People typically think of kids as chaotic, not creepy. But there’s a reason why horror movies in particular love to play out the creepy kid trope time and time again. It’s unarguably effective—the intersection between innocence and morbidity works every time. Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), creepy kid stories are everywhere off-screen. From recounting past lives to seeing ghosts, these children will keep you up at night…
1. What’s In The Basement?
When my son was around three years old, he refused point-blank to go downstairs into the basement. We didn’t think much of it at first and chalked it up to him being afraid of the dark, which would’ve been pretty normal for a kid his age. But then things got terrifying. He told us the basement was where the “angel man” was—and it got even creepier when he told us that this “angel man” wanted to hurt the family.
2. Worse Than A Nightmare
Once, my kid looked at me and asked me nonchalantly, “How come you're not waking up tomorrow?” It was totally out of the blue and I had no clue how to respond. No one wants to have to randomly think about their mortality. I was definitely up that night in fear of what the next day would bring—so I suppose I didn’t wake up anyway, as I didn't fully fall asleep. Gotta love a self-fulfilling prophecy.
3. What Big Teeth You Have
My toddler has a big imagination, and we like to do our best to encourage that sort of creativity in her. She’s at the age where she still completely believes in things like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy—and she loves picturing them in her mind. Her description of the Tooth Fairy haunts me though. She speculated that the Tooth Fairy probably takes children’s teeth to put in her own mouth, so that she could have millions and millions of teeth. I didn’t appreciate that image much.
4. When You’re Gone
My five-year-old daughter is trying to process the knowledge that everyone passes on at some point. So she tends to casually drop stuff about me passing in otherwise normal conversations. I know this is her age-appropriate way of trying to process the concept of mortality, but it is so unbelievably ominous and it comes out of nowhere.
As a case in point, today she told me, “I like your pretty dress, Mommy! But you won’t be able to wear it……when you’re gone.”
5. I’ll Destroy You
My then three-year-old often had choice words for me whenever I made him angry. One time, he threatened to “destroy me”, whatever that meant. I was curious, so I asked how he planned to do that—to which he responded, “I was going to throw you into a volcano”. Playing along, I asked him why he didn’t. It was reassuring to know that the only thing stopping my kid from throwing me into a volcano at that point was him not knowing how to find one.
6. A Haunted Puppy
My mother passed a few weeks ago. I went to her house to get some things and she had a huge collection of stuffed animals that I brought home for the kids. About three days after she passed, my five-year-old son and I were awake early, and he was playing with the stuffed animals in his room when he came out screaming and crying hysterically. This never happens. He’s a very tough boy for a five-year-old.
I was freaked out and frantically asked him what was wrong. He told me that he was playing with his stuffed animals when the little beanie-stuffed dog moved, turned its head, and looked at him. Apparently, he threw a doll at it and “its face got mean.” He refused to leave my side until I put the stuffed dog in the trash—not the inside trash or the outside trash near the house, but the dumpster down the street.
7. Child Hypnotist
My mom loves telling me this story about the time I discovered hypnotism. When I was four, I found out about hypnotism. Apparently, I became fascinated by the idea of having mind control abilities. One day, my mom says my grandpa loaded me into the car for one of our normal grocery store outings only for him to return “furious” an hour later.
After he calmed down, he told my mom that I refused to stop staring him down in the rear-view mirror with a very serious look on my face. He had asked me to stop on several occasions, but said I never really replied. I just kept staring menacingly. Then, he said I suddenly looked into his eyes and said, “Papa…I’m going to hippo-tize you…I’m going to put my toe…in your mouth."
My mom said she thought it was funny at the time, but couldn’t laugh because my grandfather was seriously so enraged. I ended up having my grandfather for 16 more years after that and he was my best friend.
8. Ghost Grandpa
My ex-father-in-law passed a couple years before my daughter was born so she never met him. He was a funny guy, and he was always quick with a one-liner. As strange as it sounds, there were no pictures of him around until my daughter was about four years old and my ex-mother-in-law set one next to the urn where his ashes were kept. To my surprise, my daughter recognized the picture right away.
The first time she saw it, she pointed to it and said, “That’s grandpa! I like when he looks in my window and makes me laugh. I don’t like his friends, though.” That last part really freaked me out. She had never mentioned this before. When I tried to ask her about it, she seemed nonchalant and wouldn’t tell me much more about it.
