Hayley Kiyoko’s “Demons” Is Out Today, The Perfect Excuse To Make A Gay Halloween Playlist

It’s time to get SPOOKY! And GAY! With Hayley Kiyoko and her new song, “Demons!”

Pop music has always been about heavy feelings buoyed by pleasant sonics. When you’re sad, or scared, sometimes exactly what you need is to dance those feelings away!

“Demons” – which seems to use the titular creature as a metaphor for feelings of depression, internalized self-sabotage, and/or generalized mental illness, is a perfect example of this. It’s a bop! But it’s actually really heavy.

It seems like Halloween songs – or, just, spooky, creepy pop songs in general – are having a comeback! Billie Eilish, for example, has built her whole aesthetic around being spooky! Here’s “bury a friend:”

And if you haven’t listen to Kim Petras’ incredible new Halloween-themed ALBUM – which also features a song called “Demons” – stop what you’re doing and get ready for 17 tracks of creepy goodness.

“Wrong Turn” has been stuck in my head for weeks:

All of these examples got me thinking. What are the best Halloween songs? I decided to go to the people!

What are your favorite spooky, creepy, October-y songs? Guess what – I’m going to take your responses in the comments and make a Spooky, Gay, Official Autostraddle Halloween Playlist! We’ll publish it later this month. So let’s hear it! And for the love of goddess, please don’t say “Monster Mash.” I think we’ve all heard that one enough for the rest of our lifetimes.

Here are some of my faves. What’s missing?

“In Love With A Monster” by Fifth Harmony is cute and I don’t care but I really like this song so don’t @ me (ok you can disagree with my choices in the comments)!

“Roslyn” by St. Vincent and Bon Iver is a haunting, creepy, yet heartbreakingly lovely song.

“Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads is reallllly creepy when you realize it’s written from the perspective of the titular killer!

“Heavy In Your Arms” by Florence & The Machine is one of many songs equating love with death. This one gives me chills.

“Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon is almost too camp but the little howl is just cute and also is perfect singalong fodder if you wanted to have a Halloween party playlist track, so I had to.

“Somebody’s Watchin’ Me” by Rockwell is the perennial paranoia classic!

Tell me your fave spooky songs in the comments!

Abeni Jones is a trans woman of color artist, educator, writer, and designer living in the Bay Area, CA. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter or check out her website at abenijones.net. Got a music recommendation, a positive trans woman story/news item, or wanna book me for something? e-mail me by clicking here!

Abeni has written 41 articles for us.

147 Comments

  1. My inner baby bat has been unleashed like Ursula from her human disguise and is going to be difficult to rein in.
    You might want to narrow down what you mean by “spooky” or clarify what kind of spooky cause this could get messy.

    First off in honor of Angela’s dance from Night of the Demons

    Bauhaus – Stigmata Martyr

    I can’t remember the link limit so I’m only going to ever do two at a time

    On other end more harmonious end of the spooky spectrum we have things like Russian lullabies

    and the entire soundtrack of Dram Stoker’s Dracula 1992 by Wojciech Kilar, or really classy stuff like Isle of the Dead by Rachmaninoff and various composers arrangements of the Requiem Mass.

    Then there’s the pagan/pagan sounding stuff.

  2. Other Misfits songs that should be considered

    Vampire Girl

    Scream

    Zombie Girl

    and on a related note perhaps two Danzig songs for your consideration

    She Rides
    Her Black Wings

    because they’re kinda Lilith-y and there’s something queer about Lilith

    • In October my GSA had a movie day but we had to share the room with either the AV club or Gamer club, there was the endless scrolling thru Netflix debating which movie to pick that happens when a group of people are trying to pick a movie and I couldn’t take it anymore and loudly suggested Elvira: Mistress of the Dark because I’d heard Cassandra Peterson was a lesbian as a tie breaker.

      It worked.

      • I’ve met Cassandra! She is just a total package NICE PERSON. She should be called in to settle any sort of dispute, because she is always the correct answer. I was at the Haunted Hills Premier in Royal Oak, she’s just… she’s just great.
        I also managed to see Mistress of the Dark in the theater when it first came out – alone – and it was formative.

    • Oooh what about The Wolf!

      I tried to choreograph a dance to that, a monstrous striptease, of a priestess turning into a werewolf but didn’t have enough supplies or competence in sewing to make it happen.

        • *blush face* Thank you!

