If you’re an Elvira fan like me, than you’re no doubt at least tangentially aware of her Halloween albums.
There are a number of them, the bulk of which feature the mistress herself singing on her own original tracks. They’re pretty great.
What you may notice however, is that while these Halloween albums feature lots of allusions to the holiday, Elvira herself only participates in songs tangentially related to Halloween itself. What gives?
If you’re like me and you administer a Halloween themed music blog, you may have even dug deep enough to find the many references to an actual Halloween song she sings called Trick or Treat. There’s even a couple of clips on YouTube of her performing the track. So where’s the damn song?
Who knows exactly, as it seems it was never officially released on any of her albums. However, The Shindig dug deeper still and purchased an episode of The Dr. Demento Show from October of 1983 that featured Cassandra Peterson as co-host.
As you’ll hear in the clip, The Doc mentions Elvira’s forthcoming album will be including original tunes, one of which they preview on the show, our white buffalo Trick or Treat. Why this never came to fruition is a Halloween legend of limited and miopic interest.
This strange dusty Halloween relic was written by Cy Coben and originally recorded by Rosemary Clooney (yeah, George’s Ma Dukes) back in 1950.
No disrespect to Mama Clooney but the Shindig prefers this version from 1952 recorded by Fran Allison and Ollie Fame. It’s a little sillier, a bit more up-tempo and generally more fun to listen to, in our opinion.
I always say “our.” Why do I do this? Who exactly is the “we” in this equation? I’m the only one here, so who the hell am I referring to, exactly? I think this is perhaps burgeoning psychosis, but I digress.
Looking online it seems a lot of people have memories of learning and singing this tune in grade school around Halloween.
I have no such memory.
In fact, I have no memories attached to this song whatsoever. I don’t even know when I first heard it, where I heard it or why it was even being played. It’s just been on my computer (and the playlist) for some years now, defying my temporal lobe.
I enjoy this song a great deal, though. It makes me happy when I hear it. It’s a nice little Halloween ditty that’s fun to play.
I think I may be the only one who feels this way however, for it’s a weird number that’s always sure to turn a head or two in the party crowd:
Angry Listener : “What the fuck is this nonsense? Is this a Christmas song or some shit?”
Me: “No, but it does kinda sound like one, huh? It’s just an old Halloween song about pumpkins. It’s for kids, I think.”
Angry Listener:“Well why the fuck are we listening to it then?”
Me: “Cause it’s Halloween and we’re at a Halloween party and she’s singing about a pumpkin that’s all stoked it gets to be a Jack-O-Lantern instead of a pie. Why else?”
Angry Listener: “Oh Yeah? Well this song punkin’ sucks. In fact, it can suck my punkins. How bout that?”
Me: “Go suck your own punkins, pal. Fran Allison is a sweatheart, you hedonistic dildo!”
This exact conversation (or an entirely less confrontational version of it) has happened every year with someone listening to this playlist since Punky Punkin’s inclusion.
Maybe this will happen at your party.
Or maybe it won’t because you wouldn’t be caught dead playing this kind of bullshit at your Halloween party.
That’s fine. In fact, that’s exactly what The Shindig is here for. To be a convenient one-stop hovel of Halloween hits where we talk about and provide Halloween song suggestions you can peruse or listen to or download and add (or not add) to your own party playlist.
You can’t honesty be expected to want to add all of them. Nor could you be expected to even listen to all of them much less like all of them. We wouldn’t begin to presume such things. But they are all here, ripe for the picking this harvest season.
But seriously though, if you don’t like this song you’re probably an asshole.
Let’s just cap off this 80’s metal block with perhaps the greatest 80’s metal Halloween track ever recorded.
If a band named Helloween didn’t have a song called Halloween, I might have to sit down with them and have real frank discussion. Fortunately, that’s not necessary thanks to this metal overture to the Eve of All Hallo’s.