I pried and pried to no avail. She’s older now and says she doesn’t remember it, but I’ll never forget it.
9. The Gift of Foresight
I was walking with my four-year-old daughter in the park when she suddenly says to me, “your friend is calling you”. I reach into my pocket and grab my cellphone, which isn’t ringing and I don’t have any missed calls, either. One second later, my phone starts vibrating and it was a friend I hadn’t talked to in several months. I answered it and talked for a bit.
My friend said he hadn’t called me until that time and that I had answered on the first ring. It was weird.
10. What Are They Teaching In Kindergarten?
I was a highschooler and would ride the bus until the elementary school kids got on so that I could walk my little sisters home. They wanted to sit with their friends, and there was this little kid who wasn’t sitting with anyone. I decided to sit down next to him because his stop was the same as ours. He looked at me and just said, “It’s pretty dark when you die. Dark but loud. Like people yelling at you.”
We both sat in complete silence for the rest of the ride.
11. Don’t Tell Daddy
This stuck with me for a long time. My daughter had just started speaking, and she asked if she could tell me a secret. I leaned towards her and she said, “Don’t tell daddy, but I’m so happy I picked you”. I was smiling because that was cute and asked her what she meant by it. She replied, “I was in a room full of mommies and I saw your smile, and I picked you.” She’s 14 now, and I still haven’t told her dad.
12. How Not To Sleep Talk
My younger sister tends to sleep talk about silly things like food and toys. One night when my family was staying at the hotel and I had to share a bed with her, she sat up at two in the morning, waking me up, and turned to me with her eyes closed. She then exclaimed “It’s behind you! Look behind you!” in a very scared and urgent tone. There was only a headboard and wall behind me. I did not get very much sleep that night.
13. When Giggling Isn’t A Good Thing
My daughter routinely gets up in the middle of the night. I started keeping an eye on her because I wanted to know what she was up to. I figured she’d be downstairs trying to sneak a snack or something. Anyway, I learned that she would get up to say hello to one specific corner of her room. She waves and giggles, all while looking at that same corner. And she did this every single night. I’m perturbed.
14. Keep Your Enemies Close
My little sister once told me she liked to swim in the blood of her worst enemies. She had the tendency to say weird little things like that every now and then. I’d asked her if something had happened at school, but she didn’t give me any more context. She left me wondering, but as creepy as it was, I still didn’t really know what someone had to do to end up on her worst enemy list…but I sure hoped I wasn’t on there.
15. A Malicious Misunderstanding
My baby was just learning to speak. She wasn’t even a year old yet, and she was sitting in a shopping cart when she raised her hands towards my neck and said, "kill you". Shocked, I could only respond with “Huh?” She kept repeating it louder and louder. I remember thinking that there was no way my baby was saying what I was hearing. I picked her up just to get her to stop, and it wasn’t until much later that I realized she was mimicking me saying, “Do you want me to CARRY you?”
One night, my two-year-old was looking up at the full moon from a stairway landing window. I thought it was cute, so I went up and asked her what she was thinking. I imagined she'd say something like "is the moon really made of cheese daddy?" or something like that. I was so wrong. Instead, she looked at me and in a creepy old woman voice said, "We are all in the same cage". Like a good horror movie dad, I ran to the basement and pretended nothing happened.
17. Don’t Be A Litterbug
My three-year-old daughter and I observed a man littering on our block. She turned to me stunned and exclaimed, “He just littered!” I replied with, “He did. Littering is bad and not something we want to do”. She then said, “He should be executed”. By which she meant, specifically, having his head cut off. I sort of laughed it off and told her we probably didn’t want to be executing people for first offenses either.
18. The Purple Man
My elder son was always saying there was a purple man in his room that would scare him. My wife would go up and ask where the purple man was. He was always “in the wardrobe”. So she would open the little wardrobe doors and shout at the purple man to leave our son alone, and he would "go away". One day, my son was running around in just his vest the way kids do when they are little, and my wife found something chilling: strands of purple cotton on the vest.
