This Halloween, skip the de rigueur playing of Monster Mash and Thriller at your bash and opt for different tunes. While you’re at it, ignore pairing your pours to food, and instead, pair for mood. Here are WE’s picks for sips and songs that will raise All Hallow’s Eve spirits.
Serve: Charles Smith 2009 King Coal Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah:
King Coal, from the Stoneridge Vineyard in Washington’s Wahluke Slope AVA, is silky and seamless on entry, but pushes into a wine with power and punch. The berry and cherry flavors are balanced by tart, tangy acidity. The label’s dark royalty inspires more than a little fear on a stormy Halloween night.
Danse Macabre: French composer Camille Saint-Saëns’s orchestral arrangement tells the story of Death appearing at midnight on Halloween, calling forth his skeletal minions to dance for him while he holds court with his violin.
Hey Little Songbird: Anaïs Mitchell’s folk-opera concept album Hadestown takes its inspiration from the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. In this song, Hades’s deep bass and underlying menace is a perfect foil to Eurydice’s desperation.
Running: Indie band Delta Spirit’s song evokes western Americana, with the singer coming to terms with the inevitability of The End.
Serve: Cutty Sark Tam o’ Shanter Aged 25 Years Scotch:
This limited edition Scotch—only 5,000 bottles were produced, and includes an illustrated book—is a rich, shadowy whisky, with peaty smoke and hints of tar on the nose, but full of black pepper and slightly sweet Sherry notes on the palate. The Scotch takes its name from the title of Robert Burns’ Scottish poem, which describes Tam o’ Shanter’s dealings with dark creatures of the night.
Werewolf: The Frantic, a surfer-cool band from the 1950s, topped the charts with this creepy, twangy instrumental that sounds straight out of a B-movie. Adding to the spook factor of the song is the constant sound of a howling werewolf.
Shankhill Butchers: Originally a violent gang in Belfast, Ireland, responsible for kidnappings and deaths in the city’s Catholic quarter, The Decemberists cast their Butchers as knife-wielding bogeymen in this folky number.
The Killing Moon: Echo & the Bunnymen’s subject finds himself under the light of a glowing moon, while bass notes imply a sense of doom, with strings offering light on an otherwise portentous night.
Serve: Great Lakes Brewing Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale:
This highly hopped imperial red ale is named after the 1922 German Expressionist film of the same name, which marked the first appearance of the dreaded vampire on the silver screen. Malt and oatmeal notes meld with some citrus, with the palate underlined by the brew’s hoppy nature. This seasonal sip is available annually, beginning in September.
Bela Lugosi’s Dead: Bauhaus’s first single is from the band’s first record, widely considered the first gothic rock album released. It is named after Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula in the 1931 film, establishing the modern vampire canon.
Eyes On Fire: Blue Foundation’s song is ominous, full of creeping malice that is disturbingly easy to listen to. Vampires have mind control abilities; similarly the crooning, lilting voice seduces listeners with terrifying lyrics like “I’ll seek you out/ Flay you alive/ One more word and you won’t survive.”
Bad Things: True Blood’s opening credits, by Jace Everett, throws a dash of sexy in with Southern Gothic creepy, fueling vampire-ridden nightmares.