| Catherine Anise

5 Spooky Mushrooms That Might Freak You Out!

We have grown up hearing about the incredible properties of mushrooms. We savor their earthy taste regularly. This was not the case in the past.

For centuries, mushrooms were associated with the supernatural. People imagined that these strange-looking fungi were the playthings of leprechauns, witches, and lowly toads.

Since Halloween just passed, it’s time to revive the old legends. Today, we focus on the spooky nature of fungi. We’re used to seeing mushrooms around the house, in stores, and in the nearby woods. Even so, there are fungal species that freak us out when we come across them.

While we’re nearing the end of fall, others look to the skies to watch beautiful birds migrating to warmer regions. We, on the other hand, glance downwards, feverishly in search of spooky mushrooms that could add scare and horror to your Halloween party.

There are plenty of freaks out there; the five spooky mushrooms presented here are enough to make heads turn in horror.

  1. Dead Man’s Fingers (Xylaria Polymorpha)

This fungus is as spooky as its name suggests. The peculiar fungal species grows on decaying wood across Europe, Asia, and North America.

The mushroom is at the top of our list because its appearance resembles the bony digits of a deceased person reaching out from the grave.

The fruiting body is long and slender, and its color very much looks like lifeless fingers emerging from the ground. On a cloudy evening, these skeletal fingers are guaranteed to frighten any unsuspecting person who accidentally comes across the spooky mushroom.

Delving into Xylaria Polymorpha’s history, we find the mushroom surrounded by strange superstition and folklore. It’s believed that the growth of this mushroom marks the presence of spirits in the area. Some even consider the growth of Dead Man’s Fingers a sign of impending tragedy.

Although it’s foolish to believe in such superstition in this day and age, it’s undeniable that the mushroom’s strange appearance makes it a perfect addition to the Halloween mystery.

Scientifically, can Dead Man’s Fingers harm people who encounter it? Fear not, the mushroom is neither toxic nor poisonous. You can touch and handle the fungus without fear.

Does this curious specimen deserve a place on your Halloween menu? The mushroom lacks delectable qualities; hence, its culinary appeal is limited.

However, they are consumed for their potential health benefits. Although scientific literature on Dead Man’s Fingers is limited, you can find the usage of this fungus in traditional medicine.

In Ayurveda, the mushroom is dried, powdered, and taken with sugar to promote lactation in breastfeeding mothers. Additionally, the mushroom is believed to contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The skeletal appearance makes Dead Man’s Fingers the natural choice for spooky Halloween decorations. Make this harmless mushroom an object of dread and fascination by placing these bony fingers on a table or scattering them around the house.

  1. Cordyceps (the Zombie Fungus)

The fungal kingdom harbors many spooky mushrooms, but none is as chilling as Zombie Fungus Cordyceps, also known as the vegetable caterpillar. This seemingly innocent-looking fungal species has a sinister side.

For those unfamiliar with Cordyceps, its lifecycle can be unsettling. Nevertheless, the mushroom’s parasitic behavior may hold a macabre appeal for some.

What are we referring to? The lifecycle is straightforward: the fungus infects insects and takes control of their actions, turning the infected insect into a mere puppet.

The fungus then feeds on the insect’s innards to grow. As the final stage approaches, the fungus compels the insect to climb to an elevated position, where it bursts, releasing spores to find other hosts and multiply.

It is due to this gruesome modus operandi that Cordyceps is also referred to as the Zombie Fungus. The concept of a body-invading and mind-controlling parasite may seem like a fantastic idea from a post-apocalyptic novel or movie, but it occurs in our backyards and forests.

Cordyceps’ association with undead and reanimated corpses makes it all the more intriguing to those celebrating Halloween. Despite its ordinary outward appearance, its eerie backstory makes it a suitable choice for creating a spooky ambiance at your Halloween party.

Beyond its bizarre backstory, Cordyceps is considered a medical marvel. While the hit TV series ‘The Last of Us’ depicts the fungus infecting Homo sapiens, Cordyceps is safe for humans. It’s neither toxic nor poisonous.

For centuries, practitioners of traditional medicine have used this mushroom for various purposes. Cordyceps is prescribed to boost energy levels, stamina, endurance, and athletic performance. Additionally, it’s considered a natural Viagra that can enhance libido and improve performance in bed.

Modern research also suggests that the mushroom may contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

  1. Jelly Drop Mushrooms

In this case, the name of the mushroom is opposite to the way the fungus makes you feel. The mushroom appears as an exposed intestine of a small animal or a bunch of maggots feeding on a dead animal.

Jelly Drop Mushrooms are sure to freak out any person who comes across them. That said, the mushroom is named so because of its gelatinous appearance. This captivating fungus is found in various parts of the world.

Jelly Drop Mushrooms find a place on our list not just because of their appearance. This fungal species has an intriguing and interesting history. In ancient folklore, these mushrooms were thought to possess mystical and magical qualities. Due to their peculiar shape and color, these mushrooms were thought to be remnants of fallen stars.

Despite its repulsive appearance, this fungal species is edible and may even contain medicinal properties. Jelly Drop Mushrooms are neither poisonous nor toxic. Moreover, they are regularly consumed.

Unlike other mushrooms, the Jelly Drop has a mild taste. These mushrooms are consumed albeit irregularly in several Asian countries. The mushroom’s gelatinous properties make it the ideal ingredient to use in desserts and soups.

