15 Haunted Halloween Writing Prompts

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BOO! Halloween is right around the corner—what better day to write some spooky stories? Sharpen your pencil and take a stab at one of these Halloween writing prompts!

halloween writing prompts

Scary Stories Connect With Readers in Big Ways

Writers write to get a reaction out of their readers. No matter the genre, you want your reader to feel something when they read your writing.

For horror writers, that feeling is fear. But it's also so much more than that.

Great horror stories take the everyday creepy and turn it into something even more creepy (and often become a condemnation of injustices in society). The great thing is, horror stories teach you that those creepy things can be beaten. That's what keeps bringing the readers back.

And that's why horror writers keep churning out the fear.

Maybe you love writing scary stories. Maybe you don't, but this is something you'd like to take a whack at, just for practice (we're fans of that around here!).

Just like reading outside your genre is valuable to mastering the writing craft, so is writing a scary story.

This story doesn't have to be long, it could be a short story. Try for something you can write in one sitting, like 1,500 words.

To get you started, use one of the Halloween writing prompts suggested in this article. Then let loose, and have fun!

Creepy Story Writing Prompts

1. It's late at night, and you hear footsteps in the cellar but you're definitely home alone…or so you thought.

2. You've put that doll in the cabinet, in the closet, in the attic, but no matter where you tuck it, it always shows back up on the sofa. On Halloween night, you find it watching you…

3. A bad-tempered businessman is driving home after a long day of work. He thinks he sees his kids trick-or-treating and stops to pick them up but those aren't costumes.

4. It's Halloween night and you and your friends think it would be fun to visit the local town's annual corn maze. But when you're inside it, someone inside the maze doesn't look like an actor in a costume. And shortly after, your friends start to disappear one by one.

5. You don't believe in the rumors that say a certain scary book is cursed—and that anyone who reads it will meet their maker by the end of the week. So naturally, you read it. And then things start going wrong…

Monster/Ghost Story Writing Prompts

6. A young woman goes to her grandmother's house for tea on Halloween night. They have a wonderful time together, sharing stories, joy, and the best times of family. The next day, the woman learns her grandmother has been dead for a week and no one could get ahold of her to tell her.

7. A little boy is lost in the woods, but at least his faithful dog is with him. As they look for the way out, the dog defends his master against terrifying monsters and animals. But the closer they get to the escaping the dark forest, the more apparent it is that they'll need to face the person, or thing, releasing these monsters in the first place.

8. A farmer who dreams of being a scientist experiments on this year's pumpkins, hoping to enlarge them. He has a lot of success, until one of his potions is tampered with, and the cute pumpkin in his patch morphs into a monster that eats anyone who stumbles over its vines.

9. Your girlfriend/boyfriend brings over your favorite treat on Halloween, but when you eat it, you transform into a giant, poisonous snake that kills anyone who touches you. What do you do next?

10. You wake up on Halloween night, look outside your window, and see your sister sleep walking away from the house. You chase after her but can't catch her until she plunges into a dark lake, where there's a mysterious song that starts to pull you deep below the surface.

Not-So-Spooky Story Writing Prompts

Not all people love scary stories. If this is you but you'd like to try to write a scary story—and have a fun time writing it—try tackling a (not-so) scary story prompt that could turn a potentially scary tale into something that is fun (even funny):

11. You hate clowns, which makes it even worse when your husband secretly decides to hire a clown for you son's birthday party—which just happens to be on Halloween.

12. Aliens have just landed on Earth and boy, did they pick a weird day to come. How do they respond to Halloween, supernatural or otherwise? Do they decide this place is just too bizarre and get the heck out, or do they stick around and join in the fun?

13. On Halloween night, lovers get to come back and spend the evening together one more time. One couple from the Roaring Twenties decides to come back from the grave to help their extreme nerd great-grandchild or the kid will never get married.

14. You decide that this year you're going to crash the ten top costume parties in town—and prank each one while you're at it.

15. A mad scientist determined to destroy the world falls hopelessly in love with a not-so-wicked witch. As hard as he tries, he can't impress her.

