With Halloween fast approaching, cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, and ghost decorations are cropping up on dorm halls and storefront windows. Popular television stations play Halloween movies and friends scatter to assemble the perfect costumes. People take part in pumpkin carving, go on hayrides, and visit haunted houses, all in an attempt to embrace the admittedly consumerist holiday that is Halloween. But amid all the fright and festivity, where is all the good Halloween music?
Cue the obvious retort: “ Monster Mash.” This undisputed classic is a popular Halloween song, but this example is the exception and not the rule. Perhaps you could throw in the Ghostbusters theme song, the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, or Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but the repertoire is quite limited overall.
The dearth of Halloween music may be due, in part, to the abundance of Christmas music. Artists in the business of making holiday albums are painfully aware that the market demands Christmas music. (Rascal Flatts already released their seasonal album, The Greatest Gift of All, to Spotify last Friday.) The increase in holiday album production reflects “Christmas Creep,” a phenomenon in which businesses exploit consumerist Christmas spirit by marketing the season earlier and earlier. In doing so, businesses extend the purchasing and celebration period associated with the holiday. Just as stores begin selling Christmas decorations as early as October, artists begin releasing Christmas albums far before the official beginning of the season.
Halloween deserves much more celebration for being a fun and spooky holiday devoted to the imagination. While many artists’ “creepy” songs can be passed off as appropriate music for the season, there are few songs that can be deemed Halloween-specific. Until a day comes when musicians are dropping Halloween albums in August, Spotify’s thematic playlists will have to suffice.