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Bedsheet Ghost

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"Well, while I can appreciate your classic look, I don't think anyone has been scared of the 'bedsheet phantasm' ensemble for a long time."
Antimony to Mort, Gunnerkrigg Court

Our Ghosts Are Different, and they look like refugees from the linens aisle.

If ghosts in Western media aren't dressed as the deceased did in life, then chances are they're dressed as the deceased did in death. Originally, this meant grave clothes and a long, white, flowing burial shroud. Of course, if the same reasoning were applied to modern burial customs, this would mean that most of today's ghosts would be attired in their Sunday best, but the trope is seen as much too cheesy in the present day to be updated in such a logical manner.

Like many images common to modern culture, the Bedsheet Ghost began as a theatrical convention that has long since lost its context. In Shakespeare's day, it was common to portray ghosts in armor on stage (this is why Hamlet's father is often depicted in a full suit of armor in historical depictions.) In Elizabethan England, armor was no longer worn in combat, and the costuming convention at the time was to dress characters in contemporary (Renaissance) clothing. So, by dressing a ghost in armor, the character was given an out-of-date look, and recognized as a ghost by audiences. However, as special effects became more elaborate, it became common to lower the actor playing the ghost onto stage with a pulley. Of course, the heavy armor clanked loudly, and by the 19th century, the sight of an armored ghost on stage was more likely to bring laughter than fear.

Because of this, by the 1800s, theatres realized they had to create a new, recognizable look for ghost characters, one that would allow the actor to enter and leave silently. Perhaps inspired by traditional burial shrouds or depictions of ghosts as ethereal, misty creatures (both attributes predating the Bedsheet Ghost), actors began to appear draped in white cloth to portray ghosts.

Over time, as the shroud became emblematic of the ghost, ghosts were depicted as less corporeal by showing the shroud without a body underneath it. Some stories even go one step further by showing the ghost as a wispy blob of ectoplasm, vaguely shroud-like in appearance, à la Casper the Friendly Ghost.

As a result, the white sheet has become pop culture's visual shorthand for spirits of the dead, and a bedsheet with eye holes is the standard costume for fictional characters trying to dress like ghosts. This idea dates back at least to the Post-U.S. Civil War period—the white robes and hoods of the Ku Klux Klan were intended to look ghostly. (This Klan connection, in turn, is why the pointy-headed Bedsheet Ghost is no longer a popular design.)

The Klan aside, dressing up as a Bedsheet Ghost is usually indicative of an ill-conceived or apathetic scare attempt, because on their own, a person in a white sheet really isn't that scary to anyone over 6 years old. Like the armored ghost before it, the Bedsheet Ghost has long lost its fright appeal, and is mostly comical today. This in turn has led to a common subversion: The characters see what seems to be a person in a white sheet, laugh at the obvious costume, and then lift the sheet to see there's no one underneath it. Cue running and screaming. However some have managed to make it somewhat less funny looking and more intimidating, such as putting red paint on the sheet to make it look bloody.

While the Bedsheet Ghost is rarely played straight as an attempt to scare the audience, it can still work as a mournful, sympathetic figure. The imagery also seems to have evolved into the design of ghosts as disembodied cloaks or robes with hooded faces, who still tend to be treated as spooky figures due to the whole "Grim Reaper" parallel.

Definitely Truth in Television for anyone who's celebrated Halloween: If you haven't dressed as a bedsheet ghost at some point, you know someone who has. Unless you're from the Deep South.

Sub-trope of Stock Costume Traits. Compare Jacob Marley Apparel, Ethereal White Dress and Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl (the rather violent Japanese parallel). Not to be confused with a scene wherein a ghost crawls up from underneath the bedsheet and gets you while you lie on the bed. Usually unconnected to Modesty Bedsheet.


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  • In one of the Jay Bush and Duke ads for Bush's Baked Beans, Duke tries to con Jay as being the bedsheet ghost of his grandfather, but is given away by the tail sticking out from the bedsheet.
  • An ad for POM Wonderful pomegranate juice depicts a woman in a laundromat being harassed by a number of these, who just sort of float around and every so often blandly state "Boo." The announcer states that free radicals are everywhere, but that POM defends against them, ending with the punchline that "Real life is scary. Protect yourself from free radicals with POM."

  • In Season 4 episode 27 of Happy Heroes, Little M. goes around the city wearing a cheap ghost costume to scare people as part of Big M.'s evil plan to take over Planet Xing.
  • In the Noonbory and the Super 7 episode "The Gury Monster", Totobory dresses as one of these to scare the Gurys away from Noonbory's house.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 94, Wilie and Wolffy dress in cheap ghost costumes to scare the goats in the woods after they inadvertently interfere with Wilie's bravery test.
  • In the Simple Samosa episode "Dadi Ke Saath", Samosa tries to scare his friends by pretending to be a ghost, using this kind of costume when he does so. The trick is seen through by his friends pretty quickly.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Di Gi Charat Nyo!, one of Dejiko's friends, Yu-rei, is allergic to the sun and has to wear a protective suit to go outside. Said protective suit looks like a ghost costume.
  • Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure has the Digimon "Bakemon" which resembles this type of ghost. In one episode, Sora's partner Biyomon and her mother disguise themselves as Bakumon in order to rescue her.
    • Digimon Data Squad introduces Soulmon, a version of Bakemon that wears a witch's hat. It feeds on the emotions of Marcus's younger sister and since she's furious at him, it spends the day trying to get Marcus into deadly accidents.
  • Makoto in Kanon tries this on Yuichi. It fails, and Yuichi chastises her for taking down a curtain to do so.
  • In one episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Tuff had Kirby, Fololo, and Falala dress as these in order to scare Dedede. It actually suceeds in scaring him. It helps that there is an actual ghost floating around the castle, sent by Nightmare Enterprises in order to scare him into paying off their debt with them.
  • In a episode of Shin Koihime†Musou has the main characters disguise themselves as ghosts in order to scare a rich person into giving money to the poor.
  • One episode of Little Lulu and Her Little Friends does this. In the episode Lulu babysits Tubby and he plays various tricks to get her to leave. One of these tricks is dressing up as a ghost and scaring her away. However Lulu does the same thing to him and succeeds in scaring him. Tubby becomes annoyed as she scared him using his own trick.
  • A filler episode of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch had Yuuri setting up shop in a haunted house. In the end, the mermaids scare her out with bedsheet ghosts.
  • In Non Non Biyori, Koma is given one to wear as the scarer for a Test of Courage. Only Natsumi forgot to cut the eyes out and just drew them on with marker.
  • Onegai! Samia-don: The kids do this to scare a real ghost and Psammead. They succeed in scaring the ghost but Psammead isn't fooled.
  • One episode in Peter Pan no Bouken has the gang tell scary stories to each other. When its Wendy's turn to tell a story, She asks Michael to dress up as a ghost and scare Peter as she tells her story. However something bursts into the room in a glowing sheet. It turns out to be Tinkerbell playing a trick on them.
  • Featured in some Pokémon: The Series episodes:
    • One episode in the "Advanced Generation" series, has Ash and the gang explore an abandoned mine where Ash gets the idea to have his Corphish go through a Test of Courage. May and Max wear a white cloth over themselves to scare Corphish which works. Corphish freaked out, hits the "ghost" causing the cloth to come off and have May and Max fall into a nearby mine cart. Upon seeing that it was them, Corphish becomes pissed and tackles the minecart as its sent flying off, while Corphish who is still angry, heads off in another direction.
    • One episode set during the early seasons has Ash and his friends explore a ghost ship. Two ghost pokemon, Haunter and Gastly appeared wearing sheets until they were taken off.
    • Another episode set in the early seasons features Ash and the others flying in a blimp that is supposedly haunted. A Jigglypuff gets caught underneath a table cloth and starts to wander around with it on. When Team Rocket encounters it, they believe it is a real ghost and they run away from it.
    • Some are featured in the short, "Pikachu's Ghost Carnival".
    • An episode in the Sun and Moon saga has Lana and her friends create a Haunted House to entertain her twins sisters. Ash, Pikachu, Kaiwe and Marowak disguise themselves as these types of ghosts to scare them. Unfortunately Ash accidentally steps on Pikachu's tail causing him to shock Ash and the others.
  • An episode of Princess Sarah has Lavinia and her friends do this to Lottie, scaring the crap out of her.
  • The Ghost Shrouds of Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle are literal bedsheet ghosts: flying sheets of fabric with hands and a face. They happen to be made of quite high-quality fabric, so the princess often kills them for materials to craft whatever sleeping aid is on her mind. At one point, she's seen handing a large basket of hands and faces over for resurrection as if she were sending the laundry out.
  • Spider Riders: One episode has Hunter and Corona sneak into a Invectid base. In order to do so they wear a disguise that looks like a ghost costume.
  • Near the end of a episode of Suzy's Zoo: Daisuki! Witzy, Witzy and his friends are shown playing around as Bedsheet Ghosts.
  • In a episode of Tenchi Universe, Sasami and her friend Mirei who is an actual ghost, do this to scare her friends as a prank.

