This evening I will be attending LATE at the Library: The Sorting as part of the Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination Exhibition at the British Library. I will be dressing up as is good and proper on these occasions, and I thought I would share my Halloween playlist. These are the tracks that I think really capture the contemporary spirit of Halloween – I am not a historian or folklorist so I am afraid I can’t pretend to be informed on the ancient traditions of All Hallow’s Eve and Samhain. (I am rather Mean Girls in my approach to Halloween. Although I am more likely to add fangs to all my outfits so that rather than *sexy* mouse, I would be *vampire* mouse. Hey, the media was all over the vampire cat so my decision is vindicated). So, in a rather particular order, my Halloween playlist is as follows: 1) Rasputina – ‘Transylvanian Concubine’ Everything about this song sings out Halloween. Not least the fact that it is featured on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtrack. 2) Shakira – ‘She Wolf’ A pop song about werewolves? Whatever next? I like to think Shakira’s hair is dyed white blond as an homage to those early tales of female werewolfery, Clemence Housman’s The Were-Wolf (1890) and Gilbert Campbell’s ‘The White Wolf of Kostopchin (1889). At the very least, she deserves plaudits for rhyming the word ‘lycanthropy’. 3) Jace Everett – ‘Bad Things’ This is the song from the opening of ‘True Blood’ (2008-2014). It’s gritty, dirty and Southern. Nuff said. 4) Puscifer – ‘Rev 22:20’ A difficult choice. The song is from the Underworld (2003) soundtrack which is pretty awesome in its entirety. During my more angsty, teenage years I listened to it a little too much. However, this track is one of the more upbeat ones and I like its nod to succubi in the lyrics. Quite frankly, it’s a little blasphemous. 5) Deftones – ‘Change (In the House of Flies)’ This song appeared on the soundtrack for ‘Queen of the Damned’ (2002) – although the singing voice of Lestat was supplied by Jonathan Davis of Korn. I find it hard to think of a more vampiric/ lycanthropic track. It is the perfect song to transform yourself into a creature of the night. 6) Florence + the Machine – ‘Howl’ Another track about lady lycanthropes. It’s dark, luscious and shows off the impressive vocal range of Florence. The song is about obsessive love gone violent releasing the protagonist’s inner animal. I personally find the line about ripping out and eating your lover’s heart strangely cathartic. 7) Eels – ‘Fresh Blood’ The downbeat, bluesy quality of this song and its repeated refrain of ‘Sweet baby, I need fresh blood’ is deeply seductive in a Lynchian way. It makes me think of Americana gone bad: a suburbia where the security lights juxtapose the black windows of the houses and a cloying, bland existence slowly eats away your soul. The promise of immorality and being bad is impossible to resist. 8) M83 – ‘Graveyard Girl’ Unconnected to the Neil Gaiman novel The Graveyard Book (2008), this is a song about *that* Goth girl at your school whose dark exterior hides a heart of bubble gum. All electro, posing, and whispered lyrics, ‘Graveyard Girl’ proves our continental cousins will always be cooler than us. 9) Modest Mussorgsky – ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ Shakespears Sisters, Interview with a Vampire (1994), and Fantasia (1940): these are what got me into the Gothic. I remember watching Fantasia when I was five years old and being overcome by the imagery and the music. ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ and the accompanying Halloween-esque cartoons stayed with me long after the movie ended. 10) Annie Lennox – ‘Love Song to a Vampire’ Haunting and heart-breaking, wounded and wonderful, ‘Love Song to a Vampire’ is from Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) which re-created the novel as a timeless love story. And quite honestly, I want this song played at my wedding. (I judge myself sometimes). I have put these songs onto a Spotify playlist so you can get yourself in a spooky mood. Whilst I have checked that there are no rude words in the lyrics themselves, those of a more metaphorical mind will notice that they have an adult content. Still as the Gothic so often shows terror and pleasure are on the same spectrum. Enjoy!