Scary stories

by Rhode

It’s Halloween time and I’m all for scary stories…

I love lists like these…

14 Creepy Things Kids Have Actually Said

There’s also this take – scary 2 sentence stories (Reddit has a similar 5-word scary story thread).

20 Terrifying Two-Sentence Horror Stories. I Didn’t Think It Was Possible Until #5… When The Hair On My Neck Stood Up

Totebaggers, share with us your creepiest kid-tale or your scariest story in 2 sentences or less…


88 thoughts on “Scary stories

  1. I’ll have to think of something to write. But, I will mention that I don’t like scary, not at all, not one little bui. Scary movies? Not my thing, no siree, not my thing at all.

  2. Those creepy kid sayings are the best! nothing scarier than creepy kids…The Shining anyone?

  3. My Dad, Mom and cousins have heard noises like someone dragging tin cans across the roof of a shed like structure attached to the house I grew up in. My cousins were so afraid that after a couple of nights them hip big guys refused to house sit while my parents were away. Now, I lived there and was left alone on long weekends to study during my exams but I never heard anything or maybe the ghost was afraid of me.

  4. I had this airport dream/nightmare last night……I went through security, but instead of going to pick up my bag at the end of the conveyer belt, I went over to baggage claim (it was nearby). I waited and waited and it didn’t come, and I hadn’t checked in for my flight, so I was going to lose my seat.

    I finally found someone to help me, but they went so slow and never made any progress. Time was ticking, and my flight was going to leave, and then I woke up!!

  5. I don’t have any ghost stories to share!

    Does anyone have any suggestions for Halloween/scary-ish themed movies to watch with a 2nd grader? Was thinking of having a family movie night tomorrow, especially since the weather is sketchy at best. I was thinking Ghostbusters or Goonies, but I’m not actually remembering how scary/adult those were or if they are appropriate. Don’t have time to “pre watch”.

  6. Both Ghostbusters and Goonies have cursing. Goonies isn’t a Halloween movie, though I think I saw it in 2nd/3rd grade. You could also show Hocus Pocus. The Nightmare Before Christmas. Disney has Monstober going on now, so any of those movies would probably be appropriate. Not Halloween, but Harry Potter 1?

  7. Ivy – I was going to ask essentially the same question. But I think that Ghostbusters is fine; my kids loved it and weren’t scared.

    At Disney World, they were really into the Haunted Mansion. It’s not very scary, but they seemed very interested in the overall theme, and it had me wondering why much of that genre is so formulaic, in a way. Why do we, or why does Disney, automatically think “a vaguely Western European, usually 19th century country estate…” And when we later watched the Sesame Street movie, when they were belatedly introduced to the Count, they said “He seems like he would live in the Haunted Mansion.” So it’s not just me.

    Are there any movies that kind of have that theme, or similar, but aren’t super scary?

  8. Good idea! He liked Harry Potter I. That is probably on the edge of his scary tolerance although he has also seen all the Star Wars movies which can be a bit much for some kids too. PG-level cursing is probably okay, but not PG-13/R-rated cursing.

  9. At Disney World, they were really into the Haunted Mansion.

    I started screaming in terror at the Haunted Mansion when I was 5. As you can see, this anti scary bias is an ongoing theme for me.

  10. Does anyone have suggestions for not too scary Halloween movies for teenage girls? My oldest is having her friends over and they want to watch Halloween movies that aren’t scary. I’m thinking Ghostbusters is a great suggestions. Anything else in that vein? I’m also going to try to get Something Wicked this Way Comes, although that may be vetoed by my Rhett clone daughter.

  11. Thanks, Lark.

    Rhett – They have these effects at the end now where your “Doom Buggy” is rotated to face a mirror, so you see your reflection as your car proceeds along, and a ghost appears to be riding on the top of the car. There are several variations of what it can do, including taking off the riders’ heads and knocking them together. It’s way beyond my technical understanding.