    Card Games 
  • "Mystical Medleys: A Vintage Cartoon Tarot": On the upper part of the "Ace of Cups", there's a white, surprised ghost with a hooded head, a light-blue overall, and a halo. Its body looks as if it's made of a transparent bedsheet.

  • In his stand-up days, Woody Allen told a story about how he attempted to go to a costume party dressed as a bedsheet ghost... in the Deep South. Four guys in "ghost costumes" drive up to him and tell him to get in. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Mitch Hedberg told one joke about waking up in his [purportedly haunted] hotel room after a night of drinking and discovering a bedsheet piled up on the floor. He immediately concluded that one of these ghosts had also binged last night and was currently passed out.
    "...So I KICKED IT!"
  • One Improv Everywhere sketch, as also mentioned in Web Original, had a bunch of Bedsheet Ghosts mull around the New York Public Library- reading books, using laptops, that kinda thing. And then the Ghostbusters show up...
  • An Eddie Izzard sketch involves the Holy Ghost as a Bedsheet Ghost:
    "Holy Ghost, this is not an episode of Scooby Doo!"
    "I'd have got away with it if it wasn't for those God and Jesus fellas."

    Comic Books 
  • In issue 52 of the Adventure Time comic, Jake (stranded in the land of the dead with Finn's Finn-sword but without his stretching powers) disguises himself as a ghost by draping a tapestry over his head.
  • In the first issue of Excalibur (Marvel Comics), Shadowcat dons a sheet to scare some thieves holding people hostage. They believe that she is a real ghost because their bullets go through her due to her Intangibility.
  • The Dark Horse character Ghost has a cape/hood ensemble for her costume that evokes shades of this.
  • One of Sergio Aragonés' Drawn Out Dramas in MAD had a Halloween party where, amongst all the costumes someone in a Bedsheet Ghost costume was hanging out. One woman in the crowd was just noticing said costume had no legs beneath it.
  • Mélusine: Although other types of ghosts can be found in the Haunted Castle, Mélusine finds out that the bedsheet kind is common when woken up by several haunting her bedroom (probably because she Sleeps in the Nude). They promptly flee when she threatens to exorcise them... including the one she was unwittingly using as bedsheet.
  • Monica's Gang: Penadinho/Bug-a-booo and other ghosts (though they just look like white humanoids).
  • Moon Knight's first cloak was the sheet draped over the Khonshu statue where he came Back from the Dead.
  • Odd Thomas: In the graphic novel Odd Is on Our Side (a tie-in to the Odd Thomas novels) a young girl killed by poisoned candy appears to Odd still wearing her bedsheet Halloween costume.
  • Rivers of London: In Body Work, Peter references the trope regarding a dust sheet Nightingale removed from the haunted Bentley.
    "Cut out some eye-holes and we could go trick or treating."
  • Robin (1993): One of the villains who attacked Robin, Ragman and Blue Devil after escaping from O.M.A.C. looks like an ethereal glowing take on this, with unsettling jagged dark holes for eyes and a mouth.
  • Simone: The Best Monster Ever: The comic has a few bedsheet ghosts as background characters. Simone also dresses up like one in one strip. She was dressed in a pink floral sheet that sent all the monsters who saw her fleeing in terror.
  • Tintin:
    • In Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, Tintin disguises himself and Snowy as these to scare off the villains. Unfortunately, he can't see where he's going after that and falls into a manhole.
    • In Destination Moon, Captain Haddock dresses as one in one of several unsuccessful attempts to frighten Calculus out of his amnesia. He ends up tripping over the bedsheet.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in a comic strip (title unknown). In it, a girl tries scaring off her brother by using the old Bedsheet Ghost trick but fails as the brother replies, "What's so scary about a bedsheet on your head?" Then she walks out from the room. Next thing you know, she finally gets to scare her brother... by putting a pillow over her head.
  • The page image comes from a Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strip where the duo is having an argument over who should get more bed sheets. Hobbes steals all of them after Calvin says that he, as an animal, should be sleeping on the floor, and when Calvin goes to retrieve them Hobbes pounces on him with the covers over his head. The strip ends with Calvin asking his parents to let him sleep in their bed while Hobbes sleeps very contentedly by himself in Calvin's bed..
  • Dennis the Menace (US): In this strip, Joey tries to make a ghost costume for Halloween, but not unlike Charlie Brown, he cuts too many eye holes in his sheet. He decides to go as a piece of swiss cheese instead.
  • Peter does this in FoxTrot and gets an appropriately horrified reaction from his mother, but only because he has cut holes in her new Ralph Lauren sheets.
  • Garfield: Featured in these two comics. The first is with the ghosts of all the animals he ate and the other is with characters wearing ghost costumes.
  • This was Dave's Halloween costume one year in Knights of the Dinner Table, continuing his run of putting almost no thought or effort into his costume.
  • German detective Nick Knatterton once disguised himself as one — but there are also real ones looking like this!
  • Peanuts - Charlie Brown's ghost costume in the cartoon special made its debut in the comic strip some years earlier - he explains "I had a little trouble with the scissors."

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • One of the Master Builders in The LEGO Movie is a Lego ghost mentioned below, and so is Vitruvius when he dies and becomes Ghost Vitruvius.
  • In the made-for-TV movie Yogi's Great Escape, Yogi dresses up as a Bedsheet Ghost to scare away the trapper who's after him. The trapper even lampshades this: "Here comes some uninvited laundry!" Later on, a real bedsheet-like ghost shows up, and of course gets Mistaken for an Imposter. The trapper pulls off the "bedsheet" to see who's underneath... and there is nothing there, except for a small point of light which vanishes, at which point the trapper is attacked by the now-invisible ghost which then proceeds to re-materialize another bedsheet around itself.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In An American Ghost Story there is another straight (and frightening) example. Unusual in that the character interacts with the thing for an entire nervewracking scene and it remains scary without ever revealing anything under the sheet (though at one point nothing is revealed under the sheet in an unusual way).
  • Lampshaded in the film version of Beetlejuice. The Maitlands actually are ghosts, and have the ability to manipulate their appearance into grotesque forms, and manipulate material objects as well. However, they're completely invisible to everyone except Lydia, so in an attempt to scare the Deetzes out of their old house, they put on bedsheets so they would be visible. This does not turn out to be as scary as they'd hoped. It doesn't help their case that they use floral-patterned designer sheets owned by the Deetzes.
    Barbara: God, this is so corny. Have we been reduced to this? Sheets?
    Adam: Think of them as "death shrouds". And the moaning is important, really moan.
  • In the 2005 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a child Willy Wonka goes dressed as a bedsheet ghost for Halloween. When his sheet is lifted, we find he probably picked this costume because his headgear wouldn't fit in any other costume.
  • In A Christmas Carol: The Musical, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be has this appearance.
  • Done for scares in The Conjuring when a bedsheet is blown off of a clothesline, only to be briefly caught on a human figure.
  • Dark Shadows: Double Subverted. The first time Victoria sees a "ghost", it's very obviously David trying to scare her. The second time, when she thinks it's David again... there is a very real specter underneath the sheets. She's neither surprised nor scared though, since she's known this ghost since her childhood.
  • Disney Sing-Along Songs: In the live action video "Disneyland Fun", Donald Duck is seen dressed up as this kind of ghost during the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts".
  • In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, when Eliot has to take his little sister out for trick-or-treating, he dresses ET up as this.
  • Extra Ordinary (2019): At the beginning, Rose briefly sees the townsfolk wearing bedsheets that evoke this. Later, the demon Astaroth manifests as a bedsheet ghost with out of the ceremonial sheets Christian had hung up.
  • In Fanchon the Cricket, Didier runs to Fanchon's shack and tells her that the people of the village are coming to throw her in the river. Fanchon takes a sheet from her shack to make herself a bedsheet ghost. Unbelievably, the people of the village fall for this, fleeing in terror.
  • Subverted in Ghostbusters (2016), when the characters order the main villainous ghost to appear as something "small and friendly". He turns into a cute copy of the Bedsheet Ghost from the franchise's logo... and then swells up into a Kaiju and starts smashing the city.
  • In A Ghost Story, the male lead dies early on, and thereafter appears as a silent figure in the background draped in a bedsheet with eye holes.
  • In the original Halloween (1978) and its remake, Michael Myers briefly dresses as a bedsheet ghost while toying with one of his victims. Over top of the sheet, he's wearing the glasses of the victim's boyfriend (whom he just knifed), causing her to think it's her boyfriend.
  • In the 1999 equivalent of The Haunting, there is a ghost of a child in a sheet formed by/from it rather than wearing it.
  • The 1941 Abbott and Costello comedy Hold That Ghost has one of these stalking people as part of the creepy events occurring in the run-down, abandoned speakeasy called the Forrester's Club. It turns out the whole thing was a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax intended to scare people away while the gangsters who used to work there searched for a hidden stash of money belonging to the place's former owner.
  • The attorney's little daughters in the 1966 farce Hotel Paradiso discuss the rumors they've heard that the hotel is haunted. Remembering a Halloween play, they put on sheets, circle around and sing. Hysteria ensues.
  • Eugene's disguise in Housebound. It's actually a threadbare blanket, not a bedsheet and is much scarier that way.
  • In The Innkeepers, Claire dresses like this in Luke's "re-enactment" of her discovery of the ghost in the lobby. Since she can't see where she's going, she trips over the furniture. But then, an actual ghost appears with a bedsheet. And then we see what's under the bedsheet...
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol's version of The Ghost of Christmas Past, which also somewhat resembles a Will-o'-the-Wisp.
  • In No Kidding, Suleiman dresses up as one for Lionel but doesn't get to show him when Hassan (dressed up as a monster) ends up scaring the life out of Cook.
  • In a rare completely traditional, completely straight example of this trope in modern film, Paranormal Activity 3 features a Bedsheet Ghost scene. It manages to be one of the more disturbing scenes in the entire film series.
  • A surprisingly scary scene in Scream 3 features this. When the killer attacks Sidney in the set recreating her Mother's death, under a sheet covered in blood no less!
  • Played for drama in The Sixth Sense. When Cole is sitting in his bedsheet fort and the ghost of a vomiting girl suddenly appears and frightens him, he runs away, inadvertently covering her with the bedsheet. It's only when he gathers the courage to go back and pull the sheet off, that he realizes that the ghost is not scary at all, but just a poor, sick little girl who needs his help.
  • Under the Shadow: Late in the movie, the djinn starts taking the form of a floating chador, which certainly Invokes this look.
  • XX: After a Potty Failure ruins Lucy's first costume in "The Birthday Party", Mary creates her a new costume as a bedsheet ghost.

