Ah, the endless quest for kid-appropriate songs that aren’t, well, totally obnoxious. Because really, how often is “kids music” something parents can groove to, too? Not often. Luckily, October is that special time of year when the kid-parent balance of holiday tunes lines up just right. Maybe it’s because of the nostalgic value of creepy Halloween songs; maybe it’s just because some spooky music actually rocks (hi, Michael Jackson). Either way, cheesy monster-themed music is pretty much amazing no matter how old you are.
Whether you want tunes to accompany your candy handouts or are planning a fun Halloween bash, get ready to set the atmosphere in your house with our picks of the top 18 Halloween party songs for kids — that you won’t hate.
3. “Monster Mash” — Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers
You can’t have a Halloween party without including this song in the mix. It was actually No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 1962 and has remained a Halloween favorite ever since — or should we say it’s a graveyard smash?
4. “Thriller” — Michael Jackson
The ’80s were a gold mine for great Halloween songs — and of course, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” tops the list. Tell your kids that before Twilight, True Blood or the The Walking Dead, this greatness was what we had. Although the video is too scary for younger kids, teens will probably get a kick out of the now-antiquated effects that turn MJ into a werewolf. This song is a must on your Halloween playlist.
5. “Ghostbusters” — Ray Parker Jr.
The Ghostbusters theme song, sung by Ray Parker, Jr., has become a Halloween staple since the movie of the same name hit theaters in 1984. (It stars Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, which means we don’t need to tell you it would also make a fun Halloween family movie night.)
6. “A Nightmare on my Street” — D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
Remember when Will Smith was a rapper? If you are a kid of the ’80s, you will totally remember this song — and you will probably know all the lyrics, as well. Your teen may not know exactly who Freddy Krueger is, but they hopefully won’t mind when you sing along to this catchy tune based on the 1988 hit movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
Next up: “I Want Candy”
A version of this story was originally published in October 2013.