What's scarier?

I'll agree that it's a pretty tough choice. And investors would be wise to think long and hard before investing in companies with those characteristics.

Here's Johnny
All three of the above are actually candidates in our "World's Scariest Stock" contest. This Halloween, we're attempting to identify the most blood-curdling investment out there among a haunted house full of spooky characters. Here are just five of the contenders:

Company

1-Year Return

DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS)

823.1%

Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX)

255.8%

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN)

135.0%

Blue Nile (NASDAQ:NILE)

103.1%

Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK)

91.5%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

The stocks above have two things in common:

1. Most have increased dramatically in price over the past year.
2. They're rated poorly among the participants in our 72,000-member Motley Fool CAPS community.

We used this simple screen to identify all 11 of the stocks in the contest. And the resulting pool had us scared ... witless.

Some of these companies have great businesses, and some of them are even Motley Fool newsletter service recommendations. But there's something scary about all of them beneath the surface -- whether it's XM's (NASDAQ:XMSR) negative book value or the low barriers to entry in Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) search market.

Don't be too afraid
Below, you'll find our list of scary stocks. If you agree with the analyst, then rate the stock an "underperform" in CAPS. If you disagree, rate it an "outperform." If you like, you can even add your own pitch. The stock with the most new net underperform ratings (underperform ratings minus outperform ratings) will win the contest.

On Halloween, we'll declare a winner. To help us choose the scariest stock in the world, start reading the analyses below, and then click here to join CAPS today.

The World's Scariest Stocks:

And for other Halloween-themed Foolishness, head right this way. Watch your step. Mind the bats and coffins, please:

Amazon.com is a Stock Advisor pick. Blue Nile is a Rule Breakers recommendation and a former Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Select Comfort is a current recommendation in Hidden Gems. If you don't snatch a free 30 day-trial to any of these newsletter services, you'll be haunted by your investing subconscious.

Katrina Chan does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned and started Halloween early by exploring a "haunted" prison. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy that's delightfully ghoulish.