Halloween Show Tunes Playlist
It’s that time of year again when the streets are filled with ghosts, vampires, witches, and mummies. That’s right, folks. It’s Halloween time!
Who doesn’t love guilt-free candy and dress-up parties? Halloween at Theatre Haus is always set to deliver a devilishly good time. And this year is no exception.
In preparation for the big night, we have collated a terrifically spooky playlist that’s a real (trick or) treat. If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration for your Halloween costume this year, let these songs give you some musically monstrous ideas. Dust off those dancing shoes and get ready to boogie with the Boogeyman.
Happy Halloween everyone!
‘Halloween’ – ‘Be More Chill’
What better way to begin a Halloween playlist than with the appropriately titled ‘Halloween’ from ‘Be More Chill’?
Opening the second act of the show, the song is a celebration of the holiday in all its raucous forms. Jeremy Heere, under the guidance of his Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor (or SQUIP), attends a Halloween party with his classmates at cool guy Jake’s house. It is a party where anything goes, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
‘Be More Chill’ has become a favourite among young theatre fans for its exploration of Gen Z issues and culture. It is fitting therefore that Halloween, a popular event for people young and old, is given prime placement within the musical. As the song suggests, you can be whoever you want when you’re in costume, just as long as you’re having fun.
Grab your Jason mask, your sexy dog outfit, and your matching BBF backpacks (boyf and reinds), it’s time to celebrate Halloween!
‘Sweet Transvestite’ – ‘The Rocky Horror Show’
No Halloween season is complete without a little Rocky Horror in the mix!
Since its debut on the West End in June 1973, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ has been a cult hit. Its popularity only grew after the release of the film adaptation two years later. Since its release, the characters have become a popular choice of costume for partakers of Halloween. Each character has its own legion of fans, but perhaps most iconic is the one and only Dr Frank-N-Furter.
Like much of the ‘Rocky Horror’s’ discography, ‘Sweet Transvestite’ offers audience members a look into the inner motivations of its characters – this one being of the doctor himself. Brought to life both on stage and screen by the indelible Tim Curry, Dr Frank-N-Furter is a character that is larger than life and simply, irrefutably, iconic.
Dust off those fish-net stockings. It’s time to make your friends shiver with antici-pation.
‘A Freak Like Me Needs Company’ – ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’
If you are having a debate with yourself about whether to dress up as a supervillain or someone from a Broadway show, the good news is that you can do both!
‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’, based on the Marvel character of the same name, swung onto Broadway in June 2011. With music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of U2 fame, the show ran for three years, captivating audiences with thrilling, musically-choreographed aerial stunts. It was the first time theatregoers were able to see their childhood superheroes and villains on the Broadway stage.
The Act II opener, ‘A Freak Like Me Needs Company’, is sung by one of Spidey’s most villainous nemeses, The Green Goblin. Originally lamenting about his loneliness, The Green Goblin comes up with a plan to change the DNA of other humans to create a legion of supervillain comrades. He and his “friends” will then take over New York, wreaking havoc for citizens and hoping to ensnare the arachnid-hero into their chaos.
Although ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ had a relatively short lifespan on Broadway, it still inspires fond memories in fans of theatre and comics alike. If you’re considering donning the green helmet (or even a certain Spidey suit) this Halloween, don’t forget that every supervillain needs an awesome entrance anthem.
‘Macavity: The Mystery Cat’ – ‘Cats’
From one villainous character to another; this one is a lot more… mysterious.
‘Cats’ is considered one of the shining jewels in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical theatre crown. Webber, inspired by T.S. Eliot’s 1939 poetry collection, ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’, developed the sung-through musical for the West End forty years ago. The show has received a plethora of accolades, most notably Laurence Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Musical in 1981 and 1983, respectively. It remains one of the longest running shows in history, and has spawned productions in many countries including Germany, Japan, and Australia.
While contemporary audiences may be more familiar with the Razzie award-winning 2019 film adaptation, ‘Cats’ nonetheless stands the testament of time within the theatre community. Its memorable characters and songs still evoke raw emotion in audiences around the globe, from joy to sadness to intrigue.