          It was a pretty wild show, we were doing kind of a Mad Max / vampire thing, and I was the priestess in charge. That staff I’m holding was HUGE, over ten feet long, and I was wearing my stompy nine inch heels. We dragged a kid out of the audience (planted), and had our resident body piercer / EMT tap a vein and fill a goblet with some of his blood.

          Then, dear reader, if you have not already squeamishly stopped reading – we made him drink it.

          We did that scene twice, once at Q Bar in Ferndale, and again in The Labyrinth in Detroit underneath City Club, back around ’03 – ’04. I was part of a performance group called Causing a Scene, and for a hot minute we were one of the best things happening in Detroit clubs.

  3. I’m going to start the pagan things now starting with Inkubus Sukkubus

    further Inkubus Sukkubus songs to consider:

    All Hallow’s Eve
    Samhain
    Mother Moon
    Heart of Lilith
    Dark Mother
    Paint It Black(it’s pretty bitchin)
    Night Angel
    Midnight Queen
    The Dark Goddess
    Dark Sisters (maybe)

    I’m probably forgetting something that would also fit but their discography is kinda big with them having been a band for 20 years and all.

  4. It’s cause Hel is a Chthonic (underworld) deity, she is not the sole ruler of dead in Norse mythology and guess what Valkyries are psychopomps just like the Grim Reaper.

    Freya is also a ruler of the dead but the only song I can think of featuring her is Lady of the Slain by TÝR it just doesn’t sound very Halloween to me. Not that pagan power metal can’t be Halloweenish TÝR just isn’t.

    Heilung and Wardruna don’t vibe Halloween to me, additionally I think all their songs are too long and slow for a playlist that’s not meditation intended.

    I was gunna offer up several other Corvus Corax songs like Totentanz, but I forgot how VERY medieval they sound and wow much horns and flute. Mille Anni Passi Sunt is all mystical sounding with much less horn and fluteness. But uh Venus Vina Musica and In Taberna are good fast party music, VVM has a dark edge to it.

    Oh Nebelhexë Celtic Crows I think that would work.

  5. Anybody remember Trick or Treat 1986? If not it’s about a metal musician who comes back from hell and one of his fans has to send his crusty ass back.

    Cause I just found the whole album is up on youtube and the band that put it together is Fastway

    Tear Down the Walls, it starts off creepy before going full hair metal.

    And the title song of course

    The musician who comes back from hell is called Sammi Curr and he was played by Tony Fields who I wish was still alive because dude could move.
    Rot in hell Ronald Reagan.

  6. And I can’t believe I dived this deep without mentioning that I really like Hayley Kiyoko’s new song, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the releases she has planned! I’m a bit peeved her tour is skipping my town though 😤
    I can’t throw my bra all the way to Arizona

    • Ugh I know. I talked about it in my review of CLARITY a few months ago. I rationalized it by, she’s a new, trans pop singer, maybe she doesn’t have the freedom yet to work with whoever she wants? Maybe after her recent successes she will though???

  7. I don’t have time to linger but I really want to nominate Snow for a commenting award on this whole thread.

    And everyone’s song choices are killer – THANK YOU Abeni this is fan(g?)tastic!!

  8. last two!

    Super gay but not at all creepy:

    (though there’s a 12 minute atmospheric remix that IS kinda creepy and fantastic – alas I lost the file in a hard drive crash years ago and have never been able to find it since. curse you internet!!!)

    Super creepy but not at all gay:

  9. There’s something old school goth I know I’m blanking out on, but here’s a slow sensual sounding tune

    After Dark is a song that starts in the toes because only from there does the best hip swivels start, watch Salma Hayek and you’ll see what I mean

    Also rock but I dunno how dance-able cuz not everybody had belly dancing as a high school hobby

    Black Magic Woman – Santana

    Probably don’t need much core stamina, could probably just sway to

    Witchy Woman- Eagles

    Devil Woman- Cliff Richards

    Fleetwood Mac- Rhiannon

  10. I was waiting to see if anyone else would throw this up

    Guess not

    We covered this last year at a fall party, and it kinda bombed. What’s wrong with people? Girls aren’t supposed to sing in this register or something?