Now we didn't own anything that color, which was spooky in and of itself. We just didn't like purple clothes. She took them and put them in a little plastic bag to show me when I got home from work. That same day, my son shouted, “The purple man’s in the wardrobe again!” and then the wardrobe abruptly fell over on its own, missing my son by inches. We never heard of the purple man after that.
19. Sleep Tight
I used to babysit this specific kid who had gotten in the habit of saying creepy things from time to time. Once, the kid told me I needed to turn the rocking chair around because she didn't want the person in it staring at her when she was sleeping. There was nobody in the chair, but I humored her. So I turned the chair around, and the next day the rocking chair was facing forward again. And the chair was too heavy for her to have done it herself.
My parents told me that when I was a kid, I always used to insist that I was a little boy named Chris, even though I'm female and my name is definitely not Chris. I insisted on this repeatedly as soon as I was able to speak and would break down crying from frustration if I was told I wasn't. I also regularly told my parents that I missed my real family, that they'd died in a car accident, and that I wanted to go to heaven to see them.
This last part was extra weird, because my family isn't religious and we hadn't discussed any concept of heaven prior. My mom was really worried about me, especially when I once told her that I liked "pretending to be Chris" but that I got scared when I did because there was always so much blood. My mom asked me if I meant ketchup and I looked at her like she was an idiot, said, "No mom. It's blood," and then refused to talk about it again.
This spanned from around when I first started speaking coherently through kindergarten or so. I have no memory of it except that I remember really wishing I was a boy named Chris and feeling like something wasn't how it should be with me up until around second or third grade, at which point it just faded away.
21. Somewhere In There
I had a kid patient many years ago. Right after high school, I got a job as an orderly in a rehabilitation hospital. Most of the patients were paralyzed—some paraplegics, some quadriplegics, some hemiplegics (strokes), and some brain-damaged. One of the most seriously injured cases was “Joe”. He had suffered a severe head injury. His family, especially his mother, was convinced Joe could communicate, but none of the staff believed it.
His mother insisted on holding a bedside birthday party for him, complete with cake and party hats. We all thought it was a cruel charade, but we were ordered to attend and did so. We sang "Happy Birthday", and his mother “fed” him cake that he couldn’t chew. It was sad and it made me a little angry that the family couldn't accept what was the obvious truth—that he was alive, but not cognizant.
When we were leaving Unit 1, I thought I heard whispering coming from the direction of Joe's bed. I walked closer in the dimly lit room and heard a terrifying noise: The very low strains of the Happy Birthday song. Joe was whistling, sort of tunefully "hissing”, very softly. From that moment on, I was very careful to speak directly to him, with respect. He still didn't seem to be "in there" but I wasn't taking any chances.
22. Our Uncle-Son
My wife texted me once while I was still at work and she was home with our four-year-old son. What had happened was creepy enough to warrant a midday message. So my dad’s older brother, named Paul, passed in a car accident in 1986 when I was five. I don’t remember much about him, but he did like telling me jokes and outlandish stories because I’d believe anything he told me. It was, and still is, an emotional subject for my dad so I avoid bringing Paul up.
I definitely hadn’t mentioned it to my son. So that afternoon a few years ago, my son was telling my wife a story—something about a tractor and a donut. At the end, he laughed and said, “That was a joke I used to tell my dad when he was young.” My wife didn’t think too much about it and replied with, “Oh, you knew your dad when he was young?” to which my son casually said, “Yeah, my name was Paul when my dad was young.”
23. Missing Me
My five-year-old said he was going to miss me when I’m gone. I jokingly asked him when he thought that would be, and he said “in five days”. Two days later, I came down with COVID and was doing really poorly, and I honestly thought that was it for me. Fortunately, I recovered and still live to tell the tale—and I’ve also since learned to not ask my kid questions I might not want to hear the answers to. I have a morbid kid.
24. To Sleep Talk Or Not To Sleep Talk
My son regularly talks in his sleep. It's usually nonsensical rambling or incoherent mumbles. But on this one night, he just sat bolt upright in his bed while I was walking by his room, and he shouted in the deepest, angriest voice a seven-year-old can muster, "I'VE BEEN TO WAR!" He then lay back down and continued sleeping. He didn't remember anything the next morning, and none of us know where he picked up the line.