Write Your Spooky Stories

Writing a scary story can be a fun exercise to give your students (regardless of age, elementary students to college graduates) around this time of year. It also can stir some exciting writing ideas in any writer, whether or not they're part of an entire class or their personal writing group.

As mentioned above, writing scary stories can also push you to better your creative writing skills, even if it's not normally in your genre lane. Bestselling author Neil Gaiman has some great insight about why this is true:

Fairy tales are more than true: Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

You don't have to love horror stories to write one, but you will learn about protagonists who face trialing, often life or death, situations when writing them. Challenge students or writers to become better at their writing craft by pushing them to write a short scary story with one of the writing prompts in this article.

Sit down with your favorite candy or flavor of candy corn and get ready to write. Pluck it from the list, and let your imagination free!

What is your favorite Halloween writing prompt from this list? Why did it stand out to you? Let us know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Choose one of these prompts and take fifteen minutes to draft a short story, or start writing it.
When you're done, take an hour or less and write your Halloween story in a single rush of writing.
When you're done, share your creepy tale in the practice box below so we can all join in the fun!And if you share, be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!

Enter your practice here:

Abigail Perry is a Certified Story Grid Editor with professional teaching, literary agency, and film production experience. In addition to writing Story Grid masterwork guides, she works as a freelance editor and is the Content Editor for The Write Practice. Abigail loves stories that put women and diverse groups at the center of the story—and others that include superpowers and magic. Her favorite genres include: Smart Book Club Fiction, Women's Fiction, YA Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and unique memoirs. She also has a B.S. in TV, Radio, and Film and loves working on screenplays that are emotionally driven and/or full of action. You can learn more about Abigail on her website.

Best-Selling author Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and was keynote speaker for The Write Practice 2021 Spring Retreat.

Author of two series with five books and fifty short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom, using up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon.

When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away.

P.S. Red is still her favorite color.

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9 Comments

  1. William J. DeProspo

    “Damn, I hate those busy bodies. Auditors, they call themselves. Pains in the ass is what they are.” said Joe aloud to no one who could hear. The radio blasted the nightly news and told a grisly story about three kids poisoned by bad candy. Joe, shaking his head from side to side and mumbling,

    “For crying-out-loud. They’re just kids. Who in their right mind would do that to kids?”

    The traffic became lighter and Joe took the off ramp to his street. As he drove toward his house, he saw his children walking down the sidewalk trick or treating. After hearing the news about the poisoning, he wanted his kids to go home. He stopped the car and walked over to them.

    “Jeremy, Julian, why are you out here alone. Your mother was supposed to wait until I got home?”

    He stood over the children waiting for an answer. When none came, he grabbed an arm, one child in each hand, and marched them to the car. He opened the back door and demanded they get in.

    “In the car. Don’t stand there, get in… I’ve had a rough day, keep this up and you’ll get a Halloween to remember.”

    Jeremy, the cutest little goblin, turned to Joe, jumped on top of him, opened his enormous mouth, and swallowed Joe whole. Julian, danced around Jeremy singing

    “Remember, remember, a Halloween to remember, A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down”

    To the children passing by, the song sounded familiar. They started to sing,

    “Ring-a-round the rosie, A pocket full of posies, Hush! Hush! Hush! Hush! We’ve all tumbled down.”

    Reply
    • Susan W A

      William – I enjoyed your story. Nicely developed in such a short span.

      Great lead-in to the story as a way to introduce taking his kids home. One suggestion in the first paragraph … not sure you need “from side to side” after “shaking his head”, and you could modify it to ” Joe, shaking his head, mumbled, …” or “Joe shook his head and mumbled, …”

      While it could be viewed as too abrupt (I didn’t think so), I love how Jeremy “the cutest little goblin” got right down to business and “jumped on top of [Joe], opened his enormous mouth, and swallowed Joe whole”, with Julian dancing and singing along. Those two lines plus Julian’s clever integration of “Remember, remember, a Halloween to remember” made for a ghoulishly delightful twist.

      Thanks for the Halloween treat.

