Halloween is almost upon us, so there’s not long left if you’re trying to come up with a costume design. If you’re looking for something a bit different from a boring witch or skeleton getup, you might be able to find inspiration from this frightfully handy world map of monsters.
Around the world, folk mythology has created a rich cast of spine-chilling bogeyman. They may look very different and have different stories, but they often serve the same purpose: to terrify children into behaving well. Now someone’s helpfully put dozens of them on an illustrated world map for us to peruse (see our pick of the best free Halloween fonts for more spooky inspiration).
TheToyZone says it trawled through books and articles to uncover the most unique examples of local monsters from around the world. The team then made a series of illustrated maps to showcase the spookiest creatures from each country. Its calling the map an illustrated tribute to every country’s version of the bogeyman.
As well as choosing national bogeymen, it also dug into regional folklore. so we have the Jersey Devil with a horse’s head and bat’s wings in North America and the blue-faced witch Black Annis in Leicestershire, England. Some of the monsters are connected to local landscapes, so Ecuador has Kuartam, a treefrog that deals with bullies by transforming into a tiger.
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Several of the terrifying “local childhood law enforcers” use bags for carrying children away, from Canada’s Seven O’Clock Man to Spain’s rather simply named “Man with a Sack”. But some cultures developed particularly distinct monsters.
Algeria’s H’awouahoua is a bogeyman figure composed of animal parts with flaming spittle for eyes, and the Nasnās, which haunt Yemen and other areas in the gulf region have “only one eye, one cheek, one hand, one leg, half a torso and half a heart.” They have to hop to get around. And incredibly, that’s not the most gruesome creature on the map. That accolade has to go to the ahp from Cambodia, a cannibalistic floating female head that trails its internal organs behind it.
For more Halloween inspiration, take a look at the best October art challenges. We’ve also seen people using AI image generators to try to make retro monsters scary again.