After a decade as a journalist, Jennifer Branton is on the path to finding a balance between career and writing.
This Is Halloween
October is one of the best months when it comes to children's creativity. Between designing decorations for home and school and spooky costumes for their parties, Halloween songs are a great touch to any festivity.
While traditional songs like The Monster Mash, themes to television programs like The Munsters, and The Adams Family often get lumped into Halloween audio, there are some great tunes that children can sing.
My earliest memories of Halloween songs came from my music class at my K-3 school down the street from my mother's house.
In grade school, our district had traded off between two days a week having music class and the other three being gym. Music was either playing those annoying recorders and trying to tweet out songs that had to be driving the teacher crazy and half the time choir.
By tradition, from about the last day of September until Halloween, we sang the same songs, perfecting doing them in rounds.
I remember clearly it was a year when Halloween fell during the week and just days before we were in choir perched in our cracked plastic chairs that strained under the weight of third graders as they were made for the younger classes. We had our sheets in hand and as tradition, we were singing The Ghost of John. The left side of the classroom started, then the middle section came in, finally the right side, looping the song as a round.
In the midst of singing, the power suddenly flickered once and went out. As one could imagine, forty children were suddenly screaming at the top of their lungs. The weather had been perfect on recess and there was no reason the power should have gone out. When the emergency lights weren't turning on either, we were convinced we had summoned John and that he was out to get us.
School was dismissed, finding that the power had been cut by construction up the street somehow.
The next day when choir was scheduled, the teacher handed out our lyric sheets and spend the hour fighting with everyone as virtually all the children refused to sing as we were sure that the ghost would come back if we did so.
Ah, the power of Halloween music.
Creepiest Kids' Halloween Songs
- "The Ghost of John"
- "The Skeleton Dance"
- "Don Gato"
- "The Cat Came Back"
- "Monster in the Mirror"
1. "The Ghost of John"
A creepy song about a skeleton, it makes me wonder why as an adult the song called for a ghost.
While this song may be a little too scary for the younger ones in its depiction of the ghost with his "long white bones with the skin all gone," The Ghost of John does work great in choir groups or with a classroom of students working the song as a round, in which they all start at various points and repeat the same lines, as seen in the video.
While creepy, this song is rather catchy and will add spice to any Halloween festivity and might be great for a little skeleton to be singing as they walk the sidewalk in search of Halloween treats.
2. "The Skeleton Dance"
Still on the subject of those long white bones, The Skeleton Dance, sometimes known as Dem Bones, is another song about you guessed it.
Unlike the previous entry in the skeleton songs, The Skeleton Dance is educational and perfect for younger Halloween enthusiasts, as it names off the parts of the body and explains the connection between parts tracing the path from foot, to ankle to knee to leg, etc. Helping youngster name the parts of the body and understand how the parts of the body all make up the skeleton system and work in conjunction with each other could even tie into a science class when planting the seeds of basic biology.
3. "Don Gato"
With versions in both Spanish and English, Don Gato, or in English Don Cat, is the song about a tragic kitty who lived a rather poor life. Don Gato was a cat that was sitting around reading a letter from his beloved lady cat, only to become so excited he fell off the roof and broke his knee along with many other body parts that would keep the poor kitty down.
While the story of an injured cat doesn't make one think child friendly, Don Gato is another great song that works well in rounds for choir, and teaches parts of the body when it names of poor Don Gato's injuries.
4. "The Cat Came Back"
Again a subject the many wouldn't think fits so well as a kids song when its theme comes to abandoning and trying to harm a cat that keeps coming back to a begrudging owner, The Cat Came Back is a song about a small yellow cat that just can't stay away from the man that hates it with a passion and goes about destructive ways to end the cat through cartoon-like violence.
The idea that the cat will be the ultimate victor of this standoff with the man is what makes the song so appealing.
5. "Monster in the Mirror"
Sesame Street used to have a much larger cast of characters than just the Elmo show.
If your children have been treated to vintage episodes of the show, they will remember everyone's favorite furry blue monster proving that Sesame Street Monsters can be cuddly.
While Grover sings this silly song about a monster that he sees looking at him through the mirror, only to realize that he is looking at his own reflection staring back at him.