25. Train is a Comin’
My eldest son, who was maybe two and a half at the time, spent an entire morning saying, in a sing-song voice, “It’s coming! It’s coming! Ba-domp-domp-domp!” It was funny for minutes one through three, irritating for minutes four through fifteen, and then after half an hour it just got creepier and creepier. It sounds crazy, but it really felt like something ominous was coming for us.
26. A Never-ending Telepathic Story
When my daughter was about three, we started to become convinced she could read our minds. She would randomly blurt out something I had just been thinking. Sometimes I would be thinking something like, “I better get her to bed, it’s late.” And she would turn around immediately and say something like, “I don’t want to go to bed yet.” It was strange, but at that point, it was all still within the realm of extreme coincidence.
So one day, some of our friends were over and we decided to put her mindreading skills to the test. We formulated a plan: My brother would take her into the other room to distract her and keep her busy, and one of us would choose a random object for us to focus on. We wrote the name of the object on a piece of paper and passed it around to be sure everyone would be thinking the same thing. We didn’t say it aloud.
Once everyone had read the paper, I threw it away. We stayed together—there was no one who could have whispered it to her, in other words. We then joined her in the other room and told her to sit in the middle and we would sit around her. She was very excited because she thought we were going to play a game. I told her that the game was for her to guess what we all were thinking of at that exact moment in time.
She got quiet and looked at each of us only briefly before responding with, “Orange. Kitty. Tricky.” That was it. Our cat, Tricky. The guy had written “your cat” on the paper. I always found it interesting how she described what she saw, not as a word, but as an image. She’s in her late twenties now and still reads my mind all the time. I’m just so used to it at this point, I stopped being weirded out.
27. Let Me Tell Your Fortune
When I was about six or seven, the house we were renting was going to be sold. My parents instructed us to keep our rooms tidy because people may be walking through the house during showings. I had the idea to take a little box and write “fortunes” on it. Inside were little slips of paper with “fortunes”. The idea was that prospective buyers could take a slip of paper to get their fortune, kind of like a fortune cookie.
I remember the first couple of slips of paper said stuff like “you will have good luck”. Then the rest of them had some pretty morbid stuff like “you’re going to disappear soon”. My parents read the slips of paper beforehand, then sat me down and sternly told me the fortune box was a no-go. I was a pretty serious child, so it didn’t occur to me at all that a fortune box should be lighthearted.
28. A Pseudo Pillow Fight
I was playing on the floor with my two-year-old son. There were a bunch of pillows on the floor, and we were pretending it was time to go “night night” and sleep even though it was the middle of the day. At one point, he takes the pillow away from me and stands above my head with it. I laugh because I thought he was trying to start a pillow fight, but he just looks down and says “bye bye”.
He then places the pillow over my face. It was really creepy.
29. Do You Believe In Reincarnation?
My son used to tell me all about what his life was like when he was my age. He apparently owned a large dairy farm near our home, and his name was John (which wasn’t the name we gave him). He said he raised horses as well, and loved to take care of them. I can’t say we had much knowledge of farms or horses as a family, so at first, we just thought he was being quirky and had somehow taken a fancy to rustic life.
But then things started getting freaky. He would even point out the exact location of his farm. The location was an abandoned stone house with wood frame outbuildings. We’d never taken him there before. According to township tax maps, that particular farm had been the John Freeman farm in the 1880s. Freeman was a respected dairyman who also raised Belgian work horses for sale. My little man was remembering his former life.
30. Just Like In Stranger Things
We were going inside after a walk around our property when my daughter pointed to the trees on the other side of the fence and said "Mama. Trees hungry" in a deadpan kind of voice. It was windy and overcast, and the trees are very thick in that spot so they were making all kinds of creepy rustling and creaking noises. I briefly considered whether I should press her about what she meant, but ultimately decided I’d rather drop the subject entirely.
31. Long-Lost Sisters
I was wrestling around with my daughter when she was about three. All of a sudden, her demeanor changed. She stopped, looked at me, and said, “we were sisters once”. She went on to explain that she passed first so she had to wait in heaven until God could put us back together again. It wasn’t even what she said. It was the way she said it, and for a brief moment, she felt like an old soul telling me a story before she went back to being a little girl again.
