TikTok (Trick or) Treats

Elton John, Tim Burton, Liam Payne and More Add Some Pumpkin Spice to the Week in TikTok

‘Tis the season to be spooky, and the TikTok community is making sure that this year’s Halloween is one to remember. Music is a key ingredient to setting a Halloween mood, but October-friendly tunes come in all shapes in sizes. In recent weeks, TikTok users have gotten into the spooky spirit with horrorcore hip-hop, classic film soundtracks, and even ambient avant-garde. Some highlights:

  • Among the most notable figures to wish the TikTok community a happy Halloween was Elton John. Dressed as Elvis and wearing a purple-sequined jacket, a laced undershirt, and a pompadour wig, Elton performed a rollicking rendition of “Crocodile Rock,” with help from his husband David Furnish (dressed in Elton’s famous baseball uniform from his sold-out shows at Dodgers Stadium in 1975) and their two children (dressed as adorable crocodiles).
  • Tim Burton’s 1990 gothic fairy tale Edward Scissorhands has long been a favorite for movie fans who prefer Halloween stories to be heartwarming, rather than horrifying. In recent weeks, TikTok users have adopted an aspect of the film’ score–specifically, composer/arranger Ashton Gleckman’s version of Danny Elfman’s hauntingly beautiful “Ice Dance“–to soundtrack a Tim Burton-themed Halloween trend. Enterprising users have used TikTok’s facial transformation feature to elongate their eyes and narrow their cheeks, making them resemble characters from Burton’s 2005 stop-motion animated film Corpse Bride. With over 700k video creations on the sound, including videos from Elle Fanning and Bella Poarch, the “Tim Burton Time Warp Challenge” is a testament to the community’s creativity and Burton’s uniquely Halloween-y signature style.
  • Known for his extremely deep and raspy vocals and blunt lyricism, CORPSE is the latest horrorcore rapper to take the internet by storm, scoring 5 hits in the Top 20 of Spotify’s U.S. Viral 50 chart. The most popular of these songs is “E-GIRLS ARE RUINING MY LIFE” ft. $avage Gasp, which has generated over 105k video creations to date. With cover art that features a photo of popular TikTok user @EmmaLangevin, the song has inspired users to indulge their inner goth, attempt to fix a Party City wig, and to show off scary make up in a fright-inducing transition. Since the song started to rise in early October, both artists have stepped into comment on the its success, with $avage Gasp recreating the song’s recording experience and CORPSE blessing fans with a slowed version of the track (14k creations of its own.
  • Respected experimental musician Leland Kirby, also known as The Caretaker, is not the type of artist who normally inspires a TikTok trend. However, earlier this year, TikTok users stumbled upon his album Everywhere At The End Of Time, a six-hour ambient epic pieced together from 78rpm recordings that simulates the effects of dementia on the human mind. First posted by user @echoinc in August, Everywhere at the End of Time inspired TikTok users to document their experiences listening to the album, growing more anguished as the album goes on. Described by @theogowen as “literally the definition of pain,” the haunting album reminds the TikTok community that real life issues can be much more frightening than goblins and ghouls.
  • Throughout Halloween season, the TikTok community has made creative use of classic music from the holiday’s repertoire. Unsurprisingly, the “Monster Mash” has been a big hit (196k video creations), soundtracking family costume fashion showsbaby photoshoots, and more. And with over 194 million views, the hashtag #AddamsFamily has made a splash, as TikTok users show off their Addams Family drip to the tune of TV’s most famous four-note theme.
  • They say that Christmas season doesn’t start until Halloween season ends, but don’t tell Liam Payne. The pop star, former One Direction member, and avid TikTok user (3.3 million followers) gave the TikTok community an exclusive sneak peak of his yuletide jam “Naughty List” before it officially releases on October 30th. On Saturday, Liam will join TikTok makeup artist @abbyartistry on a LIVE stream to judge the scariest costumes on TikTok’s #halloweenlook hashtag. Tune in to Liam’s LIVE stream on Saturday at 10pm GMT/5pm ET on his @liampayne channel.

Halloween plays directly into TikTok strengths, emphasizing creativity through makeup and transformation and offering a variety of holiday-appropriate musical themes. Like earlier virtual celebrations of graduation and prom, Halloween provides an opportunity for TikTok users to safely connect and escape from real world anxieties and obligations. And as always, music plays a major role in shaping the sounds and trends of the occasion.

Check TikTok’s newsroom for more noteworthy stories: newsroom.tiktok.com