“The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out” or “The Hearse Song”

When I was about 3 to about 5 years old there was a large group of neighborhood kids who played together in the field behind my house. I was one of the kids that was always there, with my two big sisters and my older brother.

One of the songs we sang was The Worms Crawl in, The Worms Crawl Out.

We would all hold hands to make a long chain. The person at one end would put their free arm stretched out against a tree. The person at the other end of the chain would arc around and go under the “tree” person’s arm and the whole chain would follow. We would sing, “The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out” while we were doing this.

I’ve been trying to remember the rest of the lyrics we sang, so I could post it as a Halloween song. It seems so fitting! But, try as I might, I couldn’t quite get it all.

Finally, I spoke to my “big” sister Dawn. She’s one of the experts I consult about the songs I sang in my childhood. She recalls them better, since I was so young during that time period (she’s five years older then me). Here’s what she remembers…

The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out

The Worms Crawl In,
The Worms Crawl Out,
Into your stomach,
And out your mouth.

They eat your intestines,
They scramble your heart.
Now you feel like
You’re all apart.

This is how
It is to die
You end up looking
Like apple pie!

I’ve since found out that this song is often called The Hearse Song.

Here’s how we sang The Hearse Song (MP3).

There seem to be many other versions. Here’s a link for alternate versions to The Hearse Song.

It seems like this song has been around at least since 1923. Here’s some info on publication of The Hearse Song for anyone who’s interested.

I’d be happy if anyone would like to send me their version of The Hearse Song to post, please write me. I also welcome alternate recordings or midis of the tune!

-Lisa

UPDATE: Here you’ll find other versions of The Hearse Song. Feel free to add the version you know in the comments.

Also, Come read about The Origin of The Worms Crawl in the Worms Crawl Out a.k.a. The Hearse Song.

This article was posted on Wednesday, October 26th, 2005 at 8:37 pm and is filed under American Kids Songs, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, Halloween, Halloween Songs, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Languages, Mama Lisa, MP3's, Podcasts, Recordings of Songs, Songs by Theme, The Hearse Song, The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

175 Responses to ““The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out” or “The Hearse Song””

  1. Casey Says:

    correction…

    I was taught this from my Dad….

    Don’t say boo when the ghost go by,
    or you may be the next to die,
    they wrap you up in a bloody sheet,
    then they burry you six feet deep,
    all goes well for about a week,
    then they come and spring a leak,
    the worms crawl in the worms crawl out,
    the worms play pinochle on your snout,
    they all think there is a cherry on top,
    but it’s not,
    it’s snot….
    where’s my spoon!!!

  2. Lisa Says:

    Mary H. wrote:

    Hi,

    Never thought there were so many versions of this song – and yes, sang it as a child back in the 50s. I guess the song was sung all over the U.S. with a few differences. So read all you wrote and here’s what I sang. And thanks for sharing – didn’t think I’d find anything.

    You never laugh when a hearse goes by cause you may be the next to die.
    They wrap you up in a big white sheet and bury you in six feet deep.
    The worms go in, the worms go out; the worms play pinochle on your snout.
    The big fat worm with the blood shot eyes, goes through your middle and out your sides.
    Your eyes fall out, your teeth decay, and that’s the end of your wonderful day.

    Aloha/Bog

  3. Lisa Says:

    Just looked the words up to pass on to the next generation – my 6 yr old son – who I was trying teach the words too but couldn’t think of the ending.

    Version we sang as children was

    don’t you laugh when a hearse goes by
    or you’ll be the next to die
    first they wrap you in a white sheet
    then they drop you 40ft
    worms go in
    worms go out
    worms play ping pong on your snout
    then your blood turns mouldy green
    that’s what the worms call peppermint cream

    couldn’t remember beyond that but will use some of the lines from another post to finish the version and keep the memory alive.

    Thanks for all your help

  4. jeannie Says:

    Have you ever heard, when the hearse rolls by that you might be the next to die? The undertaker takes you in, while all of your friends sit around and grin. They wrap you in a big white sheet and drop you down about sixty feet. The worms crawl in, your teeth fall out, your eyes fall in and the puss runs out. The puss is whipped like thick whipped cream and your body turns to a deep pea green.

    Paul’s in the bathtub, more soap!

  5. Lisa Says:

    Debra Krauter sent a version called Herman’s Song:

    Herman’s Song

    You better not laugh when Herman walks by or you shall be the next to die
    He’ll roll you up in a bloody sheet and drop down a 100 feet
    The worms crawl in the worms crawl out
    They eat the pinochle on your snout
    They eat your eyes
    They eat your toes
    They eat the crud between your toes
    So you better not laugh when Herman walks by
    Or you shall be the next to die!

