their “Private Eyes” album conjures a deep, dark sound (even the saxophone solo is disconcerting) as its lyrics symbolize the deep-seated fear of a nation by warning of an ominous figure waiting out in the streets. —Nova