What is this musical Halloween motif from?

Songs written about Halloween (particularly from the 1920s through the 1940s) often contain this motif. I have heard it so many times I associate it with the Halloween season but I am curious where this melody originated. Does anyone have any information on just how old this phrase is? I have it displayed here in A minor (sorry for the lack of accompaniment, but there is a very severe-sounding diminished chord under the F) but if you don't read music it can be heard as the introduction to the song "The Ghost In The Graveyard" by Prairie Ramblers...among many others!

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