Saturday, October 23, 2004

Ghost of Halloween S'Carols

How To Make The Ultimate Halloween Mix, Part 2

With your Halloween songs chosen, and pared down to enough to make a reasonably lengthed CD (or tape, old man) you only need to...

4. Choose the order of the songs. I always think it best to start with something short that screams Halloween... sometimes even clips from horror movie themes, or Toccata & Fugue... or even use "Trick or Treat" which I've offered for download below. If you read Nick Hornby, most of his rules on how to make a mix tape certainly apply...
The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.
But really, you just want flow... don't just simply go from the loud, heavy metal tunes to slow instrumentals. Its much better to have a little ebb and flow between chunks of songs. But don't worry too much - Halloween mixes are few and far between, so for the moment, your friends will love anything they get that doesn't have "Monster Mash" on it.

With that, you should be pretty much done... but here's some more ideas that I'll call "advanced tips"...

5. Spice up the CD by adding sound effects between a few songs. Short clips of clock towers ringing midnight, witches cackling, chains rattling, wolves howling, and so on are always a cool addition. If you can get ahold of the old Disney's "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House" albums on CD, all the better - some of the tracks are mini stories, and cheesy as hell, but these instantly remind the listeners of their own childhood Halloweens.

6. If you have space on your CD, fill it with a secret, unlisted track. "Old Time Radio" shows about ghosts are a great choice, as are renditions of "The Raven" by Christopher Walken, James Earl Jones, or Dave Matthews. I only mention these because they're readily found on file sharing sites.

Finally, I should mention that with any holiday themed CD, its best to start weeks before the actual holiday to allow for time to get it all together, then copy and distribute to friends while allowing some time to enjoy before the actual day but... too late for that. Since I listen to Halloween songs year round, it doesn't make a difference to me.

Following are a few more S'Carols to help get you going (and if you end up with some awesome songs that I haven't mentioned, please let me know.)
Halloween, Heywood Banks... a perfect Halloween S'Carol, very tongue in cheek with lyrics including
Spider Baby, Fantomas... an ultimate Halloween S'Carol in lyrics and tone. Perhaps too scary for a church Halloween party... then again, I've known some cool priests who might dig this song too.
Goblin Girl, Frank Zappa... silly stuff, but good for the kids.
DOA, Bloodrock... a first person account of a dead guy in a morgue.
The Skeleton In The Closet, Louis Armstrong... satisfy the old folks by including this classic Satcmo track on your Halloween mix.
Flyswatter, The Eels... not sure what this song is about... something to do with an exterminator getting rid of rodents... but the music is damn eerie and worth inclusion.
Thriller (cover), The Stone Roses... a very low tech cover of the always cool Michael Jackson song still retains the creep factor, even if it lacks Vincent Price.
Nature Trail to Hell, Weird Al Yankovich... yeah, I know. But this Weird Al entry is entirely original, super-clever, and pretty damned catchy, if not just plain moody. But admit it - Weird Al still makes you laugh.
Trick or Treat, from the Disney short "Trick or Treat", this one can't find ANYWHERE - trust me - because it was never released as a single. I desperately wanted this for my mix, so I had to record assorted clips of it from a VHS tape, toss it into a cauldron, and convert to mp3. Don't tell the folks at the Mouse House, but if you right click and "save target as" you can sneak a copy onto your computer...

I found another "How To Vote" fan at Land of Ghosts... get spanked by "How To Vote" dominatrix Linda Santiman... and I found the site that mine could only hope to be:

Ghost Droppings