Originally something like 13 minutes, I use the edited single version on the Shindig for the sake of movement. No one at your party has time for an 13 minute cautionary epic that finds time to include Charlie Brown, Linus and the Great Pumpkin. Nothing’s lost however as the song still remains a balls-to-the-wall heavy metal Halloween harangue and is essential party playlist material
Check out this single they released. Is there anything more Halloweeny-awesome then cutting your vinyl into the shape of a pumpkin and fuck all to everyone’s turntables?
This is the back image, with its sexy, high heeled and stockinged Halloween harlot leap frogging over Jack-O-Lantern. Yep, everything checks out back here.
It housed the edited version, while the Jack-O-Lantern face held it down on the front with the 13min original. I love this thing. It’s one of the coolest vinyls I’ve ever seen.
Curiously and for no apparent reason, the edited version begins with a few notes from the old standard London Bridge, via a pan flute or some such instrument. Completely random selection? Perhaps not.
Fans of Halloween 3 (and that should be all of you) may wonder if the intro is a nod to The Silver Shamrock song, itself just London Bridge with different lyrics. And it’s possible, as the 1987 album Keeper of the Seven Keys Pt. 1 post dates Season of the Witch by 5 years, plenty of time for the German heshers to throw down referentially.
And apparently they did, according to Metal-Archives.com anyway.
User “hells_unicorn” says
“Helloween formed and began with a concept inspired by the 1982 Halloween sequel “The Season of the Witch”, one which enjoys a rather comfortable place in my library of old VHS tapes. To this day fans chant the famous Silver Shamrock jingle when the band takes the stage, as the melody can be found in full or fragmented form on most of their studio albums.”
Well, there you have it.
Appropriately the Shindig has the Silver Shamrock song lead this fucker in.
So, do as Helloween instructs, perhaps ominously considering the reference:
“Grab your mask and don’t be late.”
But beware, cause
“in the streets on Halloween the spirits will arise. Make your choice is hell or paradise.”
So, what’s it gonna be, Weeners?
For Halloween, we treat you with Halloween from Helloween.
Let’s just 80’s metal it right into Halloween. Whaddya say, Weeners?
Much like Track 110 (Halloween by Halloween) here’s another titular band-anthem from a different band named after our haunted holiday.
That fact that 2 bands like that exist is a little bizarre. What’s next, Samhain by Samhain?
Well it’s not the next song, does that count? But yeah, that exists too and is represented on The Shindig. Maybe we should make room for another category “bands just named after this fucking holiday.”
You only get this type of shit with Halloween. Don’t see too many bands running around named “Christmas” or “Yom Kippur” (both of which actually exist, for those of you playing at home.)
But I digress.
Atlanta-based thrash-metal pioneers Hallows Eve even have a similar tale to the aforementioned Halloween. Releasing some hard hitting early albums but never really gaining much notoriety, they dismantled due to heavy lineup changes only to reemerged after years of inactivity.
I became familiar with them (perhaps like many horror fans) through the inclusion of their song D.I.E. on the Black Roses soundtrack. Thankfully these guys produced a Band-Anthem and sealed their Shindig fate.
Can we take a moment here to talk about this album cover for a sec? Look at that fucking thing. It’s incredible. It looks like you just started a metal band with those 2 burnouts from Mr. Finn’s Chemistry class then asked that hesher kid with the peach fuzz mustache to draw you this shit in a notebook at lunch. And then he turned around handed you the coolest fucking drawing you’d ever seen in your life.
“Hallows Eve bro. Look at that shit.”
In an apparently unrelated aside, I’ll say that Brits don’t care much for Halloween. It’s not really a big deal over there – don’t really give shit, don’t see the fuss.
However, they due refer to it as “All Hallo’s.” So what better samples to integrate than these from Hammer’s Horror swan song To the Devil a Daughter.
Since it takes place around All Hallo’s, we get some nice satany Hallows Eve banter.
Coming off their debut album Tales of Terror, here’s Hallows Eve with Hallows Eve.
