Aside from all of the candy eating and costume huntin’ this holiday, there’s something else that holiday-goers get excited about. October is a mix-tape kind of month and it screams songs like “The Monster Mash” and “Thriller”, but fear not country lovers, there are plenty of spooky country tunes that are enough to send chills up your spine.
Sure, it’s easy to think that lyrics talk mostly about big trucks and heartache, but don’t be fooled, some of the best artists of the genre have gone to the dark side with their melody and words. From the legendary Johnny Cash to the modern day Little Big Town, country music shares a whole lot of killer songs about diggin’ up bones, visiting the graveyards and covering up bloody murders.
Here are 12 country songs for Halloween.
12. “Better Dig Two” — The Band Perry
There may not be another wife devoted to her hubby as much as the woman in “Better Dig Two”. Clad in Beetlejuice-like apparel, The Band Perry sets the scene in this haunting number about a fixated lover who would literally die beside her husband. Maybe taking the words ’til death do us part’ a little too over the edge by saying, If you go before I do, I’m gonna tell the gravedigger that he better dig two.
11. “Day For The Dead” — Zac Brown Band
It is said that Zac Brown loved the thought of the dead coming back from the grave one day a year to see their loved ones. As part of The Grohl Sessions Vol 1., The Zac Brown Band collaborated with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters over the song, which takes many turns. One of the more vibrant tunes about death, “Day for the Dead” is a great addition to any Halloween mix.
10. “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” — Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash joins the list of artists who have covered this song. Penned by Stan Jones, it’s almost as if the Cowboy spirits in this western number are chasing something (a red-eyed herd of cows) that just isn’t there, because they just can’t quite reach them. Perhaps it’s the melody that takes over as the most ghostly part with whispering echoes in the distance.
9. “Long Black Veil” — Lefty Frizzell
Falling under the category of a murder ballad, “Long Black Veil” tells the tangled and twisted tale of a man who looks much like a full-blooded killer who is out on the loose. Actually, they’re so twin-like that he chooses to forgo death instead of giving away his alibi — the affair he was having with his best friends wife. Whoa, right?
8. “Bones” — Little Big Town
The fact that this tune is on a soundtrack from a television series that is largely based off of The Southern Vampire Series might be a dead giveaway that it’s Halloween worthy. If you’re not sold, just listen to the lyrics, You’ve got bones in your closet, you’ve got ghosts in your town, ain’t no doubt, yeah, they’re gonna come out, they’re waiting for the sun to go down. They may only be talking about karma, but even karma might wait to come back to haunt you.
7. “Midnight in Montgomery” — Alan Jackson
Unless you’re a superfan, even the ghost of should spook you out. Alan Jackson sings about visiting Hank Williams Sr. headstone amid a graveyard site when Williams’s spirit appears wearing a cowboy hat and shiny boots. Name checking some of Old Hank’s timeless tunes, Jackson lets them unfold in the most haunting and lonely way possible.
6. “This Haunted House” — Loretta Lynn
It could be that this melancholy songs melody is what makes it so eerie, but when Loretta Lynn is talking about the house being haunted, she is making reference to her love being taken away along with her man. Sharing that her loneliness is a killer also makes this song a perfect addition to your Halloween collection.
5. “Ghost In This House” — Shenandoah
First recorded by country act Shenandoah, the heart-wrenching ballad was also covered by both Alison Krauss and the Dixie Chicks. In this story, the narrator plays the ghost who watches over a house, but doesn’t upkeep it. Although it appears the ghost is suffering from a breakup and lonliness, he reveals that there actually is another ghost with him in the house.
4. “Creepin'” — Eric Church
The dramatic scenery and camera lighting in this music video are just enough to make you think of ghosts and goblins, and even the title-track does the fall holiday justice. The song lyrics tell about the recall of a recent relationship, which makes the narrators head spin so bad that each day his memories creep up — hence the name “Creepin’.”
3.”It’s A Monsters Holiday” — Buck Owens
Buck Owens’s”A Monsters Holiday” doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge the kinds of monsters’ we all grew up knowing as kids like Frankenstein, the Wolfman and Dracula. With it’s upbeat melody, hooting’ and hollers and the occasional villain laughter, this simple tune is the perfect recipe for spook-needy ears.
2.”Devil Went Down to Georgia” — The Charlie Daniels Band
It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the fiddle on this number, but if you listen to the lyrics you might be watching out for hickory stumps — especially if you’re living in Georgia. This Devilish song sheds light on a demons aim to score the soul of a young boy by taking him up on a fiddle showdown. Luckily for the little lad, he dusts off his chops by rosining up his bow and proves that he has what it takes to keep his soul after all.
1.”Ain’t No Grave” — Johnny Cash
Inspired by more of a spiritual encounter, the original song paid tribute to a young male who was suffering from tuberculosis, and although the beautiful number was birthed out of Gospel roots, it’s lyrics are powerful enough to step over genre boundaries. Covered by Johnny Cash and many other artists, the song also made it’s way into films.