Listen, some people really love Halloween, scary movies, true crime, and all things considered a little dark. And just because they’re about to become parents doesn’t mean they have to change their interests, which means they might be interested in spooky baby names. They’re not quite like
goth baby names, which are a little more wistful, Victorian, and folklore-inspired. No, spooky baby names are meant to feel a little dark and haunting (in all the best ways, of course).
If you’re considering spooky baby names for your child, chances are you’re into the dark, scary side of things in most other areas of life, too. You could always pull name inspiration from your favorite horror movies — think Carrie (from, well,
Carrie), Clarice ( The Silence of the Lambs), Freddy ( A Nightmare on Elm Street) or Jason (Friday the 13th). But for some parents, the negative associations with all that violence can obviously feel like a bit much to pass on to a baby.
That’s where spooky baby names come in — they’re subtle. They don’t instantly bring to mind a murderous movie villain. Instead, they’re a nod to the darker side of life: the haunted forests in your favorite book, a beloved Halloween movie character, or a witchy historical figure.
A Latin baby name meaning “dark,” Adrienne is a subtly spooky option. It’s feminine and practical, and not easy to nickname, if you’re a fan of using given names only.
This gorgeous name is Japanese and means two things: “night rain” or “the end” (both feel pretty ominous). In Japan it’s a surname, but it has strong first and middle name potential, too.
Ash is kind of a banger: it’s a strong one-syllable name and is completely gender-neutral. It leans a little spooky thanks to the connection with, you know, fire and destruction and “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” and so on.
Fans of all things scary and spooky will connect this name with
The Blair Witch Project, a horror film disguised as a documentary that has become a must-see classic. Aside from the witchy association, Blair is a Scottish name with lots of meanings, including “battlefield” and “meadow.” 5 Bram
Bram Stoker is the author we have to thank for the most notable vampire story of all time:
Dracula. Historically it has been used as a nickname for Abraham, but it could certainly stand alone, too. 6 Casper
Halloween lovers will enjoy having their own friendly little ghost in the house. Casper has cute ties to the animated specter, of course. It is also the Dutch version of Jasper, meaning “bringer of treasure.”
This Irish name means “dark challenger,” which makes a daughter named Delaney sound like she can take on even the darkest parts of life one day.
If you like scary things, you know this is a nod to famed writer and poet Edgar Allen Poe. Edgar is an Old English name meaning “wealthy spear.”
This old Roman name means “dark-haired,” and happens to have belonged to an ancient emperor. It sounds expensive and spooky — if they were still making
Underworld vampire movies, there would absolutely be a vampire named Hadrian in the next installment. 10 Kieran
If you’re also interested in
Gaelic boy names, you have to consider Kieran. It means “little dark one,” which is supposed to refer to being black-haired, but obviously the meaning has spooky undertones. 11 Lilith
Lilith sounds like a timeless
vintage baby name, and it is, but it’s also truly terrifying. It means “night monster;” in Jewish folklore, Adam’s first wife, Lilith, is turned into a demon for disobeying him. 12 Mallory
While Mallory has been used more often for girls (and calls to mind a bubbly schoolgirl image), it was used historically as a unisex name. It means “unlucky” or “unfortunate.”
Originating in the Pacific Islands, Masina means “moon.” It’s the perfect night-related name for parents who want something
less common than Luna. 14 Kate
While it’s not a spooky baby name on the surface, Kate is believed to be the name of the Bell Witch, a spirit who haunted a family for many years in 1800s Tennessee. You’ll have to read up on the legend for all the hair-raising details, like strange creatures in cornfields and threatening phantom voices.
Known as the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau was often referred to as a witch. She would host ceremonies in which participants would become possessed. She was also a fortune teller, healer, and potion-making connoisseur.
This name is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re looking for something spooky, it’s got everything you could need. It means “the darkness of the night,” and was the name of a famous Greek poet. Legend has it he wrote songs so beautiful, all of nature would pause to listen.
No spooky story is complete without black ravens perched somewhere in the scene, cawing at the characters who just got a flat tire and are approaching an obviously haunted house to use the phone. As a name, Raven sounds sleek and modern, and unique-yet-familiar.
18 Rune Catherine Delahaye/Stone/Getty Images
In any decent dark fantasy, aren’t there always mysterious runes glowing because of some magic or other? Rune is a beautiful
one-syllable name that translates to “secret” (German) or “secret lore” (Old Norse). 19 Sabrina
Millennial parents will immediately associate this name with
Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which has spooky, magical elements, but doesn’t feel creepy or have any negative associations (sorry, Jasons and Freddys of the world). It also has ties to ancient Celtic folklore, if that does anything for you. 20 Salem
You could also attribute this name to
Sabrina the Teenage Witch. But Salem, Massachusetts is also home to all kinds of spooky shops and historical sites related to the Salem Witch Trials. It’d be such a cute name on a spunky little girl. 21 Samara
Samara means “guardian” or “protected by God,” and is a beautiful name to begin with. For horror movie fans, it’s associated with the main character of
The Ring, Samara Morgan. Definitely a spooky choice. 22 Shadow
This name needs no explanation, and the spook factor is self-evident. It might be a little too far out for some parents, but if you’re willing to go for it, it’ll definitely stand out.
Sullivan is a strong surname-turned-first-name with Celtic roots. It means “black-eyed one,” which is a little haunting, to be honest.
If you’re interested in
earthy baby names that lean spooky, Willow is a great option. It calls to mind weeping willows, of course, and what haunting, dark forest would be complete without them? 25 Winifred Flavia Morlachetti/Moment/Getty Images
Yes, like the Sanderson sister from
Hocus Pocus. Millennial parents who love spooky things probably fell in love with this classic Halloween movie as a kid, and now, you can have a little Winnie all your own. 26 Zilla
Zilla is a girl’s name of Hebrew origins meaning “shadow.” It can also be spelled Zillah, if you prefer.
So, have you been talked into choosing a spooky baby name for your little one yet? You have to admit, a little Winnie or Kieran would be too cute.