"That it's become this sort of cult classic fan favorite in Panic! history is pretty funny, because we weren’t taking it all that seriously. But I love that its become those things for all the right reasons." - Spencer Smith
Today is a holy day. Today marks 10 years of the Panic! At The Disco Halloween classic 'It's Almost Halloween'. In the 10 years since its release, it would be hard to measure the cultural influence it's had, but we're willing to try. We're here to honour it.
Over the past 10 years 'It's Almost Halloween' has transcended its cultural bounds, and become a scene staple- a cult classic, the likes of which we haven't seen since.
Every year since 2008, as soon as October 01 rolls around, you know it's time for "EVERYBODY SCREEEEEEEAM. EVERYBODY SCREAM, IT'S ALMOST HALLOWEEN! DO THE TRICK OR TREEEEEEEEAT".
So in honour of the scene's most iconic original Halloween song, we spoke to one of the song's writers- former-Panic! At The Disco drummer and current DCD2 Records legend Spencer Smith. Spencer talks us through the song and video that we actually know very, very little about.
How did you all land on the idea to write a Halloween song?
Says Spencer: "It was our version of doing a Christmas song. Halloween definitely fit Panic! better at that time, and with Halloween you don’t have to compete with Mariah Carey and Josh Groban."
What was the reason for doing 'It's Almost Halloween'?
"We were really just trying to have fun. Doing something less composed and orchestrated felt different and unexpected for us at that point. Also, around that time Ryan [Ross] was wanting to sing more, so doing that on a casual, fun song seemed like a low pressure way to ease into it."
Zack Hall has previously shared that 'It's Almost Halloween' was recorded in a bathroom- is that true? And if so, why?!
"I believe some parts were. Definitely the vocals. That’s purely a result of being on tour and having to make the most of what you have to work with. Backstage dressing rooms often aren’t as glamorous as they sound. Sometimes you’re playing a hockey rink and your dressing room is the visitors locker room, but the weird echo from the tile may add a cool effect to a vocal recording."
Where was the video filmed?
"It was in Defiance, Missouri outside of St. Louis. In a state park or some large conservation area. We found it on a previous day off when we rented a van, all piled in, and drove around scouting for a forested area."
Who features in the party scenes- anyone we would know or recognise?
"We were on tour with the Plain White Ts and The Cab, and we told everyone on the tour to come to our dressing room and bring anyone they could find. So, while it looks great, I honestly don’t know half the people there."
Who choreographed the sick dance section, and how much rehearsing did that take?
"We made it all up on the spot. Probably spent 10 or 15 minutes putting a little routine together. Outside of Brendon, dancing was not our specialty, and that’s apparent, but it was supposed to feel off the cuff and funny to a certain extent, so it fit the feel of the concept."
Talk us through the costumes...
"After we scouted the forest we drove the van to a Party City and each picked out our costumes. I think we decided on the spot at the store which costumes to wear."
How long did the whole project take, from coming up with the idea through to the delivery of the finished video?
"Maybe a week to 10 days. The idea for the song may have been thought of prior, but the time it took to record the song, shoot the video and put it out was fairly quick."
Did you ever perform it live?
"No. But we gave a cd of the song to everyone who was at the Halloween show that year."
Looking back on it 10 years later, how do you feel about it?
"To know that it's become this sort of cult classic fan favorite in Panic! history is pretty funny, because we weren’t taking it all that seriously. But I love that its become those things for all the right reasons. Its silly, and fun, and almost a little bizarre for the band we were at the time. But for as light hearted of a song and video as it is, I still think it goes to show that when you put your guard down and do something spontaneous without overthinking, often times that’s when something special happens. Even if that something special includes werewolf masks and vampire teeth."
Happy 10th Birthday, 'It's Almost Halloween'. We still dream that one day it'll be on streaming services, but until then- turn it up loud on YouTube.