Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Helter Skelter” — The Beatles (1968)

I’ve got blisters on my fingers!!

Oh, hai guys. Been a while. Any changes in the year since we last met here? Besides The Looming Face of the Apocalypse Staring Us Dead Center In The Eyes Like Some Horrifically Soul-Suckingly Terrifying… Looming Face, I Guess?

And here we are at the beginning of October, with the long-awaited (by the three of you still reading this blog) return of Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs.

I’ll be honest, as much as I look forward to this every October, this year having been so 2020, I almost didn’t feel the urge like I do every other year. Time has become meaningless. Days melt into each other with the same aggravating sameness. We’ve been huddled in our caves, frozen in time and space, drenched in our existential ennui and degrading self-recriminations and geo political woe-is-me’isms that Halloween seems so… inconsequential.

Except that it ain’t. Not here. Not with us.

So as the air starts to chill, the shadows growing ominously longer, those screams from distant hills carried by an unforgiving wind, and other such descriptive elements that in no way relate to the gloopy, humid, ugly South Florida late-summer I’m still stuck in, we here at HokeyCorps Industries Ltd. (entirely fictitious) invite you to kick back and enjoy our Eighth Annual Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs!

For those new here, every year we showcase a collection of songs that are guaranteed to spice up your Halloween season, and none of them will ever feature stale, overplayed, trite songs you hear almost everywhere else during the month. You know the ones: Thriller, the Ghostbusters theme, Monster Mash, Werewolves of LondonSomebody’s Watchin’ Me, etc. If you’re looking for that, this aint the place.

And the songs don’t even need to be about Halloween, or monsters, or spookiness, dark occult matters, or anything explicitly horrific. They just might have a creepy funhouse vibe to them that adds to that Halloween air of oddball joyousness.

Which brings us to our kickoff song for the year, and wow it’s a big one: Helter Skelter by The Beatles. We try to kick each year off with an unabashed barnstormer of a song to really get things moving, and Paul McCartney’s 1968 ode to an amusement park slide as an allegory for the tumultuousness of human relationships is as good a one as any.

This sentence is the only one in which I will refer to anything regarding or related to Charles Manson.

Helter Skelter is not about anything terrifying, or creepy, or supernatural, or even anything remotely Halloweenesque. Except that (1) it’s one of the most kickass songs ever written, and (2) it’s literally centered around the imagery of a specific type of spiraling slide found at British amusement parks. The constant twisting, turning, and screaming fun is loud and infectious and terrifying and wonderful, celebrating that barest moment of uncertainty as a childlike being on your way down the slide, as you don’t quite know when or how it’s exactly going to stop. Or where you’ll end up. But you’re along for the ride, allowing it to take you anywhere as long as the exquisite fun of the moment lingers on.

And this Halloween, we really, really need something that twisty-turning fun amid a gut-wrenching reality. And when you get the bottom of the slide, just hop back on and keep moving and swirling until the realm outside the fairgrounds melt away and you’re in this crazier world that all at once seems less terrifying than the one we’re in, but also creepier and more sinister in all the best ways.

Holy Christ, do we need Halloween more than ever.

When I get to the bottom, I go back to the top of the slide
And I stop, and I turn, and I go for a ride
And I get to the bottom, and I see you again!

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