Few things are more classic than telling scary stories around a campfire. In the age of digital entertainment, there is something special about sitting around a fire in the woods, sharing ghost stories and other tales.
If you’re looking for some good stories to share on your next camping trip, check out this list of terrific tales to tell around the campfire.
From classic scary campfire stories like “The Hook” to more recent urban legends like “A Friend in Need,” there’s something for everyone on this list. So gather up your friends, some snacks, and a few marshmallows, and get ready for a night of scary fun.
Few Of Our Favorite Scary Campfire Stories
When I was younger, my family would go camping in the woods every summer. We would bring all of our food and supplies with us, and set up camp in a clearing near a river. Every night after we had dinner, we would gather around the campfire and take turns telling stories. My favorite part of camping was always the stories. I would get so excited to hear what everyone had come up with, and I would always try to come up with the best story to tell.
The Hook-Handed Killer
Last summer, a girl who lives near here was getting ready to go out for the evening when she heard a strange report on the radio. The reporter said that a maniac mass murderer had escaped from a nearby prison. “Watch out,” they said, “for a man with a hook for a hand.” He was known to be crazy and dangerous, and the police asked for everyone’s help in reporting anything out of the ordinary.
The girl thought it was strange, but wasn’t too worried. She was too excited about the evening ahead. Her boyfriend was coming to get her so that they could go out to a movie. A few minutes later, he pulled up in his car and she bounded out the front door to meet him to start their evening of fun.
On the way to the movie theater, as they drove down the dark, twisting road, they heard a thump on the passenger side of the car, and then a rattle near the front tire. The girl and her boyfriend were startled. “I don’t think that I hit anything,” he said. “I wonder what that noise could have been?”
The boyfriend was worried that something was wrong with the car. He wanted to pull over to check things out. But the girl was worried that they were going to be late for the movie. She tried to talk him out of stopping. They started to argue as he parked on the side of the road. She begged him to just keep driving. As they sat there, him explaining that he’d only be a minute, they heard another thump on the side of the car.
Scary Campfire Stories
“That’s strange,” the boyfriend said. “We’re not even moving.” The girl began to feel nervous. She asked again if they could just go to the movie, now as much because she was scared of the strange noises on the dark, deserted road as anything else. Her boyfriend again said he’d be just a minute, and just as he started to get out of the car, they heard another thump, and a long, screeching sound like metal scraping on metal.
The girl and her boyfriend looked at each other and without another word, he put the car in drive and hit the gas. They made the rest of the drive to the movie theater in record time, sitting silently, waiting.
When they got to the theater, the girl had started to feel a bit foolish for getting spooked over some silly noises. “I’m so sorry,” she said to her boyfriend, “I don’t know what I was so upset about.”
He forgave her, and they got out of the car laughing at their silly fight – until the girl closed her car door. One look and she was frozen in fear, terrified, as she saw the long scrape on the passenger side of the car leading to a metal hook hand, still lodged in the handle on the car door.
The girl ran straight inside and called the police, but after weeks of combing the woods, they never found the hook-handed killer. They say he still wanders around these parts, and people have even seen a man with a hook hand stalking through the woods late at night.
Moms and Dads Tell The Best Campfire Stories
The first tale is about a young girl who gets lost in the woods and is found by a kindly old woman who takes her in. The girl is scared and doesn’t know what to do, but the old woman is very kind and helps her to feel better. The old woman tells the girl that she is welcome to stay with her for as long as she likes, and she will help her to find her way back home.
The girl is very grateful and decides to stay with the old woman for a while. She soon discovers that the old woman is actually a witch, and she has been using her magic to help the girl. The girl is amazed and thrilled by this discovery, and she enjoys learning all about magic from the old woman. When it’s time for her to go home, the old woman gives her a magical charm to help her find her way. The girl is very excited to use her new magic to find her way home, and she is very grateful to the old woman for her help.
Bobby’s Summer Job
Bobby needed a summer job to save some money to go away to college. One day, while telling a neighbor about how he was looking for a job, the neighbor invited him to do a little work at the zoo. “We have a situation,” he said. “We need a little help for a couple days. If it goes well, I might be able to get you working there full time.” Bobby was excited and agreed to show up the next day.