    Folklore and Mythology 
  • Egyptian Mythology: The Egyptian Book of the Dead makes reference to an obscure deity known as Medjed, who for some reason is depicted as a person wearing an enormous veil that covers everything but his eyes and legs, making him look look like a man in a cheap ghost costume. Also, he had Eye Beams.
  • In the early 1960s several people in and around the town of Kinderhook, New York reported seeing a floating white sheet-like entity that hovered in the air. One person who claimed to have seen it likened it to the Virgin Mary. While none of the witnesses outright stated that it was a ghost, the descriptions bear an uncanny resemblance to this trope.
  • Pocongs of Indonesian mythology are the spirits of recently deceased people who appear in their funeral shroud. As most Indonesians are Muslims, and Islamic funerary rites require the deceased to be wrapped in a white shroud, this gives them the appearance of this trope. They are sometimes known as the "candy ghosts" because of the way the shroud is wrapped by ropes at the top and bottom, which actually figures into the mythology; the ropes are supposed to be untied after the bodies have been lowered to the grave, under the belief that it will allow the souls to enter the afterlife, and failure to do so risks causing the bodies to rise up as pocongs. Spirits who are especially distressed will rise up as red pocongs, in which the shroud is colored red. This signifies that they have been wronged in life, they will attack people on sight (unlike regular pocongs which are usually harmless), and they will not rest until justice has been served.

  • In Lael J. Littke's "The Bantam Phantom" bedsheet ghosts come in different sizes. The protagonist Georgie wears one the size of a bridge table and still has a lot left over.
  • Oscar Wilde's short story "The Canterville Ghost" originally popularized this trope.
  • The Montague Rhodes James short story "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" has... well, something that manifests itself in the sheets of the unused bed in the narrator's hotel room. It's implied that the thing has next to no physical form of its own.
    • The TV adaptation plays it straight and makes it work.
      • There's something darkly comical about it all. The narrator, Parkins, is a po-faced academic who has very definite views on ghosts (namely, that they don't exist), so it's deliciously ironic that the thing that terrorizes him chooses to manifest itself in a bedsheet. Not that it makes the story any less terrifying.
  • In one of Bag of Bones's Imagine Spots, the protagonist imagines his wife's ghost visiting him "wrapped in a tattered burial shroud." Stephen King manages to make it scary.
  • One of the solve-it-yourself mysteries of the Clue books features Mr. Boddy's six guests all dressing up as ghosts to try to scare each other, which makes them all feel a little silly— until they notice there are seven ghosts in the room, and one of them doesn't have feet.
  • Clive Barker's "Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud" uses this as an intentionally ridiculous core premise for what can either be read as a fairly serious horror story or a black comedy. The main character manages to come back as a ghost by transferring his spirit from his body to the shroud used to cover him at the morgue.
  • In the Dora the Explorer picture book Dora's Halloween Adventure, Dora and Boots encounter one of these in a "haunted house," but it turns out to actually be Swiper in costume.
  • Dr. Greta Helsing: The "Whistlers" from Montague Rhodes James appear as eerie but Non Malicious Monsters who manifest out of nearby fabric when their Haunted Fetter whistle is blown. Greta wins one as an enthusiastic ally by offering to hide its whistle somewhere interesting for it to haunt, although even she is a bit unnerved when it curiously feels out her face.
  • In the book Franklin's Halloween and the associated television story from Franklin, it's said that Franklin and his friends know that Bear always wears this as his Halloween costume, so when Franklin gets to the Halloween party, he doesn't have to worry about trying to figure out who Bear is, even underneath all the disguises. He and his friends get tricked, however, because while there is one of these at the party, it's not Bear, who is home sick with a cold. It turns to be their teacher, Mr. Owl, who heard that Bear was at home and decided to play a trick on all of them.
  • In Clifford D. Simak's The Goblin Reservation, the character of Ghost (yes, that's how he's called) is depicted this way.
  • Gus the Ghost in the Thayer Gus series is a basic bedsheet ghost. Most people barely notice him, nor get scared if they do.
  • In David Galvin's short story The Halloween Train, Susan says she's planning a Cleopatra costume for Halloween and Francis says she should come up with a better idea. Susan scoffs, "Like what — a silly sheet pulled over my head like you wore last year?"
  • This is Johnny's costume for the Halloween party in Johnny and the Dead. Unfortunately, the only sheet his mum would let him cut eyeholes in is a pink floral one, leading to inevitable comments like "What are you, a gay ghost?"
  • This is Big Bird's disguise in the Sesame Street picture book Who's Afraid of Monsters? It gets a good scare out of everyone until they figure out it's him.
  • In the Star Wars picture book, Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam Rex, this is one of the many things that a kid tries and fails to scare Darth Vader with. Vader just wonders if it's the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda, not that he'd be scared even if it was, and declares "Next!" when told that it's just a ghost.
  • In Wyrd Sisters, Lord Felmet has finally suffered enough Sanity Slippage throughout the events of the novel to go completely mad, and believes he is a ghost. He dons a sheet and goes on about how he plans to rattle chains and frighten people...while Death stands there and politely insists he is not dead. Felmet ends up slipping off a parapet and falling to his death. His actual ghost, still wearing the sheet, is now allowed to haunt the place for real.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 100 Things to Do Before High School: In "Stay Up All Night Thing!", Ronbie gets tangled up in a sheet during the school sleepover, which becomes a Coincidental Accidental Disguise as the middle-schoolers are panicking about the 'ghost janitor'.
  • Ace Lightning plays this trope absolutely straight in one episode - and the bad guys are terrified by a kid stuck under a bedsheet.
  • In Big Bad Beetleborgs, Jo turned invisible in one episode, she tried convincing someone she was a ghost by donning one of these and watching them laugh at her... till it was pulled off and there was no one underneath.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Halloween", Willow was originally going to go out on Halloween in a sexy outfit that she and Buffy made. She chickened out and, mostly to cover up, went as a Bedsheet Ghost instead. Then all of their costumes were enchanted to turn them into the things they were dressed as. Cue scantily clad ghost Willow.
    Willow: I'm a ghost!
    Giles: Yes. Um... the ghost of what, exactly?
  • In one episode of El Chavo del ocho, Chavo and Chilindrina attempt to scare Quico donning these. It backfires on Chavo when Don Ramón snatches the bedsheet and plays ghost on him. In another, Señor Barriga tries to scare Chavo out of revenge for always hitting him by playing dead and pretending to return as a ghost.
  • In one episode of Chelmsford 123, Wolfbane attempts to persuade Aulus to pardon Badvoc by using this trope in combination with a Jacob Marley Warning; needless to say it doesn't work.
  • Doctor Who: "Listen" features an extremely scary one. A mysterious presence in a child's bedroom only becomes visible when it gets onto the child's bed and hides under the sheets, creating an approximately-human-shaped bedsheet-draped figure. What (if anything) it really looks like under the sheets is never shown.
  • The Halloween Episode of Duck Dynasty features Uncle Si dressing up as one (complete with his hunting cap and blue Tupperware tea cup) and acting like he's a ghost when the Duck Commander crew is busy turning the warehouse into a "haunted house" attraction for the kids. However, he ends up breaking character (and the sheet gets pulled off) once Jep, who earlier in the episode considered Ghost to be the scariest film of all time, brings up that film again.
  • In the Father Ted series 3 episode "The Mainland", Father Noel Furlong wears a bedsheet when he confronts Father Ted and Dougal in the caves.
    Father Noel (in bed sheet): Ooooo! Oooooo!
    Ted and Dougal: *scream*
    Father Noel (throws off bed sheet): Ted!
    Ted and Dougal: *scream louder*
  • In the British kids' show The Ghosts Of Motley Hall, the ghosts want to scare off some people who've been hanging around their house, but the problem is they're invisible to most humans. Solution: One of the ghosts covers himself with an old bedsheet. In other words, a ghost dressing up as a ghost.
  • On one episode of Gilligan's Island, a foreign spy arrived on the island and took this up to try and scare the castaways off the island. They later decide to fight back doing the same thing.
  • Goosebumps (1995): In "Let's Get Invisible", after becoming invisible, Noah covers himself in a sheet to tease his brother.
  • In Studio100's Kabouter Plop series, Klus is seen scaring the other gnomes while wearing a bedsheet and scaring the other gnomes thinking him as a ghost.
  • The Transformation Trinket of Kamen Rider Ghost is stylized after this, naturally.
  • Subverted in Malcolm in the Middle: Dewey appears to be dressed up as a bedsheet ghost, but he claims to actually be a marshmallow.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "The Silent Land", a prankster dresses up as a bedsheet ghost in order to disrupt a ghost walk. However, the killer takes advantage of the distraction to murder the second Victim of the Week.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Referenced in "Cave Dwellers": when The Hero is fighting an invisible enemy, he tosses his cloak over the foe to reveal his location. Cue Crow: "Ah! Now they're really scary! Booga booga booga!"
    • In "Hamlet", Crow and Tom try to be the ghost of Mike's father dressed up like this. Too bad all of Mike's relatives are still alive.
  • In the Ponysitters Club episode "Spooky Story", Billy takes Skye and Olivia camping in a pumpkin patch that is rumored to be haunted. Billy's sister Courtney sneaks up to the tent, makes some eerie wailing noises, then pops into the tent wearing a gauzy white cloth over her head. Billy and the kids are startled for a second, then they burst out laughing.
  • In the Halloween Episode of Power Rangers Dino Charge, the Rangers all go to a party dressed as this. This is actually important to the plot; Sledge's minions kidnap one of the Rangers in costume, one of them uses their powers to replicate the Ranger's memories and another turns the first monster into a clone of the Ranger. The fake, still in costume, returns to the base along with the real Rangers, and Kendall has to Bluff the Impostor.
  • Subverted in Pushing Daisies where in a flashback, young Ned is shown on Halloween in a sheet with fire engines on it. However, Chuck shows up in a white sheet later that episode.
  • Low-budget sci-fi serial Rocky Jones, Space Ranger brings us one of the stupidest examples. A Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit IN SPACE! is trying to steal the land rights to some sort of space gold-mine, and is thwarted not by the Space Rangers, but by a couple of kids throwing a sheet over their remote-control airplane so he thinks it's a ghost. Keep in mind, this is hundreds of years in the future, in a civilization on par with Star Trek...
  • Played with in the Yet Another Christmas Carol episode of Roseanne. One of the ghosts is a Bedsheet Ghost. When Roseanne says he must be someone dressed up, he tells her to lift the sheet. All that's underneath is a beating heart.
  • Scrubs:
    • The Janitor dresses up as one of these to haunt pediatrics as the ghost who hates spills! Wooooohooooo!
    • Also, in-line skates.
      Carla: You're a monster.
      Janitor: Hey! Do you know how messy kids can be? This place has been spotless since the ghost showed up.
  • Stranger Things: In "Trick or Treat, Freak", Hopper is making French toast for breakfast when Eleven manages to pull a Jump Scare on him, wearing a bedsheet over her head in the manner of a ghost.
    Hopper: Ahhh! Jesus....
    Eleven: Ghost.
    Hopper: Yeah, I see that...
  • Supernatural: Seen in the Special Edition Title of "Changing Channels" when the Winchesters are Trapped in TV Land, including a sitcom version of Supernatural showing Sam frightened by a bedsheet ghost he finds in a cupboard.
  • One turns up in The Two Ronnies serial "Stop! You're killing me!", haunting the graveyard at dead of night. Charley's response is to build a device to blow the bedsheet off it from below. The first person to trigger it is a young woman in a short skirt, the second is the local vicar, and the third is their landlord in a nightshirt.



