The Ghostly Colors of Spectral Spectres

Shrouded in mystery, ghostly apparitions materialize in many subtly haunting colors. Besides deathly white, the specrtral spectrum embraces ethereal violets, cadaverous yellows, twilit blues, midnight blacks, moonlit silvers, and near-transparent yet unmistakable hues spanning the entire night rainbow. The delicate, insubstantial hues of the ghostly realm can add an emotive dimension of wistfulness to any palette, Halloween-themed or otherwise.

Charley: What color?
Nancy: Ghost color.
Charley: Ghost color? Oh, ghost color!
—John Cecil Holm, Gramercy Ghost (1951)


Strange white lustres and shadowy blacks are integral to the philosophy of art teacher John Ruskin. He explains: “When white is well managed, it ought to be strangely delicious,—tender as well as bright,—like inlaid mother of pearl, or white roses washed in milk. The eye ought to seek it for rest, brilliant though it may be; and to feel it as a space of strange, heavely paleness in the midst of the flushing of the colours. This effect you can only reach by general depth of middle tint, by absolutely refusing to allow any white to exist except where you need it, and by keeping the white itself subdued by grey, except at a few points of chief lustre.

“Secondly, you must make the black conspicuous. However small a point of black may be, it ought to catch the eye, otherwise your work is too heavy in the shadow. All the ordinary shadows should be of some colour,—never black, nor approaching black, they should be evidently and always of a luminous nature, and the black should look strange among them; never occuring except in a black object, or in small points indicative of intense shade in the very centre of masses of shadow. Shadows of absolutely negative grey, however, may be beautifully used with white, or with gold; but still through the black thus, in subdued strength, becomes spacious, it should always be conspicuous; the spectator should notice this grey neutrality with some wonder, and enjoy, all the more intensely on account of it, the gold colour and the white which it relieves” (The Elements of Drawing, 1857).


Ethereal Ghosts:

ghostly pink ghostly dream

old ghosts ghostly

baby ghost  Ghost

Ghost of a Chance ghost

Ghostly Flesh Ghostly Vapors

ghost Ghost Violet

Ghost ghostly

Ghosts Ghost


Cadaverous Ghosts:

Ghostly image Ghostly reflection

Ghost Riders ghostly lie

give up the ghost ghost

ghost Ghostly Pumpkin

ghost ghost of your charms

Ghostling washed out ghost


Twilight Ghosts:

silly ghost Lime Ghost Pie

bela lugosi's ghost Ghost 2

straight ghost green ghosts

ghostly love ghost heart

pine ghost dark ghost

Ghost 4 Ghost 3

hungry ghost Ghosts of Greens


Midnight Ghosts:

Ghosts of the Abyss ghost eye

Ghost World Unholy Ghost

ghostly nature Ghost Of Tree

shadow ghosts ghost

ghosts of my past Gray As Ghost, Now


Moonlit Ghosts:

ghosts playing Whisper of a Ghost

the ghost in you ghost of a chance.

Give Up The Ghost lunar ghost

moon ghost ghostly


Transparent Ghosts:

ghost rabbit ghosts playing golf

ghostly white Sickly Ghost Green

ghostly intl. Hopeful Ghost

spaceghost haunting ghosts


Some Ghostly Palettes for Inspiration:

Walking With a Ghost Ghostly Rose

ghostly love ghostly dream

Whispering Ghost ghost 1

Ghost Ghost World

Hitchhiking Ghosts ghost signs

GhostsLingeringEyes Hopeful Ghost

Are We Dead? Ghost Hide-And-Seek

Unholy Ghost Sucker for a ghost

seen a ghost ghost of former self


Craig ConleyAbout the Author, Craig Conley
Craig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow

Author: Prof. Oddfellow