By Susie Morgan
There’s something about camping that just makes you want to gather around the campfire for a spooky story or two. Maybe it’s the dark atmosphere of the woods, the hooting owls, the rustling of the leaves, or just the flicker of the campfire that produces that ready-to-be-spooked mood. Whatever the case may be, coming up with good ghost stories off the top of your head isn’t easy.
That’s why many families choose to bring along ghost story books and to take turns reading terrifying tales around the campfire. If you’re in need of a few book ideas for your next family campout, check out our great suggestions. Then, all that’s left to do is grab the book of your choice and roast the marshmallows!
Fun for the Whole Family
While everyone loves a good ghost story, many families want stories that are scary, but not too scary. If that describes your brood, you’ll want to check out John Bradshaw’s Fun Campfire Ghost Stories. This cute collection is jam-packed with twenty-four ghost stories, written with children between the ages of eight and twelve in mind.
Don’t let the intended age range fool you, however; these stories are sure to be fun for every member of the family! Some of them even pack a fairly good scare though none of the stories feature any violence or gore.
Think ghost stories can’t pack a literary, educational punch? Think again! Edited by Phyllis Wagner, the 1944 collection Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural is still just as good today as it was when it was first published. This collection is fairly thick, so it’s the one to get if you want a single go-to book for great ghost stories.
Plus, some big-name authors can be found between these pages; the collection includes classic tales from such celebrated authors as Edgar Allen Poe, Henry James, Guy de Maupassant, O. Henry, Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ernest Hemingway!
Just the Facts
Most people don’t believe that ghosts really exist, but there are a few ghost story collections out there that might just change your mind. If your family prefers cold, hard facts to fanciful stories, then you’ll want to read Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places around the campfire.
This eerie collection, authored by Brad Steiger, tells the tales behind some famous (and not-so-famous) real-life hauntings and strange occurrences. Learn about the spooky Bell Witch, Gef the poltergeist, and many more spirits that go bump in the night.
If none of these collections sounds quite right for your group or if you just want something new and different, know that there are many other great options out there. Around Halloween, for example, you can usually pick up Mad Lib ghost story books, which allow the whole group to work together to concoct a creepy campfire tale.
You can also try having each member of your group write a ghost story to share or, even better yet, try taking turns writing one line each of a ghost story; this last suggestion is guaranteed to make you giggle…after you finish being scared, of course.