    Puppet Shows 
  • Bear in the Big Blue House: In "Afraid Not", during a thunderstorm, Pip and Pop find a bedsheet and use it to pretend to be a ghost. They end up scaring Tutter, who thinks there really is a ghost. Bear soon finds out the truth, and tells the twins off for scaring Tutter. The twins then apologize to Tutter, saying that they only wanted to have some fun and never meant to scare him for real.
  • The Vincent Price episode of The Muppet Show has a group of ghosts resembling translucent sheets floating in mid-air, with black holes for the eyes and mouths, who tell ghost jokes and sing "I'm Looking Through You." They have since appeared in the live stadium show The Muppets Take the Bowl/the O2 and as background spooks in Muppets Haunted Mansion.

  • Our Miss Brooks: Walter Denton dresses up as a ghost in the episode Halloween Party.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • As mentioned in the Head Injury Theater quote on the quotes page, the sheet phantom is an actual Bedsheet Ghost. As with some of the other actual Bedsheet Ghosts, the explanation given is that the being's spirit is imbued into his bedclothes as he dies.
    • The death linen, another AD&D-era monster, is actually a subversion - they aren't undead, but animated by "latent psychic forces born of nightmares," making them closer to psychic-type poltergeist activity.
    • Undead cloakers from the Ravenloft setting somewhat resemble this trope, although they were never human, but ghosts of creatures that resemble flying manta rays.
    • The demon lord Pale Night looks like this trope, being a seductive female figure wrapped in a white veil blowing on a spectral wind that occasionally shifts enough to almost reveal what's underneath it. But though she is incorporeal, she's a demon (specifically, an Obyrith), not a ghost, and the sheet is suspected to be a sort of cosmic censor to protect existence from the horror of her true form. One of her special abilities is to briefly reveal the truth beyond that veil, which is a "save or die" attack.
  • In Warhammer, some of the oldest pewter models to represent Undead Spirit Hosts depicted traditional bedsheet ghosts. Other players figured out that it was cheaper to buy plastic models and paint them ghostly gray and white, especially if those models came from a rival's army range.

  • In Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, Marley's initial idea on how to scare Scrooge is as a bedsheet ghost. The Bogle snidely comments he's pretty scary as-is.
  • It's Older Than Feudalism: Julius Caesar: "The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets."
    • Bear in mind that coffins hadn't caught on yet; Bedsheet Ghosts were in their burial shrouds.

  • LEGO has ghosts that look like this. A shroud piece slips over the head. Their first version was a smiling ghost with a rounded head, and their second was a frowning/moaning ghost with more of a sheet detail, with a folded tip on the head.
  • Eleanor from Living Dead Dolls is a ghost wearing her burial sheet with a Ghostly Gape underneath.
  • Playmobil also had shrouds for their figures, with only eye holes for the figure to see through. The child-size shroud has a pointed head, but the adult shrouds are rounded. While they have the traditional white ghost, a black ghost with a glowing yellow face has also been made. A new figure piece that lights up was also introduced, with flowier "robes", but no standard figure inside.