  11. “Psychobilly” is the Halloween-est music

    Walk Like A Zombie by the Horrorpops is my first pick cause it’s casually dance-able

    I Was A Teenage Werewolf by The Cramps just for the swaggery sound

    Nice Day For A Resurrection by Nekromantix cause I can’t resist

    Now for some vintage Halloween themed rockabilly:

    Rockin in the Graveyard by Jackie Morningstar is my first pick for reasons >D

    She’s My Witch by Kip Tyler was covered by FireFlies and appears in season 2 of Killing Eve

    The Cat by Rod Willis is just fun

  12. I’m going to try to start on the dark synthwave and horrorwave next but I’m experiencing technical difficulties and sympathy for anyone trying to follow me going musically buckwild.

    So here’s a sample of what dark synthwave can be:

    Turbo Killer by Carpenter Brut, some people describe this song as a shot of adrenaline and having actually been giving a shot of it in the fiasco that was 2016 I “mostly” agree with that assessment only because music has a much more effect pleasant than epinephrine does.
    But otherwise yes total shot of adrenaline.

    Someone stop me before I start trying to post the soundtrack from Dead Space.

  13. This is now considered classic Swedish progressive metal as it’s from 1995, but this song always had a Halloween/eerie vibe to it. It’s in English and nearly 10 minutes long, like most Opeth songs.

    Under the Weeping Moon

  14. If you want, like, climate horror, Anohni is really awful-great: https://open.spotify.com/track/61ZYkv9MEQZ25jVaIavQOM

    Though I would maybe pick her collaboration with Cocorosie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMb4TGFEVYw

    Hanging tree from the Hunger Games soundtrack is a good mood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3hTW9e20d8

    My favourite version of I Put A Spell On You is this Nina Simone remix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYrXcBawnhE

    Lots of St. Vincent is real good. Maybe The Forest Awakes from her David Bryne collaboration? https://open.spotify.com/track/4zA9PWI3GZmo7mTG2g2Q5O

    Oblivion by Grimes: https://open.spotify.com/track/4P6n0udLAnmCNXVcobYbsK

    Kill of the Night by Gin Wigmore: https://open.spotify.com/track/2m17BTWlZq0wtS9cpJsCfM

    The Beat and the Pulse by Austra: https://open.spotify.com/track/1kqantjg5HlqWuv3ZdLh7d

  15. Woke up in a cold sweat from a Canadian Thanksgiving food coma last night realizing that I do in fact have some tracks to contribute and I hope I’m not too late!

    Gary Jules – Mad World (mildly haunting regardless, but creepy af if you’ve seen Donnie Darko)

    Radiohead – Climbing Up The Walls (couldn’t find a good link to the album version)

    Ministry – Every Day is Halloween

  16. This week’s Thirsty Classic reminded me of some goth classics I was blanking on

    Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus

    and Voodoo Dolly by Siouxsie and the Banshees is just sublime atmospherically for spookiness I half to admit as music as I don’t like voodoo being used for horror

  17. Some more oddball creepy stuff that’s kinda cute

    You’re A Vampire by One-Eyed Doll

    Ballrog Boogie by Diablo Swing Orchestra

    When You’re Evil by Voltaire (this one is like a Disney villain song)

    and one I’m not sure can be found on spotify or what

  18. Back to the electronic music:

    Voodoo & Serano – Blood Is Pumping (it’s from Blade)

    Boy Harsher – Spell (it’s slow and she beckons)

    Vulta- Sigils

    Lazerpunk – Nightcrawler

    DANCE WITH THE DEAD – Her Ghost

    Wolf and Raven- Grave Danger

    Perturbator – Creature (this was hard they are super good at spooky)

    FLESH – Black crown

    Android Lust – Heathen

    Suicide Commando – Hellraiser VNV Nation Remix (for that monster chase feeling)

    And that’s all I can pull together stuck in my technological catch-22 of doom.

    Trulling thru all the dang volumes of “It Came From The 80’s…” as well as various dark synthwave mixes and albums to find the ones I cannot recall is just not humanly possible
    Also youtube’s algorithm is VERY distracting these days, which would be great if I was some mythic creature that feeds off music but alas I am not.

    OH yeah there’s a reason I went by artist/bandname before song name, that reason is I’m not 100% sure if spotify or whatever the playlist will have the song but if they got the artist then a suitably spooky option will be available.
    Especially Perturbator.

      • I figured now after making two lighter playlist suggestions would be a good time to stop, because I am spooky song strumpet and could on forever.
        There’s probably a dozen songs per years of my entire life so far and youtube’s algorithm is just making this WORSE.

        So yep stopping now, sorry for the mess.

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