  12. There’s a Haunted Mansion movie…

    DH was watching Caspar the Friendly Ghost (Christina Ricci version). It’s not really scary at all. Really anything they are showing on ABC Family this month isn’t scary. BTTF series is always fun.

    I’m upset that more of you aren’t scary story loving fools like myself. I have more horror/scary movies in my collection than anything else. So, I’m no good for not scary movies.

  13. Our former neighbors had their house all spookified for Halloween. They had great lighting and a few sound effects. Then the kids were led inside where my neighbor dressed as a witch stirring a big cauldron. She also had a cat. It was a mini Haunted House and though they gave their props to other neighbors, no one has else has come close to replicating it. Not the same without them at Halloween.

  14. I’m with Rhett – no scary movies! My aunt took her daughter, my sister and I to see The Fly and The Blob double feature on a rainy day down at the shore. I was eight. No scary movie since then.

    I don’t call this a scary story though some might. When my uncle died I called a service for a vase of white roses for his funeral. Everything was fine and then they called back to tell me that no one had white roses(they tried 8 different florists), would I accept American Beauties instead. When I got to the wake the next night my cousin came over and said how did I know – her mother was so thrilled with the American Beauties as that was the only rose her husband gave her – felt he was still with her. I hope it wasn’t a fluke but a sweet gesture from beyond.

  15. What no Psycho, The Birds – all those great Hitchcock movies ? What about Friday the 13th, The Exorcist ? I mention these because I saw all of them at some point in my teens.

  16. “Does anyone have suggestions for not too scary Halloween movies for teenage girls?”

    I always liked the Child’s Play trilogy. But that might be a little intense for your daughter, given what you described.

  17. Louise – these people don’t like scary. Let’s add The Shining, It, the Uninvited (1940-something), the Thing from Another World… OK the last one is a B movie, but the premise is quite scary

  18. Ok, I loved the Old Macdonald one. Our version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” continues with “and it was delicious.”

    Re: Ghostbusters: awesome choice, but I had forgotten how, umm, risqué some of the flirting was, if you care about that sort of thing (luckily, my kids were young enough that it basically went over their heads).

    I am also a total scary movie wimp, although I can do spooky-scary, just not horror/undead scary. I saw a few movies around 10-12 that just left me flattened — one was one of the Dracula movies, one was about a family that moves to the country and is basically destroyed by this scary woman who lived at the bottom of the pond (I still Do Not Like lakes thanks to the visual of her in her white dress coming up through the murky water). Movies like Signs are about my limit — or things like Zombieland or Army of Darkness, which can have some scary/gory stuff but don’t take themselves too seriously.

    On a related note, DH took DS costume-shopping last weekend without me. Yesterday, DH tells me that DS chose to be a scary clown. My immediate response was: $%#@@!%(%^@$$%, how could you let him do that, you $T#$@%#&&%. I HATE scary clowns. DH now gets to do all the trick-or-treating.

  19. “I always liked the Child’s Play trilogy.”


    The only thing worse than a clown is a freaking living doll.

  20. “What Lies Beneath” (Harrison Ford) is an option. Also “Primal Fear” (Richard Gere, Edward Norton), more like a courtroom drama that turns into a psycho thriller.

  21. A few days ago when I was taking a walk through my neighborhood I suddenly felt that some of the decorations were REALLY scary and gruesome. I generally like scary, but for some reason some of the bloody figures and creepy skeletons rubbed me the wrong way. Is it me, or have lawn decorations gone over the top?

    The original owner of our house died in it, and that has been a source of some scary stories. My older kid and a friend made up some gory details about how he died in a particular bedroom, but later we learned it was an accident in another part of the house. He was an elderly widow hoarder who lived alone for several years. A few years ago his son stopped by our home and filled us in on more details about him and the history of our house, which is over 90 years old.

    When I was shopping for my very first dwelling, one of the places I looked at was a condo across the street from a cemetery. I thought long and hard about it, but in the end I didn’t buy it for other reasons.