    Video Games 
  • The True Final Boss of Aero Fighters 2 is a tablecloth ghost.
  • Aughosto from Alchademy is a little ghost with a white robe and hood.
  • Bedsheet ghosts feature in Baba is You as one of the many objects that can be found in levels.
  • In Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, the "ghost" which Morgane arranges for Dinsdale and Mitchell to see looks like this, because a bedsheet is exactly what it is. It contrasts sharply with the real ghost which Morgane stumbles on immediately after her trick, which looks more ghoulish.
  • The pet sites Celestial Vale and Valley of Unicorns have a unicorn in a bedsheet ghost costume as a limited-edition pet.
  • A certain variety of mook in the Donkey Kong 64 world "Creepy Castle". The game doesn't even pretend that they're really ghosts; they're officially called "Kritters-in-a-sheet".
  • Family House centers around fixing up an old house that was once a stately mansion, centuries ago. It is hosted by the bedsheet ghost who, when he was alive, was the head butler there.
  • Nitocris dons one of these in her Assassin persona in Fate/Grand Order. Funnily, despite her "underworld" association, she's not going for this look, but the Egyptian god Medjed, who looks uncannily like a bedsheet ghost. She thinks it conceals her identity and depicts her as a foreboding harbinger of the afterlife, but it really just makes her look like a goofball, not least because her ears are poking out of the top.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, the "??????" character or "Ghost" that can temporarily join your party on the Phantom Train has the appearance of this, as do the other ghosts on the train that aren't so friendly.
  • In Geist, this strategy actually works on someone, scaring her enough to allow you to possess her. It's a bit scarier than usual, although the accountant literally sees the sheet rise up off the bed. Raimi-as-a-bedsheet-ghost has an empty dark hood and dives after her, after all.
  • The Sega Genesis version of Ghostbusters (1990) uses this in the form of white tablecloth ghosts. As in: the tablecloth floats off the table, comes toward you, and "ties you up" if you don't eliminate it.
  • GhostControl Inc. has these as an enemy type you can encounter in the game. They're called "Halloween Spirits".
  • You actually get to play as one of these in the Self-Explanatory Adventure Game Ghost in the Sheet. Justified in that his "boss" tells him that if the sheet's taken off, what's left of him will scatter away and be lost forever (He died under an incoming bus, which was "very messy"). Actually, the "boss" put the sheet on his definitely-not-fragmented body in order to prevent him from phasing through objects and getting too much information. It doesn't work, of course, as he still manages to get said info...
  • You encounter scary red ghosts as Cute Giana, in Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. However, the less fearful Punk Giana only sees goofy-looking ghosts with patched up bedsheets.
  • Haunted Halloween '86: The Curse Of Possum Hollow: When Donny and Tami meet a bunch of kids on Halloween before trick or treating starts, one of them is dressed up as a ghost, while her ponytail is visible.
  • One of the puzzles from Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis had Indy dressing up as a bedsheet ghost to try to scare another character. It didn't work very well until the bed sheet was supplemented with some other items.
  • In Jumper Three, a ghost bedsheet is one of the buyable clothes for Ogmo in stage 2-5.
  • The Phantom, one of the optional bosses in Kingdom Hearts takes on this look.
  • One monster in Kingdom of Loathing's FantasyRealm dungeon is haunted by a mob called a Spooky Ghost. It's just a theme park actor wearing a sheet (he's categorized as a human rather than an undead monster), but he's so dedicated to the role that he has the strengths and weaknesses of a ghost regardless.
  • Kirby: Squeak Squad: Kirby can unlock a "Ghost" ability where takes on this kind of appearance and can possess enemies.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Most depictions of the Poe enemy depict it as a short figure draped in sheets, with glowing eyes and spindly arms and carrying a lantern.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The manual depicts the ghostly Ghini enemies as animated bedsheets with leering faces.
  • Matchington Mansion: Rex dresses up as one in an ill-conceived attempt to scare Tiffany into selling him the mansion.
  • The ghosts in Megaman Sprite Game resemble these, complete with the webcomic's Stylistic Suck facial design.
  • Millie And Molly: Enemies encountered in the spooky levels include ghosts who look like cloths with eyeholes. They can be defeated by walking into them.
  • The Ghost robe is one of the robes for Clerics in Miitopia can wear, and it makes them look like a bedsheet ghost.
  • The ghost mooks from Monster Hunter (PC) resembles ghosts in sheets and carrying chains.
  • Monster Prom: One of the items you can get from Valerie's shop is "A Blanket With Two Holes". It unlocks a route where the player imitates an actual ghost, fooling everyone but Liam (including Polly, who's an actual ghost). They can even go to the prom in their ghost costume, if they get a date.
  • The spectres of OFF often take this form.
  • The ghosts from Pac-Man are even further abstracted. They look like jellyfish with eyeballs. The second and third cutscenes in the original game demonstrate this: in the second, Blinky chases Pac only to catch his ghost suit on a nail, and in the third, he chases Pac again, but his crappy repair job didn't stay. In both instances, we see part of the creature under the costume. Technically they weren't supposed to be ghosts in 1980, just generic "monsters", but players all called them "ghosts" because of their resemblance to the stereotypical form of the trope.
  • In the second Painkiller, the enemies in the wonderfully creepy orphanage level include children playing as bedsheet ghosts. Do not let them to get close to you.
  • Konami's MSX game Pippols has bedsheet-looking ghosts among the enemies. They can freely move through walls.
  • One of the transformations in Pizza Tower is a ghost transformation that resembles a bedsheet. Strangely, when the player is transformed back to normal, the bedsheet falls away.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: The Ghost Pepper resembles one of these. Apparently, it's her Halloween party costume, but she likes it too much.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon plays with this in the form of Mimikyu, a Ghost/Fairy type. While it's alive as any other Pokemon, a Mimikyu is hurt by sunlight, and so perpetually wears a sheet to protect itself. The play comes from the fact that their sheets are old Pikachu merchandise; Mimikyu want the same popularity among humans, and so they try to get others' attention via the impersonation. It figures into their special ability, Disguise: other Pokémon mistake the Mimikyu's stuffed Pikachu head for a real head and so miss an attack (the actual Mimikyu, as evidenced by eyes in the "chest", is a few inches shorter than the disguise). Taking a peek under Mimikyu's sheet causes the viewer such shock that he/she might die from it.
  • Invoked in Puyo Puyo with the ghost twins Yu and Rei, who wear pure white cloaks. Yu believes no one would recognize them as ghosts otherwise. Dapper Bones thinks they could defy this and wear something else, though.
  • A vehicular example in Re-Volt : The secret Mystery car, which is just a sheet with some question marks written on it. Flipping it over reveals that there isn't actually a car underneath the sheet.
  • Rhythm Heaven:
    • One of the minigames in the first game, "Sneaky Spirits", has you shooting at bedsheet ghosts with a bow and arrow.
    • The DS sequel has ghosts playing in a rock band in the "Big Rock Finish" minigame.
  • RuneScape does this twice. Once with a green bedsheet (to fit in with green ghosts) and once with regular bedsheets for a Christmas Carol parody.
  • You find some of these in the third level of The Simpsons arcade game. Of course, you'll quickly notice they "float" from a rather visible rope coming out of a tree. Once you knock them down, they'll be revealed as your standard mook.
  • In Sonic and Knuckles, Sandopolis Zone Act II featured bedsheet ghosts that appeared as the torches burned down. To start with would be one small one, floating at the top of the screen in a less-than-threatening manner. Then a second one appears and they grow in size and their eyes gain an angry look. When the torches go out completely a third one appears, and all three get bigger and grow horns. If the torches are left off for too long they start swooping down and menacing Sonic. Since the level contains a section where it's very easy to get stuck in a loop and remain stuck well after you've realized you're IN a loop (or even if you were prepared for the loop), these guys can get a little distressing.
  • This is an enemy added to the Endless mode of Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion. Named "Spooper", he looks like a guy in pretty bad bedsheet costume, with normal looking legs poking out and who just blocks the door to the next room. And the only way to get him out of the way you have to hit him with your axe. But then you'll find him in the next room, his disguise slightly torn and bloodied. You must do the same. And as you keep going and his disguise falls appart, you'll discover than he's less human than he appears...
  • Super Gear Quest: The Scaresheet, Scareface and Scareround enemies in the Haunted Chateau level are three different kinds of this. Scaresheet looks more sheet than ghost and moves up and down on a fixed path, Scareface chases the player and Scareround is a bigger, dopey-looking version of Scareface.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Broozers are enemies introduced in New Super Mario Bros., and since then, they become semi-recurrent enemies in the series. They resemble humanoids wearing a bedsheet over their body, brown shoes and boxing gloves, and when they see the player, they attack punching anything in their way, which can be useful for destroying unbreakable bricks, allowing the player to reach items and Star Coins that could not otherwise be reached. While they aren't actual ghosts, since you can defeat them with Goomba Stomps, they mainly appear in Ghost House levels.
    • Super Mario 3D Land introduces a species of ghost called Peepas, who are a Super-Deformed version of this trope.
    • The series also has Lantern Ghosts, that are Shy Guys under a bedsheet. They appear in Yoshi's Island, and a larger variant appears as a mid-boss in Paper Mario 64.
    • The Duplighosts in Paper Mario are literal bedsheet ghosts who can transform into dopplegangers of your partners. In the sequel Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, there's a unique one known as Doopliss, who transforms the citizens of Twilight Town into pigs. He is more humorous than scary, but he's a lot more dangerous than he seems.
  • Zepheniah Mann of Team Fortress 2 haunts the map Harvest in this form, with a jaunty little, Ghastly Gibus on his incorporeal head. As part of a Running Gag (Valve's attempts at injecting horror into TF2 are all Stylistic Suck), the player characters are absolutely terrified of him, screaming and dropping their weapons for five seconds if he gets too close.
    • In the 2013 Halloween Event, all players have the potential to become bedsheet ghosts (who can only move around and moan "Boo!") should they die in Helltower once Redmond or Blutarch reaches the end of the payload race and open the portal to the afterlife.
  • Trick or Treat Beat!: You will occasionally run into these wandering around as obstacles. You can deal with them by turning them into frogs in the witch costume.
  • The boy who controls Spectre in Twisted Metal: Small Brawl appears dressed as this.
  • Napstablook from Undertale resembles this kind of ghost. They enjoy recorded music in the "spooky" genre.
  • Uninvited specifically invokes this, with a ghost who, according to the narration, "looks like the classic spectre" that comes out of the sky and kills you.
  • Wario Land:
    • The ghost enemies in Wario Land II that turn Wario into a zombie if he touches them.
    • The Axe Ghosts in Wario Land 4 are pretty much this... with the pointy hood style that's gone out of fashion for most other media.
  • Wizard101 has these as enemies throughout the game, and they come in a variety of colors. Most notably, this is the model used by the lost souls, famous for being the weakest monsters in the game.
  • The Wolf and the Waves: Blue mushrooms give you a "recon mode" that looks like a bedsheet ghost.
  • You Are Not The Hero: During her travels, Petula fights a "Big Freakin Ghost" on board a haunted train. It's a giant black bed sheet with glowing red eyes.

