The Best Scary Stories to Tell your Kids

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Whether you are gathered around a campfire, near a fire pit in your backyard, or even around a flashlight, ghost stories can be a lively and entertaining part of your job as a dad. Below are five carefully selected stories fitting for family time.

The Best Scary Stories to Tell your Kids

Yellow Ribbon

“Yellow Ribbon” is about two small-town friends who grow up together, fall in love, get married, have babies, and spend the rest of their lives together. Everything about their lives is magical except for the yellow ribbon Jane wears around her neck. For years, since childhood, Johnny has inquired about the yellow ribbon, and each time Jane either avoided the question, or outright refused to answer it. Giving up, Johnny stopped asking her about it, until Jane was on her deathbed. There, Jane finally reveals her secret. At the end, listeners are left with more questions than they started with. Read the full story here.

Dem Bones

“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones…” If you’re old enough to remember that song and that you’re knee bone is connected to your thigh bone, then you may just know the story of Dem Bones. Dem Bones is a classic ghost story involving glowing skeletons, pirates, treasure, and yes, booty! (Couldn’t resist typing that.) Each year, off the Jersey coast, Captain Kidd and the crew of the Adventure Galley throw a beach celebration with a blazing fire pit, dancing, rowdy singing, and of course, treasure. And “Dem Bones” has, like all ghost stories should have, a great twist at the end. Read the full story here.

The Scarecrow

Scarecrows are creepy.

This ghost story is about a homemade scarecrow that terrifies the narrator in the middle of the night and mysteriously disappears by morning. No one knows where the scarecrow went, all we know is that it was alive. Filled with all the ghost story necessities (ominous weather, inanimate objects coming to life, and darkness), this will surely scare the straw out of your kids. If you tell it right. The narrator is supposed to have grown up on a farm, so if your listeners know this isn’t you, then you may need to change the backstory just a bit to be more believable. Read the full story here.

Magic Castle

For some reason, most ghost stories begin with a little harmless trespassing. I have no clue why, but it does. This particular story is mainly told in Germany, Eastern Europe, and Russia, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it trend here in the U. S. of A.! An old lady happens upon a neglected and abandoned castle. Despite the numerous, and sometimes redundant, warnings not to enter, she still does. As she continues to ignore the warnings, the story gets more suspenseful, until you reach the end. My suggestion: take liberties with the ending. Play around with it to make it your own. Read the full story here.

The Golden Hand

Now, this one has suspense! A lonely bachelor notices a widow who recently moved just two doors down from him, and he spends a month trying to court her and win her heart. He finally succeeds, but we find out that his intentions are not innocent, and he finds out that payback is a b*$%#. Read the full story here.

Tips for Telling Scary Stories

Each of these can be great additions to the campfire experience, but how you tell it is as important (if not more) as the story you tell. Once you have your ghost story picked, you will want to consider the following suggestions:

  • Use the fire to help establish the mood. Or, use a flashlight.
  • Repetition creates suspense. Take “The Magic Castle” for instance.
  • Make it as close to real and believable as possible.
  • Create urgency. Tell the story as if it just happened.
  • Know your audience. Find out what scares them, and don’t be afraid to use it.
  • Incorporate less gore and more suggestive details.
  • Memorize it.
  • Ignore Mom when she tells you not to scare the kids before bedtime.

Thinking about going camping? Here are the best campsites for Halloween in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio!

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