These aren’t inherently creepy baby names, but their associations might send a chill down your spine. After all, these monikers are synonymous with some seriously spooky legends, lore, and characters. If you love all things mysterious and macabre — or maybe you’re expecting a boo-tiful bundle of joy in October — these “scary” names are sure to be right up your (dark and winding) alley. And you’re not the only one in your search, either. According to the latest data available, scary names are searched for nearly 10,000 times a month, and that’s not even during Halloween season.
Before you go and give your baby one of these creepy (but totally cool) names, you may be interested to learn why you’re drawn to them. In short, things that creep us out can make us feel more deeply. “One of the reasons people love Halloween is because it produces strong emotional responses, and those responses work to build stronger relationships and memories,” Dr. Margee Kerr, staff sociologist at Pittsburgh’s ScareHouse and a professor, told The Atlantic. “When we’re happy or afraid, we’re releasing powerful hormones, like oxytocin, that are working to make these moments stick in our brain.”
So, if you think about it that way, it’s kind of sweet to give your offspring an unnerving name.
However, if you’re not really into the scary element of the title, but these names are dominating your baby list anyway, we get it. Spooky monikers often have an old Hollywood or sophisticated quality about them, which makes them a strong choice. We pick names because we love the sound of them and, at the end of the day, your child defines it. So if your reasons are not rooted in love for the macabre, but the name Reagan (the terrifying little girl from the Exorcism) has captured your heart, slap it on your baby’s birth certificate with confidence. There isn’t a cult classic or Shakespearean villain in existence that can stop your little one’s personality from shining through. Pulling off a classically creepy name takes heart, but if anyone can do it, it’s your little girl.
RELATED: 19 Botanical Baby Names
With that in mind, we’ve gone ahead and compiled the creepy list for you.
Need more baby name ideas for your little tot? We’ve got comprehensive lists for unique names for girls, Indian baby girl names, last names for boys, nicknames as first names for your little Ace, and so much more!
Curious to know more about your family name and the last names and meanings of other countries? Check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: Irish, French, Russian, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, and African last names, among others.
Even though she definitely wasn’t the scariest thing in Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling’s name will forever be linked to Hannibal Lecter’s. It’s a good name for horror fans who want a subtle nod, not an immediate recognition of “you named your kid after a scary movie?”
The name of this plant means “beautiful lady” — but it is also alternatively known as deadly nightshade because it’s highly toxic. It was once used to make poison-tipped arrows, and it is said that it has been used in at least two murders carried out by Roman empresses Livia Drusilla and Agrippina the Younger.
Absinthe is a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage, and legend says that it’s a potent and addictive hallucinogenic. It was favored by many creative types including Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Oscar Wilde. And if you find Absinthe is a little too… unique for everyday use, there’s always the nickname Abby.
A tragic character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia is driven mad with grief when her lover kills her father. Consequently, she climbs into a tree and breaks a branch, falling to her death in a brook. The name was at the height of its popularity at the turn of the 20th century, which gives it a Victorian vibe.
Even if you’ve never actually watched The Exorcist, you’re likely familiar with the demonic, pea-soup-spitting image of the main character, poor demon-possessed Regan MacNeil. Although, even with this spelling, the name has slightly more of a presidential association.
Speaking of demons, what if you’re pregnant and carrying one? That’s exactly what happened to Rosemary Woodhouse in the horror classic Rosemary’s Baby. Of course, your little angel won’t have a demonic bone in her body, but her name will appeal to any scary movie aficionado… and fit right in with the current botanical name trend too.
Samara Morgan is the central antagonist in The Ring trilogy of horror films. But she’s better known as the terrifying entity emerging creepily from the televisions of those who watched her cursed videotape. Fun fact: When The Ring was released in 2002, the name Samara was at #929 on the Social Security Baby Name Popularity Charts; by the next year, it had made an epic leap to #456. Indisputable proof that creepy baby names aren’t undesirable.
Meaning “phantom queen” (yes, really!), the Morrigan is a figure in Irish mythology who represents doom, death, or victory in battle. In her earthly incarnation as a crow, she is said to strike fear into enemies and encourage warriors to be brave.
It sounds innocent enough, but hear me out, because it’s not the sound of the name that has the creepy associations… it’s the meaning! The name Katla is the feminine form of the Old Norse male name Ketill, which means “cauldron.” Even creepier, the ketill was a cauldron used to catch the blood of sacrificial animals.
In Jewish tradition, Lilith is a demon of the night. She is the sensual embodiment of darkness, who is said to steal babies in the night. But in more recent times, she has become a symbol of feminism — a woman who is tired of getting told to “be a good girl.”
Throughout ancient history, cultures from all over the world have referenced ravens in their lore. Most commonly, they’re associated with omens, insight, and prophecy, and are spiritual messengers between the gods and the mortal world. (If you’d rather a name that isn’t so birdlike, try Corbin, which means raven. There’s also the similar-sounding Draven, made famous by the 1994 film The Crow.) And of course, there’s “The Raven,” the famed narrative poem by…
Edgar Allan, that is: best known for his gothic works of fiction like the poem mentioned above and creepy yarns such as “The Tell-Tale Heart.” And if you’re a gamer, this name is likely familiar to you from the Legend of Zelda series — where poes are cloaked spirits who roam graveyards.
