Friendly Ghost

As You Know, ghosts are scary. Perhaps it is the thought of the soul of the dead that doesn't stay dead, perhaps it's because nonliving things aren't supposed to move on their own, or perhaps the afterlife doesn't like them. Whatever the case, we think ghosts are out to harm us, and thus they tend to be portrayed as actively hostile.

Friendly Ghosts ain't any of those. They're friendly, helpful, and will talk to anyone. They may or may not be frightening in looks, which may strain their friendly nature. This can show that ghosts are Not Always Evil or that particular ghost Was Actually Friendly when others are mean/tricksters.

The Trope Namer is Casper the Friendly Ghost, who is also the Trope Codifier.

Subtrope of Our Ghosts Are Different. Compare Don't Fear the Reaper, Guardian Entity and Cute Ghost Girl.

Examples

Anime and Manga

Film
  • Beetlejuice plays with the trope. The recently deceased couple are quite nice, and only act spookily to get the weirdo yuppie family to leave. In the end, once Beetlejuice is defeated, the family and ghosts all get along happily with several other ghosts joining in.
  • Just Like Heaven. Played with. The girl ghost in this movie is kinda cutesy adversarial with the guy, but it's a Rom Com, so she ends up to have been only mostly dead, and stops being a ghost shortly after they fall in love.
  • High Spirits. Wacky comedy where the ghosts aren't just friendly, but amorous.
  • This was a major plot point in The Sixth Sense. Cole realizes that the ghosts aren't so menacing once he lends them his ear.
  • After Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are killed in a car wreck in Topper, they become Manic Pixie Dream Ghosts who dedicate themselves to livening up their old friend Cosmo Topper's previously stuffy existence.
  • The Frighteners: The ghosts who hang out with Frank Bannister are friendly. They even help him with his fake ghost eliminating service, and give their ... er, afterlives to protect him from the unfriendly ghosts who haunt the town.
  • The Haunted Mansion: All the ghosts in the titular home are friendly except for one.

Literature
  • The Nearly-Headless Nick in Harry Potter is polite, nice and likes to tell stories of the past. Notably he doesn't hesitate to show why he's "nearly headless" when he's asked and he treats it well.
  • King Verence and King Champot in Wyrd Sisters. Verence seeks vengeance on his murderer, but when he's not doing that is very polite and charming. Champot is the oldest ghost in the castle and helpfully explains to Verence what the rules are.
  • In the short story "Old Applejoy's Ghost" by Frank R. Stockton, the title character befriends his great-granddaughter and, with her help, teaches her uncle (his grandson) to be less miserly.
  • Please Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead features the ghost of the main character's aunt. She's not gentle or nice once her niece inherits the home, but she is acting to protect her niece from a great evil, so she can't really be nice about it.
  • Aunt Dimity from the book series of the same name is another ghost who kindly looks out for the surviving niece who inherits her home.
  • The overwhelming majority of spirits in the Necroscope series are not only friendly, but delighted to have someone to talk to in Harry Keogh.
  • A played with example. The ghost in Ghost Story is friendly to his friends from life. Harry Dresden himself is the ghost in question here.
  • In the Goosebumps book "The Ghost Next Door", the main character suspects that her neighbor is a ghost, due to the fact that he's lived next door for awhile and yet she and her family don't remember anybody moving into that house, the fact that they've both been going to the same school for awhile and are in the same grade yet neither knows any of the others friends, and the fact that the neighbor seems to keep randomly disappearing. While he does cause trouble when he's around his friends (who pretty much coerce him into causing trouble), he is a generally good kid. But at the end, it turns out that he's not a ghost, but the main character is, having been unaware that she and her family had been dead for awhile, and they are rather friendly for ghosts.
  • Oreg in the Hurog duology. Despite being something of a slave to the head of the family, he has quite some freedom in being nice or mean to other members of the family. He seems to have Big Brother Instinct towards the daughter of the family, and makes life difficult for relatives who mistreat her.

