The Peek A Bogeyman is one level ''more'' harmless than the HarmlessVillain. He's (almost always) a cartoon monster who is more of a jerk than "evil". He takes advantage of the frightening image for which other more industrious of his kind have labored, and uses his existence to frighten people.

"Boo!" And then he laughs when they run away. ''This is all he does.'' Sometimes it's [[PunchclockVillain his designated job]]. He probably wouldn't know what to do if someone wasn't frightened of him, which is often AnAesop.

Characters should be careful about what genre they are in, because true horror movie ghosts often pretend to be this to lull their [[WrongGenreSavvy so-called "Genre Savvy"]] prey into a false sense of security. Alternately, all it takes is one good scare to trigger a FrightDeathtrap.

Sometimes overlaps with ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight, but not always. Often the foil of the ReluctantMonster. Compare to the NobleDemon, who is a more serious version of this. Shouldn't be confused with the ''real'' [[ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Bogeyman.]] Not to be confused with the actually scary PeekABooCorpse.


[[folder: Advertisements ]]

* The Hamburglar in the UsefulNotes/McDonalds commercials once fit the HarmlessVillain Trope, but sometime around the mid-80s they made him cuter, funnier, and friendlier, placing him in this Trope. The Goblins (later renamed the Fry Guys) were the same.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* A decidedly adult spin is put on this trope in the ''ComicBook/XXXenophile'' story "The Monster Under the Bed".


[[folder: Films -- Animated ]]

* The Disney/Pixar movie ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'' was about a society of monsters that did this to gather power from the screams of frightened children.
* This is what ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' was in the beginning of his movie, more as a device to maintain his privacy.
* The citizens of Halloween Town in ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas'' scare people for fun. It's a tradition. The scale of meanness in the scaring varies from harmless (Jack) to sadistic (Oogie Boogie).


[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* Stuart, Cyrus, and Judge in ''Film/TheFrighteners''.
* This is what the Harvesters in ''Film/TheDeathsOfIanStone'' used to be, with a side order of PhysicalGod--{{Emotion Eater}}s by nature, they instilled fear of themselves in humanity so they'd always have a ready supply of food. By the film's beginning, they've mostly abandoned this (having discovered the addictiveness of the fear humans feel in the moments before death), but [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch Gray]] is still at it, keeping his conscience pure.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Schleppel the bogeyman in ''Discworld/ReaperMan'' doesn't even do ''that''. Other bogeymen hide under beds or in wardrobes and then leap out to scare people. Schleppel just stays there... at first.
** In ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', we meet the ''original'' bogeyman, who apparently used to be legitimately terrifying, but has had his power sapped by old age and younger pretenders [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly sapping the amount of belief available for him to subsist on.]] As he grew old, [[spoiler: he took the job of the Tooth Fairy, collecting children's teeth and keeping them safe so those teeth won't be used by someone trying sympathetic magic, which Archancellor Ridcully describes as "Magic so ancient it's age of the world stuff".]]
** The bogeymen who are around these days are banished when their prey hides under bedclothes. As ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'' demonstrates, the City Watch have a protocol of dealing with belligerent bogeymen by putting a blanket over the bogeyman's ''own'' head, thus [[PuffOfLogic giving it a brief existential crisis.]]


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'':
** The normal species of ghosts that hang from the ceiling in ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion''. All they do is drop down to scare Luigi, and then vanish. (However, there is a subspecies that attacks with bombs.)
** [[MoneySpider Blue ghosts]] also act like this; they pop out to scare Luigi, then run.
** In [[VideoGame/LuigisMansionDarkMoon the sequel]] Gold Greenies are like the Blue ghosts in the first game. (Except the two that come out of the hockey goal in the fourth mansion, which ''do'' attack.)
* Tatara Kogasa from ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' is probably the most harmless non-human in the whole franchise. She's a {{karakasa}} that [[EmotionEater eats surprise]], and she always try to surprise people. However, she's actually pretty bad at it, and will sulk if she fails. [[MrExposition Akyuu]] even suggested to the townspeople to pretend to be surprised just so they won't feel bad seeing her sulking. Other than harmless surprises, she doesn't actually attack any humans at all.
* The [[ Lurking Tempest]] from the Vortex Pinnacle dungeon in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' It pretends to be dead when you're facing it, then pops up and flings lightning bolts when you're not.
* Spend too long in the Krypt in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'', and the Krypt Monster will appear; he's an ''ugly'' looking guy, but all he does is scare the player and run away. He sometimes even leaves a few Koins.


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* Squidge the Bogey from ''Webcomic/TalesOfTheQuestor''. It's implied that his people have an entire culture/economy based around scaring children and extorting food and trinkets out of them.


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* [[ SCP-650]] of the Wiki/SCPFoundation. It uses OffscreenTeleportation to teleport behind its victim, then waits for the person to turn around and freak out upon seeing it.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Other ghosts besides ''WesternAnimation/CasperTheFriendlyGhost'' in any medium he appears in. In fact, scaring is SeriousBusiness.
* The monsters of ''WesternAnimation/AaahhRealMonsters''
* The Flying Dutchman of ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' is this only sometimes. At the best of times...
* Any and all ghosts in ''WesternAnimation/FilmationsGhostbusters'' dabble into this from time to time, though Prime Evil's gang despise the harmless scare part and the ghosts who embody this fully. And unfortunately, that lasts only [[NotSoHarmlessVillain until they get into]] brainwashing, attempted mass murder, zombie-making bombs,[[NeverSayDie ghost-making]] gasses, the list goes on...

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* A RealLife example would be any dressed-up worker at a haunted house, mostly because of the fact that they aren't allowed to touch people, for obvious reasons.