Jelly Drop Mushroom is unique in its appearance and texture as well. While most other mushrooms have a rubber-like fruiting body, the jelly-like trembling consistency of this species makes it unique.

That said, the little translucent blobs add a spooky touch to your Halloween decoration. Add these mushrooms to your Halloween décor to captivate some and scare others.

  1. Bleeding Tooth (Hydnellum peckii)

Bleeding Tooth (Hydnellum peckii) is a strange and mysterious mushroom that captivates nature enthusiasts and mycologists alike. Its distinctive appearance may freak some out, but it’s quite harmless. In fact, it’s believed to contain many health-promoting properties.

If you’re interested in spooky mushrooms, then Bleeding Tooth is a fascinating subject of study. This fungal species gets its name from the tooth-like spine present under the cap. The tooth-shaped mushroom oozes red liquid when injured or sometimes when touched.

Coniferous forests in Asia, America, and Europe are the natural habitats of these mushrooms. They can be found nestled among leaf needles and moss on the forest floor.

One of the interesting facts about Hydnellum peckii is its symbiotic relationship with the vegetation surrounding the mushroom. Nutrient exchange between the fungus and coniferous trees helps both species mutually, thereby maintaining the fragile balance and improving the overall health of the forest ecosystem.

Although scientists have been studying the Bleeding Tooth Mushroom for a long time, nothing concrete has been uncovered regarding its potential medicinal benefits. That said, this mushroom has been widely used in alternative medicine. For centuries, Hydnellum peckii has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.

The Bleeding Tooth Mushroom is not known for its palatable taste. Its bitter flavor makes Bleeding Tooth an unsuitable ingredient in any Halloween or fall dish.

The mushroom’s macabre aesthetic, with its blood-red secretion, makes it a suitable addition to your Halloween festivities. You can include Bleeding Tooth to create an eerie otherworldly display. Infuse this bizarre mushroom to add a sense of mystery, awe, and gore to your Halloween party.

  1. Devil’s Fingers (Clathrus Archeri)

If you feel the above fungal species are not bizarre and spooky enough, let me make a final attempt. Here is a mushroom that will get you into the Halloween spirit. The Devil’s Fingers or Octopus Stinkhorn is not only unsettling to look at, but it also smells horrible.

The mushroom’s smell acts both as an attraction and a defensive mechanism. The fruiting body isn’t toxic or poisonous, but the pungent smell helps keep both humans and animals away.

As the name suggests – Octopus Stinkhorn – it smells like rotten flesh. The stench helps the mushroom attract insects that aid in spreading the fungal spores. It’s highly unlikely that the smelly Devil’s Fingers will ever become a delicacy.

The fungus gets its name – Devil’s Fingers or Octopus Stinkhorn – from the 4-7 slender arms that grow from a slimy egg. Initially, these arms are fused at the top. The mushroom has a pinkish-red interior that’s revealed when the slender arms unfold. At the center is a circular mass called Gleba that contains the spores.

This fungal species is widespread and found on multiple continents, from Asia to Europe to Australia. Its distinctive shape and color attract people and mycologists alike. Some experts also believe that Devil’s Fingers contain immunity-boosting properties. However, scientific evidence to support health benefits is scant.

Devil’s Fingers makes hauntingly good Halloween decorations. The finger-like structure, with its striking color but otherworldly shape, will add an extra layer of eeriness to the decoration. However, the mushroom’s pungent smell may upset some people. Hence, use them for outdoor decoration with suitable lights to enhance their eeriness.

Celebrate Weirdcore Halloween with Spooky Mushrooms

Your weirdcore Halloween décor is incomplete without our spooky mushrooms. These peculiar wonders of nature will add an eerie enchantment to your Halloween party.

These five fungal oddities, with their touch of otherworldly charm, are sure to make this Halloween an unforgettable experience.

Although these spooky mushrooms are not toxic, some of them are unpalatable and certainly not edible.

But with their ominous colors and peculiar shapes, they make perfect Halloween decorative objects. Place these spooky mushrooms strategically to turn your space into a macabre wonderland.

You don’t have to restrict your Halloween décor to these five spooky mushrooms. Expand the mushroom theme to include mushroom lanterns that will illuminate the night with an eerie glow.

You can use mushroom-shaped lanterns or, even better, choose any of the bioluminescent mushrooms that glow in the dark. Place them near windows or in strategic corners to cast their ethereal light and mystify the guests.

Create haunted woodlands in the living room with a fungal forest on a table, featuring clusters of grass and strategically placed peculiar mushrooms. Use small dry ice cubes to create a foggy moor feel in the fungal forest.

Your mushroom-themed Halloween party is incomplete without a scrumptious mushroom menu. Craft bewitching and mouthwatering dishes with mushrooms – edible fungus, of course.

Mushrooms are particularly abundant during the fall season. Take your guests on a culinary adventure with a variety of mushroom dishes.

Let these awesome mushroom dishes warm your heart to compensate for the cold Halloween night and the mystical aura of Halloween décor.

Next Halloween, let the mushroom décor and menu bring you closer to the realms beyond the visible.

Final Thoughts

Embrace the bizarre beauty of spooky mushrooms to create a strange and interesting Halloween vibe.

Utilize our decor ideas to let mushrooms captivate your attention and senses. These strange yet awesome mushrooms will make your Halloween celebration more magical and mysterious.