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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

13 Funny Campfire Stories You’ll Want to Share This Summer

Round up the s'mores ingredients and snuggle under comfy blankets, then settle in for a night of good old-fashioned storytelling.

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Campfire evening. Kayak camping in the Broken Group Islands off the west coast of Vancouver Island.Kimberly Shavender/Shutterstock

But seriously, where did the pink ping-pong balls go?

It all starts with a son’s strange request for a birthday present: a single pink ping-pong ball. His father obliges him—only to watch in frustration as the mystery deepens over the next decade. Literal truckloads of pink ping-pong balls arrive and disappear, and the father and son’s relationship strengthens, until finally … an ending none of your listeners will expect! Looking for a place to build the ultimate storytelling campfire? Try one of these 14 incredible campgrounds across America.

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Overhead view of travel equipment for a backpacking trip on wooden floor. / Items include rope, belt, canteen, compass, map, camera, binoculars, journal, boots. Time to travel concept.Kimrawicz/Shutterstock

Why am I so unlucky?

A man who seemingly has everything goes on a quest to find out why he isn’t content. Along the way he encounters several other plants, animals, and people who have similar questions. At last the man finds God at the end of the world and asks him why they are all so unlucky. His answer will have you chuckling and then questioning your own priorities.

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Wooden masks of African tribal on sale of flea marketRadiokafka/Shutterstock

Puns + Exotic animals = The perfect campfire story

This story takes place deep in the heart of Africa, in a battle between a certain hooved mammal and neighboring humans. Eventually the score is settled, and the moral is summed up in a hilarious punny saying that will have your listeners laughing and rolling their eyes. Don’t miss these 14 cartoon puns that never get old.

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Log cabin in a forest in the fall.Adam Melnyk/Shutterstock

Whatever you do, don’t touch the purple gorilla

A mysterious, remote cabin; a monstrous, hidden creature; a dire (and ultimately unheeded) warning—it’s the perfect setup for a terrifying campfire tale. And the ending will definitely have you screaming—with laughter. Little ones, especially, will get a kick out this surprising tale. If your listeners can handle it, share these spooky stories from the world’s most haunted places.

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Forested mountain slope in low lying cloud with the evergreen conifers shrouded in mist in a scenic landscape viewPlusONE/Shutterstock

Mountain man vs. Miserly ghost

In an epic battle of wills, children have to fend off the ghost of an old miser in order to win a tempting treasure. The ending will give you a good giggle, but the real humor lies in asking your listeners what they would say to the specious spirit.

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Coyote in CanadaCollins93/Shutterstock

Are you me?

Two wily coyotes get an argument over who and what they really are. They decide to figure it out by letting a nearby farmer decide. But even though they hear the same thing, they arrive at two very different answers. Your listeners will be howling with laughter. (Especially if you are the parent of more than one child!) For some real-life funny stories, read the 13 craziest things drive-through workers have seen on the job.

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Multiple marshmallows extended over a camp fire to roast.Phil McDonald/Shutterstock

Don’t bite that hand that massages you

You go to see a psychic at a fair and end up learning something terrifying that happened to you in a previous life, something that is still haunting you to this day. To convince your listeners, have them become part of the story—and then delight them with a hilarious surprise ending. Just make sure you brush up on your acting skills!

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Serene mountain lake, Utah, USA.Johnny Adolphson/Shutterstock

How the 10,000 lakes were made

Local lore has long been shared around the campfire, getting bigger and more elaborate with each telling. Use this tall tale to explain how Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” was formed, thanks to a giant moose and a pesky fly. The ending is equal parts icky and funny, leaving your listeners with a shivery laugh. Learn where to find the best RV parks in every state.

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Vintage chestKaterina Graghine/Shutterstock

Grandma in the basement (maybe)

Children hear a suspicious rapping noise when cleaning out the house of their dearly departed grandmother. But is she really dead? They decide to investigate the source of the scary noise only to discover … well, it’s definitely not what you think it is!

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old tent in the autumn forest, home for adventure and travelKichigin/Shutterstock

This gives new meaning to “hacking up a lung”

A man walks past a cemetery, only to be joined by a creepy new friend in a coffin. After a harrowing run, he finally discovers the hilarious thing the ghoul really needed to lay down for its eternal rest. This story is perfect if you have little ones who love to be delighted with a scary tale, but you don’t want them sleeping in your room every night for the next month.

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Blue enamel cup of hot steaming coffee sitting on an old log by an outdoor campfire. Extreme shallow depth of field with selective focus on mug.Stephanie Frey/Shutterstock

Depends on your definition of “lucky!”

Ball pits are a favorite of young children but also a source of worry for parents. Who knows what dangers could be lurking under all those brightly colored plastic balls? This story turns that worry on its head with a hilarious twist ending.

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Muir Woods National Monument is an old-growth coastal redwood forest.Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz/Shutterstock

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Two friends go hunting in the woods only to suffer a terrible accident. But things really go sideways when one friend calls emergency services—and then hilariously misinterprets their instructions.

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Rusty lit blue lantern hanging in an old shedLucie Lang/Shutterstock

For a stalker, you sure walk really loud

Everyone has had the unnerving experience of walking alone at night and feeling like they’re being followed, but in this creepy story, the woman finally confronts her stalker—only to discover that the situation was far different from what she had imagined. Check out the spookiest urban legend from every state.

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, BS, MS, has been covering health, fitness, parenting and culture for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 15 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast and also does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She has appeared in television news segments for CBS, FOX and NBC.