    Web Animation 
  • In CollegeHumor's BearShark, both the bear and shark disguise themselves like this to escape from a real ghost.
  • In the Happy Tree Friends Halloween Smoochie, Disco Bear dresses up as one.
  • In Homestar Runner, Strong Mad dressed up as a ghost for Halloween in the short "Pumpkin Carve-nival". Being Strong Mad, the eye-holes weren't properly aligned with his face.
  • The deadbeats from Mystery Skulls Animated look like purple pointy-headed bedsheet ghosts with glowing beating orange hearts, though their Game Face departs from the aesthetic somewhat due to their talon-like hands.
  • My Little Pony: Tell Your Tale: In "Nightmare Roomate", the girls encounter what they think is a ghost but its actually a bedsheet being moved by Izzy's magic while she's sleeping. In "Haunted House", this is Misty's costume as well as a series of props she uses to scare Sunny and her friends.


    Web Original 
  • The Ben Heck Show has The Ghost of Unfinished Projects which appears in the 2015 Halloween episode.
  • The Creepypasta ''Bedsheet Ghost" features one of these as the antagonist. It quickly swaps the bedsheet for a body bag with a half-finished, rotting Frankenstein's Monster body inside, and it wants the protagonists hand. The ghost was a Deadly Doctor who died in a certain hospital bed before he could finish his work. Realizing that the morgue couldn't provide fresh enough bodies, he started going after patients.
  • Friends at the Table: In PARTIZAN, Deck 7 of Icebreaker Prime is rumored to be haunted after people report seeing an "inky, billowing" shape drifting through the halls.
  • Improv Everywhere: (Rather affable) Bedsheet Ghosts haunt the New York Public Library. Then the Ghostbusters chase them away!
  • In the Halloween Episode of LoadingReadyRun's commodoreHUSTLE, "Roll For Treats", Tally dresses up as a bedsheet ghost to go trick-or-treating with her boyfriend Jer, masquerading as his young son.
  • Scorched by Glenn Jones is about the ghost bedsheet maintenance issues.
  • The SCP Foundation features a characteristically dark version in SCP-6096, a bedsheet ghost which is normally passive but every so often picks out a person at random, hunts them down and kills them. Unlike a number of similar SCPs, it isn't outwardly indestructible, amazingly strong, or otherwise empowered; rather, it can't be stopped because everyone who interacts with it, besides the target themselves, is compelled to help it reach its victim, and nobody is able to bring themselves to take actions which would hinder or harm it. In fact, the SCP Foundation itself was compelled to give it a dedicated MTF team specifically to help it, with its containment procedures simply being to let it track down its target when active and then do damage control after because it's fundamentally impossible to try and contain it. Even attempting to disband the MTF would count as attempting to hinder it now, so the agents are stuck.
  • In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Bowser's Change!", Junior steals $100.00 from Chef Pee Pee that Bowser gave him to buy a pizza with so that he could buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons, only for Joseph to spend the money on candy and a lottery ticket (which he lost on). After Junior tricks Tyrone into giving him into the pizza for free, Chef Pee Pee forces him to explain to Bowser why he doesn't have the change he was expecting, so he lies to him that he tipped the pizza guy $80.00 because he was a ghost and didn't want him to spook them. When Bowser wants to see the ghost as proof, Junior disguises himself as a ghost using his Thomas & Friends bedsheet. Bowser still falls for Junior's trick despite the fact that the characters from Thomas are clearly visible on the bedsheet, but Junior's ruse is exposed when Bowser tries to give him a hug.
  • One Italian cartoonist noticed a potential problem with this.
  • Karolina Żebrowska: Miss Tatternickle is disappointed to realize her mysterious follower is a plain bed sheet ghost once it decides to show itself, and scares it back to invisibility.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • The episode "Heat Signature" features three stereotypical cartoon Bedsheet Ghosts who, in contrast to the usual portrayal, are genuinely dangerous due to their sadistic mischievous streak.
    • In "Too Young", Finn and Princess Bubblegum stage a 'prank' on Earl Lemongrab by dressing up as bedsheet ghosts, running up to Lemongrab and punching him in the stomach.
  • Albert the Fifth Musketeer has the episode "Ghost You Said?" where Milady does this to King Louis XIII claiming to be the ghost of his ancestor. This is actually one of the many plots by the Cardinal to take over the castle. Albert would later do the same thing to get King Louis to return. Near the end of episode all the musketeers dress up as ghosts to scare the Cardinal.
  • In one episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks has the chipmunks do this to a person claiming to be their uncle but was really using them to make money and pay off a debt.
    • Then in an episode of The Alvin Show, J.P. Lester is an actual bedsheet ghost haunting Chesley Estate.
  • In one episode of The Amazing Adrenalini Brothers, both Adi and Enk dress up like this to scare Xan. They get help from actual ghosts.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long has the episode "Halloween Bash", a For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself episode with a Muggle/Magical Being party. Two Normals show up, dressed as Bedsheet Ghosts, and are annoyed to see how many of the other "costumes" are so much better than theirs. Even after the Dragon Council removed Jake's "costume", they were still regarded as the lamest ones.
    Ghost Kid #1: “We’ll just go as ghosts”, you said. “Nobody’ll wear a good costume”, you said!
    • In the episode "A Ghost Story", Brad's scout group wear ghost costumes to scare Jake's scout group.
  • In The Archie Show episode "Groovy Ghosts", Archie and his friends want to use an old abandoned house as a clubhouse, but Reggie tries to scare them away by making them think the house is haunted. Instead of wearing a sheet, Reggie attaches strings to a sheet to make it move around like a puppet. Archie plays it straight when he scares Reggie.
  • A Halloween Episode of Atomic Betty features Betty wearing a ghost costume while trying to film a movie.
  • The Berenstain Bears:
    • Done in the book "The Berenstain Bears and the Ghost of the Forest" (which was also done as an episode of the 80s TV series, "Bust a Ghost"). Papa Bear decides to scare the Cub Scouts on an overnight forest camping trip by disguising as the "Ghost of the Forest" by wearing an old white sheet with two eyeholes cut in it. Scout Leader Jane overhears Papa's plan and decides to get back by crafting her own stick-and-leaves ghost face rigged with a flashlight, effectively scaring Papa and foiling his plan.
    • This is also Papa Bear's costume in "Trick or Treat" from the PBS series, with an added Jack-o'-lantern head. It actually manages to scare Brother and Sister Bear a bit... until he starts complaining that he can't see and starts bumbling around bumping into stuff.
  • Big City Greens:
    • The episode "Feud Fight" has Cricket and Tilly get into a rivalry with Chip Whistler over who sell more vegetables. One of their ideas to drive away Chip's customers is Tilly disguising herself as a ghost which fools everyone despite Chip telling them she just a kid covered in a sheet.
    • In "Gloria's Cafe", Gloria opens up a cafe but she has to stop Officer Keys from closing it down as she doesn't have the proper paperwork for it. One of her attempts is trying to convice Keys the shop is haunted by having all the customers wear ghost costumes. Keys is fooled at first but soon realizes its a trick as none of the ghosts are saying boo.
  • In "The Ghost of the Living Room" from Blue's Clues & You!, said ghost is one of the characters dressed as this. The identity of said character is the subject of the episode's game of Blue's Clues, with the answer turning out to be the kitten Periwinkle.
  • In a Halloween Episode of Creepschool, this is Victoria's Halloween costume. Unlike other examples featured on this page, Becoming the Costume is in effect causing her to gain the abilities of a ghost such as flying and intangibility.
  • One of Vlad's bad clones of Danny Phantom looks like a Bedsheet Ghost... because the sheet covers up its horrifying mutations (like the fact that it has no legs, muscle, or skin).
    Danny: Seriously, a bedsheet? [Reaches out for the bedsheet.] What do you got under there? [Removes bedsheet to reveal a ghost that only has the upper portion of a skeleton.]
    • Also, Danny tried pulling off the Bedsheet Ghost look during Fright Night. It didn't work out.
      • The same episode gave us this nice exchange:
      Tucker: Nice costume, dude! Are those flaming bedsheets?
      Fright Knight: Flaming bedsheets ''of death!'
  • In one episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter's goldfish dies and comes back as a ghost to haunt him. When trying to hunt the ghost using ghost equipment, Dee Dee appears wearing a sheet, causing Dexter to mistake her for a ghost and attack her. When he asks her what she is doing, Dee Dee says she wanted to scare the ghost by dressing up as a ghost.
