13 Halloween Titles for Your Fall Orchestra Concert

Haunted houses! Vampires! Pirates! It’s always fun to include a Halloween piece (or two!) at your October concerts and Tempo Press has you covered for scary and spooky orchestra music. 

There are original pieces by Mark Barnard, Jason Krug, Thom Sharp, and more. Plus, arrangements from Sandra Dackow, Robert McCashin, and Robert Longfield. 

So whether you are looking for a fun piece for your seventh graders or a concert closer for your high school orchestra, you’ll find what you need right here.

Angry Spirits

This lively piece for young string ensemble with accents and low first fingers, introduces syncopation and double up-bows. Can adapt to various instrumentation needs.

Dance of the Blessed Spirits

This baroque favorite has been expertly arranged by Robert Longfield. A musical gem for young string orchestras!

Dance of the Druids

This musically thematic work with changing tempi and meter depicts a battle scene, a new dawn, and ends with a celebration dance.

Ghost Lands

A land between the seen and the unseen. Between waking a sleeping. Ghostly figures drift across the land. Some are barely perceived, like wisps of mist, appearing and disappearing across the land. Some appear as bent shadows in a dense fog,  their pain and sorrow weighing heavily on their souls. Still others are sharply defined, spritely beings, here one moment and gone the next. A place of wonder, but not a place to tarry.

Haunted Halloween Dances

Haunted Halloween Dances is a suite of suite of three Halloween-themed dances for string orchestra. They can be played together, or each is long enough to stand on its own.

The “Spooky Samba” (in a minor) has an atmospheric introduction with a catchy samba rhythm and some easy open-string harmonics. The violas and cellos get the first statement of the theme while the violins continue the samba rhythm. The upper strings eventually get the melody, and later you can hear this melody in canon with the cello section. The melody becomes altered at one point as the sections battle it out between Good and Evil as the melody alternates between A major and a minor. This passage provides a perfect chance to teach young musicians how changing one step of the scale can dramatically alter the melody’s character. Sure to be a favorite with your orchestra, the Spooky Samba gives every section a chance to play the melody, the samba rhythm, col legno, pizzicato, and harmonics.

The “Terrible Tango” (in d minor) is a dramatic showpiece perfect for your next Halloween-themed concert. The unrelenting tango rhythms in the cello and bass and the viola’s tremolo set the tone for a dark and menacing dance. The tango melody is dramatic and sweeping and travels throughout the orchestra. Every section gets a chance to play the melody and also the vital tango rhythm. During the piece, a tutti piano section creates tension and drama and tests the dynamic range of the orchestra. Throughout the piece, tremolo, col legno, and pizzicato add color and interest for the players and the audience.

The “Weird Waltz” (in e minor) is just that. The haunting waltz melody at times feels clumsy and awkward due to the occasional use of hemiola. In addition to brief hemiola sections, some very deliberate dissonances add tension and humor. Young musicians will enjoy leaning into their “wrong” notes. The Weird Waltz has something for everyone- every section gets a chance to play the melody and play with expression through their whole dynamic range.

Haunted House

Running a little over two minutes, this piece is aimed at players who are fluent in first position playing. This piece explores using lowered first and second fingers for all players at some point. Pizzicato and tremolo techniques along with contrasting dynamics are incorporated. A piano part is included for performance but is not necessary.

Mars from "The Planets"

Maintaining the integrity of the original, this upper intermediate arrangement will excite players with driving rhythms and explosive force. It is best approached by players with solid foundation in extensions and able to deal with many accidentals and tonal ambiguity. To succeed, this arrangement requires enough players for sustained divisi in all sections, including violas and basses. While the parts do not always require divisi, they are written throughout on two staves for consistency, and conductors can move players to certain lines to help balance. A violin III part is included, helping to double the divided viola part frequently, but is not a true substitute for the violas. A rehearsal piano part is also included for support, but not intended for performance.

Mars from "The Planets"

Arranger Robert McCashin has set ‘Mars’ for large string orchestra. While it requires forces of a substantial size and capability, the arrangement successfully retains all the color and power of Holst’s original work. Wow your audience!

Moonlight on a Stormy Night

This vigorously imaginative, moderately difficult work was the winner of the 2015 Texas Orchestra Director’s Association Competition Contest.

Over the Misty Moor

Over the Misty Moor is meant to evoke an image of a fog-shrouded field in the hazy light of dawn. Eerie and ethereal sounds abound throughout, while long, lugubrious melodies paint a melancholy, haunting picture.

Pirate John Walks the Plank!

Pirates! Your students will love this fun piece for beginning string orchestra.


Sail the high seas with sections in g minor, many different bowings and techniques, changing dynamics, and mixed meter.

Vampire Dance

Designed for young string players to learn ensemble pizzicato, sautille bowing, a good sense of balance with harp, and lyrical playing with dynamic contrasts.

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