  6. Billie Miller Says:

    My dad taught me and my sisters some very quirky songs growing up in the 50’s, which one of them is the hearse son. The version we grew up with is so different from the ones posted on this web site. Version I grew up and taught my children is:

    Did you ever think when a hearse goes by
    than some sweet day your going to die.
    They carry you away in a big black hack
    and you don’t think of coming back.
    They lower you down into the ground,
    and everything goes alright for a week,
    and then the coffin begins to creek?
    The worm scrawl in the worm crawl out,
    they crawl all over your face and mouth.
    Your teeth fall in, your eye fall out,
    and all you have left is a pitiful grin.

  7. Jessica Says:

    This is the version I learned in the late 80s in Kentucky. My 6th grade music teacher taught it to us.

    Never whistle when a hearse drives by, if you do you’ll be surprised!

    They’ll wrap you up in a big white sheet, and throw you in a hole 6 feet deep.

    The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout!

    They eat the meat between your toes, and suck the boogers right out of your nose.

    Your body turns a slimy green and pus runs out like whipping cream, spread it on a piece of bread, and that’s what you’ll eat when you’re dead!

    Great green gobs of greasy, grimy, gopher guts, mutilated, monkey meat, little, dirty, birds feet, that’s what we had for lunch without a spoon! sluuuuurp!

  8. Kathy Says:

    Don’t ever laugh when a hearse goes by
    Or you might be the next one to die.
    They wrap you in a big white sheet
    And throw you in a hole 6 feet deep.
    The worms craw in, the worms crawl out,
    the worms play pinochle on your snout.
    Your eyes will turn a gushy green
    And your guts will pour out like whipping cream.
    AND ME WITHOUT MY SPOON!

  9. Lisa Says:

    Edith H. sent this version:

    If you see a corpse go walking by,
    You know that you will be next to die.
    They wrap you up in a cardboard box
    And bury you under dirt and rocks.
    Then all goes well for about a week,
    And then the box begins to leak.
    Your eyes fall in; your teeth fall out.
    Your guts they turn to sauerkraut.

    Children’s song from 1950’s

  10. Lisa Says:

    According to this site, these are the lyrics for the version of “The Worms Crawl In” that’s in the movie “Picture Mommy Dead” from the 1960’s with Zsa Zsa Gabor:

    “The haunting song is called “The Worms Crawl In” by Schoolyard Blues. The lyrics are as follows:”

    The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
    The worms play pinochle with your snout
    The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out
    Into your stomach, and out your mouth
    They eat your intestines, they scramble your heart
    Now you fell like you’re falling apart
    This is how it is to die
    You end up looking like apple pie!
    Did you ever see a hearse go by,
    And think you could be the next to die?
    They put you in a little box,
    Cover you up with dirt and rocks
    They take you to the family plot
    And there you stay, to stink and rot.
    For you they make a flower wreath
    And chuck you in a hole so deep.
    But maybe you’re not really gone,
    You can hear the mourning song.
    You yank the rope to ring the bell
    You call for God and you curse hell.

  11. Virgil Says:

    As I recall it : ” Do you realize as the night goes by that you might be the next to die. They wrap you up in a big white sheet, and bury you down 6 feet deep. All goes well the first few weeks, then your coffin begins to leak, The worms crawl in the worms crawl out, they turn your guts to sauerkraut. Your eyes will turn a mushy green,
    your guts will pour out like whipping cream.”

  12. Lisa Says:

    That first line is very creepy!

  13. Andrew Says:

    I first heard the song in a movie called “Finders – Keepers” in a translated german version. There´s nothing compared to this in our childrens songs. To me it´s so funny to hear childrens voices singing this kind of stuff – and a bit creepy too. Nice to hear that some versions contain “sauerkraut” as well :)

  14. Phil Troy Says:

    My recollection of what I heard kids singing on the streets of the New York City Borough of Queens in the early 1960s is:

    Never laugh when a coffin goes by
    For you may be the the next to die
    They wrap you in a bloody white sheet
    And bury you down about six feet deep
    Then all goes well for about a week
    And then your coffin begins to leak

    The worms crawl in, and the worms crawl out.
    The worms play pinochle on your snout
    Your stomach turns a bilious green
    And pus comes out like shaving cream
    And little white bugs with big red eyes
    Crawl in your nose and out your eyes

    So never laugh when a coffin goes by
    For you may be the next to die…

    It had a tune vaguely reminiscent of the Chopin Funeral March, DUMMM, DUMMM, de-dummm!!!

  15. david Says:

    I learnt a version of this beautiful song in the 60’s from the vicar’s son, after each verse, was sung With an ah ha ha and a ho ho ho, how happy we shall be. It started off thus Have you ever seen a hearts go by & wondered what it’s like to die. As for the worms, the worms crawl in and the worms crawl out they crawl in thin and crawl out stout. & the last bit was The moral of this tale related is to have some sense and be cremated!