One song which hits the latter emotion particularly well is ‘Macavity: The Mystery Cat’. Introduced by the seductive Bombalurina, Macavity is a feline enigma – a “master criminal who can defy the law.” It is his mysterious persona that leaves audiences intrigued to know more about Macavity, making him the definitive cat burglar.
Feeling a little mysterious this Halloween season? Fashion a tail and cat ears for your costume and you’re sure to be the “hidden paw”.
‘My Friends’ – ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’
Stephen Sondheim, much like Andrew Lloyd Webber, has enjoyed an illustrious career as a composer of musical theatre. One of his most heralded accomplishments is particularly fitting for Halloween, ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’.
Another winner of Best Musical at the Tony and Laurence Olivier Awards (in 1979 and 1980, respectively), ‘Sweeney Todd’ has brought Victorian London to stages across the globe. It tells the surprisingly intimate story of Benjamin Barker, who has adopted the pseudonym Sweeney Todd, and his quest for revenge against Judge Turpin for destroying his family.
The quiet refrain of ‘My Friends’ comes early in the show when Todd is reunited with his beloved “friends”, his set of shaving blades. He is accompanied by the equally complex Mrs Lovett, who echoes his wish for connection, albeit with Todd rather than the blades. The song marks an important turning point in the show. It serves as the melodic inspiration for Todd’s lethal plan for vengeance.
‘Sweeney Todd’ provides the perfect inspiration for a paired costume. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can bake some pies for your friends – just stick to more traditional fillings.
‘Poison in My Pocket’ – ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’
Perhaps you’re in the mood to dress somewhat dapper this Halloween. If this is the case, one musical sure to inspire you is the Tony award-winning ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.’
Based upon the 1907 novel, ‘Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal’, the comedic musical ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ tells the story of Lord Montague ‘Monty’ D’Ysquith Navarro, Ninth Earl of Highhurst, and his greedy misdeeds. Wanting to gain the D’Ysquith family fortune and earldom, Monty plots the demise of the eight individuals in line before him.
‘Poison in My Pocket’ comes halfway through Act I of ‘A Gentleman’s Guide’. Monty plans to poison his next victims, Asquith D’Ysquith Jr and Miss Barley but misses his chance when they decide to go ice skating. Instead, Monty decides to change his tact, which results in him getting one step closer to his inheritance. While the concept may be macabre, Monty’s jolly demeanour and humorous recitations make “Poison in My Pocket’ a delightful theatrical experience.
If you happen to find a monocle or old pocket watch laying around the house, why not include them in your Halloween costume this year? You’ll be sure to be as smashing as the Ninth Earl of Highhurst.
‘The Music of the Night’ – ‘The Phantom of the Opera’
Arguably the most iconic Broadway-inspired Halloween costume must be that of the infamous Phantom.
‘The Phantom of the Opera’ needs no introduction. It is one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. Having run for well over 30 years, ‘Phantom’ reigns as the longest running show on Broadway and is the second longest running musical on the West End (only surpassed by ‘Les Miserables’.) It is difficult to pick just one song to highlight as integral to the story; however, for the purposes of this playlist, we have chosen the sensational ‘The Music of the Night’.
After The Phantom has brought his muse, Christine, down to his lair, he serenades her with his wish for her to sing only for him. With a soft, lulling melody, ‘The Music of the Night’ is a hauntingly beautiful song. Recognised as an ode to unrequited love, it remains one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most beloved songs.
The Phantom’s mask is an iconic symbol in musical theatre. If you want to serenade the night with your music, why not consider wearing another type of face mask this Halloween?
‘Dead Girl Walking’ – ‘Heathers: The Musical’
It’s okay to be a sweet tooth over Halloween. Plus, the good news is that you don’t have to go to the ‘Candy Store’ to get sugary treats over this holiday.
Based on the classic 1989 film of the same name, ‘Heathers’ tells the story of Veronica Sawyer, who has a love-hate relationship with the eponymous cool girl cliché. ‘Dead Girl Walking’ is Veronica’s first song openly deviating from the Heather group. After thwarting a cruel prank Heather was planning on Martha Dunnstock, Veronica is threatened with impending doom come Monday morning. Instead of wallowing in nerves, she decides to sneak into her crush JD’s bedroom to enjoy “her last meal on death row”.
