In hon­our of Hal­loween, Jim Reyno takes a look at some chill­ing, creepy — and fun — musical mo­ments through the years.

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Scari­est al­bum cover: Black Sab­bath, Black Sab­bath (1970). Looks like the Blair Witch posed for an al­bum cover. I re­mem­ber see­ing this in a mall in Hal­i­fax when I was a kid — it haunted me all the way to the food court.

When a bal­lad isn’t a bal­lad,

part 1: Elvis Costello, Ali­son (1977). Costello has de­nied it, but the song could eas­ily be in­ter­preted as a lover plot­ting the mur­der of his newly mar­ried ex: “I think some­body bet­ter put out the big light.” And, of course, the cho­rus: “Ali­son, I know this world is killing you / Oh Ali­son, my aim is true.” Great vo­cal, though!

When a bal­lad isn’t a bal­lad,

part 2: The Po­lice, Every Breath You Take (1983). The brood­ing, bass-driven song was a mas­sive hit, top­ping the charts in five coun­tries — in­clud­ing this one. Mis­in­ter­preted by many as a love song, Sting told The In­de­pen­dent in 1993: “It sounds like a com­fort­ing love song. I didn’t re­al­ize at the time how sin­is­ter it is. I think I was think­ing of Big Brother, sur­veil­lance and con­trol.” I guess. “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be watch­ing you.” Cue the re­strain­ing or­der.

Peace of­fer­ing?: Ozzy Os­bourne gets hun­gry and hor­rific at a 1981 record-la­bel event. In maybe the most in­fa­mous mo­ment in mod­ern mu­sic his­tory, a drunk Os­bourne bit the heads off — not one — but two doves. The orig­i­nal plan was for Ozzy to re­lease three doves af­ter a short speech, as a sym­bolic peace of­fer­ing to ex­ec­u­tives at Epic Records. Who knew zom­bies could dance?: Michael Jack­son’s Thriller video (1983). An event. Ev­ery­one wanted to see this when it came out, whether they ad­mit­ted it or not (I didn’t). A ground­break­ing 14 min­utes of chore­ographed, mock-hor­ror funk. The funk of 40,000 years, ac­cord­ing to Vin­cent Price.

Howl like you mean it: War­ren Zevon, Were­wolves of Lon­don (1978). Recorded with John McVie and Mick Fleet­wood from Fleet­wood Mac … but who cares? Let’s get to the cho­rus: “Aaoooooo! Were­wolves of Lon­don! Aaoooooo!”

The sweet spot: The Strangeloves, I Want Candy (1965). Who doesn’t want candy? It’s Hal­loween! This sweet song in­cor­po­rates the Bo Did­dley beat and has been cov­ered by many over the years, in­clud­ing Bow Wow Wow in 1982. The new wave band’s ver­sion was in­cluded on the sound­track for the 2004 film Napoleon Dy­na­mite, which is still a great source for Hal­loween cos­tumes. #vote4pe­dro

Time Warp for­ever: The Rocky Hor­ror Pic­ture Show (1975). If Napoleon Dy­na­mite is a great source for Hal­loween cos­tumes, this campy, mu­sic-crammed clas­sic is the mother ship.

Witchy Women: Ea­gles, Witchy Woman (1972); Fleet­wood Mac, Rhiannon (1975); Kate Bush, Wak­ing the Witch (1985). Don Hen­ley sings about a raven­haired, ruby-lipped se­duc­tress with sparks fly­ing from her fin­ger­tips. Ste­vie Nicks tells of a cat­like woman who is the dark­ness, but just might take you to heaven. Bush’s tale is a har­row­ing ac­count of a woman ac­cused of be­ing a witch by a priest and the lo­cal “good peo­ple.” Any­way you look at it — dou­ble, dou­ble toil and trou­ble.

Mar­i­lyn Man­son: Self-ex­plana­tory. Man­son’s per­sona is an up­dated ver­sion of …

Leave a light on: Alice Cooper, Wel­come to My Night­mare (1975): The golf-lov­ing shock rocker takes lis­ten­ers through the night­mares of a child. Known for his gory stage shows, Cooper re­leased a se­quel in 2011 (Wel­come 2 My Night­mare).

It’s a deal!: Vir­tu­oso vi­o­lin­ist Nic­colò Pa­ganini (1782-1840) and blues icon Robert John­son (19111938) are among those mu­si­cians ru­moured to have made a deal with the devil to ad­vance their art.

There, there … : The Rolling Stones, Sym­pa­thy for the Devil (1968): Lu­cifer con­fesses his sins in this clas­sic kick­off track to the Beggars Ban­quet al­bum.

That’s one hot fid­dler: Char­lie Daniels Band, The Devil Went Down to Ge­or­gia (1979). Satan picked on the wrong guy when he chal­lenged Johnny to a fid­dling con­test. Af­ter Johnny wins, he calls the devil a “son of a bitch.” Now that’s just rude.

AAAAAAHHHHHH!: The shower scene in Al­fred Hitch­cock’s Psy­cho (1960). It’s been out­gored thou­sands of times since, but the mur­der of Mar­ion Crane (por­trayed by Janet Leigh) in the shower still wins for drama, ten­sion and that un­for­get­table sound­track, com­posed by Bernard Her­rmann. The high-pitched shrieks from the string sec­tion echo the thrusts of the knife.

Stay off the ice: Kate Bush, Un­der Ice (1985). Bush’s chill­ing, first-per­son ac­count of a skater fall­ing through ice into a lake stays with you. The choppy, string­like syn­the­siz­ers sound like a skater’s strides … un­til they stop. Wak­ing the Witch and Un­der Ice are both from Bush’s al­bum Hounds of love.

THE Hal­loween es­sen­tial: Bobby (Boris) Pick­ett and the Cryp­tKick­ers, Mon­ster Mash (1962). Christ­mas gets Irv­ing Ber­lin; Hal­loween gets Bobby (Boris) Pick­ett. Mon­ster Mash is the all­time All Hal­lows’ stan­dard. Who doesn’t know at least the cho­rus to this song? Makes me want to slip on a plas­tic mask, grab my pil­low case and hit the streets for some trick-or-treat­ing.


The late King of Pop Michael Jack­son danced with zom­bies in 1983’s ground­break­ing, 14-minute Thriller video.


Some of Mar­i­lyn Man­son’s tunes ought to get you into the Hal­loween spirit.

Janet Leigh in the shower

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