I read this in the early '90s. It was a collection of scary stories that I got from the school book fair. I don't remember much, but there was a story in there that took place during the civil war (I think) and there was an illustration of a pair of pants that walked around by themselves at night. Something else about a President's ghost, but I could be totally wrong about that.

1 Answer 1


The most famous story for children about a pair of pants that walked around by themselves is What Was I Scared Of? by Theodore Seuss "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. This story appears in the book "The Sneetches and Other Stories" (Random House, 1961).

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However, none of the four stories in this volume is about any armed conflict, or features the ghost of a president. Perhaps the story was anthologized elsewhere.

Dr. Seuss did write a story about the cold war, called "The Butter Battle Book". Seuss's style is so distinctive and compelling that if you read "Butter Battle" at about the same time as "The Sneetches" you could easily misremember which stories appeared in which volume.

  • 5
    The Pale Green Pants with Nobody Inside Them sprang instantly to my mind too.
    – Moriarty
    May 2, 2022 at 22:53
  • 3
    While I agree that "What Was I Scared Of?" is the most famous children's story about possessed pants, how can you definitively assert that no other such stories exist?
    – jamesdlin
    May 3, 2022 at 11:40
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    That... is not how it works. If you make a bold claim, the onus is on you to demonstrate that it is true. Just because you only know this story with walking pants doesn't mean that is the only one that exists. It doesn't even mean that it is the only one that exists which was written in English. It is vanishingly unlikely that no self-walking pants have appeared in any children's story from any culture in the world. So I will just remove the unsubstantiated claim as it just detracts from an otherwise fine answer.
    – terdon
    May 3, 2022 at 14:41
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    The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything! By Linda Williams features empty pants that follow the Old Lady after dark (along with shoes, shirt, and other items encountered throughout the story). However it is unlikely to be the OPs story since it is not in any anthologies that I'm aware of.
    – SNSAD
    May 3, 2022 at 14:44
  • 4
    cold war != civil war
    – Barmar
    May 3, 2022 at 15:34

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