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13 Spooky TV Themes for your Halloween Party Playlist

The Nerdoween Party Playlist is in it’s fifth year, and it’s growing at a frightening rate! In the past, we brought you 13 absolutely required Halloween tracks to provide your playlist with a solid, crypt-worthy foundation. We then followed that up with 10 contemporary, creepy jams, and another 13 terrifying tracks to gain your party some serious shriek-cred. We then went for the obscure scare with a list of campy horror flick theme songs, as funny as they are ridiculous. And we collaborated with Origami Vinyl this year and last, to bring you two comprehensive playlists infused with as much ghoul as cool (check them out here and here). With well over 100 tracks now in our collective Halloween playlists, now seems like an appropriate time to return to the familiar, and highlight some of our favorite, spooky television show theme songs, that will surely bring a nostalgic smile to your guests’ gruesome visages.

In no particular order:

1. Theme from The Addams Family

MC Hammer’s “Addams Groove”, from the 1991 movie iteration of the franchise, may have made it to Billboard’s top 10, but it’s the Vic Mizzy composition from the 1964 series that still has us snapping our fingers today.

2. Theme from Unsolved Mysteries

I remember staying up late Friday nights as a kid to catch Unsolved Mysteries and The Outer Limits, which would play back-to-back, and always getting a little chill from the opening notes of this theme song. The show, which has aired on NBC, CBS, Lifetime, and Spike, still has an active website where viewers can submit tips for still unsolved mysteries.

4. Theme from The X Files

Agent Scully and Mulder are coming back! Will their iconic theme by Mark Snow return with them? Snow released a remix of the track in 1996, which went on to become a worldwide hit, particularly in France and UK, where it achieved gold and silver certifications, respectively. Also worth noting is it’s inclusion in the best-selling “as seen on TV” compilation album, Pure Moods, which seemed to play during every commercial break on every channel for a good five years straight.

3. Theme from Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Nothing the show ever delivered quite lived up to the cringe-worthy scares promised by that creepy hobo-clown doll in the opening sequence.

5. Theme from Tales from the Crypt

So much production value! The horror anthology series based on the ’50s comic book of the same title, ran from 1989 to 1996 on HBO. The opening sequence, which floated the audience through the Crypt-Keeper’s decrepit, haunted mansion, made us wish we could have stayed and explored awhile, instead of being whisked away to the episode’s featured stories.

6. Theme from Scooby Doo, Where Are You!

After 45 years of having practically every adult they meet eventually don a spooky mask or bed-sheet and jump out at them from a wardrobe or closet, Scooby and the gang surely must have developed some severe trust issues by now.

7. Theme from Dark Shadows

Robert Cobert’s eerie theme for this gothic soap opera made it into Billboard’s top 20 for 1969, and the accompanying piece, “Quentine’s Theme” earned Cobert a Grammy nod.

8. Theme from Goosebumps

Specifically for the part in the opening sequence when the animated “G” floats over the labrador’s legs, and the labrador’s eyes turn yellow, and the piano in the soundtrack is momentarily replaced by barking. It’s ridiculous in the best kind of way. And don’t forget our music video for “Bumps Gonna Goose Ya”!

9. Theme from The Outer Limits

Less a song than a mood-setting prologue, the original Outer Limits (1963) theme featured an “Orwellian” Control Voice, performed by Vic Perrin and an oscilloscope, which was, many years later, homaged in the opening sequence to The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror VIf you’re looking for a version with a bit more musicality to it, consider the opening sequence to the 1995 Outer Limits remake.

10. Theme from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy’s theme is the perfect mix of angsty ’90s thrashing and rockabilly twang that recalls so much spooky beach rock of the 1960s.

11. Theme from Alfred Hitchcock Presents

For extra credit, check out the complete album, Alfred Hitchcock Presents Music to Be Murdered By. Beyond the playfully moody scores of various AHP episodes, the album also includes the trademark fourth-wall-breaking retorts and pun-heavy double entendres from the Master of Suspense himself.

12. Theme from Casper the Friendly Ghost

I guess a character as deeply and inherently depressing as Casper would need a theme song as cloyingly cheerful as this one just to make it through the day.

13. Theme from Twilight Zone

Can anything ever compare to the shattering-glass score, the hard velvet voice of Rod Sterling, and the floating doors/clocks/eyeballs of the original Twilight Zone theme? It’s influence is seen and felt everywhere, recalled in the short-lived cult favorite Eerie, Indiana, and brought to life in Disneyland’s Tower of Terror. 1,000 years from now, it will still be making it’s mark on pop culture (at least if Futurama’s “The Scary Door” ever becomes a real show).

By no means is this list exhaustive; after all, I need something to write about next year. And, as always, consider this an open conversation. Check out the comments for more great theme song suggestions, and please add your own!

Happy Nerdoween!

Featured Image via ABC

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