  22. @ Rhode of the newer movies and not that scary – I liked Sixth Sense and liked Ghost as well.

  23. “one was about a family that moves to the country and is basically destroyed by this scary woman who lived at the bottom of the pond”

    LfB – I know this movie… I can’t remember it.

    One that always got me was the Lady in White (I think that’s the name)… I remembered seeing it as a kid, and then caught it one afternoon in college. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought.

    Louise – yes. The 6th Sense… though I haven’t seen it again and not sure if I can now that I know the hook. (which, because that director is formulaic, allowed me to figure out all his other movies instantly). The original Paranormal Activity was good because it was “new” (if you forget Blair Witch Project). The current Paranormal Activity movie is good too – as creepy as the original.

    We are forgetting Poltergeist! Not really scary (the one that came out early this year is more jumpy-type scary than the original… though I liked seeing the house through the ghost’s eyes).

  24. This past summer we took a “haunted New England” vacation, which included stays in several “haunted” bed and breakfast inns. To our disappointment, we failed to see a single specter during our stay although we did hear some scary stories. Some of these places charge extra to stay in the specific haunted rooms, which is perfect for suckers like us. Our trip included a visit to the Lizzie Borden house. It’s a bed and breakfast, but since most of the rooms have shared bathrooms we didn’t stay there.

  25. For the teenaged girls, how about Rosemary’s Baby? For adults, one of my faves is the original 1942 Cat People.

  26. And for recent campy horror, how about The Cabin in the Woods. And it has Chris Hemsworth in an early role.

  27. CoC – want to share the stories you heard? I’ve been on a tour of the Lizzie Borden House. Very fun.

  28. Milo – sign me up!

    DH and I have done multiple ghost tours in every city we’ve visited. We also did a weekend ghost hunting trip at the Mount Washington Resort. It was awesome! (And yes, I had multiple experiences I can’t explain).

  29. He was an elderly widow hoarder who lived alone for several years.

    Since Finn isn’t up yet – He hoarded widows?

  30. Rhett – Sounds like the old play “Arsenic and Old Lace”… maybe that’s where he got the idea to hoard widows.

  31. Rosemary’s Baby is probably the last scary movie I saw. I don’t like them, and I even look away at bloody scenes on Greys Anatomy.

  32. Murphy – I was also going to say Betelgeuse. What about The Craft? I like the Sixth Sense too. They are probably too young to have seen that one, right?

    The movie that I saw at a slumber party that scared me for months was Friday the 13th. The original. The whole getting attacked in your dreams thing added a whole other element to the lingering thoughts about that one.

  33. “DH and I have done multiple ghost tours in every city we’ve visited.”

    We’ve done a few, too. Definitely in Charleston. They also offer kid-friendly ones there, although we haven’t tried it yet. They tone down the suicide and murder stories a little.

  34. Ivy – Friday the 13th – I saw the 2nd one at a sleepover one in 2nd grade. I had nightmares for years about that one. I can’t believe this girl’s parents let us watch that,but it was the 80s…

    I hate scary movies and haven’t watched one since Candy Man in high school and I’m pretty sure I shut my eyes and ears through most of that.

  35. The scariest movie I’ve seen is the remake of Cape Fear. Never saw the original and I don’t want to.

  36. Ooh, that asylum in WV looks very inviting!

    One of my favorite inns was the Three Chimneys Inn in New Hampshire, where a staff member told us about some the strange happenings with phantom music playing and dishware moving by itself. I tend to believe in ghosts, but now that I can connect my continued mishaps trying to get my new iPhone to work with Hannah the ghost from this inn, I am firmly convinced I’ve been cursed! Now the question is how to I rid myself of this spell!!!

    One of Hannah’s most famous eccentricities is a hatred of all things new, most especially electronic devices. Now remember Hannah’s ghost at Three Chimneys Inn dates back to the 17th century, long before the days of telephones, cars, televisions and certainly well before the computer was invented. It seems every time a new device is brought into the establishment, the staff has a terrible time trying to use it.

