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  • Writer's pictureJason Haskins

Haunted: Music and soundtracks to fill the October air

View of trees on the Boise Greenbelt, on a rainy day

Last month, I delved into a recent tradition of spending the months of September and October watching horror films.

It's only fitting, then, as we embark on October, I jump into the music of the haunted season.

Once upon a time, and for many years, my general knowledge of "Halloween music" was limited to Thriller by Michael Jackson and The Monster Mash by Boris Pickett. Two classics, to be sure, but not really a stellar soundtrack to accompany the spooky, eerie sounds of the season.

A change was sought and brought forth approximately five years go, when I curated a playlist (and am still) that highlights my Spotify every September and October.

The songs and scores comprise a short list, compared to what is likely out in the world. But, in many ways, these songs have become a comfort to me this time of year. Something I listen to as I am tackling the day, writing, and on my long walks I like to take.

Music ranges from soundtracks, scores, and television theme songs:

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Hocus Pocus

  • Rocky Horror Picture Show

  • The Addams Family

  • Halloween

  • Scooby Doo

  • Ghostbusters

And involves famous musicians and bands:

  • Scary Monsters by David Bowie

  • Season of the Witch by Donovan

  • Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo

  • Superstition by Stevie Wonder

With some unearthed classics:

  • Spooky, Scary Skeletons by Andrew Gold

  • The Graveyard Shift by The Ghouls (A song that involves a lot of grunting, for some reason)

  • 999 Happy Haunts

Toss in a couple of Elvira hits (2 Big Pumpkins, 13 Nights of Halloween) and the stylish Werewolf Bar Mitzvah, and a sweet compilation is ready for the ears.

These are only but a sample of what comprises the list. During these two months, I find myself singing these songs, even when the music is no longer playing. So, if you find me unexpectedly singing Sweet Transvestite or Poor Jack in the middle of our conversation, don't take it personally. Just know I am simply enjoying the songs of the season.

Writing updates

Over on The Journey of Now blog, I have been consistently dishing out a couple of posts per week. Most of those in the last month were surrounding the Boston Red Sox and Boston College Eagles, with other subjects mixed in.

Work has picked up on my new play and I inch closer to the finish of the novel I've been working on. True to my style, I also picked up again a story I started for NaNoWriMo in 2021.

What I'm watching

Time has been wasted with the comfort of watching those horror/slasher films I watch every year. I did happen across a handful I hadn't seen, like The Strangers (2008), Season of the Witch, Eloise (avoid, if pressed), and the original Night of the Living Dead.

Reflecting on the month, I didn't really dive into much new on the television side of things. I have sung its praises before but the final season of Reservation Dogs gets better with each episode (I know the finale already aired and am down to the final few episodes).

What I'm reading

If it feels like I've been reading David Copperfield for years, I have. Okay, only months but I am into the final stretch of this 800+ page novel by Charles Dickens.

There are some upcoming releases I am eager to add to my stack, including Robert Jackson Bennett's The Tainted Cup and Sly Stone's upcoming Thank you (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again): A Memoir.

Interesting world

- I, too, am like Rebecca Shaw and the "old man yelling at cloud" meme in regards to movie trailers giving too much away.

- If you're looking to go to grad school for acting, the Graduate Acting Program at Julliard will be tuition-free starting next year.

- This is a fantastic interview with Congo Square executive director Charlique Rolle, talking about building the community Black artists deserve.

Thanks for stopping by this month. Be bold. Be kind.

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