32. Beware The Old Lady
As a five-year-old child, I told my parents I didn't sleep in my bed because of the old lady. Nearly every morning they would find me asleep in my closet. They didn't think too much of it until other people came to stay with us and they’d mention that they too saw an old lady standing over them when they woke up in the middle of the night. This happened to a good three visitors in that same room and bed, and all of them refused to step foot in that room again.
33. Predator Versus Prey
Once, a child approached me out of the blue. He looked like he was about six years old, and I was on a walk, so I just smiled at him and kept on walking. He stopped me to look me dead in the eyes. Then he said, “You are hunted as well” with absolutely no other context. I was horrified but didn’t know what to make of it, so I just laughed awkwardly and walked off. I hope I wasn’t cursed that day or anything.
34. Pool Peril
When my nephew was three, I went to my sister’s house to watch him and his older sister. I was in the kitchen washing up some dishes when I looked out and saw him climbing up to the top of the waterslide and noticed the pool cover was auto-retracting. I ran out to go get him because he couldn't swim at the time. I grabbed him before he reached the top. He thought it was funny. I put him down and couldn't figure out how he knew to retract the cover.
His four-year-old sister came out and said the old man at the end of the pool told her to push the button. There was no one there. I was totally freaked out. I’m so glad my sister moved from that house.
35. He Lives In The Ground…
I babysat a couple of kids in high school for some extra cash. The girl was probably around six, and the boy was four. The girl asked me around 7:30 pm if she could go outside to play with her friend. I asked, “Who is your friend?” to which she replied, “His name is devil. He lives in the ground of my backyard with his scary dog”. I was so freaked out. Her brother overheard and came over to scold her.
He said, “You know we can’t do that because the last time we woke him up, he got mad and did bad things to us”. The girl still wanted to go outside to play but I wouldn’t let her. Then the little boy tried to convince me to play the ouija board with them. I left as soon as the next babysitter came to relieve me around midnight. She informed me that their house was haunted. I never babysat there again.
36. Don’t Go Into The Basement
Was stationed in Germany and lived in a small village. We rented out a remodeled "townhouse" and our landlords lived next door. Everything in the house was recently redone, except for its ancient basement. Going into the basement gave me and my wife the creeps. One night, my four-year-old kid wakes up crying and just keeps repeating, “The old people said they don't want me here anymore". We moved out a month or two later.
37. Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe
When my child was about four or five, she claimed she had three imaginary friends: Eenie, Miney, and Moe. They apparently referred to her as Meenie. But that wasn't even the creepy part—the creepy part was the fact that she told me her imaginary friends don't like to go into her closet because there was a creepy old man in there. I checked her closet several times, but never found anything.
38. Chalk Demon
My parents told me that when I was little, my teachers hated sending me to get chalk from the office because I would never say something nice and normal like “Hi, I would like some chalk please”. Instead, I would say something more to the tune of “chalk is needed” in a weird and creepy low voice. I’m sure I sounded like a demon child to some adults. Maybe they thought I was going to use the chalk in a ritual or something.
39. A Past Life
My then three-year-old used to say that before coming home to us, he was a little girl living in Japan with her “great grandfather”. They were fishing one day and a big wave knocked them off the boat, and that’s when he turned into a boy and came to live with us. It was very creepy indeed. I’ve always felt that kids have special access to other “information” while they’re younger, and this kind of confirmed it for me.
40. Predicting Mortality
After my mom had repeatedly called for my dad to come down for his birthday dinner, she told my four-year-old nephew to go tell my dad “for the last time, come down for your birthday dinner.” He mixed up his words when he went and instead told my dad “to come down for his last birthday.” He passed away about 3 weeks later. I still wonder if my nephew knew something we didn’t at the time, or if it was pure coincidence.
41. It’s A Boy
My ex had found out she was pregnant again. She was told that she had again suffered a miscarriage with her current pregnancy. My ex then went to tell her three-year-old daughter the news. Her daughter calmly stated that she hadn’t lost her baby brother and he was still in her tummy. My ex figured she was just trying to cope with the news in her own special way, and gently told her that that wasn’t the case.
As it turns out, she hadn’t lost the baby and it was indeed a boy. This came as a huge (but pleasant) surprise to her, of course, but my ex couldn’t get over how her daughter knew it was a boy before she did. She thought it was so strange because, at that stage of her pregnancy, it was way too soon to have known the baby’s gender. I guess the kid somehow had psychic powers…or it was just a lucky guess.
