Halloween is upon us, and there is no doubt that at some point today (10/31) or this evening, we will hear “The Monster Mash.” We will hear the classic song either at a party or on the street as parents drive their kids all over neighborhoods to trick or treat. It’s a fun song, but country music has some scary songs as well that go pretty nicely with the Halloween frightening vibe.
For a bit of history, Halloween is a holiday that began in Ireland and Britain. It has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, a pagan religious celebration to welcome the harvest at the end of summer when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Halloween began to gain popularity in America in the 1950s. Today, over 179 million Americans celebrate the holiday — and spend about $9.1 billion annually in the process.
In country music, many songs have been recorded through the years that brought out ghosts, like Johnny Cash’s “Ghost Riders In The Sky” from the 1960s to Charlie Daniels’ ode to all things scary “The Legend Of The Whooley Swamp” in 1980.
Also, in the 1980s, John Anderson recorded a song that got right to the point called “Haunted Houses.” Most recently, in the 2020s, Brothers Osborne brought us the song “Skeletons.” The lyrics to that song include, “You got skeletons in your closet / It’s written all over your face / Every little lie stacked so high / Can’t keep your story straight / I don’t know oh oh / How they got there, it’s getting under my skin / You got skeletons in your closet / And I got bones to pick with them.”
In concert, the guys during the “Skeletons” tour had nine-foot-tall skeletons on stage with them every night.
As we celebrate Halloween today and all things a little spooky, we gathered five of country music’s scariest tunes.