Many people view the Pokémon series as light-hearted and aimed at children. That’s certainly true for the most part, but these games also contain some dark and disturbing themes. If you dig deep enough into the Pokédex, you’ll find some pretty twisted stuff! Given that today is Halloween, it seemed appropriate to round up some of the best examples for a Nintendo Enthusiast Pokémon Spooktacular. We found tons of great examples, but for the sake of this article we’ve whittled it down to a top 10. So without further ado, here are the top 10 spooky Pokémon of all time!
Ninetales will curse your descendants for 1,000 years
As you might expect, this top 10 list stars quite a few Ghost-type Pokémon, but there is more to fear than just the undead. Most of the Pokédex text devoted to Ninetales praises its nobility, intelligence, and power. However, this beautiful creature also has a dark and vengeful side.
Ninetales is not the forgiving type. Beginning in Pokémon Red we learn that if you pull its tale it will place a curse on you that lasts for 1,000 years. Stadium adds that it will do this even if you were just joking around. But how does that even work? Not many humans live for 1,000 years, so that curse seems a bit over the top. Ultra Sun clears this up.
It is vindictive and relentless by nature. Those who cross it even once will be cursed for a thousand years, along with their descendants.
That’s right, the curse can be transmitted hereditarily! If you ever cross a Ninetales, you might want to abandon thoughts of having a family. You’ll just pass your misfortune on to them, generation after generation. As a bonus bit of creepiness, both Ruby and Omega Ruby state that this spooky Pokémon can also use its glowing red eyes to mind control its enemies.
Misdreavus will terrify you and devour your fear
Most people are at least a little afraid of the dark, and Misdreavus takes full advantage of this fact. It first appears in Gold and Silver, where we learn that it loves scaring people at night. It will use tactics like screaming, wailing, biting, hair-pulling, and appearing out of nowhere to terrify humans. At first, it seems this is all just a sick game for Mistdreavus, but later games elaborate.
Misdreavus frightens people with a creepy, sobbing cry. The Pokémon apparently uses its red spheres to absorb the fearful feelings of foes and turn them into nutrition.
As it turns out, your fear is Misdreavus’ feast. Once its prey is terrified, this mischevious creature devours their fear to strengthen itself. But it’s definitely not just a matter of survival. The seventh-generation games specify that it takes pride and joy in terrorizing humans and considers that behavior to be the very meaning of its life. Misrevaous takes the role of spooky Pokémon seriously, and that deserves a top 10 spot.
Glalie wants to turn you into a popsicle
If you’re out hiking on a snowy mountaintop, you’ll want to watch out for Glalie. This mean-looking monster can take moisture from the surrounding air and freeze it in an instant. If you happen to be nearby, you’ll suffer a delicious fate.
Glalie has the ability to freely control ice. For example, it can instantly freeze its prey solid. After immobilizing its prey in ice, this Pokémon enjoys eating it in a leisurely fashion.
That’s right, Glalie turns its victims into popsicles and enjoys a refreshing snack. Your best bet is to hope and pray that it uses Mega Evolution. In this form, its jaw becomes unhinged, and it can’t eat. Though that doesn’t help with the ice problem.
Froslass is looking for a trophy husband
If you thought Glalie was bad, you haven’t met Froslass. This icy ghost shares Glalie’s love of freezing its prey, but it’s not looking for lunch. This full-blown serial killer makes our top 10 spooky Pokémon list thanks to its lust for trophy kills.
When it finds humans or Pokémon it likes, it freezes them and takes them to its chilly den, where they become decorations.
Later games elaborate on this idea further. According to Ultra Sun, it specifically targets handsome men to turn into decorations. However, Ultra Moon states that it sometimes comes down from the mountain to visit settlements and knock on the doors of unsuspecting humans. According to several Pokédex entries, Froslass is born when women become lost on a snowy mountain and their spirit assumes an icy form.
Yamask finds no peace in death
Often we hear of Ghost-type Pokémon formed from tragic deaths, as with Froslass above. However, it seems no one is safe in the world of Pokémon. According to the Pokédex, Yamask is a spirit that rises from the grave for seemingly no reason at all. Then, in death, it longs for the life that it still remembers. It also keeps an unsettling reminder of its past.
These Pokémon arose from the spirits of people interred in graves. Each retains memories of its former life. Each of them carries a mask that used to be its face when it was human. Sometimes they look at it and cry.
They say these sad, undying souls roam the ruins of collapsed civilizations. The mask they carry with them is a constant reminder of their sorrow. If a human takes the mask away and tries it on, they’ll become possessed.
Phantump and the cycle of lost souls
Phantump cracks our top 10 spooky Pokémon list with a tragic story about a cycle of lost souls. This forest-dwelling Pokémon is a spirit possessing a rotten tree stump. More specifically, Phantump is created when a child becomes lost in the forest and passes away. These poor creatures tend to stick to lonely, abandoned forests, but they still seek companionship.