  37. Milo – we did a ghost tour at the old prison in Charleston. We hear about Lavinia, and they kept towards the truth. I didn’t hear the Sweeney Todd-esque story…

  38. My teen daughter is having a scary movie marathon with some friends at our house on Halloween, but she said they’re going on Netflix to decide at the last minute. They like very scary stuff.

  39. What about the movie Halloween? Luckily I saw it at the end of my babysitting career, otherwise I would never have accepted a job after seeing that movie!

    My scariest movie is Don’t be afraid of the Dark with Kim Darby. It still gives me shivers just thinking about the scene where she is taking a shower and she hears the little green men whispering in the bathroom!

    There is a funny/scary movie called Tucker and Dale versus Evil, where some country boys are mistaken for murderers out in the woods.

  40. Milo, the Haunted Mansion ghost used to be based on the Pepper’s Ghost technique, which is relatively low-tech, but if the ghost is now knocking riders’ heads together they must have started bringing some computer effects in too.

  41. Wait, was that movie Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm St.? Never saw the former, but the latter freaked me out for that same “get you while you’re sleeping” thing.

    I am actually fine with the “6th Sense”/”Signs” etc variety — a/k/a spooky and atmospheric more than graphic; I actually really adore how he ties everything together and things that seemed trivial early on are meaningful later. He’s thoughtful and clever, which I like (although I had heard too much about 6th Sense having this massive surprise, so I was looking for it and figured it out almost immediately, which sure took some of the fun out of it). But DH is an even bigger weenie than I am — he refuses to see even those.

    You know what I really liked was the “Friday the 13th” TV series, with these teens going after magical implements and such. That’s about my level.

  42. Here’s one for the topic:

    When I was a kid, I had an imaginary friend named Adam. He dressed in a suit with a long black coat and a fedora. Adam was always active when I visited my great-aunt. And upon leaving one day, I told my aunt to say good bye to Adam. She did, obliging a 5 year old. About a decade later, my mom was sorting pictures and put one aside for my great-aunt. I picked it up, asking about Adam. She responded that Adam was my great-aunt’s long-time boyfriend/partner (they never lived together or married), dismissing me. She then registered that I never met Adam and asked how I knew what he looked like. Before I could answer, she put the pieces together. My friend was the same Adam.

  43. Friday the 13th takes place at a summer camp (camp Crystal Lake); I think Kevin Bacon is in it. And I’ve been to the camp where most of the outdoor scenes were filmed. Nightmare on Elm Street has Johnny Depp’s first movie credit and death scene.

  44. Book of Life is a really great young kid movie. More day of the dead than Halloween, but I took a 3 and 5 year old to it in the theatre and they loved it. I actually was blown away by the animation and music, but I’m easy like that.

  45. I DO NOT LIKE scary movies, but for stuff to watch with the kids, Mystery Science Theater 3000 has tons of old not-at-all-scary cornball horror movies from the 50s, with the additional bonus of the bots and Joel/Mike mocking everything.

    Manos, The Hands of Fate, is famously one of the worst movies they ever took on. The Crawling Eye would be a good one, too. Maybe Werewolf. They’re seriously not scary if you’re over age 5.

  46. Blair witch might be a good one for the middle school set – I think I remember it being not so graphic, but terrifying.

  47. My Roku has been showing ads for The Witches, which apparently is showing free but sponsored by IHOP so probably with frequent ads for scary face pancakes. Anyway, that would be another good kid movie choice.

  48. Interesting on the special effects, HM.

    WHOA, Rhode!! Did he appear as an older man to you?

  49. RiffTrax is awesome. Night of the Living Dead was fantastic. I highly recommend it.

    Milo – He had no gray hair and never presented himself as an “old” man. To my childhood self, he appeared to be older than my parents, but younger than my grandparents (who had gray hair). He passed in the 70s, and if he was a similar age to my great aunt, he would have been ~60-70 when he died.