When we’re talking creepy baby names, we can’t overlook Blair, whose fear-factor is twofold. First, in another nod to The Exorcist, actress Linda Blair played the aforementioned Regan MacNeil. Not only that, but there’s the association with The Blair Witch Project, the supernatural thriller with the “found footage” format that scared the pants off of everyone in 1999.
There’s just something a little unsettling about the unknown, which is why Shadow is the perfect name for this list. After all, there was never a horror story where a monster was “lurking in the dazzling sunlight.”
In metaphysical lore, the shiny black onyx stone is just the ticket for protection against negative energies, aids in the development of emotional strength, and guards the wearer against the “Evil Eye.” No guarantees against side-eye though.
Irish author Abraham “Bram” Stoker was made famous by his literary classic, the 1897 novel Dracula, which has spawned countless spinoff stories, movies, and TV shows centered around vampire lore.
At first glance, this name looks like the ever-popular Samuel (and can even be shortened into the same diminutive Sam). Like Samuel, it’s also of Hebrew origin, but that’s where the similarities end. In Jewish lore, Samael is the angel of death. In some traditions, he is portrayed as riding a serpent and, in others, he is considered to be the partner of Lilith (see above).
This name actually means “treasurer,” but it’s well known as the name of a famous friendly cartoon ghost who made his “spirited” television debut in 1945.
Salem, Massachusetts is the place where the Salem Witch Trials were held from 1692 to 1693. When all was said and done, over 200 suspected witches were accused and imprisoned, and 20 of those were executed. Though in 1702 a court determined that the trials had been “unlawful,” Massachusetts didn’t formally apologize for the events until 1957. Better late than never? It only took them 260 years.
There’s a growing trend of using royal titles as names (unless you live in New Zealand, where it’s illegal). But in the case of this list, King is in homage to one of the most popular and prolific horror writers of our time: Stephen King, of course, whose novels number in the high eighties.
This name means “dragon,” which is frightening enough, but its most popular association is with mean-spirited wizard of the dark arts Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series.
Zombie fans know why this name made the cut: George A. Romero was a writer and filmmaker often called “The Godfather of the Dead.” His zombie movies — most notably the first, 1968’s Night of the Living Dead — are considered to be the catalyst of our modern zombie craze.
This spelling is the French variation of the name Damian, but it’s also the preferred spelling of the Antichrist: as in Damien Thorn from the classic horror flick The Omen and its sequels. Switched with a “normal” baby at birth and raised with an unsuspecting family, Damien wreaked havoc on everyone around him. Your little guy will probably wreak some havoc of his own, but let’s hope it’s just normal toddler-level B.S.
Anyone with a fear of creepy, crawly bugs will know that arachnid is the Greek word for spiders. You may have heard of arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. Arachna is a play on the word meaning “spider woman.”
Bring it back to 1960! If you watched the movie “Pyscho” you’ll remember just how creepy Norman was. Part of what made Norman Bates so terrifying was how normal he seemed. At first glance, he came off as a harmless and awkward young man but (spoiler alert) he turned out to be a killer. He had serious mommy issues and enjoyed stabbing beautiful young women in the shower. Norman is one of those names that isn’t directly associated with its killer reputation, but for those who know, it’s a callback to a creepy classic.
Were you a “Twilight” fan? If so, you know just how cool the Cullen family was, but their surname was also very appealing. Vampires are charming creatures in general, so if you’re looking for a suave name from your favorite undead family, Cullen’s a brilliant choice. It also comes from Irish origin and means handsome… so… bonus.
When you think of the name Freddy, you may not automatically think of Freddy Krueger, but it’s still a great name. To some, the name reminds them of the razor-bladed demon who was hellbent on murdering teens, while to others, it’s short for Franklin. However, if spooky is your style, give a nod to Nightmare on Elm Street, and name your baby Freddy with a “Y.”
Remember The Addams Family? Like this odd household, give your little girl the gift of a loving and close-knit family and a unique name her teachers will never get wrong.
On the surface, this name might seem innocuous. Cute, even! But Egyptian in origin, it means “god of darkness.” As in, it’s literally the name used to describe the origin of all dark things. *Shivers*
Oh, yes. If you’re a fan of the Showtime series by the same name, this name probably makes you think of the eponymous Miami good-guy-but-still-a-serial-killer.
According to a creepy Mexican legend, a shapeshifting witch takes on the form of an owl with a woman’s face and kills people as revenge for her own murder for practicing the devil’s magic.
Banshees are proclaimers of death. They are known as shrieking, screaming, or wailing women. It’s the name of a creature from Irish folklore who declares the death of a loved one. In old Irish, the means “woman of the fairy mound” or “fairy woman.” This isn’t a conventional name but has a creep connotation any spooky mama would love.
Whether you like creepy baby names or would rather steer clear of spooky, you’ll find the perfect name for your baby in the Scary Mommy Baby Name Database!