Halloween songs, of a sort


Halloween not XmasI decided to pick some Halloween songs, mostly because I haven’t done so in years. The only criterion is that it has to be something I own in physical form, with the exception of the second Bach. That means no Disturbia by Rihanna or Bury A Friend by Billie Eilish.


Ghost Riders In The Sky -Sons of the Pioneers
Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra. OK, a bit of a cheat.


Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Picket
The Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley
Nature Trail To Hell – Weird Al When he reviewed all of the Weird Al tracks, SamuraiFrog/Aaron noted that this song is about a minute too long; fair assessment. 


Season Of The Witch – Donovan
Celtic Rock – Donovan

Classic rock

I Put A Spell On You – Creedence Clearwater Revival; I don’t think I have the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins version
People Are Strange – The Doors
Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones
Black Magic Woman  – Santana; I don’t have the Fleetwood Mac version
Boris The Spider – The Who


Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – David Bowie
Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon; always reminds me of Raoul Vezina of Albany
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult
Runnin’ With The Devil – Van Halen

Motown adjacent

Superstition – Stevie Wonder
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell 


Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr. I read at the time that everyone was praising his new video, which he figured was one he had done weeks earlier. Nope, they rushed this one out.
Tubular Bells  Part 1, excerpt – Mike Oldfield. I’ve never seen The Exorcist
The Addams Family – Vic Mizzy
Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Get Bach

Two versions of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. One of my favorite chords of all time is at about 7:30
Virgil Fox 

Sunday Stealing Fall Meme (autumn)

Halloween 1978

autumn memeThe Sunday Stealing is a fall meme, appropriate because it’s autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

1. Fave fall Holiday: Thanksgiving. Although there are complications about the origin story in the US (see this blog in eight days), it’s the event that was most tolerable when the family wasn’t around
2. The best thing about fall walks: walking on crunchy leaves
3. Favorite fall chore: Taking out the air conditioner, which is much easier than installing it

4. Least favorite fall chore: Raking leaves, which, BTW, my wife seems to enjoy. The thing about raking is that it is the perfect example of the law of diminishing returns, which I learned about in my freshman economics class in college. That first raking is quite satisfying, as one gathers up a good number of leaves, But subsequent raking in that area is less and less productive and, therefore, much less enjoyable
5. Best change in the home: Usually, the coins I find in the cushions of the sofa

6. Best tree in the fall: oak, maple, almost any deciduous tree
7. Fall ritual: watching (American) football on Thanksgiving and thereafter; I don’t really really pay attention until then
8. Most frustrating thing about fall: Getting darker earlier and getting lighter later

9. Favorite fall decorations: Some neighbors have creative Halloween displays. (And others are hideous, but we won’t talk about those…)
10. Favorite clothing: Any creative costume
11. Traditional fall candy: Junior Mints

Say it! Say it!

12. Favorite sound: Parents trying to coax their young Halloweeners to say “trick or treat.” Come on, my four-year-old, comply with the norms!
13. When does fall begin for you? October 1. There’s an argument between those who are in the meteorological calendar camp and the astronomical calendar camp. The former picks September 1, while the latter prefers September 22 or 23. But with global warming, I’m opting for the full month that everyone agrees is autumnal.

14. What is your favorite aspect of fall? I’m losing the feeling quite a bit, actually. It was the new television season and the arrival of serious Oscar-worthy films. But there are no seasons for TV anymore, plus I watch far less of it. And I haven’t gotten back into my pre-pandemic movie attending, plus so many are only streaming.

15. What are your favorite fall memories? Halloween parties I attended as an adult, especially in 1978 
16. What do you like to drink in the fall? Mulled cider. I lived in a coffeehouse when I attended college, and we often had it
17. What’s your favorite fall food? Turkey. I can always eat turkey, not just in November

18. What color is the fall? Burnt orange, not that bright candy corn orange
19. What does fall smell like? Wood stoves
20. If you could go anywhere in the fall, where would you go? Vermont has great colors

A most peculiar Halloween

Math is everywhere

Ah, the peculiar Halloween of 2020. My wife and I mused on what we would do if we were to actually get a trick or treater at our door. I considered looking on YouTube for videos on building a candy catapult, but I opted against that.

I talked with a friend on the phone who was distraught during our previous discussion. He’s happier now.

At some point, I caught the news that Sean Connery had died. I was sad. Yet, here’s a confession: I’ve never seen ANY James Bond film. But I liked his advocacy for Scotland. He was a hoot in that third Indiana Jones film. I also enjoyed the movie Finding Forrester (2000). Here are 10 movie quotes.

I printed out three recipes for my wife. One was from Australia and had a reference to 160 Celsius. What’s that in Fahrenheit? I asked my phone, but it kept hearing “Once it.” Heck with that, I’m using pen and paper. I need to multiply the Celsius temp by 9/5, then add 32, which gets me 320°F. Hey, I still remember!

In the afternoon, a man in his 40s or 50s who I had never seen before rang the doorbell. He wanted to know if he could do some yard work. Immediately, I said “no thanks.” Then I thought about it. 1) He obviously needed the work. 2) I could afford to pay him.

And most importantly, 3) I HATE raking. It is what my economics teacher might call the “law of diminishing returns.” The more I do it, the less satisfying it is. I went to the front porch. The guy was already four houses up the street. I called, and he came back. He swept the porch and the sidewalk, as well as raking the lawn. Money well spent.

I did a couple of Venmo transaction for my wife so she could fund some teaching activities. I’ve yet to use it for my own needs.

The total was zero

Walking to the bank and back, I was struck by how few people were outside. It was a chilly day, but still. And I was reminded that it took a pandemic for my bank to dispense five- and ten-dollar bills, not just twenties.

