When most people think of ghosts, something scary is probably the first thing that comes to mind. After all, ghosts are often depicted as being angry and vengeful. However, in the cartoon world, ghosts are often given a bit of a comedic twist. Over the years, guests have become popular characters in lots of animated shows and movies. Whether they have starring roles or are simply making guest appearances, many of these ghosts have left lasting impressions on viewers. If you were a cartoon fan at any point in your life, you’ll probably remember a few of these animated ghosts. Continue reading for our list of the 10 best cartoon ghosts of all time.
10. Ghost Monsters (Pac-Man)
When most people think of Pac-Man, the popular video game franchise comes to mind. What many people don’t realize, however, is that Pac-Man also had an animated TV series during the early 1980s. In the show, Pac-Man’s longstanding rivals, Blinky, Inky, Pinky, Clyde, and Sue were part of the cast. Despite a fairly simple design, these ghosts earned a place in pop culture. While most ghosts are intended to be scary, the Ghost Monsters in Pac-Man were actually designed to be the opposite. According to an article from Business Insider, the ghosts were intentionally designed to be cute as a way to entice women and younger people to play the video game.
9. The Flying Dutchman
Spongebob is easily one of the most iconic cartoon characters in recent history. Some would even argue that he’s one of the most popular of all time. In addition to Spongebob and the rest of the main cast, the series has introduced several other memorable characters over the years including a ghost named The Flying Dutchman. Throughout the series, The Flying Dutchman has made several appearances. Once an infamous pirate, The Flying Dutchman is now a green ghost who haunts Bikini Bottom. Many fans may not be aware of the fact that The Flying Dutchman is actually inspired by a real-life ghost story. As the legend says, The Flying Dutchman “was a sea captain who once found himself struggling to round the Cape of Good Hope during a ferocious storm. He swore that he would succeed even if he had to sail until Judgment Day. The Devil heard his oath, and took him up on it; the Dutchman was condemned to stay at sea forever.”
When Ghostbusters premiered in the 1980s, it became a pop culture phenomenon in no time. While the Ghostbusters were the stars of the movies, there was one ghost who also got lots of attention for being the first ghost the Ghostbusters were able to capture. Originally, this ghost didn’t have a name but in the 1986 animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, the already-famous green ghost was given the name Slimer. Known for his slimy green appearance, Slimer has become a very important part of the franchise.
7. The Ghost Clown (Scooby-Doo)
Over the years, Scooby-Doo and his human friends were responsible for investigating countless mysteries. As you can probably guess, quite a few of those mysteries involved ghosts. While the franchise introduced several ghosts during its run, the Ghost Clown is easily one of the most memorable. A description of the Ghost Clown on Fandom states, that he “was secretly portrayed by Harry the Hypnotist. He dressed up as the Ghost Clown, He was seeking revenge against the circus because he was sent to prison after he was caught stealing at the circus. In his revenge, he dressed up as a clown and hid in the shadows to terrorize the circus by sabotaging equipment.” This character has become so well known that he is a popular Halloween costume option.
6. Jiminy Cricket (The Ghost of Christmas Past)
The story of A Christmas Carol was originally published in 1843. Over the years, it has taken on several forms including several animated versions. One of the most popular was 1983’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol. The animated film incorporated several characters from the Disney universe including Jiminy Cricket who was originally introduced in Pinocchio. In Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Jiminy Cricket portrays the Ghost of Christmas Past. In this role, Jiminy Cricket is responsible for getting Scrooge McDuck to take a look at his past and remind him of some of the happier times in his life. Unlike some other portrayals of the character, Jiminy Cricket is humerous and fun.
If you’re a video game fan, then you’re probably pretty familiar with Boo. Boo was originally introduced in the 1988 video game Super Mario Bros. 3 and they have been an important part of the Mario franchise ever since. Although some would describe its appearance as cute, Boo is definitely not a friendly ghost. As one of Mario’s main enemies, Boo is known for being sneaky. Since Boo is technically already dead, they are often difficult to kill. Despite Boo’s popularity, the character never appeared in either of the Mario animated series.
4. Danny Phantom
During its time on the air, Danny Phantom was one of the most popular cartoons. Although the prerequisite for being a ghost is usually death, Danny Phantom was somewhere in between. He became a ghost after a mishap with a portal designed to transport people between earth and the “Ghost Zone”. As a result, most of the people in his life didn’t even know that he was part-ghost. Danny then makes it his mission to use his supernatural powers to protect his hometown from subsequent ghost attacks. Even though the show only ran for three seasons, Danny Phantom spawned two video games, toys, and merchandise. On top of that, it has gotten lots of critical acclaim. A review of the show from CBR stated, “Danny Phantom might have a few elements that firmly place it in the 2000s, but the storytelling and design still feel fresh and fun in modern day. The show was full of action and humor, and the characters felt real and layered.”
3. Hi Five Ghost
Introduced as one of the main characters of The Regular Show, Hi Five Ghost is the type of ghost that’s impossible to forget. Even though he’s a ghost, Hi Five is friendly and hardworking. Unfortunately, however, there isn’t much backstory on Hi Five Ghost. His life and death were never outlined in the series, While ghosts typically aren’t able to interact with the living, Hi Five ghost has the ability to move through the world just like a living thing. However, he does have the ability to move through walls. Although Hi Five Ghost was a main character, many viewers felt like he didn’t get as much attention as he deserved. A Reddit user named ShakeyBakey said, “I feel like he’s not utilized enough. Even in Muscle Man centered episodes he’s never really around. He needs more cool plots!” Another user, AddThreeAndFive added, “HFG doesn’t seem to have much personality. He’s just “there.” Sometimes I get the feeling the show doesn’t know what to do with him. I’d like to see a good Hi-Five Ghost centered episode. The only episode we really got was the one with Low-Five. He has potential, the show just needs to realize it.”
Many people may agree that the name Beetlejuice sounds a little ridiculous, but it was actually inspired by the star Betelgeuse which is the 10th brightest one in the sky. When Beetlejuice hit the big screen in 1988 it was the perfect mixture of comedy and horror. Initially, however, the story was intended to be much darker, The plan was for him to be a demon who disguises himself as a human. The original script was ultimately scrapped in favor of something a little more family-friendly. At first, Beetlejuice was a live-action character portrayed by Michaek Keaton. However, the following year, Beetlejuice became the star of his own animated series which aired on ABC from 1989 to 1991. The animated version followed the same outline as the film. In the show, Beetlejuice continued to be a prankster and his friendship with Lydia was at the center. She could summon him by simply repeating his name three times.
If there’s one ghost you know you never need to be scared of, it’s Casper the Friendly Ghost. Casper is arguably the most famous cartoon ghost of all time. He also might just be the oldest on this list. Known for being completely harmless, Casper was introduced in a children’s book in 1939. Within no time, he was on his way to becoming one of the biggest cartoon characters of the era. In 1949, he also became the star of his own comic book. Since his introduction, Casper has made more than 50 on-screen appearances and he has starred in several video games. Additionally, he has also four of his own TV shows. In the 1995 film Casper, it was revealed that Casper became a ghost after dying from pneumonia when he was just 12 years old. However, this theory was never a part of his original storyline and it doesn’t appear that the cause of his death was ever explained by his creators.
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