As a follow-up to Saturday’s “2014 Halloween Playlist” post, I wanted to clarify the last item on the list — the great Pat Travers live performance of his classic cover of “Boom, Boom (Out Go the Lights).”

I can almost hear you saying… “Wait… What? I can see the other songs on the list, but Pat? And last on the list? The heck?”

Before I get into its humorous reasons for inclusion here, let’s take a moment to address the controversy surrounding the lyrical content of the song. I do know this song has a dark origin. I do not condone that. Stan Lewis wrote the tune for Chess Records and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Little Walter had the first recording. The blues often had dark themes and so many songs are about some pretty awful stuff. That’s true here. I can only guess that Travers was ignoring all of that and only saw it as an opportunity to spur some awesome audience participation and shred the hell out of that guitar with an old blues rocker. Both of which are here in spades. OK? OK.

Back to the list. Why DID this song make it on and why does it have the honor of being in the final spot, wrapping the list?

Well, intrepid horror fans, that is a sacred Johnson Family Halloween tradition.

What is the universal sign for “we’re not home” or “we’re not open for business” on All Hallows’ Eve? Every kid knows that one without even thinking. Lights out.

Lights out? No one’s coming to THAT door. No candy. No deal.

The tradition started when we were living in a neighborhood famous for being awesome for trick or treating. We went through 15 bags of candy in the first two hours and we had already made an emergency run to the store. Crazy. The conversation went something like this ::

“At 9PM… ‘Boom, Boom…”

“Boom, Boom?”

“Yeah… Out go the lights. We can’t keep this up. We have to close up shop. I’m not going to the store again.”

“Why ‘Boom, Boom?'”


“Oh yeah! Totally!”

Annnnd, so it began. We played it that night and it’s been on every Halloween mix CD or playlist since. Get out the air guitar, ghouls, and make it your new Halloween tradition.


Author: David Edward Johnson

A bit about me :: My name is David Johnson. I'm a senior creative with over 20 years of experience. I am currently serving as the Director of User Experience and Product Design at Inmar. Previously, I have served as the Global Digital Creative Director for Whole Foods Market, several agencies at the VP level and co-owned my own agency in New York for seven years. I love genre film, a full range of music, art, kung fu, TM, design, good food and a great joke. I'm based in Austin, Texas and addicted to BBQ.

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