The Origin of The Monster Mash

There are specific things about Halloween that make Halloween the most Halloween possible that Halloween can be. No matter what you call it – Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Eve – even if you use the little comma and call it Hallowe’en (not sure why you would do that but hey, to each their spooky own) October 31st is a time for spookiness, candy, treat or treating, and some of the goofiest movies of the year.

I figured, as a self-proclaimed Halloween expert, that I would share some of my knowledge on one of the greatest classical compositions that lift our spirits every Spook Season. It’s iconic, original, and an all around scare.

That’s right; I’m talking about The Monster Mash.

I don’t know about y’all, but the Monster Mash is a jam! When October 1st rolls around the Monster Mash is absolutely the first song I bop my head to as I adorn my witch’s hat and toss in some plastic glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth.

Our pal Boris with my new life motto: ‘Monster Mash Forever.’

This song has been around since 1962 when good ‘ol Bobby “Boris” Pickett released the song with Garpax Records. Weirdly enough, the song was released in August and was part of an entire album called The Original Monster Mash. Whatever other songs were on that album, who knows, but let me tell you The Monster Mash was the #1 Single on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts from October 20th through 27th of that year.

The song originated because of our guy Boris having a bit of a musical malfunction at one of his nightly concerts. He wasn’t super popular, a bit of an aspiring actor, and so he panicked at the dispersing crowd, remembered a horror flick he’d seen recently, and started doing impressions of the monster’s voices for the audience to keep them from leaving. The audience ended up going absolutely nuts for these little gnarly voices, and thus The Monster Mash was born.

Further Fun Facts about The Monster Mash:

  1. There’s actually a real Monster Mash dance! That’s right goblins and ghouls, you too can do the Monster Mash (and you have all of this year until Halloween 2019 to perfect it!) The “Monster Mash” is basically a ghostie’s parody of the Mashed Potato, which was a popular dance move during the 60’s, so all the

    How do I get an invite to this dance party next year?!

    little vamps and werewolves were aware of the dance move at the time.

  2. Boris throws in a couple Easter eggs into the song and names all the iconic black-and-white 1940’s monster movie characters within the lyrics. This includes Count Dracula (a classic cult favorite), the Invisible Man, the Wolfman, Igor, and even mentions Dracula’s son at one point too.
  3. When the song originally aired in 1962, it was actually banned! What?! The song was considered “too morbid” and wasn’t aired on the radio after it’s big success until 1973 when the UK released it (quickly followed by its reemergence in the States).
  4. For those of you who don’t want the spooky spirit to end after Halloween – you’re in luck! There’s actually a Christmas version produced by Boris called Monsters’ Holiday. Highly recommend 10/10 for the Christmas puns.
  5. On the original record, there was actually a b-side to the disc that included a song called “Monster Mash Party.” This version included some dialogue amongst the characters (all voiced by Boris) and let me tell you, it’s one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever heard. Do you want to know what Dracula and the Wolfman sound like talking about fruit punch? If you don’t, then you should. It changed my life.

So, Halloween has come and gone. But the Monster Mash is still alive within each and every one of us, bopping away and just waiting until next October to be released again. I don’t know if it’s the tempo, the rhythm, or the funny voices, but sometimes when I just need a quick pick-me-up (you know, in the middle of the semester, or even that random time in March where nothing is happening) I highly recommend turning on the Monster Mash and mashing your way through a happy dance to everyone’s favorite graveyard smash.

 

Zoë Mahler is a senior at Principia College studying art history and archaeology. She is an avid, AVID Halloween fan, and her costume this year was Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove. The Monster Mash is the number one played song in her iTunes library.