And just remember, 98% of so-called Satanists are nothing but pathetic freaks who get their kicks out of dancing naked in freezing church yards and use The Devil as an excuse for getting some sex.
It’s time once again Weeners for the King of Halloween himself, Mr. King Diamond.
Sure, this song isn’t really about Halloween or even Trick or Treating for that matter, but the King is playing a game called Trick or Treat and damn it if that’s not good enough for the Ole Shindig.
The ever theatrical Diamond’s catalog consists mostly of concept albums, as the majority tell very detailed and horrific stories. Why no one has turned one of these into a movie yet is beyond me. There’s a couple of real good ones.
In particular, the gem from which our next tracks hails, 1996’s The Graveyard.
The Graveyard tells the story of an unnamed King Diamond character who is wrongfully committed to a sanitarium by Mayor McKenzie. Seems King used to work for the him and one night happened upon the The Mayor molesting his own daughter. Yikes.
So the Mayor cooked up a story and tossed King Diamond into the meat grinder.
After years in Blackhill Sanitarium losing his mind, King kills S nurse, escapes and takes refuge in The Graveyard, where he begins to plots his revenge. He also murders some other people and becomes obsessed with the idea of a person’s soul living inside its decapitated head forever, but mostly it’s the revenge he’s interested in.
And that’s where we join our story…
King has kidnapped the Mayor’s daughter Lucy and buried her alive in one of seven graves. Mayor McKenzie has 3 tries to discover which grave is holding Lucy or he will murder them both…
::my best John Kassir impression::
…in a little game the King is calling…Treat Or Treat…yeeehahahahaaaaa.
If you’ve been following The Shindig for any reasonable amount of time then you may have noticed I hardly ever mention A Nightmare Before Christmas. In fact, aside from that post-Halloween gif I reblogged last year, I’ve never mentioned it before. There’s a couple of good reason for this.
One of them is that there is certainly no shortage of love shown to Tim Burton and Henry Selick’s 1993 stop motion classic around the web, especially within the Halloween circles this blog runs. I’ll wager you could recreate the film pretty handedly from just the gifs on Tumblr alone. Everyone knows it, everyone loves it. No sense in beating a dead horse, the way I see it.
More directly though, it has never been a movie I typically associate with Halloween. Sure, Jack The Pumpkin King, Halloweentown and all of that but for me the film has always had a decidedly Christmas air to it. Fuck, the word Christmas appears in its title. That’s an automatic disqualification from any Halloween movie list as far as The Shindig is concerned.
However, as everyone is well aware, the first 10 minutes or so before Jack happens into Christmastown are about as Halloweeny as as it gets, aided in no small part by this fantastic song from Halloween Hero and Shindig All-Star Danny Elfman.
It’s one of the most Halloweeny songs ever committed to film or record period and any Halloween playlist would be remiss not to include it. And whenever that claim comes down the pipe, The Shindig abides.
Referential hits, spooky themes and inclusive Rock ‘N Roll are all well and good, but nothing really captures the spirit of The Shindig quite like a straight up Halloween jam.
And psychobilly spooksters Nekromantix (a name which itself is referential) have just the jam the mad doctor ordered.
Trick Or Treat is the kind of no frills Halloween gem that’s just kinda toss onto an innocuous album because well, that’s just how they roll. “Halloween? Sure, we gotta Halloween song. Here ya go”
Full of nostalgia and rubber remembrance for the Halloweens of our youth, this tune is essentially all about the costumes; picking out the right one and having a great time doing it, all in the spirit of trick or treating. And just like any good Halloweeners, they’ll even catalog passed costumes and the myriad of ideas they have for upcoming costumes as well.
So come on Weeners, whadda you gonna be this year?
What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a song called Halloween by a band called Halloween? Sounds like a triple threat to me.
But who the hell is Halloween? It’s a great question, one I found myself asking just a few weeks ago.
Known to the Motor City as Detroit’s Heavy Metal Horror Show, Halloween didn’t find a whole lot of notoriety outside of their niche in early 80’s metal. Hampered by line-up changes, delayed album releases and shelved efforts, Halloween just never seemed to gain any traction.
