From spooky to silly, well-told campfire stories will entertain your campers for hours. Eerie flashlight effects are optional…
A note from our “soap box:” Always remember that many stories can be scary to young children, even ones with funny endings. Avoid frightening the children so they can sleep and enjoy all of the night’s activities. Each one of the categories below has an impressive list of campfire stories, ghost stories, or perfect stories to tell at night. Here are just a few you’ll find in this category:
If you don’t see your favorite story, or know a different version, please submit one today!
List of Categories for Campfire Stories:
Campfire Stories – Legends
Campfire legends are a special type of story that are often based on Native American lore, urban legend tales, or historical events. They tell origin stories of animals, nature, or the “real” experience of local occurrences (think, “this happened to my brother on Lover’s Lane).
- Chipmunk and the Bear. A story of brawn and brains and how the Chipmunk got it’s stripes.
- La Llorona. A tale from Mexico about “The Wailing Woman” who suffers by the river.
- Milk Bottles. Before there were plastic bottles, milkmen delivered glass bottles to homes around town. This is the strange tale of one milkman’s adventure.
Campfire Stories with a moral
These stories are spooky or scary, but offer a twisted life lesson at the end. Think Grimm’s Fairy Tales for the fireside.
Funny Campfire Stories
These funny stories are either funny from start to finish, or appear to be scary but finish with a silly ending. Some are just plain corny, just like many camp counselors, and that’s okay, too!
Scary Campfire Stories
Some of these are scary stories that are suspenseful enough that they will scare adults away at the slightest noise, and others are simply “spooky stories” meant to give you the chills.
We love good scary campfire stories, but be conservative when choosing your audience. Many children are just beginning to sleep out, and an upsetting experience could jeopardize their overall enjoyment of sleeping away from home, or camping out.
How to Tell a Good Campfire Story:
- Explain how you heard the story. The best stories seem to have a local touch or come from personal experience. “My aunt told me about this story that happened right here when she was a girl” However, if you are trying to make a story less scary, make it less local and less personal. “I heard this happened across the globe a long time ago.”
- Take dramatic pauses. It’s a bit cliche, but get your listeners on the edge of their seats. “When the door opened (pause….), my aunt saw to her horror (pause…), the man with the eye patch was standing right there!
- Use sound effects, noises, and motions. “When the door opened with a creeeeeeeeak, my aunt saw to her horror, the man with the eye patch (cover eye) was standing right there (screaaaaaam), it was the hook on his arm that was making the scratching noise (drag stone along a big rock).
- Lean in and change your voice volume. Your group will lean in to hear you and be on the edge of their seats to hear your creepy story. You are then free to “jump scare” them when you’re ready.
- Whisper to get everyone to lean in. “Shhhh… did you all hear those strange noises?”
- Make sudden loud noises! “The door SLAMMED SHUT!” Best after kids are leaning in from whispering…
- Once in a while, use an accomplice. Hide someone in the woods to rattle trees or march on dry leaves or howl – you get the idea.
- Yes, it’s perfectly normal for the camp counselor to hold a flashlight or a bed lamp close to their face while whispering menacingly or making sound effects. Your stories will be one of your campers’ favorite camp activities – guaranteed!
- Know your audience. We say this over and over again, but be most careful of scaring young children or truly frightening kids of any age. Spooky, scary, sure. Terrified and crying, no.
If you can’t find the story you’re looking for, check out these other resources: