-->You know what I hate about myself?\\
I know what people taste like.\\
I know that babies taste best.
--->-- '''Curtis''', ''Film/{{Snowpiercer}}''

[[quoteright:255:[[Film/PansLabyrinth http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/panimage19_1887.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:255:OM NOM NOM]]

In folklore, many different kinds of monsters kill and eat children and infants. Others merely make children seriously ill or cause them to vanish (replacing them with fairy changelings). These stories were explanations for the high infant mortality rates seen in primitive cultures.

Naturally, various media use these tales as source material for their own monsters. Some media monsters target children to use them as a slave work-force. Some drain their life energy to stay alive.

It is taken as a given that specifically targeting children, especially if you are planning on eating them, is a sure sign that you are a monster in the truest sense of the word. Differs from EatsBabies as this trope deals creatures who go after babies because they specifically target children, while EatsBabies is about villains so evil they would target babies but don't go out of their way to do so. By definition, though, most (but surprisingly not all) [[ChildEater Child Eaters]] qualify for EatsBabies status.

Given how long some of these stories have been around, this trope is OlderThanDirt. Related to WouldHurtAChild. Also see EatsBabies.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Grand Fisher in the ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' manga. In the anime version, he preyed on women.
* The Orb of Bask from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' took the souls of children, which the wielder could use as food.
* In ''DarkerThanBlack'', one Contractor is ''required'' to [[strike:eat babies]] drink the blood of small children in order to use her powers of ExplosiveDecompression. And the crazy part? ''She's TheWoobie''. Yes, really.
** She's TheWoobie because she lost her powers (and with them, her emotionlessness) and is now horribly haunted by what she did. She never harms any children during the actual series, [[spoiler:since she dies shortly after regaining her powers]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The Walkers from the graphic novel ''ComicBook/MidnightNation'' will kill, torture, and eat adults and children alike... but they prefer children.
* Lawbringer Qztr (and later on, Charon) attempts to kill baby Memi in ''Negation''. [[spoiler: They fail, because Memi has cosmic-level superpowers.]]
* One really squicky villain in ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'', who was the demonic embodiment of rape trapped in the body of a dead child, sustained itself by ''drinking babies''. While investigating the monster's house, Constantine accidentally discovered what was left of them when he opened a closet and a pile of dozens of dead bloodless babies collapsed on him.
* The Corinthian in ''Comicbook/TheSandman'' is already a repulsive PickyPeopleEater, but he seems to strongly favor the eyes of young barely-pubescent boys.
** A taste he shares with Tojiro XIV, the Asian vampire from ''ComicBook/{{Grendel}}''.
* In CountdownToFinalCrisis, Mary Marvel, after her FaceHeelTurn, briefly encounters a demon who claims to be the harvester of souls of stillborn children. After introducing himself as such [[IAmAHumanitarian threatens to disembowel her and eat the digested food from her intestines.]] In other words, [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall he's the dead baby monster that eats poop.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fairy Tales]]
* The witch in "Literature/HanselAndGretel" planned to eat them. She even used a GingerbreadHouse as bait.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The Child Catcher from ''Film/ChittyChittyBangBang'' kidnapped children and imprisoned them on orders of Baroness Bomburst of Vulgaria, who cannot abide the existence of children.
* Trantor, the evil [[AllTrollsAreDifferent troll]] from the movie ''Film/ErnestScaredStupid'', went after children and turned them into little wooden dolls which gave him his power.
* ''Film/CatsEye'' By Creator/StephenKing: The [[AllTrollsAreDifferent Little Troll Monster]] sits on the little girl's chest and steals her breath.
* The [[EyesDoNotBelongThere Pale Man]], played by Doug Jones, eats babies in ''PansLabyrinth''.
* In ''Film/HocusPocus'' the three witches must eat the souls of children to survive. To help them do this, they revive Winifred's dead lover as a zombie, played by Doug Jones.
