Halloween hits – The best tunes to bring the spook factor

We all love a seasonal playlist, but what are the best songs for a Halloween jukebox? It’s a little trickier than some of the other holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, but there are some really great options out there.

Here we’ve chosen five of the best songs for Halloween playlists, plus five more bonus ideas for a really well-rounded pub jukebox this October.

1. Michael Jackson – Thriller

The best-selling album in chart history, Thriller wasn’t actually released around Halloween, but a month later on November 30th, 1982 with the video following on December 2nd, 1983 and the single on January 23rd, 1984. But it’s no surprise that it’s become the go-to track for Halloween jukebox playlists, with its spooky themes and Vincent Price spoken-word segment.

2. Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett – Monster Mash

It’s hard to believe Monster Mash is almost 60 years old. This one has always been a Halloween track – it was released in August 1962 and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in time for Halloween that year – and it’s been putting a smile on revellers’ faces ever since. For a 2020 twist on the classic, check out DJ Cummerbund’s ‘Monster WAP’ remix, which uses the music from Monster Mash with the lyrics from Cardi B’s WAP.

3. Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London

Another classic track, Werewolves of London dates back to 1978 and has a chill but upbeat vibe to it. With dancefloors out of action for this year, Zevon’s ‘awoo’ howls with the light piano accompaniment are a good match for the mood of this Halloween holiday.

4. Beyonce – Haunted

This moody track from Beyonce’s self-titled 2013 album is a bit of a slow burner, but it has a haunting melody that builds to a complex layered final phase and it’s one of the more recent songs to really deserve a place on your jukebox playlist for Halloween 2020.

5. The Specials – Ghost Town

The Specials’ two-tone number one hit from 1981 might be a little on-the-nose for 2020, but it’s still a great tune with vocals and melody that fit the season perfectly. Put it on the list and let your patrons decide whether they want to pay to play it or not!

Honourable Mentions

To help you complete your jukebox playlist for Halloween, here are five more honourable mentions to put in your top ten:

  • Little Mix – Weird People (a 2015 Halloween chart entry from the same album as Black Magic)
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand (also check out his duet with Kylie on Where the Wild Roses Grow)
  • Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters (1984, covered in 2016 by Fall Out Boy feat. Missy Elliott)
  • Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me (1984, remixed in 2006 by Beatfreakz)
  • Various Artists – Time Warp (from 1975’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show, covered in 1989 by Damian)

In need of a jukebox to turn up the SPOOK factor at your venue this Halloween? Call Manco Automatics on 0161 870 7777 and a member of our team will be happy to help.

What to check for when hiring a pool table

Hiring a pool table is easy with Manco Automatics – we can help you make all the important decisions – but it’s good to know how much choice you have when hiring a pool table from us.

Here are some of the basics you might want to keep in mind when you hire a pool table from Manco Automatics. If you’re not sure about any of these things, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

How big?

Size is one thing that obviously has a big effect on where you can fit a pool table. We have six-foot and seven-foot pub pool tables with exact dimensions available for the playing area and the table overall.

We’d always recommend four feet of clearance all the way around the table to allow for cueing action, although it’s usually fine if there’s one or two places where a wall gets a little closer than that.

Our table specifications also include weight, so it’s a good idea to check that too and avoid placing your pool table on a weak floor.

Mechanical or electronic?

We have pool tables with mechanical coin slots – the classic ‘push to vend’ style – as well as electronic tables.

This really comes down to personal preference, but also the kind of pricing you want to offer. For example, a fixed price per game can work well in a student union or staff room.

Electronic tables can be configured to offer a discount on multiple games, e.g. ‘3 for 2’, and can also be set up for free play if you ever want to offer that to your customers.

How should it look?

When you hire a pool table from Manco Automatics, we can make sure it looks the way you want it to.

That can include a long list of different characteristics. We’ve already mentioned size above, but you can also choose different veneers and surface finishes, cloth types and colours, and choose between red/yellow balls or spots and stripes.

Rental or profit share?

One final thing to think about when hiring a pool table is whether you want to pay a fixed rental price, or hire it under a profit-share arrangement.

We are happy to offer profit-share pool table hire, where you just pay us a percentage of your takings. This gives you confidence and peace of mind that if your pool table doesn’t make as much profit in a particular month, you will pay less for hiring it too.

Overall we believe in making it as easy as possible to hire a pool table in Manchester, Liverpool and the north-west, whether it’s for a pub, hotel, staff room, student union or members club.

To find out more, give us a call today and we can help you to decide how you want your pool table to look and work, and get it installed in your premises as soon as possible.

Prepare your venue for Autumn

As we move into the winter months, it’s a good time to prepare your venue for Autumn and customers’ changing habits in the run-up to Christmas.

In 2020 there are of course some extra things to consider, such as social distancing and how to make the most of the capacity you have in your premises.

But there are still plenty of options to keep your punters entertained throughout their visit and bring in some extra revenue along the way as your prepare your venue for Autumn and beyond.

Clean and clear

As the weather changes, it’s going to be harder for customers to sit outside, so make sure your interior is well cleaned and clear of any unnecessary obstructions.

By now you probably have a good idea of any pinch points in your social distancing, so take the chance to move furniture slightly if it will help.

We can arrange to have new fabric put on your pool tables if they are looking worn, ready for them to be put to good use over the Autumn.

