For decades, Christmas was the only holiday with enough songs to make a full compilation of music. The 80s gave us some Halloween essentials such as the Ghostbusters theme song by Ray Parker Jr., Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and David Bowie’s “Magic Dance” from The Labyrinth, but there still weren’t really any songs that were specifically about Halloween. That finally changed in 1993 when Tim Burton’s stop-motion film The Nightmare Before Christmas provided a whole soundtrack’s worth of Halloween tunes. The movie’s opening number, “This is Halloween,” is now the anthem of the holiday. While one could argue that nothing can beat the original, there are several covers of the song that are absolutely worth a listen.
1. Broken Peach
While this version doesn’t cover the full song, the band adds some awesome flair, including a higher note than usual at the end of the lyric “In this town of Halloween.” Plus, check out those outfits! The song appears on their “Halloween Special” EP, which is available for streaming on both Apple Music and Spotify.
2. Ad Infinitum
This is technically a cover of a cover: specifically, a cover of Marilyn Manson’s version on the 2008 album Nightmare Revisited, which features other rock legends including Flyleaf, The All-American Rejects, Korn, and Evanescence’s Amy Lee. Ad Infinitum may not have as many listeners as the artists who made these “official” covers, but their version is incredible in its own right!
3. Raven Black
This band doesn’t have many songs that don’t fit in perfectly on a Halloween playlist, so it’s no surprise that they have a cover of this spooky season essential. The lore behind the band and its members is creative and creepy (spoiler alert: it includes a half-human, half-doll self-trained sorceress and a demon named Muppet), so make sure to check them out!
4. Jonathan Young
Jonathan Young has produced rock and metal covers of over 100 songs from all sorts of origins, including Disney musicals, anime openings, nu metal chart toppers, and Top 40 pop songs. “This is Halloween” isn’t the only Nightmare Before Christmas song on his rockin’ resume: he has also covered “Oogie Boogie’s Song” and “Jack’s Lament.”
5. Panic! At the Disco
You may know Panic! for their hits such as “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” or the more recent “High Hopes,” but the legendary band has a couple of Halloween bops under their belt, too. In addition to this classic cover, they also have the endearingly cheesy “It’s Almost Halloween” and the much sexier “Emperor’s New Clothes,” which isn’t technically about Halloween, but the demonic music video has forever linked the song to the holiday in my mind. Unfortunately, their cover of “This is Halloween” isn’t available on their Spotify, Apple Music, or official YouTube channel, but it’s still one of my favorites.