  16. Patty Morales Says:

    I learned it at a young age also: But my version was “The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out. The ants play pinnacle in your snout. A big fat worm with bloodshot eyes crawls in your liver & out you eyes. Your stomach turns a slimy green & pus runs out like whipping cream. And there you are without a spoon, slurp, slurp!” Kinda sick for a child to learn, but those are the words I was taught!

  17. Lisa Says:

    Jo sent this version:

    You better not laugh when the hearse goes by fore you may be the next to die. They wrap you up in a big white sheet, they bury you under six feet deep. The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the ants play pinochle on your scalp. In a couple of months you’re bound to leak, the pus comes out like cream of wheat. And I forgot my spoon!!!!!

  18. Wanda Says:

    Well in the late 50s this is what I remember. and I can’t even believe all these years that somebody put this out and it’s still going. When you see a hearse go by you know you are the next to die first your sick then you’re worse than your subject of the Hurst they wrap you up in bloody sheets throw you down six feet deep the worms crawl in the worms crawl out the worms play peekaboo upon your snout they eat your eyes they eat your nose they eat the jelly between your toes then you turn a slimy green puss comes out like shaving cream. That’s all I remember

  19. Dean Noack Says:

    I’m also one who remembers this sung to me by my older sisters in the mid 50’s just before going to bed…..needless to say, this kept me up for most of the night and only fell asleep when I was totally exhausted, and to this day I blame them for the circles and bags under my eyes. After reading all the previous versions the one I remember goes like this:

    Did you ever think when a hearse goes by
    That someday you were going to die.
    They’d wrap you up in a big white sheet
    And throw you down about sixty feet.

    It’s alright for the first few weeks
    But then the coffin starts to leak
    The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out
    The worms play peek-a-boo in your snout.

    Your eyes fall in
    Your teeth fall out
    Your brain turns into sauerkraut.

    And lo and behold to this day, everytime I have a serving of sauerkraut, this ditty comes back to haunt me and hence the circles and bags around my eyes persist.

  20. Lisa Says:

    Richard S. wrote:

    Was watching something on TV and they started reciting this song that I haven’t thought of in over 35 years. So I had to Google it lol and I came across your site this is the version then I remember.

    Have you ever seen a hearse go by you shall be the next to die they roll you up in a bloody sheet and throw you down 6 ft deep the worms crawl in the worms crawl out they eat you up and spit you out your eyes pop out your teeth Decay and that’s the end of a wonderful day.

  21. Leonard F Says:

    I remember singing as a kid this way…

    The Worms Crawl in,
    The Worms Crawl out,
    They eat your guts
    and they spit ’em out.

    Your body turns a lovely green
    Like pistachio ice cream.
    They use your eyes for basketballs,
    And shoot ’em over the casket walls.

    There was more but this is what I remember at the moment…

  22. Jennifer Billingsley Says:

    My family’s version has s as follows:

    The Worms Crawl In
    The Worms Crawl Out
    The Worms play pinochle on your snout

    The Great Green Bug
    with great blue eyes
    Crawls through your gizzard
    And out your thigh

    Your guts pour out like whipping cream
    And there you sit without a spoon…

  23. Nancy Says:

    This is the version my mother used to sing:

    When you see the hearse go by
    Then you know you’re going to die
    Bump, Bump, Bump
    Bump, Bump, Bump

    The graveyard is an awful place
    They bury you deep and throw dirt in your face
    Bump, Bump, Bump
    Bump, Bump, Bump

    The worms crawl in
    The worms crawl out
    There goes a juicy one right in your mouth
    Bump, Bump, Bump
    Bump, Bump, Bump

    They give you flowers you cannot smell
    Then you know you’re going to hell

    Bump… Buh Buh Buh Bump Bump… Bump Bump

  24. Josephine Says:

    This version I remember from a thriller movie I saw numerous times on regular tv as a kid and the lyrics were “the worms crawl in the worms crawl out, in your stomach and out your mouth, if you ever see a horse fly by and say that you are going to die.” In the movie this young lady rides home after being gone for a very long time on a motorcycle with I assume her boyfriend and in the movie she finds her twin sister who was crazy changed living in the barn. I have looked for this show for years and nothing it absolutely is not the movie Picture Mommy Dead, and when the song is playing they actually show a black horse flying by. I just cannot find any lyrics like it or anyone that remembers the show, I have more details to the show, it would just take too long to write.

  25. Lisa Says:

    BJ wrote:

    The worms crawl in,
    The worms crawl out,
    They crawl in your stomach,
    And out your mouth.
    If ever you see a hearse go by,
    You will know you’ll surely die!

    This is how I heard it as a kid back in 1960.

    -BJ Murray

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