‘Dead Girl Walking’ is decidedly risqué in its content and melody. Veronica chooses to liberate herself, finding happiness in her independence. Grab your best friends and have your preppy outfits ready – time for the girls to walk amongst the dead this Halloween!
‘The Ballad of Booth’ – ‘Assassins’
Like many musicals on this list, history plays an important part in the story of ‘Assassins’. Another show penned by the exemplary Steven Sondheim, ‘Assassins’ explores the lives and motivations of the men and women who attempted, successful or otherwise, to assassinate a U.S. president.
One of the most famous presidential assassins in U.S. history, John Wilkes Booth is known for bringing the demise of Abraham Lincoln in 1865. His duet with the Balladeer, ‘The Ballad of Booth’, recounts his “reasons” for shooting the 16th president of the United States. While Booth tries to justify his actions as being in the best interest of the country, the Balladeer counters his arguments as excuses, claiming he was simply acting out of personal grievance. Whatever his ultimate reason, ‘The Ballad of Booth’ is a lyrically decadent song, sure to get audiences thinking… and humming.
‘The Ballad of Booth’ excellently blends Western country music with historical recount. If you’re looking to spruce up your cowboy outfit this Halloween season, give this ballad a listen for some inspiration.
‘Be Prepared’ – ‘The Lion King’
For many of us, the first real scary moment we experienced within the world of entertainment was this scene from the legendary 1994 Disney film, ‘The Lion King’. Fast forward 27 years, and the scene – both on screen and on the stage – still manages to chill us to the bone.
Serving as Scar’s signature villain song, ‘Be Prepared’ offers the audience a warning of the destruction he is planning. Originally written for the animated film by Tim Rice and Elton John, the song has since taken on a life of its own thanks to its sinister rhythm and lyrics. Its inclusion in the Broadway musical has ensured the song’s legacy, often considered a climatic number within the first act. Much like the name Mufasa does for the hyena Shenzi, ‘Be Prepared’ never fails to induce tingles down the spine.
Halloween is a great holiday for nostalgia. What better way to celebrate the event than dress up as one of our childhood’s most conniving villains?
‘No Good Deed’ – ‘Wicked’
Sometimes being scary isn’t our intention. Sometimes it is how society views us that makes us appear scary or different. That is what protagonist Elphaba comes to learn throughout the hit musical, ‘Wicked’.
Although Elphaba has consistently tried to be “good”, she knows there is no way to change society’s prejudice against her. Instead, she embraces her wickedness during her emotionally-charged number, ‘No Good Deed’. Placed firmly within the climax of Act II, Elphaba laments her failed attempts to protect her loved ones – her sister, Nessa; her lover, Fiyero; and her teacher, Dr Dillamond. She knows that society has placed her in a box from which she cannot escape; therefore, she ultimately decides to become the Wicked Witch of the West.
‘No Good Deed’ is a particularly poignant number. Elphaba’s changing emotion throughout the song resonates within the lyrics and orchestration. It is considered a highlight within the production, and rightfully so.
‘Transylvania Mania’ – ‘Young Frankenstein’
“It’s Alive!” And having a maniacally good time.
Based on Mel Brooks’ classic 1974 comedy film of the same name, ‘Young Frankenstein’ is a musical love letter to the early horror movies of the 20th century. Adapting Brooks’ iconic wit and humour, the musical reimagines the story of Frankenstein for a new generation. With a rousing soundtrack and numerous one liners, it is hard to pick just one highlight from ‘Young Frankenstein’. However, for the purposes of this playlist, we have decided upon the closing number of Act I – ‘Transylvania Mania’.
Under the pretence of welcoming Frederick Frankenstein (Dr Victor Von Frankenstein’s grandson) to the village of Transylvania Heights, the townspeople try to investigate what he has been “cooking up” in his laboratory. Frederick and his team try to stall the villagers with this vaudevillian dance number while the infamous Monster escapes. It is a fun little closing number that is sure to leave audience members boogying along.
