Beyond The Monster Mash: What To Play At Your Halloween Party

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The Cramps in 1995

If you want to play Halloween-themed music at your party this weekend, you can either put “Monster Mash” on repeat or branch out into the world of psychobilly, 1950s horror songs and the Cramps. Yep, you’re definitely going to need the Cramps.  Here are five songs you should incorporate into whatever ghastly trick or treat plans you have up your sleeve this year.

1. “Graveyard Rock,” by Tarantula Ghoul

Portland, Ore.’s campy Halloween vixen Tarantula Ghoul (played by an actress named Suzanne Waldron) hosted a local House of Horror television show in the late 1950s. She also released two songs, “King Kong” and “Graveyard Rock.” The latter is surprisingly catchy; it’s like an eerie version of “Rockin’ Robin.”

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2. “Jack the Ripper,” by Screaming Lord Sutch

Before the Misfits, before the Cramps, there was Screaming Lord Hutch and his diabolical tribute to Britain’s most famous serial killer.  Even though it’s nearly 50 years old, this 1963 song is still one of the creppier Halloween tunes out there. Just look at Lord Sutch’s pallid face as he skulks around the audience searching for victims.

3. “Riboflavin Flavored, Non Carbonated, Poly-Unsaturated Blood,” by Don Hinson & the Rigamorticians

Las Vegas DJ Don Hinson cut a record in 1964 called Monster Dance Party that, well, included a lot of monster-themed dance songs perfect for a party. But the novelty album’s stand-out track turned out to be a slower number called “Riboflavin Flavored, Non Carbonated, Poly-Unsaturated Blood,” about imitation blood created for vampires who found themselves without “fresh necks to bite.” This song is a bit dated; if it were recorded today it would probably be called “Locally grown, free-range organic gluten-free blood (with ginseng).”

4. “I Was a Teenage Werewolf,” by the Cramps

A good Halloween playlist will always contain several songs by the Cramps. There’s “Goo Goo Muck,” about a young man who turns into some sort of gooey muck. There’s “Zombie Dance,” a smart punk number about a zombie dance party where “nobody moves” and “they do ‘the swim’ face down in the zombie pool.” But the part-punk, part-psychobilly outfit’s best Halloween song is their 1980 number “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” inspired by the 1957 cult film by the same name. Think being a teenager is hard? Try going through high school with braces on your fangs. “No one understood me,” moans singer Lux Interior. “All my teeth were so long.”

5. “Vampira,” by Bobby Bare

Bobby Bare recorded this 1958 county tune about Vampira, Maila Nurmi’s creepy, campy lady vampire character featured in several 1950s television shows and movies, including Ed Wood’s famously terrible film Plan 9 From Outer Space. It will go perfectly with all of those Goo Goo Clusters in your trick-or-treat basket.

For more Halloween songs, check out our Spotify playlist here.

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