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The Best Halloween & Day of the Dead Songs With Latin Flavor

Courtesy of VEVO
La Santa Cecilia, "Calaverita."

There are certain songs that are obligatory on any Halloween playlist, but you probably never imagined hearing a salsa-fied version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” playing at your neighborhood costume party. That’s because we do Halloween a little differently around here, which is to say, with some sabor. The last day of October also leads right into Day of the Dead, one of our favorite holidays because it celebrates life and honors loved ones who are no longer here.

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Here are some songs to get your Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations started on the right note:


“Thriller” – from Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson 

Released in April, this one-of-a-kind tribute album to the King of Pop features an exquisite version of MJ’s classic like you’ve never heard it before. The project actually began when its producer and arranger, Tony Succar, put together a salsa version of “Thriller” for a Halloween party.

“La Llorona” - Chavela Vargas

Many people have covered this folk song, but no one like this Costa Rican-born icon, who lived, sang, and died with Mexico in her heart.

“Brujeria” - El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s most beloved salsa orchestra put a fun twist on witchcraft and made it a reason to dance the night away.


“Calaveras y Diablitos” - Los Fabulosos Cadillacs 

This ska-flavored classic reaffirms that death is nothing to fear and life is meant to be lived to the fullest.  


“No es serio este cementerio” – Mecano

Long live the ‘80s! The Spanish pop band act out a gothic short film of sorts and turn a graveyard into an epic party for the undead.  


“Lobo Hombre en Paris” - La Union

The Spanish pop/rock band’s tale of a woman named Denise who turns into a man -- and then a werewolf -- is completely surreal and tons of fun.


“Calaverita” - La Santa Cecilia 

Front woman La Marisoul and friends’ latest single embodies the spirit of Día de los Muertos with lyrics like, “I’m not afraid of death because she’s a part of me/ She was born with me and with me she’ll go one day / Here’s to celebrating life!” They get bonus points for the Donald Trump look-a-like zombie in the video, too.

“She Wolf” – Shakira

If every loba looked like Shakira, there’d be nothing to fear. Auuuu!


“Viernes 13” – Vico C

The Latin hip-hop pioneer paints a picture so grisly, it’s almost like it’s unfolding right before your eyes.

“La Muerte Chiquita” - Café Tacvba

The alt-rockers honor Mexican folklore like only they can.