42. A Not-So-Innocent Chocolate Bunny
I gave my two-year-old a chocolate bunny as a treat for being good. I very quickly regretted it. She handed it back to me a few minutes later and she hadn't really eaten any of it, but she had shaved the facial features of the bunny off with her teeth. She looked at me and quietly whispered, "He's gone, mommy”. I’m pretty sure she had no idea how creepy that was, but it gave me goosebumps and kept me up for a lot of the night.
43. Sunday School Satan
I was the Sunday school teacher at my church for preschool to second-grade kids. A girl I didn't know came in with her friend one Sunday. I don't remember the lesson, but I was asking the kids about pets. This little girl said she USED to have hamsters, so I asked if her mom rehomed them. She states, "No, they died." I asked her if they’d just passed from old age, to which she said, “No, I did it” in a very matter-of-fact way.
I was a little shocked, but I quickly thought of a likely reason. I asked her if it was an accident, and if she maybe just hadn’t learned how to hold them properly, all the while reassuring her that it wasn’t her fault and that she shouldn’t blame herself. Her response? “Oh, no. I drowned them. Just to watch.” I had no idea how to follow up with that, and I’m pretty sure I just tried to change the subject.
44. Unwelcome Apologies
My three-year-old niece, whenever apologizing, says, "I'm sorry," in a really low, gravelly voice. It sounds very creepy and threatening, but over the past year it's become clear she is being sincere and trying to mimic a low voice to convey the seriousness. I find it funny, but I’ve tried to express to her that the tone of her voice might make people think she was saying sorry sarcastically or meanly. She doesn’t get it yet.
I am a stepdad. After my wife and I got married and moved in together, I found out that my stepdaughter sleepwalks. I stay up later than my wife, and so I was in the front room watching television around midnight. My stepdaughter, who was probably around four at the time, came out of her room and walked up to me. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, "You need to be careful”. I said, "Careful of what?"
Then, she patted me on the knee and walked back to her room. I had no idea what had just happened so I got up to go check on her. She was out cold on her bed. I talked to my wife about it in the morning, and she said it's completely normal. We've lived together for over five years now and I'm quite used to it. At that point, though, I felt like I was in the first thirty minutes of a horror movie and that it wasn’t going to end well for me.
46. Don’t Look Behind You
When my stepsister was around five or six, she used to talk about seeing some weird stuff. One night when I was babysitting her, I was standing in the doorway to the kitchen and she came up to me randomly and said, “There’s a ghost behind you! Don’t look”. I laughed, thinking she was trying to pull my leg, and said “Oh yeah?” Right after I said that, the lights in the kitchen started turning off and on without us doing anything. I was just about ready to run out of the house.
47. What’s In The Walls?
I don’t know when exactly this first started, but my son now constantly tells me stories of "scary uncle Michael" in his bedroom at night. He says he's a grey man who looks like his uncle and he climbs on walls and calls out to him. Apparently, one night, he even tried to eat him. This is absolute nightmare fuel—and to be honest, at this point, I’m probably more freaked out than my son is by it all.
48. Toenail Terror
My three-year-old nephew once casually peeled off one of his toenails. It wasn’t an accident. He actually did it on purpose. The scene was already panic-inducing enough for me, as I was supposed to be looking after him. I remember frantically trying to find his parents’ first aid kit to assuage the situation. I had no idea what forces compelled him to do this, so of course I had to ask. His reason was the most disturbing part: “To see my skeleton”.
49. The Scream
We lived across the street from a cemetery. The location wasn’t ideal, but there wasn’t anything we could really do about that. At the time, my daughter was in kindergarten, and I remember asking her if she ever felt spooked to live this close to a graveyard. She responded very matter-of-factly: “Not during the day. But at night they all walk up to our windows and scream.” I was pretty taken aback.
50. My Son The Knight
My three-year-old son was swinging a plastic sword around everywhere, and he almost hit a bunch of stuff including his baby sister. I didn’t want anything bad to happen, especially with her being so young, so I told him that if he didn’t stop swinging it around, I was going to throw it away. His response proved I'm raising a monster: "If you throw my sword away, I'll go to the store, buy a real one, and cut your head off".