A Halloween party without a killer (pun intended) soundtrack simply lacks panache. You want to give guests a playlist they can really sink their teeth into, whether you’re queuing up the music at your annual office shindig or trying to creep out your closest friends at your costume party.
But knowing where to begin can be just as terrifying as the tracks you’re trying to find. There’s certainly no shortage of fun and fear-inspiring music floating around, and the internet has many dark corners. Don’t worry, though — we did the digging for you.
Check out these seven spooky playlists you’ll actually want to play, sorted by the style of party you plan to host. Trick or treat? You be the judge. [Cue maniacal laughter.]
1. The office party
The last thing you want to happen at your annual office Halloween party is for it to get any more awkward. Keep things light and fun with a playlist full of nostalgic favorites.
2. The creepy dinner party
You don’t want your guests screaming across the dinner table — unless of course they’re screaming in terror. We kid, we kid… kinda. Cue up these haunting ambient songs to leave your guest feeling delightfully unsettled throughout dinner.
3. The kids party
While it’s perfectly appropriate to scare the living daylights out of your closest friends, you don’t exactly want to scar your children for life with a poor choice of Halloween tracks. Give them this upbeat mix of silly and only slightly spooky songs instead.
4. The costume party
It’s OK to be a little cheesy when choosing a soundtrack for your costume party. In fact, it’s part of the fun. This playlist doesn’t take itself too seriously, which will help you forget about the fact you’re a grown-ass person dressed like a pirate.
For this party, you want people on their feet, but not running toward the nearest exit. An eclectic mashup of hot contemporary songs with decidedly dark undertones will ensure your gala isn’t totally lifeless.
6. The scary party
Whether you have your living room set up like a haunted house or simply plan to jump out and delight in guests’ blood-curdling screams as they enter, you’re going to want a suitably intense soundtrack to help you set the horrific mood. These songs should do the trick.
7. The vibey party
You know what we’re talking about, right? It’s somewhere between the plucky adult dance party and the one where you want to send everyone away with night terrors. You don’t necessarily want to overtly frighten anyone, but you want the eerie vibe of the evening to linger long after the party ends.
A version of this article was originally published in October 2017.