  50. We live in a circa 1790 house. We have had many experiences over the years that cannot be explained. We blame everything odd that happens on our ghost Charlie. Every year I create a spreadsheet to keep track of that year’s lambs. When DD was younger, she would name each lamb, starting with the letter A and going through the alphabet. She had a column in the spreadsheet for this. One year for the letter C, she entered Charlie, but instead of the name Charlie appearing in the Excel cell, “I am your ghost” popped up instead. She screamed when this happened and asked me if I had been messing with her computer. I had not, nor had her dad. I did some research on our house to see if there was ever anyone named Charlie who lived here, but only got back as far as the late 1800s. Prior to 1900, all the deeds were all handwritten and I got frustrated trying to read 100+ year old handwriting.

  51. I LOVE scary stuff! I have watched most of the good scary movies! Funny thing is that I would never get scared watching the stuff as a kid while I may get a bit scared now! I sometimes wish to not watch them when I am alone at night!

    6th sense, Signs is pretty tame stuff. A good recent one that is really scary is “mama”. Also the one wih Harry Potter guy in it was ok. The ones I find really scary are the ones where the evil spirit is unrelenting and has no other purpose but to destroy everything around it. The Sarah Michelle Gellar movie (don’t remember the name) based on a Japanese version was really scary!to me.

    If people want to watch a good thriller which is not too scary, watch “Others” starring Nicole Kidman. It’s really good.

    The problem with me sometimes, is that I can visualize how they must be shooting a particular scary scene IRL, and it takes the scare out of the scene for me. But it comes in handy when something is too scary even for me to watch.

  52. Rhode – this isn’t as specific, nor does it carry the same level of irrefutability, nor is it even spooky/scary, but my Dad, who is never particularly outwardly religious, swears that when he was a young kid at the beach with a camp group, he was swept out in a current and thought that was the end. He wasn’t struggling necessarily, but he wasn’t swimming back, either, and something grabbed him and pulled him back to shore. No adult or counselor did this, they weren’t even watching, but he swears it happened. It was as definite as if you felt two strong arms wrap around you and pull you back to the shore. The only times he mentions it is on the context of saying that it’s the one piece of evidence he strongly feels for the existence of some sort of afterlife.

    In a slightly similar fashion, I remember the first day of swimming lessons when I was four years old. Optimistically, they put me in a group that was almost like a junior swim team, gave me a kick board, and told me to swim the length of the pool. When I got to the deep end, my hands slipped off the board and I submerged. I had this incredibly peaceful feeling that I was going to die, and it was all going to be perfectly fine. I wasn’t struggling to breathe or flailing; I just had this total comfort for what seemed like a long time. Then either the lifeguard or instructor grabbed me, her arms were around my chest, and I came back to reality. They said I would be better in the beginner class, but nobody made a big deal about what had just happened. I didn’t feel that I’d cheated death, but instead like her saving me was just one of two perfectly acceptable outcomes.

  53. “He wasn’t struggling necessarily, but he wasn’t swimming back, either”

    Exactly what I was taught to do in that situation. Don’t fight the current; just let it carry you along the coast, and swim to land somewhere you don’t have to fight a current.

    My guess is that there was something at the bottom of the water that redirected the current toward shore.

  54. I hate scary things. That Will Smith zombie movie (I am Legend) gave me nightmares for months!!! I did watch Blair Witch in college and that was OK, but the camera work made me feel carsick. Have never watched any horror movies either (friday the 13th etc.). But I have no particular fear of ghosts – my mind jumps to the practical instead (intruder!).

  55. It was a wonderful Halloween. Kids more than old enough to manage themselves. I did walk to both keep an eye on my kids as well as younger kids of the neighbors. One of the four year olds was a real trooper went the entire neighborhood with the bigger kids but at the end of the night his pumpkin was too heavy, so I helped him home.
    Weather was great yesterday, raining today. Definitely more rain than other years this fall.