-->'''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick''': Please don't refer to the child as an hors d'oeuvre, I'm pretty sure that's illegal in most states.
* After his plan to become mayor of Gotham City is foiled by the Batman, The Penguin of ''Film/BatmanReturns'' goes after Gotham's first-born sons, planning to drown them in the sewer. He kills the one clown (Doug Jones again) who objects to the plan ("Killing sleeping children? Isn't that a little..." *BLAM!* "No! It's a LOT!"), but Batman stops the plan before it can get too far.
* FatBastard of ''Film/AustinPowers'' fame.
-->''"Behbies!! It's tha OTHA otha White Meat!!"
* In ''Film/WesCravensNewNightmare'', Freddy Krueger tries to eat Heather's son Dylan alive before she stops him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Folk Lore]]
* According to folk legend, [[CatsAreMean cats]] steal the breath from sleeping babies. This is an explanation of Sudden Infant Death syndrome.
* [[OurOgresAreHungrier Ogres]] are depicted as child-eaters in many stories. One variant from German folklore is even named ''Kinderfresser'', which translates as Child Eater.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* When ''{{Dracula}}'' made Lucy Westenra into a vampire, her preferred victims were children. Dracula also fed at least one baby to his wives.
* ''TheWitches'' in Roald Dahl's book of the same name want to kill children because they smell horrible. They eventually decide to turn them all into mice, because the parents would then poison, trap or otherwise dispatch the newly arrived rodent infestation, not realizing it was their children. The witches get sick satisfaction from tricking the parents into offing their own kids.
** Shows up again in Dahl's ''TheBFG'', where the evil giants tend to eat people regardless of age, but seem to prefer kids. In the animated adaptation, they seem to eat ''only'' kids.
* The opening Little Bad of the third book from ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' was a ghost who was stuck in the same pattern of actions: trying to make her baby be quiet by singing and covering his mouth, so that her husband wouldn't lose his temper. She was haunting a hospital nursery and suffocating children.
** In the first short story of the series (eventually published in the ''Side Jobs'' compilation), Harry has to save a runaway child from a [[AllTrollsAreDifferent Bridge Troll]] that eats children. It specifically mentions that under [[TheMasquerade The Unseelie Accords]], 'naughty' children who have run away are its (apparently only) legitimate prey.
* In the book ''Demon Keeper'', a demon known as [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast the Beast]] ate ''lost'' children. However, they didn't have to still be children by the time he ate them - a teenage runaway grown-up was still a prime meal.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' has Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf who tries to bite as many people as possible, particularly young children, even when he's ''not'' transformed. And he gets as close to children as he can before transforming. Pedophile stand-in?
* Jenny Green-Teeth in ''[[Literature/{{Discworld}} The Wee Free Men]]''. And the headless horseman. And dromes. And [[TheFairFolk elves]].
* The title monster from StephenKing's ''Literature/{{IT}}'' is "the Eater of Worlds, and of children!"
* The [[ReligionOfEvil Nyar lath-Hotep cultists]] in ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Fuller Memorandum]]'' by Creator/CharlesStross hold their monster summoning ritual next door to a primary school so that they can grab a bite to eat after church. Later on, after capturing Bob and performing a spell to turn him to their side (among other things), [[IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten they offer him some "refreshments."]]
* One of the Mole-Men listed in ''MoreInformationThanYouRequire'' is "Ms. Edna Humanchildstealer".
* The alien overlords in S.P. Somtow's ''Mallworld'' series not only eat their own children, they've been known to serve them up as the main course at diplomatic dinners. Their children are non-sentient and considered vermin until they reach a certain age.