Up to date

In addition to your pub pool tables, take the time to get any other coin-op machines on your premises up to date.

That can include installing any updates and new question packs on quiz machines, checking your pull-tab machines to see how many tickets are left, and installing the latest chart releases on jukeboxes.

All of this is routine maintenance anyway, but at this time of year it’s the perfect time to double check so you maximise your profits in the run-up to Christmas.

Special events

If you haven’t already, plan the special events and calendar dates you want to mark between now and New Year’s.

Halloween is always a popular holiday, so put up your spooky decorations and think of some events – you could give prizes for the best Halloween-themed face masks, or plug a microphone into your jukebox and have a kooky karaoke competition with songs like Monster Mash and Thriller.

Counting down

A lot of people will be glad to see the back of 2020, and although circumstances are not ideal, there are plenty of ways to celebrate.

With a little care and attention for your premises, furniture, pool tables and so on, you can be ready for the weeks and months of Autumn.

And as the days get a little shorter and a little darker, you can start your calendar of seasonal events to keep punters coming through the door as we all count down to a brighter 2021.

If you’re looking to jazz up your venue this year with one of our pool tables and machines, then give us a call on 0161 870 7777 or fill in the form via our contact page.

The history of fruit machines

If it weren’t for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, pub fruit machines might look very different.

To understand why, you have to look back to the middle of the 1890s when Charles Fey, an American inventor, started to release the first slot machines that looked similar to the pub fruit machines we play nowadays.

But his early games were not fruit machines – because they did not feature fruits. Instead, they used symbols associated with gambling and good fortune, including horseshoes, bells and playing card suits.

So how did we get from playing cards and horseshoes to cherries and lemons? It’s all down to a day that shook the world.

San Francisco, April 18th 1906

In 1894, Charles Fey had created a three-reel one-armed bandit called Liberty Bell which is widely considered to be the blueprint for most modern-day pub fruit machines.

But at 5:12am on April 18th 1906, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake hit San Francisco. More than 80% of the city’s buildings – including Charles Fey’s factory and nearly all his Liberty Bell one-armed bandits were destroyed either in the quake or the fires that followed.

This did not spell the end for Fey. By 1910, he had partnered with the Mills Novelty Company and together, they produced a sequel to Liberty Bell.

The new slot machine was called Operator Bell and featured fruits on its reels, a practice that has stayed in place for more than a century since.

Like modern pub fruit machines, later versions of Operator Bell were built into a wooden cabinet, and this helped to silence any noise from its inner workings, as well as making the fruit machines easy to move around.

Bells, fruits and bars

Fruit machines usually have the same few symbols: a selection of fruits, along with bells and bars, so where did this specific combination come from?

The answer is that Operator Bell machines had the option to vend flavoured chewing gum. The flavours available were lemon, orange, cherry and plum – the symbols we see on reels to this day.

The bell was kept from the earlier Liberty Bell machine, where it had represented a jackpot. And the bar symbol? That represents a stick of gum.

Candy was a popular prize in states where gambling for cash payouts was prohibited, so other slot machine manufacturers soon started using the popular fruit symbols on their machines too – and the rest is history.

When it comes to fruit machines for your pub, club, bingo hall or even common room, Manco Automatics provides the highest quality fruit machines for the best value in the North West. Call us today on 0161 870 7777 for more information.

Inspiring pool table room ideas

Many venues choose to devote an entire side room to their pool table, and this makes good sense if you have an area of roughly the right size.

But if you’re planning a pool room or billiards room in your pub, what are some of the best ideas for interior design and other features to add?

Here’s our pick of some of the best pool table room ideas that we’ve seen in venues, to keep your punters coming back for more.

1. Keep it simple

First and foremost, avoid clutter. You’ll want some side tables for players to put down their drinks and snacks, and some chairs or stools for them to sit down and for friends to spectate.

Other than that, it’s smart to keep the space around a pub pool table free from obstructions. Remove any trip hazards and you’ll make it easier for players to move around the table safely.

2. Bright and breezy

If you’re not able to provide suspended lighting immediately over the pool table, make sure you choose a bright colour scheme for your billiards room, which will help to flood the table with enough light to play by.

Manco Automatics supply pub pool tables in a wide range of different laminates and cloth colours – so whatever colour scheme you choose, we can make sure your pub pool table matches it too.

3. European or American?

Your choice of pool table can depend in part on whether you plan to provide European or American pool balls – so what’s the difference?

In Europe, the standard version of pool is Blackball, which originated in the UK and uses red and yellow balls with no numbers. In America and worldwide, the standard variation is Eightball, which uses the numbered ‘spots and stripes’ sets of balls.

If you’re going to offer American Eightball, which has become the common version on pub pool tables across the UK too, you could take the theme to extremes with an American Diner or Las Vegas theme for your pool room.

Make it match

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s in keeping with the rest of your premises, or very clearly designed to be different. A heavy American theme might be more suited to a sports bar, for example, whereas a bright and minimal aesthetic is ideal for upmarket establishments.

No matter what type of venue you operate, a coin-operated pool table can be a great source of additional revenue, while adding to the range of entertainment you offer – so give it the space it deserves and watch those takings grow.

We hope you’ve been inspired by our pool table room ideas and if you require a pool table for your venue, then view our wide range of tables designed to suit every style. Call us today on 0161 870 7777 or send us an email at info@mancoautomatics.com.

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