Frankenstein and his monster have always been a favourite dress up option for Halloween. Listening to ‘Transylvania Mania’ is a great idea if you’re looking to jazz up the costume. It is sure to make you a real “Funkenstein”.
‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ – ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’
While Peter Parker may be famous for being the web-slinging Spider-Man, theatre fans know that it is the Spider-Woman who really embraces the creepiness of her namesake creature.
‘Kiss of the Spider-Woman’, winner of Best Musical at the 47th Tony Awards, opened on the West End and Broadway in 1992 and 1993, respectively. Written for the stage by esteemed playwright Terence McNally, ‘Kiss of the Spider-Woman’ tells the story of a prisoner named Molina who spends his days daydreaming within his cell. While most of his fantasies are joyous escapes, there is one that scares him. That frightful thought is of Aurora (the eponymous Spider-Woman), who kills men with her kiss.
Aurora is quite elusive throughout the musical, only presenting herself sparingly. However, when she sings her self-referential song deep within the second act, audiences are given a glimpse into just how intimidating she can be. Laced with sultry vocals and a seductive hiss, ‘Kiss of the Spider-Woman’ is masterful in its ability to create an unsettling, yet intriguing atmosphere. Proceed with caution though, her kiss is deadly.
‘Kiss of the Spider-Woman’ is certain to inspire you this Halloween. Just try not to get tangled in any webs.
‘Crazier Than You’ – ‘The Addams Family’
How can you celebrate Halloween without a mention of the mysterious and spooky Addams Family?
Based on the world-famous cartoon strip by Charles Addams (and its numerous screen adaptations), ‘The Addams Family’ is a celebration of the macabre, yet affectionate family. Taking place several years after the comics, the musical sees an 18-year-old Wednesday Addams introduce her boyfriend Lucas Beineke, as well as his parents, to her family. Judgements are made and fingers are pointed, but at the heart of the musical are numerous loving relationships – both between Lucas and Wednesday, and the Addams family themselves.
As with many musicals featuring a star-crossed lovers storyline, there is a song about defeating the odds to be together. In the case of ‘The Addams Family’, ‘Crazier Than You’ is that song. Lucas and Wednesday understand that they come from different backgrounds, but they find in each other a counterpoint that brings out a united spark of craziness. It is equal parts charming, funny, and spooky – the perfect concoction for celebrating Halloween with the Addams.
Looking for a bit of “creepy and kooky” inspiration this year? The Addams Family are always willing to lend you a hand for that… just ask Thing.
‘House of Borden’ – ‘Lizzie: The Musical’
True crime and mysteries have become a regular facet within pop culture over the past decade or so. Ghastly cold cases which have yet to be solved have garnered a lot of fascination. One such case is that of Lizzie Borden.
Borden is most famous for being acquitted of the axe murders of her father and stepmother in August 1892. Although suspicion continues to circulate whether she was indeed guilty or innocent, she remains an intriguing historic figure. Her story was adapted into a musical in 2012, spawning productions in Chicago, London, and Denmark. Although the intended 2019 Off-Broadway production did not come to fruition, it is hoped that the musical – which has garnered a significant cult following online – will make its way to New York in the not-too-distant future.
In a similar vein to shows such as ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Six’, ‘Lizzie: The Musical’ utilises modern musical stylings (in this case, rock) to retell a piece of history. ‘House of Borden’ is the opening number, introducing audiences to key players and the circumstances they find themselves in. While not much is given away about the impending tragedy that will unfold, ‘House of Borden’ invites audiences into its world with a groovy beat and catchy hook.
‘House of Borden’ is a great example of how something new and old can come together to create another thing entirely. This is a good idea to keep in mind when trying to put together your Halloween costume this year – don’t be afraid to update a classic look.
‘Feed Me (Git It)’ – ‘Little Shop of Horrors’
Much in the same vein as ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ draws upon the contrasting genres of horror and comedy to make a beloved show. Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (best known for their collaborative work on the Disney animated films ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Aladdin’), ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ is a love letter of sorts to the early 1960s pop music and culture.
