Common themes for short campfire ghost stories are haunted dolls, lost souls calling to loved ones, and haunted mirrors whose spirits kill those who call to it. In addition to ghost stories, tales of escaped killers are popular campfire entertainment. Variations on the themes often change the details to more closely match the area of the camp. Many tales end with a very quiet, suspenseful moment followed by a loud "gotcha" moment meant to startle the audience.
A version of the tale of the lost camper is a popular short ghost story. In this story, one child in a group of campers wanders away from the campsite. The child's absence is discovered just as a thunderstorm moves into the area, forcing the camp counselors to search for the child in the storm. After a few hours, all the counselors give up except one frantic girl who insists on continuing the search.
When the counselors return to camp, the child has found her way back to her cabin. The storm worsens, and no one is able to locate the counselor who remained in the woods. She never returns, but on dark stormy nights, her ghost still calls for the missing camper.
The man with the hook hand is another popular campfire story. Two teenagers are parked in a car on a dark stormy night. They hear on the radio that a killer has escaped from prison and has a hook where one hand used to be. One teenager tries to convince the other that there is nothing to fear, but when they hear a sound outside the car, they drive away. When they return home, they find a hook attached to the door handle of the car.