By The cover art can be obtained from Walt Disney Records., Fair use,

Which Cover of This is Halloween Spooks You?

A little more than 25 years ago, Tim Burton gave us one of the most bizarre holiday movies ever. Was it a Christmas movie? Was it a Halloween movie? Maybe A Nightmare before Christmas was both! Regardless, we watched, and watched, and continue to rewatch that movie. Almost every year, between October 1st and December 25th, I have to watch the adventures of Jack Skeleton as he discovers Christmas. It’s an amazing movie with so many amazing pieces. The story, the animation, and perhaps my favorite part, the music. Right off the bat, with This is Halloween, we’re drawn into an amazing soundtrack. Over the years, many covers of This is Halloween have been released. Panic at the Disco!, Broken Peach, and more have recorded memorable covers of This is Halloween. This begs the question, is there a cover of This is Halloween that dethrones the original? Or does Danny Elfman’s version bring the rest to their knees? That’s what we are here to find out. Here comes cover vs original: This is Halloween!

Cover of this is Halloween
©1993 Walt Disney Records

Original: Citizens of Halloweentown (1993)

At the beginning of A Nightmare Before Christmas, an ensemble of characters set the stage for the rest of the movie with This is Halloween. We get introduced to many characters, including the clown with a tear-away face and, and the monster under your bed. We get our first look at the mayor of Halloweentown. Sally, and of course, Jack Skeleton.

The original version of This is Halloween is there to grab our attention, and to show us just what we signed up for while watching this movie. And this is exactly what it delivers. We find a place we never knew existed – Halloweentown. We hear many voices we’ve known before while meeting a few for the first time. And while we’re tempted to be frightened, we’re told it’s all in good fun.

Cover: Panic! At the Disco (2006)

Panic! At the Disco gives appears on the extended version of The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack. This cover mimics the original’s orchestrated instruments. We hear, strings, horns, and more strings! All played creepily and eerily. Meanwhile, Brendon Urie’s vocals send a shiver up our spines. The thing we don’t get with this version – the different voices – mostly because of Urie’s vocal range. Urie has a tenor voice emphasized with a vibrato. There’s another cover on that same album that (due to the recent allegations) I won’t review. However, I will say that this other cover uses baritone (and falsetto) vocals to imitate some of the characters of Halloweentown. In contrast, Urie’s voice just doesn’t work in some parts of the song. This is especially apparent when we hear the monster under the bed.

Regardless of the lack of under the bed scariness, Panic! At the Disco still brings us into a screamariffic place with their/his cover of This is Halloween!

Cover: Sadie (2011)

Japanese visual Kei band Sadie might rock the hardest cover of This is Halloween in existence. Sadie has so many guitars! So many loud, ear-piercing guitars. And Sadie does an amazing job trying to imitate the townspeople as well. Of all the monsters under the bed, I like Sadie’s the best.

If you want to scare your neighbors on Halloween night, play the Sadie cover of This is Halloween at full volume. You may lose your hearing, but you’ll give everyone in earshot an experience they won’t forget.

Cover: Leo Moracchioli (2018)

Leo Moracchioli provides another hard rock cover of This is Halloween. Does it rock harder than Sadie’s. That’s for you to decide. Regardless, it does rock. We hear belting guitars. We hear screaming vocals. Yeah, Leo kicks some serious ass with his cover. Leo doesn’t attempt any of the townspeople’s vocals. Who cares! I still feel a bit of a chill when I hear him belt out the line “I am the one hiding under your bed / Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red.” Isn’t that what counts?

If you want to scare your neighbors, even more, play Leo’s cover of This is Halloween back to back with Sadie’s.

Cover: Broken Peach (2020)

The Broken Peach cover of This is Halloween broke the internet in 2020. What’s so special about this cover? I usually try to ignore music videos and focus on the music itself. In the case of Broken Peach, however, this is impossible. Broken Peach relies heavily on their costumes and their videos. In This is Halloween, all seven band members have their faces painted like skulls while wearing matching purple and black outfits. Two of the female vocalists time their movements perfectly, so the video feels as though it’s a stop motion film. In fact, this movement, especially from the vocalist furthest to the left, was exactly what made me think in the back of my mind that maybe, just maybe, these women aren’t human.

Ok, so what about the music? With four vocalists singing harmony, we get a great chorus much like that of the townspeople in the movie. While they can’t imitate the monster under the bed, one of the vocalists uses a megaphone to blast a scary-sounding voice. So yeah, not the actual monster, but scary enough that we don’t care. And the three guys playing guitar, bass, and drums, well they rock!

Does one cover of This is Halloween frighten more than the rest?

All four covers have their weaknesses. Broken Peach’s cover, without the visuals, might not be all that interesting. Panic! At the Disco can’t seem to get the monster under the bed right. Sadie might just make you go deaf. LeoMoracchioli doesn’t really get the characters at all. Still, all four covers are pretty fantastic. Comparing these covers against each other is comparing apples and oranges. Each cover brings its own flavor, and honestly – they can all coexist peacefully together. Heck, we even see one of these covers on the extended soundtrack for The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s almost like Walt Disney Records agrees that we need more than one version of this song.

Nothing can replace the original. Still, these (and a myriad of other) covers certainly enhance the original. More importantly, comparing these five versions of This is Halloween is a metaphor for how we celebrate Halloween. Some go trick or treating, some stay home and watch scary movies. Some people play pranks, some people go to parties, and some write scary articles about the time they got attacked by a killer yellowjacket (shameless self-promotion). The point is, Halloween is about having fun. Do what you like. Although, if you’re playing pranks, just remember someone has to clean that toilet paper out of the tree.

Happy Halloween everyone! And don’t forget to check out this year’s Halloween Dance Party.

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