Protagonist Seymour Krelborn turns the floundering Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists into a success through the procurement and care of an exotic talking plant dubbed Audrey II. While the plant is initially presented as docile, Seymour soon discovers that it has a ravenous appetite and only one thing seems to quench its hunger – human blood.
‘Feed Me (Git It)’ is a wonderfully preposterous song that establishes Audrey II’s manipulative nature perfectly. In promising to make all of Seymour’s dreams come true, Audrey II requests that he find people to feed it. While at first Seymour is mortified by the request, he soon gives in when he discovers that the boyfriend of his crush, Audrey, is abusive. There is no denying that what Seymour and Audrey II are conspiring is morally wrong, but the audience cannot help but have a lot of fun listening to their dastardly plans.
Plants are a great addition to a costume. Just make sure you only give them water and sunlight (no matter what they say).
‘Say My Name’ – ‘Beetlejuice’
Anyone up for a game of charades?
Since its premiere on Broadway in early 2019, ‘Beetlejuice’ has had audiences cackling in the aisles. Although the show was put on hiatus during the COVID-19 closure, the show is set to be resurrected (no pun intended) in April 2022.
Based upon the 1988 film of the same name, ‘Beetlejuice’ explores the exploits of living girl Lydia and her ghost friends Adam and Barbara Maitland as they try to scare her father out of the mansion he has just bought. Thrown into the mix is the eponymous demon bio-exorcist who wants desperately to be free. To do so, he tries to trick Lydia into saying his name three times; something for which the precocious girl is not willing to do.
With music and lyrics written by Australian entertainer Eddie Perfect, ‘Beetlejuice’ is a fun, energetic musical sure to bring smiles to everyone, young and old. ‘Say My Name’ is one of the show’s signature tunes, showcasing Perfect’s knack for witty lyrics and rhyme scheme. The show may be the newest featured on this playlist, but it is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Pinstripes never go out of fashion. If you need some convincing, you know who you can ask. Just make sure to say his name three times… if you dare.
‘Spooky Mormon Hell Dream’ – ‘The Book of Mormon’
If there is one thing you must remember this Halloween, it’s that you must never break Rule 72. If you do, you might just happen to find yourself in your own little ‘Spooky Mormon Hell Dream’!
That is the fate Elder Price is dealt after he abandons his mission companion, Elder Cunningham, in Uganda. Subsequently, he is taunted by his guilt when he is asleep. ‘Spooky Mormon Hell Dream’ is just one of the many comically catchy songs in ‘The Book of Mormon’. Penned by ‘South Park’ creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the song elicits a strong balance between creepiness and hilarity. While definitely not a song to be played around impressionable young ears, if you like your horror with a decent dose of comedy, then ‘Spooky Mormon Hell Dream’ is the perfect cup of tea (to go with your maple-glazed donut).
You will be spoilt for ideas for your costume from this song; however, we would love to see as many chorus line devils as possible this Halloween.
‘Off With Their Heads’ – ‘Wonderland’
Sadly, our playlist has reached its final song. But before the curtain closes, let’s take a stroll through ‘Wonderland’ and see how things are rolling with our favourite Heart-obsessed Queen.
‘Wonderland’ is a modern musical adaptation of the classic Lewis Carroll series. Trading England for New York City, the show focuses on an adult version of Alice and her daughter Chloe as they venture into Wonderland. Although the Broadway production ran for less than a month in the spring of 2011, the show experienced a number of successful runs in the years that followed in Portugal, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
While ‘Wonderland’ is awash with numerous wonderful characters, perhaps its most revered is The Queen of Hearts. Drawing upon her signature catchphrase, ‘Off With Their Heads’ is a rousing number that explores The Queen’s psyche. The melody pays homage to classic Hollywood through its grand orchestration, giving the feeling of real power to not only The Queen but Wonderland itself.
With a charming, catchy rhythm, you will undoubtedly find yourself humming this little tune as you prepare for your Halloween. Whatever you end up dressing up as just remember to have fun… otherwise, you may be summoned to see The Queen of Hearts herself.
Listen to this Halloween Show Tunes Playlist here:
Which spooky musical number will serve as your costume inspiration this year?