They called rock and roll the Devil’s music when it first hit the scene in the 1950s. Ever since, all popular music—whether it’s metal, hip-hop, or techno—has occasionally been seen through that spectrum, often because musicians have danced with the devil himself. Sometimes, it’s done as a lark, sometimes it’s deadly serious, but in either case the end result is the same: killer music for a Halloween playlist.
Halloween songs roughly fall into two camps, both equally appealing: they’re either songs that sound frightening, or they’re ridiculous romps. Blending the terrifying with the campy is part of the appeal of the season, of course. The novelties take the edge off the terror, while the truly frightening songs offer a reminder that evil can lurk in the heart of man. For your Halloween party playlist consideration, The A.V. Club has rounded up 40 songs that touch upon both of these emotions: choose whatever flavor you like for your own outrageous, spooky bash.