After the release of Pokemon Legends Arceus, there are over 900 Pokémon of all shapes and sizes. While the series is known for promoting collaborative themes and its “gotta catch them all” tagline, it harbors a darker underbelly that compromises these things. Many of the Pokémon that players and audiences bond with have strange lore written about them in the Pokédex, reminding you that Pokémon means “pocket monster.”
With Halloween just around the corner, dark images of ghosts and monsters are becoming more common. As such, it’s worth checking out some of the spookiest and creepiest Pokémon in the franchise yet based on their designs and Pokédex entries. Consider catching a few for your own party team, or make sure to avoid them or you’ll have a dismal ending.
Pokémon Gold and Silver introduced dark-type Pokémon to the franchise as a means of counteracting the overpowered psychic type. Among them were Houndour and its evolution, Houndoom. The design combines a Doberman and demonic traits, in addition to the secondary Fire typing, to give Pokémon its iteration of the Hellhound.
Houndoom’s diabolical tendencies are illustrated in the Pokédex entries. Their fire is a mixture of flames and poisons: when you burn yourself, the pain never goes away. Fortunately, Houndoom is very loyal to his pack members, and with a strong bond, Trainers can help them achieve Mega-Evolution.
When the bug-type Pokémon, Nincada, finally evolves, it sheds its old skin and flaps its wings as it soars into the air like the swift Ninjask. Sometimes, though, the exoskeleton takes off with a life of its own, especially if a Nincada’s trainer has a spare Pokéball on hand. This results in the birth of the floating Ghost type, Shedinja.
In addition to his body with stiff, lifeless movements, it is said that if you look through the hole in Shedinja’s back, it will steal your soul. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, Shedinja’s ability, Wonder Guard, means Shedinja can’t get hurt unless a super-effective attack hits him. Fortunately, it’s incredibly vulnerable, so one hit is guaranteed to take it down.
Scarecrows are eerie all year round, but especially during the fall when their eerie demeanor is set against high cornfields and gray skies. This disturbing nature is captured in the Scarecrow Pokémon, Cacturne. While they relied on ambushing prey in their pre-evolved form of Cacnea, Cacturne has a more fearsome strategy.
Capture spends their days perfectly still so as not to lose any of the accumulated moisture. As the sun sets, they start chasing travelers, waiting for them to get tired to descend on them. Fortunately, Cacturne lives in deserts, but imagine the sight of a humanoid cactus sneaking up behind you as the sun sets.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if one of those old toys you threw away came to life? If so, Banette has you covered. Evolved from Shuppet, which feeds on negative energy, Banette collects all those negative feelings inside and uses them as fuel to find the person who threw them away.
The concept of ghost dolls became more popular in the 1800s when toy manufacturers were able to create lifelike dolls that evoked the eerie valley. Thankfully, Banette’s design has a more charming sock-pop feel, making it easier to warm up. This is good because if Banette is shown kindness, they can put their grudges behind them and find peace.
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl gifted several overlooked Pokémon new evolutions. One recipient was Misdrevous, the franchise’s first pure ghost type who likes to play pranks and scare people for livelihood. Once exposed to a Dusk Stone, Misdrevous evolves into Mismagius, and his power to cause mischief increases tenfold.
Mismagius fulfills his evil witch design by appearing in front of people without warning to mutter incantations that can curse others with terrifying visions. But just as not all witches are evil, some Mismagius use their incantations to bring good luck to those they like. In addition to witches, Mismagius’ powerful voice is inspired by the Banshee, an Irish spirit who could kill with a scream.
Pokémon Black and White introduced many Pokémon based on inanimate objects. While some, like the Klink line of living gear, were lackluster, others took full advantage of their concepts. The best of these was the Litwick line of sentient candles and lamps, which culminated in the ghostly chandelier Pokemon, Chandelure.
Haunted houses are a staple of Halloween entertainment, but if a Chandelure haunts a house, expect death to be in the near future. While Litwick and Lampent focused on collecting souls, Chandelure uses its ghostly flames to burn the soul out of a person’s body. The victim is then forced to roam the Earth as a lost soul, while the Chandelure lies waiting for another.
Part of what makes Halloween so much fun is the spectacle of it all. It’s a chance to hang out with friends and family and explore your creativity with fun costumes and spooky decorations. However, you must be careful not to lose sight of reality, especially if there is a Zoroark nearby.
Inspired by the Japanese trickster fox, the kitsune, Zoroark uses powerful illusions to confuse and trap his enemies, or anyone who gets too close to his lair. It can also be difficult to find one, as their illusions allow them to blend in perfectly with other Pokémon and humans, even mimicking human speech. Pokemon Legends Arceus also introduced a new Zoroark, who trades a hidden prankster for a vengeful spirit of revenge.
Introduced in pokemon x and y, Pumpkaboo and its evolution, Gourgeist, encompasses everything people love about pumpkin picking. They come in a variety of sizes, with small ones being faster and having large bulk. Pumpkaboo also only evolves by trading it with another person, mimicking the fun of picking and carving a pumpkin with loved ones.
Unfortunately, the Pokédex says that Gourgeist travels in groups and sings creepy songs while wrapping their hair-arms around the prey to drag them to the afterlife. Anyone who hears their song is cursed, which is just vague and creepy enough to fit a jack-o-lantern ghost. Brilliant diamond and shiny pearl revealed that Gourgeist hunts of different sizes with different strategies: the scariest were the big ones posing as adults to lure children to their doom.
As the shadows of night creep in, a walk through the woods can feel like stepping into a new and terrifying place with no hope of escape. In the Pokémon world, stray children who die in the forest are resurrected as Phantump. Some of them manage to evolve into Trevenant and go from wandering souls to cruel avatars of nature.
With such a murky backstory, it’s no wonder Trevenant is willing to trap individuals who threaten their forest home in an almost inescapable dark maze. They can even use their roots to control trees and unleash the full fury of the forest on its enemies. And yet Trevenant shows his friends and fellow forest dwellers a hint of the child it used to be through acts of kindness.
There are many superstitions about our shadows, usually linked to a person’s soul. Some beliefs say that shadows are windows to our souls and that if you damage the shadow you can damage the soul. With that context, the idea of a Pokémon that can slip into your shadow and learn all your secrets is terrifying.
Marshadow was able to hide until… Pokémon Sun and Moon thanks to its ability to hide in people’s shadows. While in a shadow, Marshadow can copy one’s skills and emotions, and with time and practice can surpass them. This makes Marshadow Pokémon equivalent to a Doppelgänger: a creature or spirit that is able to perfectly copy another person’s appearance and abilities and tries to replace them.
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