By imitating the voice of a child, it causes people to get hopelessly lost deep in the forest. It’s trying to make friends with them.
Phantump will attempt to speak as if it were still a human child. This causes more humans to become lost in the forest, thus perpetuating a cycle. According to Sun, they are also known to let out a cry that sounds like an eerie scream. I can’t say I blame them.
Litwick will secretly burn up your soul
One way to deal with the dark is by carrying a light source to illuminate the way. Litwick serves this role nicely, but there’s a price to pay for its services. It won’t cost you any money. Just a little bit of your soul.
While shining a light and pretending to be a guide, it leeches off the life force of any who follow it.
As it evolves, later Pokédex entries make it clear that this “life force” is indeed your very soul. Lampent takes this soul-sucking act one step further and goes for the full thing. Instead of slowly draining unsuspecting travelers by posing as a guide, it hangs around in hospitals and absorbs souls in their entirety. However, it seems it only does this when a patient is already near death.
Shedinja and the mysteries of the soul
Speaking of souls and lifeless bodies, Shedinja’s got a lot of that going on. This spooky Pokémon isn’t really alive in the traditional sense. No one’s really sure how it happens, but when a Nincada sheds its skin and evolves, the discarded, lifeless husk left behind becomes Shedinja. Despite the fact that its wings remain motionless, it can float through the air. Does some unknown soul possess this hollow shell? It certainly will if you’re not careful.
Shedinja’s hard body doesn’t move – not even a twitch. In fact, its body appears to be merely a hollow shell. It is believed that this Pokémon will steal the spirit of anyone peering into its hollow body from its back.
An empty body and a stolen soul is quite the combination. But how does a newly-created Shedinja fly without one? And how does a lifeless husk forcibly remove a human soul? There is still much we do not know about this undead being. Perhaps future Pokédex entries will explain. Until then, all these supernatural mysteries land it on our top 10.
Banette just wanted to play
A favorite staple of the horror genre is an evil doll with murderous intent, and Pokémon doesn’t shy away from that trope. In the third generation, we’re introduced to Banette. Once a harmless plush doll, it took a sinister turn when it was discarded. Children beware.
It’s a stuffed toy that was thrown away and became possessed, ever searching for the one who threw it away so it can exact its revenge.
Other Pokédex entries specify that feelings of hatred and resentment combined to bring the doll to life, fueled by a grudge. It’s capable of dealing out curses by sticking pins into its own body. When it uses Mega Evolution, its dark energy becomes overwhelming and spills out. Even Mega Banette’s trainer can’t escape its curses.
The original ghost squad: Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar
Finally, our top 10 list circles back around to the very beginning. Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar were the original ghosts. Red, Blue, and Yellow went to great lengths to set them apart as a special and terrifying force. You can’t even see them until you’ve acquired the Silph Scope, and the tower where you encounter them factors into the plot in a major way.
Fittingly, there’s no shortage of disturbing descriptions for this undead trio of spooky Pokémon. Gastly forms when humans are killed by gas and their souls become intertwined with the very agent of their demise.
The Pokédex goes to great lengths to explain just how capable Gastly is of killing you. Some Pokédex entries describe how it sneaks up on unsuspecting victims and puts them to sleep. Others describe how it suffocates its foes with such skill that it can take down an elephant in seconds. It’s also quite capable of poisoning a foe to death. When it evolves, it only becomes more deadly.
If you get the feeling of being watched in darkness when nobody is around, Haunter is there. It hides in the dark, planning to take the life of the next living thing that wanders close by.
Haunter targets foes who are feeling sad and licks them to sap their life energy. It leaves them shaking endlessly until their death. This cruel prankster is also fond of tapping people on the shoulder and tripping them in the darkness. And those antics don’t stop when it evolves again.
Sometimes, on a dark night, your shadow thrown by a streetlight will suddenly and startlingly overtake you. It is actually a Gengar running past you, pretending to be your shadow.
Gengar hides in the shadows of humans, then terrifies them with an evil laugh. It is said to place curses on some and to steal the life force of others. It seems that Gengar has only become more feared over time, as its description in Sun is the most terrifying and hopeless one yet.
Should you feel yourself attacked by a sudden chill, it is evidence of an approaching Gengar. There is no escaping it. Give up.
Despite all of this, perhaps Gengar isn’t truly evil. According to Moon, Gengar craves a friend. It takes the lives of humans in hopes of acquiring a traveling companion. How comforting.
That concludes our list of the top 10 spooky Pokémon, but there’s still more to come! We found way more than 10 when digging through the Pokédex, so we’ll be sharing some more spookiness in the future!