Few family traditions are as memorable as camping. There’s scouting the perfect kid-friendly campsite
, cooking meals (and s’mores!) together over an open fire, sleeping under the stars, and of course, telling campfire stories for kids.
Campfire stories very literally bring everyone together, gathering them around the fire with warm beverages and snacks. In today’s world where people are increasingly “plugged in,” taking your family camping
and telling kid-friendly ghost stories offer a wonderful way to connect in a wholesome way.
Whether your children are still in diapers or they’re heading off to college, we’ve put together our favorite kid-friendly scary stories. Which one will you tell first?
Scary Campfire Stories for Kids
Spooky campfire stores are a lot of fun, but you don’t want to scare your kids so much that they can’t sleep. These short stories are a bit scary but certainly not terrifying, and many of them have silly or funny endings.
Camping with toddlers
Spooky Campfire Stories for Toddlers
undoubtedly takes extra planning and effort, but it’s well worth it to create new family traditions in The Great Outdoors. Armed with these short, toddler-friendly ghost stories (and lots of snacks, of course!), it’s easy to keep your tot happy around the campfire.
If you’re looking for kid-friendly ghost stories, you can’t beat spirits who bake treats and host lively parties. That’s exactly the premise of Haunted
, so it’s the perfect not-so-scary story for the littlest ones.
When a new family moves into the haunted house, they’re quickly scared away by the ghosts. It takes a combination of shared interests, good conversation, and an old bottle of whiskey to lay the ghosts’ spirits to rest once and for all.
The Hunting of the Great Bear
The Hunting of the Great Bear
is an Iroquois legend that follows four brothers who are legendary hunters. The brothers set out to track a “monster bear,” an incredibly large and mysterious bear.
They eventually catch him, only to learn that he is magical and they are actually in the skies. Today, legend says that the Big Dipper represents the Great Bear. Whether or not that’s true, this is still one of the best campfire stories for kids.
The Big Toe
In this classic “scary” story for kids, sometimes also called “The Hairy Toe,” a woman comes across a big, hairy toe as she tends her garden. She puts it in a jar, and that night, a mysterious voice calls out looking for his toe.
To make The Big Toe
fun for toddlers, repeat, “Where’s my hairy toe?
” in a low, dramatic voice. Eventually, pick your tot up, tickle him or her, and exclaim, “YOU have it!”
Spooky Campfire Stories for Young Children
Young children, particularly 6- to 10-year-olds, are such a fun age for camping. Time spent around the campfire is a favorite tradition, from cooking dinner to roasting s’mores and — of course — telling kid-friendly scary stories. Get young children in on the fun by asking them to fill in details or even create their own endings.
Most young children love pirates, so Dem Bones
is one of the best short kid-friendly ghost stories. In it, onlookers watch from afar as pirates come ashore and bury stolen treasure. No one is ever able to find it again.
As the story goes, the pirate crew, now glowing ghosts referred to as “Dem Bones,” comes back from the sea periodically. They throw lively parties around their treasure, then sail silently away before dawn.
The Secret Treasure of Donovan Road
This is one of those (not so) scary campfire stories for kids that will have them in suspense until the end, then leave them doubled over laughing. The Secret Treasure of Donovan Road
is about a grandmother who tells her granddaughter about treasure hidden nearby.
The little girl decides to see for herself, and indeed there is a treasure chest. The surprise, however, is that the “treasure” is marshmallows. For extra fun, toss marshmallows at your audience!
The Thing at the Foot of the Bed
There are several variations of this classic scary story, so you’ve likely heard a version. The Thing at the Foot of the Bed
is short and comes with a built-in lesson: the “monsters under the bed” and other scary things kids dream up are simply in their imagination.
An old man sees something strange at the foot of his bed. He “jumps the gun” (pun very much intended) and ends up hurting no one but himself — literally.
Spooky Campfire Stories for Pre-teens
Pre-teens can be hard to entertain and keep happy, especially when they don’t have their electronics. Thankfully, these slightly more scary campfire stories for kids are sure to hold their attention!
is more funny than scary, but your pre-teens won’t realize that until the end. One night, a man walks home, passing right by the cemetery.
The man passed the gates and immediately heard something start following him. It was a coffin, chasing him! He eventually reached home and grabbed the first thing he could find: a bottle of cough syrup. The terrified man threw the bottle at the coffin, and wouldn’t you know it, the “coffin” stopped in its tracks. For bonus points, reveal your own bottle of cough syrup at the end.
This eerie tale is about a couple traveling in a carriage. They stop for the night at a lovely house where they’re welcomed with tea and treats. The travelers leave a fifty-cent piece in the morning as a thank you.
At a restaurant nearby, the couple tells a man about their night. He insists that house burnt down years ago. Fifty-Cent Piece
ends with the man taking the couple back, where they discover a scorched home — but also the fifty-cent piece.
Looking for funny
, scary campfire stories for kids? Two Heads
keeps listeners on the edge of their seats but has a surprisingly funny ending.
A taxi driver takes a man to the airport. The passenger stores two bags in the trunk and seems rather nervous, making the driver increasingly suspicious. The passenger leaves his luggage behind after getting out at the airport, and eventually, the driver opens the bags. Imagine his surprise when he finds...rotting vegetables!
Spooky Campfire Stories for Teenagers
It may not be quite as easy to convince or scare teens when it comes to campfire stories, but it’s still a wonderful tradition to carry on. These stories are specifically geared toward older kids, and some even have interactive elements.
has a classic storyline of teenagers who park at “Lover’s Lane,” where they cuddle and smooch. The girlfriend is nervous after hearing a news story that a man with a hook for an arm escaped from a local asylum.
After feeling the car shaking, the girlfriend insists on going home. Her boyfriend reluctantly leaves, and when they reach her house, they find terrifying evidence that “the hook man” was indeed nearby.
Broom Town Curse
This is one of those kid-friendly scary stories that can easily be customized to wherever you are, making it extra-special. Broom Town Curse
tells a story of an 1850s settlement that was previously inhabited by suspected witches.
In a particularly gory battle of the Civil War, everyone at the settlement dies. The souls of the dead witches haunt anyone who gets within 10 miles of the settlement, reportedly to this very day.
What’s a family camping trip without a good bear story? Bear Hunting
is a folktale about hunters trying to catch a huge, man-eating grizzly bear. The bear has been terrorizing the local village, and the villagers have had enough.
A young boy joins the hunters, and they find the bear’s den. Being the smallest of the group, the young boy goes into the lair head-first
, and let’s just say he doesn’t exactly come back out the same way.
Up your family camping game with a Cruise America RV rental
Whether it’s your first road trip with your new baby
or you’ve been camping as a family for years, renting an RV from Cruise America
is a wonderful way to enhance the experience. After an evening telling scary campfire stories for kids, everyone will appreciate the comfort, safety, and warmth of snuggling up in their beds in the RV (not to mention locking doors!).
Contact Cruise America today to learn more about the family-friendly RV rental options. There are over 130 rental locations
throughout North America, so it’s easy to pick up the perfect RV for your family no matter where you live!