Carnivalesque & Your Halloween Playlist: Week 1

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What do we mean by Carnivalesque? Mikhail Bakhtin, Russian literary critic and philosopher, wrote about the Carnivalesque in literature. It is a suspension of rules, practiced during Carnivale (carne-vale, translated as “farewell, meat”) and Mardi Gras, the celebration before the austerity of Lent, and during Halloween. It was a way to acknowledge that despite the power of the Church and King over people’s lives, there was a space in time in which people could play at having the power. They could dress up and be anything they chose during a suspension of regular order and they would be believed. It is a revolt against rule, albeit temporary.

Why the playlist? Because everyone I know except for my mom loves Halloween.

Two songs a day for the entire month (bonus songs for when we get close to the actual date). The songs range from mildly cute and kitschy, safe-for-my-mom, to creepy, to unsettling and downright scary. (For some people, the Carnivalesque is a perpetual state, and they have managed, like vampires, to live outside the world of law and social order.)

October 1

Thriller—Michael Jackson. Yes, I’m starting here because go big or go home. And because it’s not a surprise that this song is the theme for the entire season.


I Love My Monsters—The Voronas




October 2

Season of the Witch—Donovan.

She’s My Witch—The Radiacs


October 3

The Skeleton Dance—Silly Symphony

Night of the Vampire—Moontrekkers


October 4

This is Halloween—from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Spooks—Louis Armstrong. Spooks—Louis Armstrong. Armstrong has a few “holiday” songs that are layered with an additional horror of confronting a very real evil, if you’re black and live in America. (The unsettling Christmas song is “‘Zat You, Santa Claus?“)


October 5

The Killing Moon—Echo and the Bunnymen

Transylvania Twist—Baron Daemon and the Vampires


October 6

Bela Lugosi’s Dead—Bauhaus

Blue Monday—Orkestra Obsolete. Just off enough to be unsettling and spooky.


October 7

Suspiria—Goblin. Classic chills from slasher master Dario Argento.

Satan is Her Name—Steve King. Also, a great pulp film, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! starring Tura Satana, and yes, that was her actual (married) name.

1 comments on “Carnivalesque & Your Halloween Playlist: Week 1”

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