I’d purchased about $30 of candy earlier in the week. NOBODY came to our door, compared to about 240 last year. Perhaps it was the fact that there were alternative activities.

From 3 pm to 5 pm the City of Albany will partner with a variety of sponsors and community organizations to host Halloween events in 11 City Parks.

“As per guidance published by New York State and the Centers for Disease Control, the City of Albany is calling on residents to avoid high-risk activities to help prevent the spread COVID-19, such as door-to-door trick-or-treating or trunk-or-treats, attending crowded costume parties held indoors, or going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together. “

I had missed the memo. On one hand, I was really happy not having to worry about opening the door. On the other hand, I missed seeing the costumes. No satisfying some people, I guess.

My wife and I went out about 9 p.m. to see the full moon. A little while later, we went to bed. But I could not sleep at all. It really wasn’t the noisy next-door neighbors in their backyard. Maybe it was the over 98,000 COVID cases the day before. Or my fear of what the body politic was going to do this week. A peculiar Halloween, indeed

Halloween music 2020

It’s the pelvic thrust That really drives you insane

Now that my daughter doesn’t do Halloween anymore, it’s difficult for me to get worked up over it. Yet I do like to see the costumes of the little kids and not so little kids coming to my door.

Still, some of the teenagers REALLY need to make even a modicum of effort to at least feign the idea that they’re doing some sort of outfit. Many’s the time I’ve said, “What are YOU supposed to be?” The response was an inaudible mumble.

And I have this Halloween music CD I like to play. It has generic spooky tunes, interlaced with screams, groans, and other presumably horrifying sounds. The atmosphere is everything.

I decided to pick some vaguely Halloween/spooky/scary/sinister/weird songs for the post. If you Google, you’ll find tons of similar lists. For instance, 66 killer songs for your Halloween playlist and 50 Spooky Halloween Songs You Need to Play at Your Costume Party. There is, inevitably, some overlap with each other.

But there’s only one song on my list that’s on either, or in this case, both lists. That’s Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I love more than is justifiable. In part, I think it’s Susan Sarandon, who later became a Serious Actor, as Janet.


Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – Bach

Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary – Purcell

Pictures at an Exhibition – Gnomus – Mussorgsky

Pictures at an Exhibition – Catacombs – Mussorgsky

Night On Bald Mountain – Mussorgsky

The Isle of the Dead, Symphonic poem Op. 29 – Rachmaninov

Requiem – Gy Ligeti from 2001


Evil– Howlin’ Wolf

Celtic Rock – Donovan

Your Long White Fingers – The Gothic Archies

The Dead Only Quickly– The Gothic Archies

The Top Ten Horror Movie Themes

Paint It, Black – The Rolling Stones

Voodoo – the Neville Brothers

I Put a Spell on You – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Everyday Is Halloween – Ministry

Zombie Jamboree – Rockapella

Time Warp – Rocky Horror

Spiders and Snakes – Jim Stafford

Wastepaper-Basket Fire– Brian Dewan

Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group

Halloween 1978 with Sid and Shirley

makeup debacle

I have no recollection of any Halloween costume I wore as a child. If there were pictures, I’ve not seen them for years, if at all.

Perhaps there were a couple of times I think I dressed up in college, but they’re lost on me as well. The year I turned 25, in 1978, I remember, perhaps because there was a picture.

My girlfriend Susan had a friend who was having “a Halloween costume party. I’m not sure that I had any costume ideas, but Susan did, and when she suggested, I embraced it. (Or so I remember.)

“I had a beard and a mustache at the time, so I shaved them. Then Susan and a couple of her friends made me up. We found a dress in a second-hand store, a wig and shoes from somewhere, and we went to the party, she as ‘Sid’ and me as ‘Shirley.’

“I affected a high pitched voice, but frankly, I figured that people would know it was me. After all, I was still a six-foot black person. Much to my shock and amazement, no one recognized me! Well, not until later in the evening, when my ‘five o’clock shadow’ starred to appear.

“The Halloween of 1978 inspired me to dress up for several years thereafter, though never again in drag.” I have pictures that I need to scan. My favorite was a skull mask, a wizard’s hat, and my college graduation robe. There’s a picture with me leaning on a car, reading the New York Daily News comics section.

Another involved a Frankenstein mask, beret, and a seersucker jacket. I’m sure I bought both masks from FantaCo, where I worked. Boy, were they warm.

My daughter did Halloween for a few years, often utilizing dance outfits she wore when she studied ballet. I was not inspired to dress up as I took her house to house.


Still, I relate to the sentiment of my buddy SamuraiFrog: “This is my favorite time of year, but it always brings with it the disappointment of seeing some of my fellow Halloween lovers being total hypocrites.

“Seriously, if you’re a person who starts visibly celebrating Halloween in August, don’t turn around and attempt to dampen anyone else’s spirits just because they start getting excited about Christmas in November or October. Don’t try to make people feel bad about being excited about something you’re not, you selfish prick.”

Makeup debacle

I know it wasn’t for Halloween, but Justin Trudeau’s brownface debacle seems seasonably appropriate for discussion. TIME magazine obtained a photo of Canada’s prime minister at an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed party at a private school where he was teaching in 2001.

In response to the photo surfacing, Trudeau apologized for his actions, agreed that the photo is racist, and said it “was a dumb thing to do.”

There have been many debacles, for Halloween and otherwise, about blackface. Megyn Kelly, who’s only about 14 months older than Trudeau, ended up off her NBC News show for suggesting that blackface on October 31 was no big deal where she grew up in upstate New York. But Virginia governor Ralph Northam is still in office.

On a hopefully less problematic topic, here are Halloween costumes on Pinterest. Also, 29 Best Halloween Events Near You, From Festivals to Costume Contests.

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