Looking to provide your players with some tricks and treats in a fun little one-shot. We flipped through all 352 pages of the Monster Manual, so you don’t have to. This list is a mash of fun Halloween flavored monsters (more typical of Scoobie-Doo or a B movie, than a gothic horror setting like Ravenloft), but all of these monsters can easily be used to terrify your players.
Here is our list of 10 Monsters for a D&D 5th Edition Halloween Monster Mash from the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Monster Manual. Now updated with page number references!
Challenge Rating: 1/4 | p. 272 of Monster Manual
Skeletons are either animated by magic and are obedient to their master or rise on their own accord in a place of death and loss. With the right setting, a group of skeletons can be a deadly battle for a group of heroes passing through a graveyard, a cursed city or when approaching a wizards tower.
Challenge Rating: 1/4 | p. 315 of Monster Manual
Walkers, zombies, undead… whatever you call them. Created by magic, these zombies are the typical slow variety (speed 20′) seen in The Walking Dead, not the fast zombies of 28 Days Later (2002). Zombies take the most direct route and use no tactics, so they’re not a difficult foe, unless faced in large numbers. Try the Beholder Zombie (CR 5) or convert another monster into a zombie. Change things up for a one-shot and have the zombies created by a virus for a medieval zombie apocalypse.
Challenge Rating: 1 | p. 368 of Monster Manual
Scarecrows silently guard fields awaiting harvest, bound by the command of their master. Have your adventurers take a shortcut through a farmers field only to find out it is not unguarded. Have the death of their master send scarecrows hunting down the murderers one by one for a mystery or thriller.
Challenge Rating: 3 | p. 211 of Monster Manual
Not the toughest of the lycanthropes, werewolves are a movie classic with titles including A Werewolf in London (1935), The Wolf Man (1941), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Teen Wolf (1985) and The Wolfman (2010). When your adventurers are attacked by a werewolf, they’re facing a savage predator with heightened senses and not much of the humanoid remains. Have a member of your party get bitten and remind them of how full the moon is getting.
Challenge Rating: 4 | p. 147 of Monster Manual
A ghost is soul of a creature than was once alive and now haunts a specific location it is bound to. You can use a ghost as a monster to battle, but talking to a ghost and helping them resolve unfinished business is another encounter set-up. With withering touch and possession, a ghost is terrifying for your lower level adventurers to face. Just being around a ghost can be spooky, so turn up the environmental effects like cold, sound, smell and objects moving on their own like the movie Poltergeist (1982).
#5 Flesh Golem
Challenge Rating: 5 | p. 169 of Monster Manual
Frankenstein’s monster was created by science and electricity. Why not swap our Dr. Frankenstein with an evil necromancer or an insane wizard trying to bring a loved one back to life. Have the necromancer’s monster be made out of body parts of NPCs that the PCs know for an extra pinch of fun. Keep your Frankenstein away from fire, “Fire Bad!”, and use lightning for healing.
#4 Green Hag
Challenge Rating: 5 | p. 177 of Monster Manual
Green hags look like your typical green skinned halloween witch. While exploring a cave deep in a lonely swamp, have your adventurers find a coven of hags. These monsters can be a challenging fight, but may offer interesting social encounter possibilities as an alternative. These hags reproduce by stealing human infants, so they could be the evil at the center of a mystery your adventurers fall into while visiting a bleak village at the edge of a moor.
Challenge Rating: 8 | p. 228 of Monster Manual
A famous explorer has just returned from a far off desert land of pyramids with a boat full of treasure. Have people start to disappear from the docks as the mummies and their king have come to life looking to get revenge on the explorer for disturbing their slumber.
#2 Death Knight
Challenge Rating: 17 | p. 47 of Monster Manual
The death knight is the toughest monster on this list. Put a death knight on a nightmare to create a powerful Sleepy Hallow inspired highwayman disrupting travel on a quiet road between villages until. A group of powerful adventurers could track and confront the knight for battle or figure out why he is attacking travelers.
Challenge Rating: 13 | p. 297 of Monster Manual
Vampires might be a little overused in movies and TV shows these day, but they are popular because they are awesome. With the ability to change shape into a cloud of mist or a bat, create spawn, spider climb and regenerate, it is good that they have some weaknesses. Vampire weaknesses such as running water, forbidden to enter with invitation, wooden stakes and sunlight – can add interesting elements to an encounter and will reward smart players.
Let us know your scariest all time monsters from any edition in the comments below.
Too scary or not as popular enough to make the top 10, here are some other great horror themed monsters.
- Animated Claw
- Animated Armor
- Banshee – see Forest
- Cloaker – it attacked from above
- Helmed Horror
- Invisible Stalker
- Oni – the original boogeyman
- Specter – like a ghost, but travelling