Supernatural Selections: 5 Country Songs to Get You in the Halloween ‘Spirit’

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo credit: Denis83 via Getty Images)

One of the things that sets country music apart from other genres is the storytelling in the lyrics. A good songwriter can take you on an emotional journey in less than five minutes. With Halloween right around the corner, we’re turning to the darker parts of country storytelling.

If you’re looking to add some spooky country music to your Halloween playlist, but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. These five songs will have you well on your way to having a killer soundtrack for whatever spooky shenanigans you have planned.

1. ‘Midnight in Montgomery’ – Alan Jackson

You could have a list of country songs for Halloween without “Midnight in Montgomery.” You shouldn’t, but you could. This song sees Alan Jackson singing about meeting the ghost of the late, great Hank Williams. Now, several people have reported seeing Hank’s spirit on Broadway in Nashville. In this song, though, Jackson meets the Hillbilly Shakespeare’s specter at his grave in Montgomery, Alabama.

Alan Jackson co-wrote this song with Don Sampson after visiting Hank Williams’ grave one dark and stormy night and feeling a presence in the cemetery watching him.

2. ‘Bringing Mary Home’ – The Country Gentlemen

If you’re looking for some bluegrass to add to your Halloween playlist, look no further than this Country Gentlemen classic. The title track of their 1966 studio album is a classic ghost story. The tune is a tale of a kindly motorist who picks up a young girl and takes her home. When he gets there, he finds that she has been dead for years. It’s a little spooky and a little heartbreaking.

3. ‘Phantom 309’ – Red Sovine

Red Sovine had a hit with this Tommy Faile-penned ghost story in 1967. The country classic about the ghost of a good-hearted trucker is a must-have for your Halloween playlist. This one tells us the story of Big Joe, a trucker who died saving a bus full of kids and sometimes appears to help those in need.

4. ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ – Johnny Cash

Stan Jones wrote and recorded this song in 1948 as “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend.” Over the years, several musical giants have turned in covers of this song. Burl Ives, Vaughn Monroe, Bing Crosby, and The Blues Brothers are among the artists who covered it. However, for our purposes, we’ll stick with the Johnny Cash version from 1979.

As far as country songs for Halloween go, this is the granddaddy of them all. The image of a herd of Satan’s cattle being herded by damned cowboys across the desert sky is a tough one to beat. Johnny Cash’s delivery in the song makes it punch that much harder.

5. ‘The Ride’ – David Allen Coe

We started this list with a song about Hank Williams’ ghost and that’s how we’ll end it as well. In the song, an older man stops to give a young musician a ride into Nashville and shares a little advice along the way. At the end of the song, we learn that it was the ghost of ol’ Hank himself. It’s a great story and David Allen Coe had a top-five hit with it in 1983.

However, that’s not really the spookiest thing about this song. As the story goes, Coe was playing this song at the Ryman. When he got to the big reveal in the final verse, the power in the venue went out. Many believe it was Williams saying hello.

Also, songwriter Gary Gentry reportedly tried to summon the ghost of Hank Williams when writing the song. Gentry claims that he coaxed Hank to materialize in his home. However, he shares the writing credit with J.B. Dettterline. So, it’s hard to say how much the séance really helped. Either way, the backstory just reinforces the fact that this is the perfect country and western song for your Halloween playlist.