* The alien Tendu of ''The Color of Distance'' and ''Through Alien Eyes'', have several life stages, and as with the above example, early ones aren't very intelligent. The first stage, the tadpole-like ''narey'', feeds a lot of the wildlife. Eventually they metamorphize into the ''tinka'', adult-shaped but smaller and not as smart. Tinka roam around until they can wander into more distant Tendu villages, where they act as servants. They can age and die, or else get chosen by fully adult Tendu to go through another metamorphosis and become ''bami'', who ''are'' intelligent and considered somewhere between children and apprentices. From there they potentially have two more metamorphoses. Bami and above, if female, can lay unfertilized eggs for animals including narey to eat. It's seen as a common courtesy for a Tendu female, taking some narey from another's pool, to lay some eggs for the others.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' [=TOS=] episode "And the Children Shall Lead", the Gorgon orphans all of the children living on one planet because orphaned children are more easily influenced by parental figures... such as the "friendly angel", as the kids call the Gorgon.
* The ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode "Something Wicked" features a Shtriga, which sucks life force from children, leaving them in comas.
** The demon Lilith likes to drink the blood of newborn babies. She even has a personal chef.
* Also, the ''Series/{{Angel}}'' fifth season episode "Smile Time." Demonic puppets are sucking brain power from the children that watch their TV show.
** There was also a season 2 ep with a demon in Lorne's karaoke bar who was announced as Durthok the Child-Eater. Another child-eating species popped up in early season 5. Angel killed it but later learned he was supposed to be meeting with it.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' has several:
** According to Anya, Santa Claus is real, but instead of leaving presents, [[BadSanta he comes down chimneys to disembowel children on Christmas]].
** Olaf the Troll demanded he be brought babies to eat. Spike at first suggested they check the hospital, and then suggested onion flowers as an alternative.
** Der Kindestod ('The Death of Children') from the second season episode "Killed By Death," who preys on sick children and kills them horribly. His appearance is clearly an homage to Freddy Krueger.
** In the third season episode "Band Candy," the demon Larconis requires a tribute in the form of a ritual feeding every thirty years. What does it feed on? Newborn babies.
** In "I Only Have Eyes For You" Angelus is so disturbed by being forced to feel love (he and Buffy were possessed by the ghosts of dead lovers) that he insists on going out and killing a child to bring back a sense of evil in himself.
* In the ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' miniseries ''Children of Earth'', an alien being called the 456 comes to Earth and demands 10% of the child population of the planet. It doesn't want the children to eat them, it wants them because the children release chemicals which to it are like a drug. It's essentially getting high off of kids. Very, very squicky.
* In the first episode/movie of ''{{Lexx}}'', the Cluster Lizards prove to be this. However, the kids they're eating happen to be the cream of the crop chosen by His Divine Shadow, so arguably this isn't such a bad thing in this case.
* In the second season of ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'' the title character owes a large sum of money to which he can't possibly repay to the Bank of the Black Monks. They send the 'Baby-Eating' Bishop of Bath and Welles to collect or if Blackadder doesn't pay up, he gets to have his 'fun'. He seems to live up to his name when on first confronting Blackadder he asks if he has any children. When he gets a 'no', he says he'll skip breakfast and move on to business then.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology]]
* Lamia, in Greek mythology, stole other women's children as vengeance for the theft of her own.
* Lilith in Hebrew tradition is supposed to feed on babies, as well as being a [[HornyDevils succubus]]. It's only relatively recently (OlderThanPrint) that she's been known as the first wife of Adam who wouldn't stay in the metaphorical kitchen.
* In Mesopotamian mythology, the she-demons Lamashtu and Akhkhazu (Dimme and Dimme-kur in Sumerian) liked to harm, kidnap, kill, maim and/or eat children and babies, just ForTheEvulz.
* Gello and Abyzou of Mediterranean myth and folklore, out of [[GreenEyedMonster jealousy]].
* The Buddhist goddess [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hariti Hariti]] or Kishimojin, who grieves over her own lost child and becomes a child-eating demoness. Buddha makes her see the error of her ways (or, in some versions, has her lost child restored to her, or converts her), and she makes a HeelFaceTurn and is now a protector of childbirth. She eats pomegranates instead.
* Atavaka was originally a baby-eating demon until Buddha converted him. He then became an attendant to Bishamonten and protector of the south-west.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leyak Leyaks]], and their queen [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rangda Rangda]], from Balinese mythology.
