Another Fall, another Pokémon Go Halloween event. It's time to celebrate the undead Pokémon who give us the shivers in the darkest hour before dawn. There's just one problem. This year, Pokémon Go's Halloween celebrations are centered around the Ghost-type Spiritomb, who kind of sucks. And not in the "I'm going to drain your soul from your mortal shell" kind of way.
You're probably more interested in the Research Tasks necessary to catch Spiritomb than whether I think it's lame (it is). Still, while I admit Spiritomb has a bit of cool lore behind it ("A Pokémon that was formed by 108 spirits. It is bound to a fissure in an odd keystone" is a nice nod to the 108 temptations that keep mortals from Nirvana in Buddhist teachings, and the "fissure" mention gives me "Enigma at Amigara Fault" vibes), it just looks dumb. Spiritomb's silly eyes and gormless grin remind me of all the paper plate masks I half-assed in elementary school art class because I couldn't be bothered.
I decided, "If I'm going to spend my Halloween in the company of Ghost-type Pokémon, I may as well pay tribute to some cool Ghost-types." This list was subsequently born in a cacophony of shrieks and wolf-howls. Enjoy it.
Rotom (Debut: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl)
Let's not talk about how I figured out "Rotom" is "Motor" backwards literally half an hour before I started writing this list. Instead, let's celebrate Rotom's unique powers of possession, as well as its love for mischief. Rotom is a Ghost / Electric-type Pokémon when it's naked (scandalous!), but it can slither into household objects to take on a new form and gift itself with a new type. Rotom can possess washing machines, microwave ovens, refrigerators, and more. Unfortunately, it can't possess color TV's, which is a shame because then this weird little Pokémon would be a living tribute to a certain Dire Straits song.
I hear you saying, "But Ghost-type Pokémon should be scary, and Rotom isn't scary at all!" Maybe I'm alone on this one, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the vicinity of a Rotom living inside a lawnmower. That's a Stephen King novella just waiting to happen.
We recently elected Rotom as one of our Top 25 Pokémon, by the way. Totally with just cause.
Aegislash (Debut: Pokémon X and Y)
Like Rotom, Aegislash is another Ghost-type Pokémon who got its due in our Top 25 Pokémon list. This spectral sword-and-shield combo sure has an interesting PokéDex entry: "Generations of kings were attended by these Pokémon, which used their spectral power to manipulate and control people and Pokémon." There is a lot of genuinely cool stuff going on in the bits of Pokémon history fed to us from game to game. I'd happily play a Pokémon entry that lets us see how Pokémon were used by ancient civilizations.
Aegislash is a powerful fighter thanks to its ability to shift between an offensive and defensive form, but even if it didn't have that power to back it up, it'd still be an awesome Ghost-type Pokémon. Possessed ghost-swords are just neat. Remember the sword familiar from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night? It can turn any foe into Swiss cheese, and it has a haughty, stuck-up voice. You are scum in the presence of any floating sword. Just embrace your lowly status.
Origin Forme Giratina (Debut: Pokémon Platinum)
Giratina is one of Generation IV's Legendries, and it carries an intriguing Ghost / Dragon-typing. Giratina is already a Pokémon Go raid boss, and if you're not prepared for its onslaught, you may as well just exile yourself to the dragon's frightful Distortion World.
Giratina is a beast, and a literal creation god, but those aren't the only reasons it deserves a spot on this Ghost-type tribute. Giratina has two form(e)s: An "Altered Forme" (a six-legged dark dragon) and an "Origin Forme" that resembles a huge centipede with protruding, grasping limbs. I remember seeing a huge cut-out of Origin Forme Giratina while walking through a mall. I said, "Wow, I want absolutely nothing to do with that freaky-ass Pokémon." Of course, "I want nothing to do with this" is exactly what you want someone to say if you're trying to frighten them with a ghost. It's one of those ironic marketing twists cooked up by smart people who have a lot more money than me.
Mimikyu (Debut: Pokémon Sun and Moon)
Mimikyu is another Ghost-type Pokémon who rightfully earned its place on our Top 25 Pokémon list. This eerie little Pikachu imitator just wants to be loved—but getting close enough to show it real affection means risking life, limb, and soul.
But Mimikyu won't just condemn you to a horrific death if you look under its costume; it'll also gladly put an end to you on the battlefield if its trainer wills it. Finally, Mimikyu's filthy robes nullify any opening attack you lob at it.
All right, so Mimikyu can twist my body and soul into a pretzel. That doesn't mean I don't want one.
Litwick (Debut: Pokémon X and Y) and Palossand (Debut: Pokémon Sun and Moon)
I rank Litwick and Palossand as Pokémon's deadliest, most insidious Ghost-types for the same reasons: They're relentless soul-suckers disguised as everyday objects. You can look at Mimikyu and say, "He's just misunderstood," or you can say Aegislash "Just follows orders." You can even say Giratina only does what comes naturally to a chaos god. Litwick and Palossand, however, are driven only to feed.
Litwick preys on lost travellers looking for light and warmth ("While shining a light and pretending to be a guide, it leeches off the life force of any who follow it"), and Palossand disguises itself as a sand castle to lure—and then bury alive—anyone (!!!MOST LIKELY CHILDREN!!!) who tries to play with it.
I've already explored the horrific nature of Palossand and its pre-evolved form, Sandygast, but there's something that's just melancholy about Litwick. Maybe it's because Pokémon comic artists aren't afraid to show the sad consequences of Litwick's soul-eating.