UPDATE: For the latest Halloween Top 25, head here.
Never mind those sugary sweets. Halloween brings some delectable ear candy, too. But which (witch?) Halloween songs are the most popular? As you prepare your Halloween party playlists, we’re helping to make sure that you don’t miss a single graveyard smash, as we present our creepy countdown of Billboard’s Top Halloween Songs. Because when it comes to Halloween, these are the songs you wouldn’t want to be caught … dead … without.
Titles ranked by a formula blending track sales, measured by Nielsen SoundScan, and radio airplay, monitored by Nielsen BDS, during the 2013 Halloween week.
10. “This Is Halloween” – Danny Elfman
9. “Highway to Hell” – AC/DC
8. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” – Blue Oyster Cult
This mid-tempo rocker, which hit No. 12 on the Hot 100 in 1976 for Blue Oyster Cult, isn’t spooky at all until you consider the lyrics told from the point of view of some death-friendly dude trying to induce his gal to join him and not “fear the reaper.”
7. “Creep” – Radiohead
Though far from the creepiest-sounding dirge in Radiohead’s now-lengthy catalog, radio has always had a love for the band’s breakthrough hit, which is especially relevant when Halloween rolls around. It’s just too bad Radiohead’s career peaked here… kidding!
6. “Superstition” – Stevie Wonder
On one of his signature songs, Stevie Wonder pleads with his listeners to ignore talk of broken mirrors and walking under ladders. “Superstition ain’t the way,” he preaches in this 1972 song, but there’s something about that funk that still sounds almost… spooky.
5. “Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon
A perfect Halloween entry from the (late, great) Warren Zevon, who also famously sang “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” is this howling Me Generation rocker that rose to No. 21 on the Hot 100 in 1978.
4. “Deal With the Devil” – Pop Evil
Here’s a recent entry to the list — Pop Evil’s chugging, hard rock single “Deal With the Devil.” Coming from the band’s 2013 set Onyx, it topped Mainstream Rock Songs and peaked at No. 20 in Rock Airplay.
3. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker, Jr.
When October rolls around, the clear answer to the lyrical question, “Who ya gonna call?,” is Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters,” which topped the Hot 100 in 1984.
2. “Monster Mash” – Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers
Though it’s been decades since this kitschy, creepy faux-Frankenstein party tune scared up a No. 1 slot on the Hot 100 in 1962, Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers’ “Monster Mash” has been on Halloween party playlists ever since. Read about 50 Years of “Monster Mash”
1. “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
“Thriller,” which hit No. 4 on the Hot 100 in 1984, is the most-downloaded Halloween-themed hit of all-time, with digital sales to-date of 3.4 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (It’s also Jackson’s best-selling download, ahead of runner-up “Billie Jean,” which has sold 2.7 million).