Halloween songs
October 20, 2010 3:03 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite Halloween themed songs, suitable for an esl class ?

As a follow-up to my previous songs-related questions, I'd like to know of interesting, funny, instructive halloween themed songs in order to sing them with kids and teenagers (from eleven to fifteen years old). I'd like to sing with a guitar accompaniment, so lyrics + chords are nice.
posted by nicolin to Education (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London
posted by oh pollo! at 3:16 AM on October 20, 2010

Best answer: Do the "Monster Mash" (easy to play -- here's the tab) and explain (or have them research) all of the silly cultural references. Old monster movies + early 1960s teenage music and dance = two angles that students can take. Maybe let each choose one or the other.

The song was a hit in 1962. The singer imitates Boris Karloff's voice and calls himself Bobby "Boris" Pickett" for just this song. Explain who Boris was.

"Monster Mash" = mash = variant of mashed potato, = a popular early 60s dance.
"Transylvania Twist" = a jokey variant of the twist, another dance of the era, but slightly older than the mashed potato.
Dance fads back then (as now) came and went quickly: "It was a graveyard smash/It caught on in a flash" and later Dracula complains about the passing of the Transylvania Twist. Have them show you how these dances might look as you play along? But they have to describe their actions -- have them say or write how to do these dances.

And there are kinds of monsters to identify: vampires, ghouls, zombies, Wolf Man, Dracula and his son (like all the movie sequels), Igor (mad doctor's assistant), "The coffin-bangers" and "the Crypt-Kicker Five" (spoof names of 1960s pop groups? ), Drac (Dracula), Boris (Boris Karloff). Describe (or draw) each monster. What are its defining characteristics? (The difference between a zombie and a ghoul, for example.)
posted by pracowity at 3:36 AM on October 20, 2010 [6 favorites]

Thriller, of course.

The Disney Haunted Mansion classic "Grim Grinning Ghosts"

Zombie Jamboree by the Kingston Trio

The Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley

Re: Your Brains by Jonathan Coulton
posted by inturnaround at 4:52 AM on October 20, 2010

Best answer: Dead Man's Party, Oingo Boingo
posted by zizzle at 6:15 AM on October 20, 2010

Witch's brew

posted by mgogol at 7:05 AM on October 20, 2010

Best answer: I like Shivaree's Goodnight Moon, which has very direct and narrative lyrics. Classic tale of spending the night at home alone. It's not exactly a Halloween song, but it's creepy enough, it could be.
posted by aintthattheway at 7:54 AM on October 20, 2010

Best answer: The Halloween Song we used to sing in elementary school is still one of my favorites. It's very simple, but fun to sing ("H - A - Double L - O, Double U - Double E - N spells Halloween!").
posted by jenny76 at 8:16 AM on October 20, 2010

Best answer: C'est Halloween! Classic song taught in French classes all over Canada, if my friend base is any indication.
posted by pised at 8:31 AM on October 20, 2010

When I was in elementary school, our music teacher had us sing "Pumpkin Carols" for Halloween. They were Christmas tunes re-written with lyrics to go with the "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" TV special. I think these are the same ones.
posted by dnash at 8:51 AM on October 20, 2010

I like "The Boogie Monster" by Gnarles Barkley for a more contemporary song, but you'd need to leave out the very last part. Its not specifically Halloween, but it fits with the theme (and is a good song).Video
posted by wuzandfuzz at 9:05 AM on October 20, 2010

I vote for Monster Mash
posted by radioamy at 9:19 AM on October 20, 2010

My Mom had this song to sing at Halloween that she taught her classes in school.

Have you seen the ghost of John?
Long white bones with no skin on
Poooooooooooooor John,
Wouldn't it be chilly with no skin on?

While it's for kids, it strikes me as a good song for ESL students, because the words are so simple. What's better, it's a round, which forces people to actually parse the words instead of being swept along in a tide of everyone singing.
posted by LN at 9:48 AM on October 20, 2010

Pick up some of the scenes from "Coraline" or "The Nightmare Before Christmas" great visual to go with the music. Go Henry Selick!
posted by effluvia at 10:11 AM on October 20, 2010

Best answer: The Dundee Ghost. The lyrics have a few words of Scottish dialect in them, but they're pretty clear (you can MeMail me if you're stuck). Sorry, couldn't find the chords, but I understand it's pretty easy to work out.
posted by Jakey at 11:04 AM on October 20, 2010

Best answer: This is my favorite Halloween song, it might be a little advanced, but take a look Zacherly - Coolest Little Monster
posted by birdbone at 8:36 PM on October 20, 2010

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