Live-Action TV
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs featured Flabber, a friendly ghost who grants Drew, Jo, and Roland their powers.
  • Jennifer Slept Here. The ghost of actress Jennifer Farrell haunts her former mansion. When a yuppie couple move in (her former lawyer and his family), she's friendly with the son (the only person who can see her), and tries to help him become cool.
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: The ghost of Captain Gregg pretended at being fearsome and blustery, but he was really rather sweet and in love with Mrs. Muir.
  • Angel: Cordelia moves into an apartment in the "Rm w/a Vu" episode that is haunted by Dennis Pearson and his psychotic mother. Once Dennis body is uncovered and he banishes the mother's ghost, he remains as Cordelia's friendly roommate.
  • Nearly Departed: All the ghosts in this short-lived series were friendly, if occasionally antagonistic with the people living in the home with them.

Music
  • Eels has a song called "Friendly Ghost" from their album Souljacker, in which the protagonist wants to meet a friendly ghost to help him.
  • Daniel Johnston also wrote a song called "Casper the Friendly Ghost", available on his album Yip/Jump Music.

Pinball
  • Sorcerer's Lair has Whisper, a friend of the two siblings who investigate the lair.

Radio
  • Hui-Buh. Hui-Buh is a friendly ghost that "lives" in an old castle somewhere in Germany. He was a knight until he was caught cheating while playing cards and thus was cursed to be a ghost. He is fairly unlucky in his attempts at being spooky, which makes him a tragicomedic figure. He often helps or is helped by the current owners of the castle, and he is also the only "officially licensed ghost" in the country.

Video Games
  • Donkey Kong 64 has Wrinkly Kong, who's died since Donkey Kong 3, but she still kindly gives the player hints about acquiring the many golden bananas in the level.
  • Paper Mario has the Boos, who like to scare people but are otherwise harmless. Of special note is Bow, who becomes a very helpful partner.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has Ghost T. Scary music aside, he's pretty cool... unless you read his diary.
  • Ghosts in The Sims 3 and The Sims 4 can be made friends with like any other Sim, and made playable. They can even have WooHoo with normal Sims, and in The Sims 3, produce "ghost babies", which look like ghosts and have some special abilities.

Webcomics
  • Scandinavia and the World. Denmark flips out upon meeting a tiny, adorable ghost, but Greenland reminds him that many ghosts are helpful, and asks the ghost for its purpose. Turns out it's actually terrifying after all, It drinks your beer!
  • Gunnerkrigg Court
    • Mort is a cheerful ghost whose job is to scare people (It's very important, I assure you.) with his Shapeshifting powers. Chapter 47 reveals he was a young boy who was killed in The Blitz and also sees him move on to the afterlife.
    • Averted by Jeanne, who's rather angry thanks to having her soul bound to the riverside to serve as a guardian by killing anyone who tries to cross; she's good at it.
  • Wilde Life: Sylvia the ghost has been unfriendly in the past when she didn't like the tenants. When she likes them, she is not only friendly, but helpful: finding lost items, making sure the porch light was on when it was dark, making sure they never woke up late for work or school. She is friendly to the current tenant of the house, who reciprocated once he realized she was amicable.

Western Animation
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost has this trope as its premise: Where the other ghosts are spooky and really mischievous, Casper just want friends, and is very polite and kind. Somewhat deconstructed (comically) in that most people are still terrified at a mere sight of ghosts like him even if he tried his darnedest not to be frightening, and so he only makes a few friends, but they all love Casper very much.
  • Danny Phantom
    • This show has The Dairy King. The Dairy King outright says not all ghosts are evil and helps the protagonist. All he wants is to be left alone in peace.
    • Hell, Danny Phantom himself qualifies. Although he possesses the power to become a ghost (which tend to be the source of most misfortune in the Danny Phantom universe), he is generally a pretty outgoing, Book Dumb kid who can be a bit of a Butt Monkey. Being a growing up teenager, though, he still can sometimes be a prankster.
  • Jonathan "Mudsy" Muddlemore from The Funky Phantom by Hanna-Barbera died a coward while hiding in a standing clock from British soldiers during the American Revolution. Augie, Skip and April awaken Mudsy's ghost from the clock when they cause it to chime. Mudsy is still cowardly, but affable and polite while visible.
  • As part of their Adaptational Heroism, the four members of the Ghost Gang from Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures are Pac-Man's friends who serve as moles who warn Pac of many of Betrayus' schemes.
  • Nugget Nose, the Galloping Ghost from Yogi's Space Race, was generally friendly unless overtaken with gold fever.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Slimer is one of these, acting as their Team Pet and Comic Relief.