“This is Halloween”
Writers: Danny Elfman
Original Release Date: October 12, 1993
Yes, I know Halloween was two days ago, but since the soundtrack for The Nightmare Before Christmas is timeless, I wouldn’t say that I’m exactly “late” to this party.
In case you’ve never seen it (what have you been doing for the past 23 years?), The Nightmare Before Christmas is the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King who learns about Christmas and decides to take it for his own. Before doing so, however, there’s a fantastic scene that introduces the other residents of his home, Halloween Town. There are lots of little elements that make this song so good: from the violins at the beginning, to the different voices used for each character, to the tinkling noise in the background that I always assumed was somebody banging on a skeleton’s ribs (but is probably a glockenspiel). Composer Danny Elfman managed to make the song sound like Halloween without making it scary and it’s the first thing I think of when October rolls around. And, for over two decades, my favorite movie moment has been when Jack majestically emerges from the town’s fountain—it’s so dramatic, and I can’t help hailing to the pumpkin song.
This cover is literally two of my favorite things combined: The Nightmare Before Christmas and Panic! at the Disco. If there’s one person I worship more than the Pumpkin King, it’s Brendon Urie. While you lose out on the multiple voices representing each character, Urie does a scarily good job of treating his vocals like an instrument, making it appropriately spooky on lyrics like “in this town, we call home, everyone hail to the pumpkin song” and singing in a lower register for the “I am the shadow on the moon at night” line, which should be enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. The only thing that could have made this cover better would be an accompanying music video featuring the band in full Nightmare-esque costumes. Somebody make that happen!
Either version is perfect for Halloween (or, let’s be real, any time of the year), but if you’re more into “terrifying” and less “spooky”, you can indulge in this Marilyn Manson cover.