How Do You Say Hello to a Ghost?


This song is great for vocal exploration with emerging singers. Experimenting with the voice to create different sounds (whispering, silly voices, high voices, low voices, etc.) is a steppingstone to pitch development. How Do You Say Hello to a Ghost? puts this experimentation into a fun context. If you meet a ghost in the morning, what voice will you use to say “hello”? Will you be silly or brave or quiet, or loud? What happens if you meet a ghost again, later in the day? Will you use the same voices or choose different ones?

The spoken voice responses are framed by sung verses using the melody of the traditional tune: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. The spoken interjections between verses are initiated with a cue from the teacher with a student response. In a classroom setting or vocal studio group class, several students may be given the opportunity to try out their voice choices. In a private vocal lesson, the single student will have the chance to try out a few different voices between each sung verse.

The conclusion of the song is a final response from the ghost who might say, “Boo!” In my music classroom, we approached this as a funny ending to the story. Throughout the song we may be worried about what the ghost is going to say, and then with the nonchalant “boo” response from the ghost everyone goes on their way. We were worried without good reason!

French lyrics for this song are also included in the PDF download.

Download Includes:

  • Vocal score (English)
  • Lyrics ( English)
  • Vocal score (French)
  • Lyrics (French)
  • Actions/instructions (English only)

How Do You Say Hello to a Ghost?

Lyrics and instructions

Composer's Notes

How Do You Say Hello to a Ghost?

My students arrived at the music room after reading a big book with their classroom teacher, “How Do You Say Hello to a Ghost?” (This would have been in the 1980s!) With its repetitious text and the opportunity to use the patterns from the book as a vocal exploration activity, this became a favourite activity leading up to Halloween. I appreciated the chance to present the ghost as a non-scary individual, being a firm advocate of not adding unnecessary anxiety to the lives of youngsters. However, we did have fun trying out different kinds of voices. Often we are trying to help students find a singing voice and to sing in tune so we discourage silliness. Students need play-based opportunities to see what their vocal instruments can do – and silly voices are fun! I tried to find the original book that inspired this song, but I haven’t had any luck. If anyone has a copy, or knows where I can get one, I would love to add it to my library!

You Are invited

You are invited to send us a video of your students / kids having fun with How Do You Say Hello to a Ghost?.

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Song starts at 5:00. Enjoy!

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Vocal Range

C4 – C5



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