Inside: Here is a selection of spooky scary Halloween music for kids and grandkids to play (and watch) in the dark on Halloween night. Terrifying and downright chilling—the music and movies will invoke fear in the hearts of children, grandchildren, teens, and parents, but will also add to your Halloween fun!
Halloween Music for Kids
Halloween and scary music go hand-in-hand. You probably own some great Halloween music, but did you know that scary music is found in the classical repertoire? Believe it or not, classical music does contain some fairly ominous music. And, your kids will love listening to this music or watching the visual representation music on youtube. In our house, we call it, Halloween Music for Kids.
I’ve also included 13 scary movies (and links) to watch on Halloween and some fun (and educational) games to play with your kids to help them understand just how important music is in the movies! Can you imagine holidays, movies, and even life…without music?!
Halloween Music for Kids and Grandkids
Here are a few suggestions of rather scary classical music that you can introduce to your children or grandchildren during October in preparation for Halloween. You can also use this music as background music for any of your Halloween parties or celebrations. Click on the link and it will take you to a YouTube Halloween Music video to watch. Also included are my Amazon Picks–if you want to purchase the music.
In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg (in the Haunted Forest)
Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky
Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns (cartoon & music)
“March to the Scaffold” in Symphonie Fantastique, Op, 14 by Hector Berlioz
“The Hut of Baba Yaga” from Pictures at an Exhibition with Ravel by Modest Mussorgsky
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G Minor by Johannes Brahms
Also Sprach Zarathustra by R. Strauss
Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner
2 Halloween Themed Parties with Music & Games
Halloween Game #1: See How Important Music is in the Movies
If you are planning a themed Halloween party with your kids, (i.e. “Harry Potter”), here is a fun musical game that will help your guests understand just how important the role of music plays in the movies. Plus—it is scary fun! Click on the movie links below for some frightening sounds and visuals. Teens love this game!
Here are the simple directions:
- Turn down the lights. Put an orange light bulb in one of your lamps
- Play a specific segment from each of the six movies listed below—first without any music and then with music
- Ask your children or teens: “Just how important is music in the movies?”
Your kids will quickly see that scary movies are just not that scary unless accompanied by chilling, terrifying music
Halloween Game #2: Classical Music in the Movies
Here’s another fun Halloween game that will require a little more thinking.
- Play the classical music (above)
- Have everyone guess what movie(s) the music was played in.
For example here are some pieces of classical music that found their way into famous (and not-so-famous) movies:
- In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg was heard in these movies: “Demons,” “Needful Things,” “Rat Race,” “Inspector Gadget,” and “The Social Network.”
- Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky was heard in these movies: “Fantasia,” “Jabberwocky,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Dracula,” and “Saturday Night Fever.”
- Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns was heard in these movies: “The Haunting of Whaley House,” “Halloween,” and “Stonehearst Asylum.”
- Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach was heard in these movies: “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” and Tobe Hooper’s “Eaten Alive.”
- Also Sprach Zarathustra by R. Strauss was heard in these movies: “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Zoolander,” “Toy Story 2,” and “The Simpsons”
- Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner was heard in these movies: “Apocalypse Now,” “The Blues Brothers,” and “The Simpsons.”
Halloween Music for Kids and Grandkids: Spooky Music Found in the Movies
Here is a selection of 6 movies and the composers who composed the amazing music for each of these movies. As mentioned, if you play a terrifying segment of the music with the sound muted and then with the sound unmuted, you and your kids will witness firsthand the central role music plays in movies.
Scary Movie #1: Jaws
Two single notes never did as much work as it did when queueing up the intro of the ocean’s scariest predator. The Jaws theme, written and conducted by Hollywood legend John Williams, is one of the most recognizable, horrifying clips of music ever composed.
Do you remember the scene at the beginning where the girl is swimming alone at night in the ocean? All of a sudden you hear those single ominous notes letting you know that something horrible is about to happen. From that point on, whenever you hear that music, you tense up. The audience knows that something bad is about to happen while the movie characters remain oblivious—which heightens the intensity of this thriller!
Click here to watch a video of John Williams (the composer) conducting the Jaws theme with the Boston Pops Orchestra
Scary Movie #2 Psycho
The height of the film’s intensity only features a few notes of music, but the piercing, screeching violin strings echoing throughout Psycho’s shower scene held more power than most movie music would hold for decades to come.
Warning: don’t take a shower on Halloween. Opt for a bath. In the light of day. With a weapon nearby… Music by Bernard Herrmann
Scary Movie #3: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Remember when Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Malfoy serve detention in the forbidden forest with Hagrid as their escort? Harry and Malfoy find a horrible creature (Lord Voldemort) who has just killed a unicorn and is drinking its blood. Malfoy runs away, leaving Harry behind to face Voldemort—notice the music in those scenes—scary and foreboding! Use your DVD to show your children this scene and music. Music by John Williams.
Scary Movie #4: Signs
This movie is about a family living on a farm that discovers mysterious crop circles in their fields. They suggest something more frightening to come! To be honest, I have only seen trailers of this movie—but I’ve been told the movie is rather scary and so is the music—you be the judge. Music by James Newton Howard
Scary Movie #5: Halloween
Haven’t seen this movie—never will! However, John Carpenter’s terrifyingly minimal music composition for the original Halloween is more than enough to strike fear into anyone’s heart after hearing just a few tinkering notes. The synth-enhanced tune, played in 5/4 time, was famously performed by the director—and turned Halloween from an eerie, oddly brutal horror flick to something so much more nightmare-inducing.
Scary Movie #6: 2001: A Space Odyssey
This classic music uses as the theme, Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. When Hal the computer takes over the spaceship, it spells TROUBLE for Dave the human. A classic movie never to be forgotten!
There are other movies that also contain some pretty scary music themes:
- “The Shining”
- “A Nightmare on Elm Street”
- “Donnie Darko”
- “The Dark Knight”
- “Friday the 13th”
I’ll leave it to you to check out those movies. Hopefully, this list is the beginning of scary music and movies to play in the dark with your kids and grandkids on Halloween night!
Memories! I loved the audience’s reaction when the Boston Pops played the first note of the Jaws theme. Thanks for some great ideas that I can share with my kids (for their teens.)
Sharlene Habermeyer says
I know! I love watching that clip from Jaws–everyone now knows how that music spells danger–makes the anticipation that much greater!
Now this, my teenage son will go crazy for! And actually, my husband would really enjoy it too. I always say the music in scary movies is what does me over. If I’m afraid to watch what’s going to happen on the screen, I not only close my eyes but plug my ears as well because the sound of the music makes me jump. I will definitely be sharing some of these classical pieces with Zach. He’s really going to love this. Thanks, Sharlene!
Sharlene Habermeyer says
I’m with you Tiffany–hate scary movies! However, love Alfred Hitchcock movies–they don’t seem as frightening as the movies today. The list of movies is pretty scary, but I do like how classical music is used in the movies–even some of the scary ones!