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Halloween is a scintilatingly spooky time for 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.
And one way of really amping the holiday atmosphere is with music and with frightening, classic sound effects.
Choosing the right music for your festivities is easy and fun. Here’s how to get that haunting atmosphere – and get those screams!
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 very definitely Halloween-ish, but still fun.
“The Monster Mash” has always been a big hit with the kids. So are funny tunes like “Purple People Eater” and classics such as “Ghostbusters.”
For sound effects, 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 a much bigger “creepy” factor. For instance, if you have an organ in your house or a piano that could use some tuning, put it in a secluded spot and have someone play strange music very loudly.
You can also use recorded CDs. Have them playing throughout the party. How about an adult-scale Halloween music mix? Or truly chilling sound effects?
You can get some friends in on the sound effect action, too. 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.
For party music, try a compilation that includes “Dragula,” “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and other rock classics.
Outside The House
Scary house, by Ali West/Flickr
Perhaps you want to have a haunted walk. It’s easier than you think – it all starts with 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. And of course, 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.