What Is The Ghost Emoji? The Meaning Behind It

Halloween is the perfect time for emojis. We use them in our texts, tweets, and captions to show all the fun and spooky things associated with the holiday. Among the other emojis we use, like the vampire and spider web, the ghost emoji 👻 is a favourite that we enjoy all year round.

But what does this emoji really mean? Our not-so-paranormal investigation of the Emojiology behind the ghost emoji might shed some light on the matter.

various ghost emoji

What is the Ghost Emoji?

The ghost emoji first haunted our keyboards in 2010 as part of Unicode 6.0, along with other spooky-themed emojis like the skull and jack-o-lantern. Don’t let this phantom’s spectral nature scare you away, though – the emoji is far from spooky.

The ghost emoji appears friendly, with a cute and cartoonish design. With one bulging eye (kind of like it’s winking at you), a stuck-out tongue, and outstretched arms, it’s more like a playful spirit than an eerie poltergeist.

The ghost emoji’s appearance (or should we say apparition) varies slightly across different platforms. Whether you’re chatting on Apple, Google, or Samsung, you’ll find that the ghost emoji rocks the same look – a cute, cartoon ghost with its tongue sticking out.

The design of the ghost emoji resembles a person dressed in a classic white-sheet ghost costume; a popular depiction that caught on in the 19th century. Back then, ghosts were portrayed in burial shrouds to differentiate them from living characters in performances, adding a playful “BOO!” element to their character.

What Does it Mean? – The Different Ways the Ghost Emoji is Used

While the ghost emoji may seem like it’s mainly meant for spooky things, it actually has a wide range of meanings, even with flirting! Sounds weird, right? Here are some of the different ways it’s used:


Let’s start with the most obvious. The ghost emoji is a Halloween staple, symbolising all things scary and supernatural. You’ll frequently see this emoji in texts that discuss Halloween-related topics.

Here are a few examples of how the ghost emoji can be used during the spooky season:

  • As an Instagram caption: “Getting into the Halloween spirit 👻”
  • In a text message: “What are you dressing up as for 👻?”
  • Even in advertising: “Trick or treat yourself to our discount for the Halloween season! 👻”

Experiencing something paranormal

One of the classic uses of the ghost emoji is when discussing ghost stories, sharing supernatural encounters, or engaging in conversations about the mysterious and unexplained.

For example:

  • “Apparently my house is haunted by a 👻! Think I might need to get ghost hunting equipment to find out for myself.”
  • “As I was lying in bed last night, I swear I saw a 👻 move across my room!”
  • “Do you believe in 👻? I’m fascinated by paranormal experiences.”

Expressing craziness or being goofy

With its goofy appearance, this silly little emoji is often used to convey a sense of craziness or absurdity in a fun and light-hearted way.

Here are some examples:

  • “Who needs sleep? I’m pulling an all-nighter to binge-watch my favourite show 👻”
  • “I’m feeling all 👻 today. Might text my crush that I like them”
  • Someone asked me what my favourite food was, and I went all 👻 and said “tomato sauce”


Did you know that this adorably spooky emoji is often used to represent flirtatious feelings? The ghost emoji is sometimes used as a term of endearment. It can be a cute way to greet someone or show closeness and affection, like saying “Hey boo!” to a friend or loved one.

Here are some more examples of using the ghost emoji while flirting:

  • “Hey 👻, how’s your day going?”
  • “You’ve been haunting my thoughts lately 👻” (Pun intended!)

Scary movies

The ghost emoji also finds its place when discussing scary movies, particularly those that revolve around ghosts or fall into the horror genre. It serves as a visual representation to signify the spooky theme being discussed.

Here are some examples of using the ghost emoji in relation to scary movies:

  • “I’m in the mood for a good scare tonight. Have any 👻 film recommendations?”
  • “I watched a horror film last night and I swear I’m now being haunted by a 👻”

Being “ghosted”

In modern slang, “ghosting” means abruptly ending communication or disappearing without explanation. The ghost emoji can be used as a substitute for the term “being ghosted” or playfully teasing someone about it.

But, given the emoji’s slightly silly appearance, it can imply that the person being ghosted isn’t overly bothered by it.

For example:

  • “We were chatting non-stop and then they vanished. Classic case of getting 👻”
  • “Remember that date I was really excited about? They totally ghost 👻 me!”


This emoji is closely associated with the popular multimedia messaging app, Snapchat. It can have multiple meanings on the platform but primarily represents the app’s logo.

Some examples where you might see the ghost emoji in reference to Snapchat are:

  • “Do you have 👻?”
  • “Just posted a hilarious video on my 👻 story! Check it out.”
  • “Did you see the Snap I sent you? 👻”

Discovering something creepy

Finding out something creepy is another instance where the ghost emoji can be used. It adds a mysterious touch to conversations when discussing eerie or unsettling discoveries.

For example:

  • “I walked past that old lady’s house today. It gave me major 👻 vibes.”
  • “I just found an old Ouija board in my house!! 👻”
  • “I just read about the real Annabelle doll. 👻 If you want to sleep at night, I recommend not reading it…”


What emojis are similar in meaning to the ghost emoji?

There are several emojis that share similar meanings with the ghost emoji in terms of its uses and playful-yet-spooky nature. Some examples include:

  • The skull emoji 💀
  • The zombie emoji 🧟
  • The pumpkin/jack-o-lantern emoji 🎃
  • The alien emoji 👽
  • The ogre emoji 👹
  • The headstone emoji 🪦
  • The coffin emoji ⚰️

Essentially, any emoji that has a “creepy” meaning that can be used in relation to paranormal experiences or in different playful contexts.

How do you use the ghost emoji?

You can use the ghost emoji pretty much anywhere; texting, social media, or reactions and responses. Despite its Hallo weeny appearance, this versatile emoji can be used in various contexts. Here are some examples of how you can use the ghost emoji:

  • Add a playful touch to a conversation about the paranormal.
  • To decorate your Halloween-related texts.
  • To represent your fun side through a text.
  • Use it to indicate that you’re joking or being silly.
  • Use it when someone hasn’t replied to your message.
  • As a term of endearment, like saying “Hey boo!”


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!