It’s the season of the witch, and we have been playing our Halloween music and watching our Halloween films since mid-September. We have already rolled out our yearly music playlist, and are ready to follow up with some more ways to get your kid-friendly scares on this Halloween.
Listen To: “The Grand Scream of Things” by Andy Z
Award-winning kids’ musician Andy Z has just released an ambitious musical audio play for kids 8-12 called “The Grand Scream of Things.” The 66-minute music adventure takes listeners on a Halloween day journey with protagonist Andy, his dog Reggie, his buddy Danger Dude and Pleadia, a teenage alien and potential romantic interest for Andie. Interspersed through this “old time radio show” style adventure are stand-alone songs that span the punk, hip-hop, pop and hip-hop genre. Guest kid musicians like Paula Messner (Candy Band) and RhymeZwell show up while production is handled by Grammy-nominated producer Tor Hyams
Bonus Mention: Children’s musician David Tobocman is offering a free Halloween song download called “Spooky Stuff.” This tune was written by David’s 1st grade daughter Zoe.
We are long-time fans of Night & Day Studios
’ Peekaboo brand of apps. Each release brings unique artwork and new tricks to their trademark line of apps featuring animals and objects popping out and surprising toddlers and babies. For Halloween, Night & Day enlists the talent of Caldecott award-winning author and illustrator, Ed Emberley (“Go Away, Big Green Monster!
”) to create kid-safe interpretations of Halloween mainstays like witches, werewolves, bats and ghosts. In “Peekaboo Trick or Treat,” little ones tap on the colorful “haunted house” and are greeted by a rotating cast of 14 characters with silly sound effects. A simple app with inspired illustrations that allows even the youngest ones to celebrate the season without getting too scared.
The Worst Witch
introduced the young, fledgling witch/wizard-in-the-making story years before Harry Potter entered pop culture history books. Based on the book series
of the same name, this made-for-TV production focuses on central character Mildred Hubble as she tries to find her way at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Along the way she deals with bullies, botched spells, evil witches and a meeting with the honored Grand Wizard. While the special effects are slightly dated, the movie’s central themes are ageless, as Mildred overcomes obstacles both realistic and supernatural to become the school’s superstar student. Adult viewers: come for the retro charm, stay for the positive message, and come back again for Tim Curry’s hammy performance as The Grand Wizard and his musical number “Anything Can Happen on Halloween.”
Bonus Mention: Scholastic Storybook Treasures: A Very Brave Witch…and more Halloween Stories. Eight classic kid’s books are brought to life in this Halloween-themed edition of the Scholastic Storybook Treasures series. For parents who prefer a mellower, literary approach to television viewing, this a great option. Most of the stories in this DVD compilation are filmed books with simple camera pans, celebrity narration and optional onscreen read-along.
Go & Do: PhilharMONSTER! @ The Peter Norton Symphony Space in NYC
Lucky NYC-ers can go to this special one-off Halloween show on Sun, Oct 28 at 4 pm. The young musicians of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York’s Carnegie Hill Orchestra (ages 8 to 12) and ISO Symphony (ages 12 to 19) will perform horror-themed orchestral classics to get into the spirit of the season. All players will be dressed for the holiday, with a special Ghost Conductor.
Bonus Mention: Be sure to check out musician Alastair Moock’s “Slightly Scary Spectacular” concerts at Jammin Java (Saturday, October 27, 10:30 am) and 92Y Tribeca NY (Sunday, October 28, 11 am).
Read: “Hallowilloween: Nefarious Silliness” by Calef Brown
Artist/poet Calef Brown could be described as a modern-day Dr Seuss, with an edgy folk-art touch. He has even inspired an album based on his previous books. “Hallowilloween” features Calef’s trademark ridiculous rhymes, this time themed around his own brand of monsters. Meet the baseball “Vumpire,” shunken head Duncan, the brain-eating “Oompachupa Loompacabra” and the cowgirl “Witches of Texas.” Age appropriately morbid, Calef Brown’s poems are humorous enough to circumnavigate any nasty nightmares.
Bonus Mention: “Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1: Professor Gargoyle” by Charles Gilman. A novel for tweens that references the king of horror and “speculative fiction.” Yes please! “Tales from Lovecraft Middle School” tells the story of twelve-year-old Robert Arthur as he navigates his way through a middle school filled with mysterious passages, Lovecraftian beasts, and teachers that are never who they appear to be.
Last Halloween, we got into the spirit early with the Nugget Island Family Halloween Hootenanny playlist for Spotify. Filled with classic family-safe scare-tracks and classic kindie treats, this playlist is a must for Halloween lovers. Add it to your Spotify playlists now to hear classic Halloween-loving musicians like John Zacherle, The Moon-Rays, Shiny Toy Guns, Spike Jones and Voltaire. Of course, no family Halloween is complete without some kindie superstars, so we’ve invited artists like Doctor Noize, The Hipwaders, Justin Roberts, Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck, Recess Monkey, Roger Day, Trout Fishing in America and more to this All Hallow’s Eve shindig.
A Free Treat
Meanwhile, for those who want to celebrate the season of Fall – with or without Halloween – I wanted to call out a free download. Kindie music superstar Joanie Leeds has written a new song called “Falling” – in celebration of the season – and she is giving it away as a free download here.
Two things we love in our house: Halloween and Spotify. And the two now merge as I introduce my “Family Halloween Hootenanny” mix for all to enjoy. Christmas has its own carols, so let’s not forget the musical sounds of October super-celebration All Hallow’s Eve. While adults may have the likes of G.W.A.R., Rob Zombie, and psychobilly to enjoy, we need a few G/PG-tunes for the little ones. So, click the link below, fire up Spotify, and light the pumpkin for 100 tunes to terrorize (and more to come).
