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8 Kid-Friendly Ghost Stories For Littles Ones

Tales designed to incite a wee fright, but not a full-on freak-out.

Like a lot of kids, my son loves a good, spooky story. Just nothing too spooky. And I also don’t want him exposed to anything super scary. Because super scary will lead to little hands shaking me awake at 3am because they are certain the man with the golden arm is in the hallway closet.

Fortunately, there are lots of kid-friendly ghost stories out there; short little tales that deliver just the right jolt of excitement, but which contain zero mentions of murderous clowns lurking in sewers or fathers with axes chasing their children through garden mazes.

Choosing spooky stories to share with little kids can be tricky. Your kid may claim he wants a blood-curdling, terrifying tale, but he probably doesn’t. And personally, I think it’s best to err on the side of caution. Better to have your kid walk away thinking your anecdote of a haunted wind chime was lame, rather than tell them something that leaves them bug-eyed and afraid to go to the bathroom alone.

That said, I do think it’s good to remember that just like us, kids enjoy the thrill of being a little frightened. The haunted tales I’ve rounded up here strike a nice balance between creepy and silly. Obviously, they don’t work for all ages. No doubt your 15 year-old would blink at you wordlessly if you tried to regale him with a story of a haunted pair of smelly sneakers. But your six year-old? He will likely be in your lap, white-knuckling your hand.


The Coffin

The title of this one might initially give parents pause, as it already sounds like it’s probably too scary. But rest assured, this tale of a coffin chasing around a man is more goofball than gore, and even ends in some silly wordplay little ones are sure to find hilarious.


The Scarecrow


This is a really simple tale, but it’s different in that it’s fun to try and tell it in the first person, as if it’s something that really happened to you. It’s basically the story of someone who builds a scarecrow, and then during a thunderstorm become convinced they see the scarecrow running away. In the morning, the scarecrow is nowhere to be found, and the person is never quite sure if the scarecrow just blew away in the storm, or if they really saw it running...


The Pink Jellybean

Yes, I know, what could possibly be spooky about this sweet Easter treat? Other than the cavities one gets from consuming too many? Well, this story is all about anticipation, with a slow build up, and then a big silly reveal at the end. These types of stories tend to go over big with the very young and wide-eyed.


The Ghost of the Bloody Finger

The title alone may put young ones on the edge of their seats. This one is all about a man who is haunted by a disembodied bloody finger. Which yes, is scary. But in the end when this fearsome ghost makes it known he’s only on the hunt for a Band-Aid, kids will laugh with relief. Sure to be a hit with the “I’ve got a boo boo” crowd.


The Hairy Toe

Here’s another one featuring a lost appendage. It’s similar in structure to the Bloody Finger, but in this one a woman is haunted after digging up a hairy toe in her garden. She puts it in a jar (or eats it, depending on how hardcore you want to go) and the owner of said toe comes a hauntin’, demanding to know where it is. It ends with the classic campfire jump scare of pointing to someone and shouting “You’ve got it!”


The Yellow Ribbon


I remember hearing this one as a kid and absolutely loving it. It’s a very old folk tail, about a man who meets and marries a woman who always has a mysterious ribbon tied around her neck. Throughout their life together he asks her again and again why she wears it, but it isn’t until she’s on her deathbed that she finally lets him untie it. Her head falls off of course.


Rap Rap Rap

Another goofy tale that ends in a pun, this is the story of a woman who inherits an old house, and is then disturbed by a ghostly rapping sound. She wanders around the house, trying to find the source of the noise - rap rap rap - and discovers... a roll of wrapping paper!


The Ball Pit

While parents tend to fear ball pits for being the germ farms that they are, kids of course adore them. Which makes this story perfectly geared to the younger set. This tale of a snake hidden in a ball pit comes with a surprise twist ending that will also bring some giggles.