  • Dorg Van Dango: Yooki is one of these. In her original form (seen briefly in the intro) she looked like a dirty patchwork bedsheet. However, her disguised form still looks like a sheet, this time much cleaner with no visible stiches, a purple frill along the bottom, and some Girlish Pigtails for good measure.
  • Duckman has a surprise cameo from the last person you would expect pulling this. Homer Simpson. Since Klasky-Csupo DID have a hand in the production of The Simpsons, It Makes Sense in Context.
  • The ghosts in Eek! The Cat's Halloween Episode are of this variety. Although the ghost that Eek befriends is more like a stray party balloon.
  • Felix the Cat has encountered a few of these over the years;
    • In a classic-era short, Felix the Ghost Breaker, Felix is haunted by a ghost that looks like this, and then has to save a farmer from it. It turns out to just be a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax, as the ghost is just a travelling salesman in disguise.
    • In the Joe Oriolo era episode "Ghostly Concert", Felix is trapped on a haunted ship, where its revealed Professor is commanding a legion of these kind of ghosts to go after him.
    • In another Oriolo-era episode, "Redbeard the Pirate", Professor and Rock Bottom dress up as one to scare Felix away from Redbeard the Pirate's gold. Felix quickly catches on to the disguise when he realizes the "ghost" has two heads and four legs. Later on, they open the treasure chest, which releases the real Redbeard's Ghost (who also looks like a bedsheet ghost), who scares Professor and Rock Bottom away.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    • Although Bloo is an imaginary friend, his body shape definitely makes him look like this trope. This was pointed out on two occasions: in the pilot "House of Bloos", he takes the place of the ghost in a Pac-Man homage, while "Bloooo" has him go pale white from a cold and be mistaken for a ghost.
    • In "Go Goo Go", Goo is wearing a bedsheet with two eye holes as her Halloween costume.
  • In one episode of the animated version of Fraggle Rock, Wimbley suffers from an illness that can only be cured by scaring him. The rest of the family wear ghost costumes to try and scare him but it doesn't work.
  • Futurama: Bender is dressed as one in "The Cryonic Woman".
  • Garfield and Friends: In "Mistakes Will Happen", Jon plans to scare Garfield and Odie when they go into the woods against his wishes by disguising himself as a ghost, using a bedsheet to do it. Garfield soon catches onto the disguise, and when Jon runs into a tree, a convict that escaped from prison takes the disguise to scare Garfield and Odie. Garfield, having mistaken the convict for Jon, attacks him.
  • Garfield's Halloween Adventure featured the "laugh at the bedsheet ghost, oh no there's nothing under the sheet!" scenario, as well as a few variations where other monsters dressed up as bedsheet ghosts.
  • One episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi has the girls trying to visit their manager in a hospital but the nurse won't let them through due to being past visiting hours. The girls proceed to sneak in anyways and are chased by the nurse. They lure her into a laundry room and proceed to scare her away by covering themselves in white sheets.
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie:
    • All of the "ghosts" seen in the Halloween Episode "If You Give a Mouse a Pumpkin" are this. In particular, Cat has eight ghost decorations for his Halloween Spooktacular event and Moose dresses up in this costume for Halloween.
    • In "The Haunted Toolshed," Mouse, Dog, Henry and Esme Louise all believe that there's a ghost in the toolshed, even though it's actually just Moose playing music and otherwise making racket. They finally decide to confront the ghost, but figure the ghost for sure will see them coming. They therefore all dress up as bedsheet ghosts and make ghostly moaning noises to disguise themselves.
  • It's Magic, Charlie Brown: Snoopy accidently turns Charlie Brown invisible and tries to turn him back to normal. One of these ideas is to cover him in a white sheet. When Charlie Brown looks in a mirror, he scares himself.
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had Beezy being haunted by one. Its sheet is eventually removed, revealing a body of pizza crusts.
  • A Halloween episode in King of the Hill when the church outlaws Trick or Treating and Hank and his neighbors rally up to bring Halloween back. Bill comes as a ghost, but he accidentally tore his sheet, but it instantly becomes a toga.
  • Kipper the Dog has a ghost visit him that looks like this. Kipper would cover himself in a bedsheet in order to teach him how to be scary.
  • On Little Einsteins, the Little Einsteins are troubled by a growing number of these throughout "A Little Einsteins Halloween" and are convinced they want to take their trick-or-treat candy. It turns out they aren't ghosts at all, just instruments that have been covered in bedsheets with drawn-on eyes.
  • Used in various episodes of The Little Lulu Show. Either by Lulu or Tubby and his friends.
  • On Little Princess, this is the King's costume in "I Want to Dress Up." The Queen grumbles that she hopes it's not one of the good bedsheets.
  • In Llama Llama Trick or Treat, Officer Flamingo scares the kids as one of these. Well, all of them except Euclid, who isn't scared of ghosts, because "Scientifically speaking, they aren't solid matter."
  • In Chuck Jones' Looney Tunes short "Claws for Alarm", Sylvester is frightened by a bunch of mice in a Totem Pole Trench disguised as one of these.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Bugs disguises himself as a bedsheet ghost in an attempt to scare Sam out of his house in "Fish and Visitors".
  • Maggie and the Ferocious Beast: "Three Little Ghosts" has Maggie and her friends disguised as ghosts trying to scare each other.
  • An Animated Adaptation of Malheurs de Sophie (The Trouble with Sophie) has a episode where a boy disguised as a ghost tries to steal vegetables from a garden. Later Sophie and her friends wear bedsheets over their heads while chasing each other around.
  • Another Merrie Melodies short, "Ghost Wanted", has the little ghost apparently wearing a full "onesie" suit with a trap-door flap, one he can take off and change if necessary; which he does, leaving him fully invisible for a few seconds.
  • One episode of Mister Go has Mister Go watching a ghost movie, and decides to disguise as a ghost to scare people. A police officer spots him and pulls the same stunt on him.
  • There is a floating bedsheet ghost who is a teacher in Monster High: Haunted.
  • In "Frisky, Fluttery Ghost" from Mouse and Mole, Mole misinterprets Mouse's comment that there is "crispy, buttery toast" waiting for him as "frisky, fluttery ghost," then gets scared by thinking that a sheet which Mouse is hanging on a clothesline is one of these.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Look Before You Sleep". Twilight Sparkle tells a Ghost Story about a headless horse and finishes by putting a white bedsheet over her head. Despite the sheet not covering the rest of her body, Rarity and Applejack are immediately fooled.
    • In the Scare Master episode, A trio of such ghosts pursue the ponies (and Spike) inside the corn maze. It's later revealed those were Fluttershy's bird friends in disguise.
    • A variation appears in the stop motion short: Pinkie Pie vs. the Flowers. After Pinkie Pie crashes into a flower display created by Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash the three of them are covered in flowers and appear to look like ghosts to Pinkie.
  • The New Adventures of Madeline featured an episode where Madeline and her friends entered a haunted castle where some of the girls dress up as ghosts for a Halloween party.
  • When Pac-Man chomps the ghosts in Hanna-Barbera's Animated Adaptation, they get new ghost suits in the appropriate colors out of Mezmaron's closet.
  • The PAW Patrol episode "Pups Save a Ghost" featured a mysterious canine ghost dressed in a bed sheet prowling about the Lookout, doing things like taking treats, digging holes, and leaving Pup Pup Boogie on. Rocky devises a trap to catch the ghost, baited with a cookie and set up to drop a sheet on the ghost when he fell for it. Unfortunately, the trap gets triggered, and Ryder is covered in the sheet, making the pups briefly think he's the ghost, then a victim of the ghost. The "ghost" is then revealed to be Marshall sleepwalking around under a bedsheet, which is foreshadowed by the ghost having Marshall's shape.
  • On PB&J Otter, this is Baby Butter's costume in "A Hoohaw Halloween." This type of decoration is also seen throughout the episode.
  • Peanuts: This is Charlie Brown's favorite Halloween costume in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Of course, being Charlie Brown, he naturally botches said costume with too many eye holes, as Linus did in the actual comic strip.
    • Oddly enough, these holes are all rendered as black dots of ghostly nothingness rather than simply showing whatever part of him or his regular clothes that's underneath. Presumably because this was easier to animate.
    • Most of the other kids' costumes are also bedsheet ghosts, with the exception of a few who wear masks on top of bedsheet-ghost outfits.