However they’ve had numerous reunions over the years, re-releases and they even still play Halloween shows to this day. Hell, you could probably go see them right now in Detroit. They played last year, and I think they’re doing it again this year as well.
All I know is that we just found these guys and overnight they became Shindig All-Stars. How a band called Halloween somehow slipped through the cracks we may never know, but like all hidden Halloween gems, these treat don’t escape our tricking grasp for long. And with songs like Halloween Night, Trick Or Treat and Tales From The Crypt you can be sure you haven’t heard the last of Halloween.
So, let’s welcome the boys of Detroit’s Heavy Metal Horror Show into the fold with a ceremonious Hallo’s Eve initiation, aided in part by that creepy old druid lady from Halloween 6, and Tommy Doyle of course, overacted to perfection by a very young Paul Rudd.
Halloween, take your rightful place amongst your brothers with all the other hallowed horrors of our Halloween halls.
On Halloween, here’s Halloween performing…Halloween.
Great Pumpkins are few and far between, so to stick two so close together is indicative of the kind of block where in here toward the center of our hallowed playlist.
At last count there were four total; two tried and true Halloween Pumpkins, one Monster Song Pumpkin and another by way of Devilish Track. That’s the bases covered, doubly so in that The Monster Squad is also a Monster Rap.
This one though, this one is the gold standard. This is the one which inspired the category. This is the one by which all the others are measured, and even they fall short of the Shindiggery on display here. If the playlist had its own theme, it would probably be this song.
It’s not necessarily may favorite song on the Shindig (though it would definitely be up there), nor do I mean to suggest it is the best, but it’s so exemplary of what this playlist is all about that it beggars belief. Horror Movies, the music from them, the referential Rock ‘N Roll about them and of course Halloween, all succinctly served in a 4 minute sonic stew.
Is it any surprise that such a song should come from 45 Grave? Not to this guy it doesn’t, and when i first heard it back in 2010 my jaw dropped and I immediately shouted “Holy shit does this song need to be on the playlist.”
But because nothing could be that perfect, naturally, there’s a catch. In this case (and it’s perhaps a bit of my own prejudice rising to the surface) it is the caveat that the song is that comes from the the Night of the Demons remake. Which is a solid soundtrack, to be sure, but a terrible remake. Moreover, it was a terrible movie in its own right. However. as a remake to one of my favorite Halloween movies of all time, it’s even worse.
So, to balance out that factor, I’ve book-ended it with samples from the original, because, how could I not? This song could have been on the original soundtrack. It should have been. So let’s just pretend it was.
And with that, 45 Grave and I invite you to drink, get stoned and party all night, for the demons come alive on Halloween.
Is it the ultimate Halloween song? Well, in certain circles, I’m sure it is. While The Shindig isn’t quite sold on its top billing, there are a few things we are sure of:
It’s one hell of a Halloween jam.
It’s been on The Shindig since its very first 700mg CD incarnation.
It belongs on every Halloween party playlist ever created. Period. I don’t even care if you don’t like The Misfits. Include it.
It’s easily one of the 5 greatest Halloween songs ever recorded.
Danzig’s trip down memory lane hits all the high points of Halloween; pumpkin faces, brown leaves, kids trick or treating in costumes, candy apples and razor blades. Plus some other stuff about dead cats and burning bodies hanging from poles.
Now, while I’ve certainly never encountered such as this on any Hallow’s Eve I’ve ever lived through, that’s not to say they aren’t Halloween staples, especially not for Glenn Danzig. Guy remembers Halloween a little different than you and me. Or guy just parties a little harder. Or hell, maybe that’s the sort of thing that happened on October 31st in Lodi New Jersey during the 60’s, I dunno. Whatever the reason, it’s a pretty Halloweeny ass image none-the-less.
So, let us enter the triple digits, and kick off this, a most grand and seasonal block of Halloween Shindig with The Misfits and Halloween.