* In Danish mythology, they have the Valravn, a raven that has eaten the corpse of a man who died in battle and gained his intelligence, but they are only able to fly at night. To break this curse, the Valravn has to eat the heart of a child, so they regularly tried to kidnap children or make deals with mothers for their firstborn. If they succeeded, then they would be turned into either a knight or a wolf/raven hybrid.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* A comic from ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'' depicts two parents telling a stereotypical-looking WickedWitch, "Now let me get this straight. We hired you to babysit the kids, and instead you cooked and ate them BOTH?" In ''The Prehistory of The Far Side'', a retrospective book, cartoonist Gary Larson expresses particular pride at emphasizing the word "both".
** Another comic has a witch with a house made of brussel sprouts, frustrated that a rival witch's gingerbread house is attracting all the kids to eat.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In {{Exalted}}, the ancient and mad sorceress Raksi is known for feasting on babies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Dark Dragon God, Loputousu, and its current host in ''FireEmblem 4'' demand [[HumanSacrifice sacrifices of children ages 7 to 13]]. LARGE Sacrifices.
* Kusaregedo from ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown'' is a rather monstrous version of this.
* In ''IcewindDale'' ''2'' the witch Limda is a particular sadistic variant. To preserve her youth, she drains lifeforce from the children of a nearby group of fur-traders and turns them into minks as a side effect. Minks that are hunted and skinned by their own unwitting parents. She gets sick kicks from watching the traders murder and skin their own missing children.
* Arioch from ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'' is a psychotic SerialKiller who eats children, and only children. While she'll ''kill'' adults, children are the only ones she cannibalizes due to psychosis from having lost her family to TheEmpire and rendered infertile by a DealWithTheDevil.
** [[spoiler:The game also provides a sick inversion where gigantic children eats the main characters.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'', one of the demons you may meet around is the above mentioned Hindu goddess Hariti - who, unfortunately, [[HinduMythology was once a vicious ogress]] with a serious case of these [[{{Lunacy}} which the full moon threatens to bring back]]. Luckily, her friend [[GreekMythology Persephone]] is more than willing [[ShownTheirWork to give her a pomegranate]], just so she won't be tempted to restart the habit.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/NoRestForTheWicked'': Saying anything would spoil the fuel.
* One storyline of ''Webcomic/AndShineHeavenNow'' features an Adze, a vampire that feeds on children and can take the form of a firefly.
* Harvestman of Webcomic/DaddyLongLegs is, amazingly, a ''heroic'' example. (Partly justified since neither he nor the children in question are [[CarnivoreConfusion human]].)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Black Annis, a villain from the ''GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'', is a fey creasture who specifically targeted children to kidnap, terrorize, and eventually devour whole.
* This is one possible theory as to why [[Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos the Slender Man]] kidnaps children.
* This is part of ''Blog/TheComicsCurmudgeon's'' interpretation of ''{{ComicStrip/Marmaduke}}'' as a {{Hellhound}}.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', Cardiac only targeted children, because, according to WordOfGod, he was supposed to be more of an [[{{Animesque}} anime-style]] villain.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In the "Nightmare Cafeteria" part of WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror V, Springfield Elementary is suffering from both overcrowding in detention and food budget cuts. To solve both problems, the faculty starts eating the children one by one and sending the kids to "detention" for even minor infractions to process them as cattle.
** The Salem Witch trial parody in another Halloween episode had Marge and her sisters, being witches for the act, take up the Flanders idea that they would eat children. On their way out of the Flanders's house, Ned offers them candy instead, which they take and get from the other families, [[JustSoStory starting the tradition of Trick-or-Treating]]. [[BlackComedy Then they mention having already eaten several children before they reached the Flanders house.]]
* In the animated version of ''Comicbook/DoctorStrange'', [[BigBad Dormammu]] uses children to try to enter the human world.
[[/folder]]
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