  56. We did not end up watching any Halloween themed movies. I did love all of the trick or treaters, since mine are beyond the age. The older kids that came were beyond polite, with some taking off their masks to make eye contact while thanking me. We have more than half of our candy left, despite giving out 3-4 pieces per kid. I have to work today, so need to get this stuff out of my line of sight so I don’t use it as a diversion all day.

  57. Our neighborhood parade went very well! We had about 150 kids, which is low (especially since it was Saturday). Baby Rhode was an adorable Superman. We watched Sleepy Hollow (TV show and movie). Baby Rhode was in bed by 6:45p and slept til about 6:00a (7:00a without the time switch). He was a pooped pup.

    Now onto working for part of the day…

  58. Good Halloween here – the kids were out for about 1.5 hrs – even the 3yo! But it worked to get us a bunch of candy (sadly not much low-fat stuff for me), and the kids were tired enough to sleep through the time change, just about.

    HM, today was #1 child’s first day singing in front of people at choir and she did a GREAT job. :)

  59. Good day for us too – I have been fighting a cold, but that gave me an excuse to catch up on Sleepy Hollow and Netflix Bones (have never seen, but it seemed appropriate for the day, so I started from the beginning). We went through about 6-8 bags of candy but still have maybe 2 left – lots of kids, but not as many as I expected, and like MBT said, the older kids were very polite, and the smaller ones were adorable. Little sad, as this was the first year DD went to a party instead of trick-or-treating, but DS spent 2 hrs walking around (chewed through both grandma and dad), so all good. Plus he spent half the day with grandma baking his own bday cake for tomorrow (which apparently involves chocolate and butterscotch and mint moosetracks and fudge), so everyone was happy.

    Then today was the bday party – yes, we gave in and went to D&B (the cheaper option). Totally exhausting, and didn’t really help my 3-day-long headache, but got characterized as “epic,” so, again, a win – the $5 all-day video games was the best idea ever, kids played for like 3 hrs. Now if only my stupid Ravens can pull it together. . . .

  60. L, I’m glad to hear it! And LfB, I’m glad the party was a success even if headache-inducing!

    My younger two went out together, but only for an hour or so — with the youngest being 11 they’re starting to age out of the all-night march. And my oldest and a friend who was over for the evening did indeed go out (in costume; they spent the earlier part of the evening coming up with it) for a little while. The grown-ups hung out at home manning the door and drinking and eating and chatting. We got very few trick-or-treaters, probably because there had been torrential rains and thunderstorms earlier in the day and the ground was still muddy and people were perhaps reluctant to spend as long out. The kids reported that the houses at all off the main Halloween drag hadn’t had many visitors and were very happy to see trick-or-treaters, even gangly adolescent ones.

  61. We got about 80 trick or treaters, which is about average. DS dressed up as Obi-Wan Kenobi to go to Chipotle, and then went to a friend’s to hang out.

    Finn, and anyone else with interest, we have now finished all college tours. If you want info, you can reach me at

  62. No trick or treaters, sadly, but I did get to see the grandkids in their costumes. Homemade this year. My fave was Dusty from Planes, complete with a propeller from one of the household fans.

  63. We discovered that the four year old will happily talk to strangers handing out free candy (this is good news, as there has been some concern about his dearth of social skills).

    Now all I need to do is convince everyone who meets him to hand over some kitkat bars first….

  64. I loved this Halloween. My older two were so much fun. Just so happy and excited to be out collecting their candy with their pals. They couldn’t stop smiling. It was really nice. And the baby was cute and cooperative. And then they all slept in until 8 am yesterday morning.

  65. Halloween was a lot of fun here too. We were out for 2.5 hours I think and still didn’t make it around the block (a lot of long driveways in our hood). The two year old was not going to be left behind so she went to almost every house the bigger kids went to. My dad was here to help which enabled me to walk around with a tumbler of wine and chat with neighbors.

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