Halloween is a fantastically spooky time for both young and old alike. Whether you go trick or treating, host a costume party or just decorate for friends and neighbors to see, everyone loves to get in on the festivities. Choosing the right music for your festivities is easy and fun. Think of your favorite scary movie…what would it be like without a soundtrack? The intense music used for scary movies can make your heart pound and leave you at the edge of your seat. You can do the same for your guests if you take the time to seek out the music you need.
For a child’s costume party, you don’t want it to be too scary. Depending on the ages of the kids, choose music that will make it scary, but still fun. “The Monster Mash” has always been a big hit with the kids. Use soundtracks of different scary noises such as witches cackling or bubbling cauldrons. Even the sound of the wind blowing and creaking doors is enough to make the little ones get goose bumps.
Halloween Party by RaviN/Flickr
For an adult party you can go for the really creepy Halloween decor. If you have an organ in your house, put it in a secluded spot and have someone play strange music very loudly. You can use recorded CDs or other music to play music throughout the house. Have people hide throughout the house and occasionally let out a blood curdling scream. They can also be outside the house by a partially opened window, or behind trees to scare people as they approach.
Recordings that are backwards are always especially macabre. A good one to check out is “They’re Coming To Take Me Away”, or the backwards version, “Yawa Em Ekat Ot Gnimoc Er’yehT.” As a child I remember being scared to death by this in a darkened room.
Check out this article on using Sony Vegas to achieve your own scary effects.
Sometimes silence is the scariest music of all. Hearing nothing at all but perhaps heavy breathing, or a very loud clock ticking can make your heart race. And the evil laugh is always great for giving people the shivers. If you know someone who has the perfect skin crawling laugh, let them greet guests or just laugh from a darkened room. It’s enough to give anyone the shakes.
Outside The House
Scary house, by Ali West/Flickr
Perhaps you want to have a haunted walk. It won’t be the same without the perfect setting. Whether there are lots of trees to walk through, or a deserted path, make sure the sounds are there. An owl hooting, yowling cats, and don’t forget the chainsaw. Nothing makes your hair stand on end like being alone in the dark and hearing a chainsaw start up behind you.
Creepy laughter is always good in this setting as well. Ghosts moaning and the howling of wolves will keep you watching your back.
Set up speakers throughout the yard if you have a walkway where people walk to your house. This can be done for trick or treaters as well. It makes the advance to your door much spookier.
Sometimes the unexpected can be scarier than playing what your guests expect. For instance, a solemn flute player slowly playing a dirge on the flute, or maybe a record that just keeps skipping and skipping. The footsteps of someone running through the woods screaming and out of breath will make anyone move a little faster toward safety.
The options are endless to how you can incorporate the perfect music into your setting. Just look around you and think what would make it super scary to YOU, then have fun with it.
Jonathan McDonald is a choir director and loves to write content for holiday sites. He recommends www.christmassongs.org as a great reference for all Christmas song lyrics, including funny Christmas songs.