Halloween is quite probably the geekiest of the mainstream holidays. Everyone dresses up in costumes and pretends to be someone else for a while. Isn’t that what most of us geeks wish we could do (and some actually do) every day? Even the “traditional” Halloween music has its geeky elements — vampires, werewolves, purple people eaters, that sort of thing. Bo-ring and played out! But can it get even geekier? Of course it can! I’ve compiled a list of a few Halloween-themed songs that have some geeky element beyond just the content to get you started creating your own playlist.
1. “Voodoo Lady” by Ween
I have to credit my wife with realizing that this one was a perfect Halloween song. It’s the reason for the title of this article (which she also suggested). Hey, maybe she used her own voodoo on me to get me to put this on the list!
2. “Bad Things” by Jace Everett
It’s the theme song from True Blood. If that doesn’t qualify it as geeky, I don’t know what does. Plus it’s a good song. I know I always sing along during the opening credits of the show.
3. “Nature Trail to Hell” by “Weird Al” Yankovic
A song for a horror movie that never actually existed. In 3-D, no less. And it’s by “Weird Al,” king of the parody (although this one is one of his originals). I recently downloaded the album In 3-D from eMusic and was surprised how well it holds up. And so this song makes the list.
4. “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo
This one always reminds me of Nearly Headless Nick’s deathday party in the Harry Potter books. Except this party’s much more vivacious (pun intended). And any band fronted by composer Danny Elfman and whose name used to be The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo certainly qualifies as geeky.
5. “RE: Your Brains” and 6. “Skullcrusher Mountain” by Jonathan Coulton
If it seems surprising that I’ve never mentioned JoCo in this column before, it’s only because I’m eagerly awaiting his new album produced by John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants. Meanwhile, here are two of my favorites by him that seem quite appropriate for Halloween.
7. “It Is Pitch Dark” by MC Frontalot
Grues are certainly not a traditional monster associated with Halloween, but they really should be. In a way, they’re like the Reavers in Firefly (before the movie, Serenity) — they hide in the dark and eat you when you are least expecting them. Amazing how scary a mere text adventure could be, before we had even 8-bit graphics (no, I wasn’t really scared of grues, either — that was sarcasm…).
8. “Ziggy Stardust” by Seu Jorge (originally by David Bowie)
Spiders from Mars? Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty Halloween-y. And sung in Portuguese? If nothing else, it’s linguistically geeky. Plus it’s from the Life Aquatic soundtrack.
9. “Zombie Apocalypse” by Kirby Krackle
From Kirby Krackle’s first album, this song is a nice, catchy ukulele tune about the end of the world by zombie apocalypse. In the video, pay attention and you’ll see tons of zombie and other geeky references. My favorite is the t-shirt change of the friend who comes for a visit.
10. “Psycho Killer” by The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (or George Hrab or Moxy Früvous or even the original Talking Heads version)
Halloween-y? Check — it’s a song about a psycho killer. And what could be geekier than an entire band made up of people playing ukulele (I had no idea there were so many types!) I also think I’ve given enough cover version suggestions to make it even geekier.
11. “Town Meeting Song” by The Polyphonic Spree (from Nightmare Before Christmas)
If you’ve never seen the Polyphonic Spree perform, it’s so worth it. They really put on a great show, as seen in the video above (despite the poor quality). Maybe the “Town Meeting Song” isn’t the best Halloween track on the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, but the Spree’s version certainly makes it awesome!
12. “Airship Pirate” by Abney Park
Actually, Abney Park’s steampunk album Lost Horizons by itself makes great Halloween music. I chose this one for two reasons: one, it’s my favorite on the album, and two, pirates! Arrr!
13. “Curse of the Crystal Skull” by Dr. Steel
Dr. Steel’s steampunk albums also work for Halloween. This song was released before the fourth Indiana Jones movie so there’re no nuked fridges mentioned, but it’s a pretty awesome song nonetheless.