20 Scary Campfire Stories With Just the Right Level of Creepy Fun for Kids

For spooky chills and eerie thrills!

Collage of images illustrating spooky campfire stories, including The Gift of a Doll and Drive of Danger

Whether you’re gathered around a fire in the woods or huddled inside a tent made of sheets in the glow of a flashlight, these spooky tales are the perfect entertainment. Remember to read all scary campfire stories in advance to make sure they’re appropriate for your audience. Then draw them out with your best sound effects and dramatic pauses, and your listeners will shiver in delight!

Drive of Danger

Closeup of car headlights at night with a full moon behind, illustrating Drive of Danger, one of the most well-known scary campfire stories

“The man revved his engine powerfully, almost angrily, again and flashed the Nissan’s brights, almost bumping the back of the pickup as he surged forward behind her.”

A young woman driving home late at night is spooked by the car behind her, who keeps flashing his high beams on and off. But it turns out the danger was much closer than she realized.

The Hook-Handed Killer

“They heard another thump, and a long, screeching sound like metal scraping on metal.”

This old classic has been freaking kids out for ages. Two teens barely escape danger, as the bloody hook hanging on their car door can attest …

The Big Toe

A pair of bare feet in the grass

“’Where is my to-o-o-o-o-e?’ the voice groaned.”

This one is creepy and gross (the family eats someone’s big toe!), but the ending is one of those terrific “gotcha” moments that make scary campfire stories so much fun.

Room for One More

“The driver called to him, ‘There is room for one more.’ Then he waited for a minute or two, and he drove off.”

A man receives an eerie invitation from a crowd in a hearse late at night. The next day, he receives the same invitation to join a crowded elevator. What happens next is downright spooky.

The Black Ribbon


A piece of black ribbon against a white background

“She was always dressed exquisitely, and she always wore a black ribbon around her neck.”

A young husband learns the horrifying truth when he ignores his wife’s warning and cuts the black ribbon she insists on wearing around her neck.

The Girl Who Stood on a Grave

“‘Something has got me!’ she screamed, and she fell to the ground.”

When a girl agrees to stand on a grave at night, she’s sure there’s nothing to be afraid of. But her friends find her dead the next day. What could have happened?

The Gift of the Doll

Closeup of a porcelain doll's face in sepia tones

“The doll was smiling slightly, and something about that smile made Madeleine uncomfortable.”

Some people love old dolls, while others find them a little creepy. Those in the latter camp will feel vindicated by the actions of the terrifying doll in this creepy tale.

The Hitchhiker

“When Tom described the girl’s pretty features and her white dress, the woman immediately burst into tears.”

Everyone knows it’s a bad idea to pick up hitchhikers. Tom learns this lesson the hard way when the pretty girl he offers a ride to turns out to have been dead for 10 years.


Three American silver dollar coins, pictured in sepia tones

“And the money went Clinkity-clink, clinkity-clink, and the fire flared and flickered and snapped and popped, and the ghost of the dead woman cried, ‘Oh, where is my money? Who took my money? Whooo? Whooo?'”

This is one of those scary campfire stories that makes a real impact in the telling. Be sure to draw out all the sound effects, creating an eerie atmosphere leading up to the final dramatic moment.

The Ghost of the Bloody Finger

“I am the ghost of the bloody finger! I am at the bedroom door!”

The tale of the ghost of the bloody finger is spooky right up until the last minute. After that, kids are likely to dissolve into giggles.

Bloody Mary

A spooky skull reflected in an ornate oval mirror against a black background

“She was glowing with an unearthly light as she set her evil spell upon the miller’s daughter.”

Have you heard that if you look into a mirror in the dark and say “Bloody Mary” three times, her face will appear? Find out exactly who Bloody Mary is in this tale, then dare kids to look into a mirror and tempt fate.

Rings on Her Fingers

“But when he cut into the finger with the wedding ring, it began to bleed, and Daisy Clark begin to stir.”

A greedy grave robber gets a lot more than he bargained for when he decides to dig up a young woman and steal her rings.

Milk Bottles

A row of vintage glass milk bottles on a doorstep, in black and white

“She was back the next day with two empty milk bottles. He replaced them with full bottles and watched as she hurried out the door.”

Travel back to the desperate days of the Great Depression, and learn the lengths a mother will go to in order to keep her baby alive.

Love Test

“Rumors began to spread around the village. People said there must be something wrong with this beautiful girl.”

In this Japanese folktale, a young girl puts prospective suitors to the test with a truly gruesome challenge. At last, she thinks she’s finally found her match, but now there’s a horrifying surprise in store for her.

The Dog’s Lick

The head of a large black dog with its tongue hanging out, against a black background

“If you get scared, put your hand under the bed and the dog will lick it. He’ll keep you safe.”

A dog can be a comforting presence in a scary situation—as long as it’s really a dog. But what if it turns out to be something else altogether?

The Cat’s Paw

“Jed stared at the cat’s paw. Only it wasn’t a cat’s paw anymore.”

A man determined to stop a thief thinks he’s shot a cat. The truth is much more disturbing.

No Trespassing

A "No Trespassing" sign on a very large tree in the woods

“Something terrible had happened, she thought wearily, fear adding yet more fatigue to her already wounded body.”

These teens didn’t mean to trespass, but that didn’t make any difference to whomever had posted the sign. This one will make you think twice about ignoring posted warnings.

The Golden Hand

“In that moment, a terrible lust woke in his heart—not to possess the lady herself, but to possess the solid gold hand that she wore under her long black gloves.”

When a man marries a woman not for love, but for greed, he meets a very unhappy ending. This scary campfire story carries a bit of a moral too.

The Thirteenth Floor

Elevator buttons, with the number 12 lit up

“The light in the elevator was flickering as they stepped in and, as the doors began to close, the lights went out completely.”

Ever been in a building without a 13th floor? Learn the story behind the old superstition about the very first unlucky 13th floor and the elevator that led to it.

The Red Spot

“While Ruth slept, a spider crawled across her face. It stopped for several minutes on her left cheek, then went on its way.”

Part urban legend, part spooky story, this tale is sure to creep out arachnophobes and arachnophiles alike!

Looking for more scary campfire stories for kids? Check out these 10 spooky short stories, complete with lesson plan ideas.

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