Kindie artists include
Asylum Street Spankers
Baze and His Silly Friends
Erin Lee & Marci
Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck
The Sunny-Side Up Band
Trout Fishing in America
And our new favorite:
Skelly and the Punkins
Sadly missing from Spotify:
Sue Schnitzer’s Boo, Cackle, Trick or Treat
And some spooky tunes from:
Disney’s Haunted Mansion
Nightmare Before Christmas
Shiny Toy Guns
Siouxsie And The Banshees
The Kingston Trio
Halloween is my holiday. As a horror movie junkie and a lover of all things creepy, crawly and spooky, I absolutely delight in a day of the year where everyone of all ages accepts a little macabre into their manor. Sure, it has to be down-aged for the little ones, but as soon as the decorations appear in stores, I am ready to celebrate.
- G-Rated Boos from Schnitzer
As my blog clearly demonstrates, I also enjoy celebrating quality and entertaining music with my daughter. So when All Hallows Eve comes around, it is an essential to find songs that match the season. As Maia is only three, I have to be somewhat selective in fright-themed tunes, but with wonderful sites like Zooglobble.com, Kidsmusic.about.com, gooney bird kids, and Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child to guide me, we can get quite the playlist going. Here are a few songs to add to your mix this season.
Kindie Blood Curdles
“Howling at the Moon” by The Hipwaders - This California kindie trio offers a fun werewolf tale that will inspire some backseat howling.
“Boo, Cackle, Trick or Treat” by Sue Schnitzer - A fun folk ditty from Sue’s full album of Halloween songs for kids.
“The Day After Halloween” by The Sippy Cups – We fell in love with this song last year, as well as its accompanying video. Another kindie superstar band, the song comes from their EP One Day Soon.
“The Edison Museum” by They Might Be Giants – This song is on their No! album. A spooky ditty about a haunted mansion, this track will be creeping the kiddies out all year.
- Give them something good to eat
“A Monster Goes Rrraargh!” by ScribbleMonster & His Pals – This hard rocker from Chicago-area kindie quintet ScribbleMonster will have the little ones practicing their best monster growls well past the season of scares.
“Moogie Monster Man” by Kevin Kammeraad and Friends – Off Kevin’s 50+ track collection The Tomato Collection: The Big Album, this is less a Halloween song and more a celebration of make-pretend monsters.
“Monster Face” by Roger Day- Doing his best Pee-Wee Herman voice, Day demands all the kids make their best monster face and then dance, dance, freeze.
“Skeleton Song” by Mary Kaye – Maine-based Mary Kaye has created a delightfully quirky Halloween song with some fun xylophone instrumentation and mouth sound effects.
“Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet” by Monty Harper – Oklahoma-based children’s performer Harper tells a (kid-safe) creepy tale of a troll who exacts revenge on a house with no candy left.
Assorted Halloween Songs from Yo Gabba Gabba – In case you missed the Halloween-themed episode, it features some great music, both from the regular cast of characters, as well as musical guests Shiny Toy Guns and I Monster. We love these songs so much, we had to find a way to extract and save the songs from the episode after we purchased it on iTunes.
Adult Supervision Recommended
- Zacherley cooks up Halloween fun in the lab
“Ghoul Bash” by Eban Schletter featuring Dave Gruber Allen – This composer/songwriter has brought a team of talent on board for his more adult-skewing album Witching Hour. Jill Sobule, Dave Foley, Paul F. Tompkins, Grant Lee Phillips and Tom Kenny (aka Spongebob Squarepants) all show up on various Halloween-themed tracks.
“Halloween Dance” by Reverend Horton Heat , “No Costume, No Candy” by The Swingin’ Neckbreakers – Both of these songs are from the Rob Zombie-produced compilation Halloween Hootenanny. While his adult efforts (both film and music) aren’t exactly family fare, these hard rocking songs are safe for your Halloween shuffle mix.
“Thriller” by Michael Jackson – ‘Tis the season to appreciate all things MJ. Like most people in my age bracket, I was a bit traumatized by this video as a kid. Regardless, the song is relatively harmless, as long as the Vincent Price voice-over doesn’t unnerve any young ears.
“Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley - As a kid, these songs drove me crazy. Now, it is with tongue in cheek that I share them with my daughter..
“Which Witch is Which” from Walt Disney Record’s Halloween Songs & Sounds - Pulled f
- Disney scares
rom a Disney novelty record, this track will entertain the Mickey lovers in the minivan.
“This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman (Nightmare Before Christmas OST) – While the accompanying images from the film may be a bit too intense for younger kids, the song itself has become a seasonal classic.
“Zombie Jamboree (Back To Back)” by Harry Belafonte – The “King of Calypso” sings about the undead in one of my favorite songs from these picks. While you are at it, pick up the whole Belafonte collection for the rest of the year.
Halloween Detox (Or, how to “unspook” your child through the power of music)
“Under My Bed” by Recess Monkey – Seattle kindie band (and teachers by day) turn the monster-under-bed story on its side with this not-so-scary story song.
“Soaper the Scaredy-Bot” by The Jimmies – Let Ashley Albert and co. remind your little ones not to be afraid of silly things with this irresistible kids’ tune that will distract them from that evil ghoul in the closet.
“Maybe the Monster” by Justin Roberts – This song, from the popular Chicago children’s singer-songwriter, is just one of the many songs out there to help kids remember that monsters are “make pretend.”