In the morning, Bobby arrived at the zoo and found his neighbor. “Here’s the situation. Our gorilla has a touch of the flu, and is resting in our gorilla house, away from the zoo visitors. But lots of people come here every day to see the gorilla, and I don’t want them to leave disappointed. I have this gorilla costume. I’d like you to wear it, and sit in the gorilla enclosure. No one will know the difference.”
Bobby thought that sounded easy enough, so he put on the gorilla suit and climbed into the gorilla exhibit. After an hour or two of people staring at him, he started to get bored. He started to pound his chest, or scratch his head. The zoo visitors would ooh, aah, and laugh at him. So he started to think of other ways to entertain them. Before long, he was swinging on a vine. The higher he swung, the more the people liked it. Soon they were clapping and taking pictures. Bobby thought he was doing a great job. “At this rate, I’m sure to get a full-time job,” he thought.
Funny Campfire Stories
Just then, he swung a little too high. He lost his grip on the vine and went tumbling into the next pen. As he sat up, he saw a lion creeping towards him. Bobby was scared, and as the lion got closer he started to beg him – “Wait, I’m not what you think!”
The lion closed in and Bobby thought he was done for. Bobby was begging for his life. The lion got right up to his nose.
Just then Bobby heard a voice whisper, “Quit your screaming or you’ll get us both fired.”
The second tale is about a boy who finds a magical instrument in the forest that can make the trees dance
As the sun began to set, the group of friends gathered around the campfire began to share stories. The first tale was about a girl who met a friendly ghost in the forest. The second tale was about a boy who found a magical instrument in the Forest that can make the trees dance. The third tale was about a group of friends who went on an adventure in the Forest and found a treasure. By the time the fourth tale was being shared, the sun had set and the night sky was filled with stars.
The Rope’s Trick
A rope really wanted to go to an amusement park. He wanted to ride the rides, eat cotton candy, and play the carnival games. He was so excited, and on the day he decided to go, he set out early to be there before the park even opened so he wouldn’t miss any of the fun.
When he got there, he stood in line to buy a ticket. The man at the gate took his money, then looked at him and said, “I don’t think I can sell you a ticket. I have adult tickets, and children’s tickets, but I don’t have any tickets for a rope. I can’t let you in.”
The rope really wanted to go to the park, so he tried again. He stood in line, and when he got to the front and saw the ticket man he begged, “I drove all this way to be here, all I want to do is ride some rides and eat cotton candy… Can’t you please let me in?” But the ticket man said he didn’t have any tickets for ropes and turned the rope away.
Just then, the rope had an idea. He twisted himself up like a pretzel, and took a comb and ratted out the hair on top of his head. Then, he put on a big jacket and some dark glasses, and stood in line again.
When he got to the front of the line, the rope once again asked to buy a ticket. The ticket man looked at him for a second and said, “Hey, aren’t you that rope?”
The rope replied, “I’m a frayed knot.”
On the Train Job
A boy was on a long train ride to visit his grandparents. Across the aisle from him was a neatly dressed older man, wearing a crisp grey hat and glasses. The boy noticed that he carried a briefcase, and that he looked grumpy.
A minute later, the man opened his briefcase and took out two paper napkins, an apple and a pocketknife. He started to peel the apple with the pocketknife, stacking the peels neatly on top of one of the napkins. When the whole apple was peeled, he wrapped the peelings in one of the napkins, got up, walked to the end of the train car, and threw the peels away.
When he sat back down, the man started to use the pocketknife to slice the apple. He sliced it into perfectly even, thin pieces. Then, just as he had with the peelings, he wrapped the slices of apple in the other napkin, walked to the end of the train car, and threw the apple away.
The boy was confused, and even more curious as the man opened his briefcase again and pulled out an orange, and two more napkins. Once again he carefully began to peel the orange, stacking the peels on one of the napkins…
(From here you extend the story for as long as you like, making the man peel kiwis, limes, lemons, cantaloupe, a watermelon, the stranger the better. Each time the man throws away the peel, then the fruit.)
Tell Us You Favorite Scary Campfire Stories
Finally, the boy couldn’t contain his curiosity any more. He asks the man, “What are you doing?”
The man looks at him, puzzled, and says, “Why, I’m making fruit salad.”
“But why do you throw the fruit away?”
“What a silly question!” replied the man. “Isn’t it obvious? I throw it away because I don’t like fruit salad!”
The above scary campfire stories are perfect for both scaring and intriguing your fellow campers around the fire. Just be careful not to tell them all in one night, or you may never get to hear any of your own scary campfire stories!