      – Susan

      Reply
      • William J. DeProspo

        Thanks Susan. I already made the change (Joe, shaking his head, mumbled). It reads much better.
        William

        Reply
  2. Susan W A

    Thanks for the Halloween treat, Ruthanne. Great prompts.

    Reply
  3. Debra johnson

    I love prompt #4 with the grandma, I was devastated when my grammy died…. this will be good to write about.

    Reply
  4. justin boote

    Harold Saggerbob loves Halloween. Has his very own Pumpkin Club. But while the ‘pumpkins’ on his shelf, might be round, they are certainly not orange. And every Halloween, several kids disappear near his home…

    Reply
  5. Elmax fleur-de-lys59

    It’s not really creepy but I tried it with my characters. English isn’t my first language so if you see any mistake, please let me know:

    “Aymeric was eating alone in the kitchen. He didn’t have much appetite and spent more time looking at the dark sky through the window than eating. He sighed. He wished he had company. But that wouldn’t happen. Rose was back to his home and was probably already sleeping – flowers go to sleep with the sun, after all.
    The sky was covered in dark clouds so thick he couldn’t even see the Moon – and it was definitely up somewhere. He could feel it.
    It felt as if he had a knot in his throat. He covered his plate and put it in the fridge. He would eat it later, when he’d be hungrier.
    Suddenly, he stilled. He had heard footsteps. He closed the fridge slowly, careful not to make any noise. It wasn’t some kind of rodent. They were scared of lycanthropes. And Aymeric was able to recognize footsteps from rodents. With a hearing like his, no one could fool him. He put his fork and his knife in the sink, shrugging. It wasn’t as if the intruder could mess with his stuff unnoticed, anyway.
    What bothered him was that he didn’t heard the intruder enter. It was definitely strange. He didn’t know what or who it was but he’d better be careful. He grabbed a dagger and followed the noise. It definitely came from the cellar.
    He barged in there, determined to end all this quickly. The moon was rising and waxing, anyway, so he shouldn’t have any problem dealing with whoever it was.
    What he saw still surprised him.
    A tiny body in the middle of the room. Thick wavy blond hair, long ears, big grey eyes. Aymeric recognized the child immediately. When the little elf saw him, he rushed into his arms.
    “Hey, what’s wrong, champion?”
    He didn’t expect the kid to reply. The elf only hugged him tightly. Aymeric could feel his relief and his fear.
    The ability they had to travel between spaces and times was really something he couldn’t get used to…”

    Reply
  6. Mahvish

    Noah was waking up. He had been knocked down while he was chased by a group of teens.
    It was Halloween. Noah left his home with Oscar his dog. He headed to park across the street where his friends were waiting for him for trick or treating around the neighborhood.
    As they got treats from the third house Noah and his friends headed for the next house. Suddenly a huge dark figure appeared and almost grabbed one of Noah’s friends. The group was actually chased by teenage boys who looked hideous beasts in their costumes. Noah and his friends were dispersed. Some managed to stick together, some made it back home. Noah lost the sense of direction and was running for a while now. Suddenly he stumbled and tripped over. He knocked his head hard on something and passed out.
    After he got up he could see dark figures with blazing eyes staring down at him. Noah jumped to his feet and fled into the woods that were the only easy hideout he could access fast. Oscar was behind him growling and barking at the dark figures that followed them into the woods.
    As he went farther it got more and more dark. The only thing that kept him going was Oscar who was right behind him keeping the dark figures at a distance.
    Noah saw bushes and managed to hide within. Oscar had stopped barking now and there was a deadly silence. Noah was panting and was trying to calm down. He was about to lie down when he saw a huge hand trying to grab him from within the bushes. Noah screamed in panic when Oscar jumped in between just in time to save him.
    Noah was running fast when suddenly he saw light piercing through the darkness. He ran towards the light fast. When he came near he couldn’t believe his eyes. The sun shone bright and there were beautiful flowers and trees. Far away he could see children playing. He quickly entered the garden as he had no better choice to escape the dark figures.
    Oscar slowly paced back and ran all the way home where Noah’s parents were mourning his death.

    Reply

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