Breaking Down the Spookiest Halloween Monsters: Ghouls

Halloween is approaching. For horror fans, that means one thing: the time for creeping crawling goosebumps and spine-chilling terror is upon us.

It’s time to celebrate all things spooky. What better way to prepare for All Hallow’s Eve than by investigating the classic monsters that fill the streets on October 31st? The ones who have haunted the dreams of us mere mortals for decades, years and millenniums.

Stick around all week as we take a closer look at the monsters that have defined Halloween since the very beginning. We will indulge in their rich history, and highlight some of the most famous examples or sightings of these classic Halloween creatures.

Are you ready for a truly Spooktacular experience?

Creature: Ghoul

“They are neither man nor woman—
They are neither brute nor human—
They are Ghouls”

Edgar Allen Poe

Type: Half-spirit, half satanic offspring
Weakness: Legend has it that one deadly blow to a ghoul can be lethal. However, any more than that will only resurrect it.  Destruction of the head is a standard method of killing a ghoul.

The Origins and History

It might surprise you to hear that a monster so synonymous to Halloween actually originates from Arabic folklore. One Thousand and One Nights, or more commonly called the Arabian Nights, is the first written record of ghūls.

The folkloric tale describes these creatures as intrinsically evil. It’s easy to see why: Ghūls prowl burial grounds and other deserted places and take on innocent shapes in the hopes of luring humans to ultimately eat their victim’s flesh.

The true origins of such a creature have been muddled in the west. Often, the term is used to describe any kind of devilish creature. Even more so, the distinction between ghouls and zombies can be especially mixed as both monsters eat flesh. But, remember, traditional Arabic folklore believe ghūls are part-spirit and the children of the devil Iblīs—a far stretch from the undead corpses of zombie lore.

Ghouls in Modern Times

Nowadays, you can catch contemporary versions in anime, literature and movies alike. Today’s ghouls can be as horrifying as traditional demonic ghūls—like Fallout’s zombie-like monsters—but that’s not always the case.

Some examples of modern ghoulish monsters are simply trying their best to fit into mainstream society like Touka in Tokyo Ghoul. Some are downright friendly. In Harry Potter, the Weasley’s often mention having a ghoul in the attic. There’s no terror in that. The family treats the creature more as a pet than than a hellish demon.

No matter how ghouls are illustrated, one thing’s for sure—they are an integral part of Halloween.

Craving more devilish lore? Spooktacular has you covered. Stayed tuned as we continue investigating the spookiest Halloween monsters all week long.  

This October, we’re putting the “eek” in Geek from October 24th-31st for our annual Spooktacular celebration!  Head to for all the creepiest content, most ghoulish giveaways, and most devilish deals to get you in the mood for Halloween.