  • In the Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks cartoon "Ghost With the Most," Mr. Jinks thinks he's killed Dixie, who was playing possum after being hit with a fireplace shovel. Dixie implements the bedsheet ghost disguise and proceeds to haunt Jinks. At the conclusion when he finds out the truth, Jinks turns the tables and makes Pixie and Dixie think he committed suicide out of guilt. Jinks dresses up as a bedshhet ghost as well.
  • Phineas and Ferb had Carl dressed as a ghost during a montage in "Undercover Carl".
  • Popples: In "Backyard Adventure", it is one of the Popples trying to scare the others.
    • In "Poppin' Pillow Talk", Bonnie wears a ghost costume to scare her brother for scaring her earlier.
  • Although the show was famous for its often creative and surreal depiction of ghosts, bedsheet ghosts do appear in two episodes of The Real Ghostbusters: "The Old College Spirit" and "The Haunting of Heck House", and are very creepy as usual.
  • High-Five Ghost and his family in Regular Show. Then it gets...odd when Mordecai and Rigby are turned into ghosts, and they just look like themselves, with a ghostly squiggle instead of legs.
  • A few examples from Rugrats (1991)...
    • In the first Halloween Episode "Candy Bar Creep Show", when the babies are hiding in Stu and Drew's makeshift haunted house among hearing Angelica and other trick-or-treaters about to enter, a sheet section of the tent falls onto Tommy, and the nearby electric fan that was blowing paper bats around gives the sheet-covered Tommy a more ghostly appearance. This manages to scare Angelica AND Grandpa Lou.
    • In "Toys in the Attic", Grandpa Boris is trying to find Tommy and Angelica wandering their attic, which they think is haunted. The wind blows the attic window open and sends a white sheet flying onto Grandpa Boris. Naturally, Tommy and Angelica think he is a ghost, and Boris blindly trying to get around with the sheet over him doesn't help much either.
    • Spoofed in the "Chanukah" special; as an attempt to try and defeat the "Meany of Chanukah," Phil suggests taking Tommy's white pillowcase and wearing it over his head to disguise as a ghost. It doesn't work, and Phil only ends up walking into a table leg.
  • An episode of Sabrina: The Animated Series featured a Yet Another Christmas Carol episode where Aunt Zelda as the Ghost of Christmas Present was dressed as one of these. Unfortunately for her the only sheet she could find was a blue-colored one with a pink flower pattern on it, and according to Gem, it belongs to her mother.
  • In Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!!, one of the earliest ghosts the gang encountered was The Phantom Of Vasquez Castle, who appeared as a Bedsheet Ghost. In reality, it was a magician named Bluestone The Great who used his illusionist skills to make it look like the Phantom could fly and walk through solid walls.
  • In The Simpsons, In the first Treehouse of Horror, Homer returns from trick or treating as a ghost. Bart dresses as a ghost in two episodes, one in Treehouse of Horror XIX where it parodies It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown while the other is shown in the episode No Loan Again, Naturally where he tries to scare Homer.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Here Comes the Neighborhood", the townsfolk wish to drive the rich people (who just happen to all be black) out of town, so they figure: what scares rich people? Ghosts. They then dress up as bedsheet ghosts and wind up looking like The Klan. Hilariously, the rich people also think they look like ghosts and flee the town because it's "hainted".
    • In "Pink Eye" from the first season, Principal Victoria sees Cartman dressed as Hitler and thinks a Bedsheet Ghost would be a less controversial costume. Er, not so much.
      Cartman: Wow, Chef must be really scared of ghosts!
  • In "A View To a Mask" from Special Agent Oso, the boy that Oso is helping, Kevin, initially mistakes Oso for being dressed up as one of these when he lands in front of his doorway covered in his parachute. Admittedly, a very odd-looking one.
  • In the episode "Scaredy Pants", SpongeBob SquarePants tries to go as the Flying Dutchman and scare everybody, but his costume consists of a sheet and wooden clogs. Because of his square shape, everyone called him a "haunted mattress", so he asks Patrick to shave his head down to a round shape. He goes to the Halloween party and almost gets away with scaring all his friends, but he is found out eventually. Just then the real Flying Dutchman arrives and, insulted by such a pathetic impersonation, unmasks him. He takes one look at him and runs screaming into the night, followed by everyone else, and eventually Patrick. Seems SpongeBob has been sheared down until there was nothing left but his brain.
    "Don't worry! It grows back!"
    • In "Pranks a Lot", Spongebob and Patrick trick Sandy into thinking they're ghosts. They wear white bed sheets to make her think it's a cheap costume, but when she pulls them off there's nothing there. She freaks out and jumps into an escape pod to run back to Texas.
    • "The Ghost of Plankton" has Plankton do this after watching a horror movie. Unable to see where he is going he trips and falls to the ground.
  • The titular characters of The Spooks Of Bottle Bay.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "Hungry Larry", Star and Janna summon the eponymous spirit, who at first appears to be a shrimpy little bedsheet ghost with stubby arms and legs. He turns out to be much more dangerous than he appears, however.
  • The Strange Chores: Que in "Don't Trick or Tweet," even using it to scare Snorp. She is a real ghost, after all.
    Que: My costume must have a fever because it is sick!
    • She also considers doing this in "Unclog The Toilet" after an unsuccessful attempt to scare a monster.
  • Superman Theatrical Cartoons: In Jungle Drums, the Nazi army unit wears Bedsheet Ghost costumes as part of their God Guise that they're using to control a local African tribe. The similarities to the uniforms of the Ku Klux Klan are very much deliberate.
  • The Teen Titans Go! Halloween Episode has Starfire wearing a white bedsheet ghost costume after being turned into a little kid. Near the end, when she and the other Titans turn back to normal, the costume that she wears only covers her head and not her body.
  • In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "The Forest of Magi Oar", the Thunderkittens tease Cheetara when she reports feeling the presence of spirits, by playing at being ghosts under a tent canvas. While stumbling under it, they knock their heads together.
  • A Halloween Episode of Timmy Time has Timmy's friends do this to scare him.
  • In the Van Beuren Studios Tom and Jerry cartoon "Wot a Night", a group of them briefly pop up to scare Tom and Jerry, but they quickly fall through a trapdoor—just to wind up with a group of skeletons instead.
  • Bulkhead from Transformers: Animated had this as a Halloween costume, but, being a giant robot, the only "bedsheet" that fit turned out to be a fumigation tent.
  • In the Season 4 finale of The Venture Brothers, Dean Venture attempts to dress as one of these as a "spooky" costume, because he's unable to find Goth clothing to impress Triana. The following events actually cause him to be confused for a Klan member.
  • In an episode of Victor and Valentino called "The Lonely Haunts Club", Pineapple dresses as a white bedsheet with two eyeholes cut out to spook Valentino, Victor and Charlene.
    • Victor did the same to scare the twins in his Haunted Corn Maze in "El Silbón", except backwards and has the arm holes cut out. This didn't turned out that he hoped when the twins fixed his costume and walked away, calling him "Mr. Ghost".
  • Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production has "Raising Your Spirits" which features Bugs being haunted by an invisible ghost. It makes itself visible by wearing one of Bug's blankets.
  • Dick Dastardly and Muttley disguise themselves as bedsheets ghosts in the Wacky Races episode "Creepy Trip To Lemon Twist" to scare the other racers out of competition. They think they scared Luke and Blubber Bear when it was two actual bedsheets ghosts behind them that scared them off.
  • What About Mimi?: In "Our Little Einstein", Mimi, along with her older brother Jason, does this to scare her little brother Bradley into going to a private school for gifted kids. This fails, however, due to the fact that Jason can't see where he is going while carrying Mimi, causing him to trip and make the sheet that they were wearing to fall off.
  • In "Save the Black Kitten" from Wonder Pets!, the "ghost" that scares the black kitten (and Tuck and Ming-Ming) is just a puppy that is this.
  • One episode of the Dutch cartoon The White Cowboy has a horde of these ghosts terrorizing Bullet Hole City. The worst thing the ghosts do is yelling boo towards the townsfolk, which utterly terrifies them.
  • The Wuzzles:
    • In "What's Up, Stox?" when they fail to raise enough money to buy real costumes, they settle for this.
    • In "Ghostrustlers", Croc's Mooks disguise themselves as a ghost to scare the wuzzles away. It didn't fool Bumblelion. Later on when real ghosts start to appear, Hoppopotamus covers herself in a sheet to lure a ghost into a trap. However she gets caught in the trap herself.


Bedsheet Clone

While at a golf course, Danny encounters a ghost wearing a bedsheet. However, it turns out to be hiding a horrifying secret.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BedsheetGhost

Media sources: