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Horror Story Ideas - Story Writing For Scaring People

Updated on May 11, 2016

My Very Own Scary Story Ideas for Writers to Develop

I'm allowing people to see some of my horror story ideas in the hopes of motivating myself into developing some of my own story writing. The reasoning behind this is a little embarrassing, but since it bears on me deciding to write this article, here are some broad strokes of this tale:

The creative bug didn't bite me until I was an adult. As I found myself reading good stories, watching good movies, and looking at great art, I discovered that I longed to create such things on my own. I wanted to say that my job was to create. I quickly began to accumulate ideas, and since I loved the horror genre, a lot of them leaned towards the darker side of things. I began forming horror story ideas everywhere and thoroughly enjoyed jotting down plots of frightening tales. This went on for years, and despite accumulating so many ideas, I still don't have any concrete creations yet. Hopefully, this article will help inspire me to start fleshing these plots out and put them out into the universe.

Personal anecdote aside, let's get to the meat on the bones, shall we? Here are 27 scary story ideas for you to hopefully develop or at least be inspired by! Enjoy.

Horror Story Ideas

  1. As your grandfather lies on his deathbed, he tells you of a terrible crime he committed many years ago and got away with. He also tells you that his freedom was the result of a spell he performed and that you should expect a visit from a dark man. "He will come out of the shadows," are his last words.
  2. A hiker is trapped in a freak snowstorm but finds shelter in an old cave. As the weeks pass, he grows hungry. Water is not a problem, but he is a meat eater and he begins to look at his lower leg. "There's a lot of good muscle on the lower leg." He draws out his knife and prepares to do what's necessary to survive.
  3. A small child begins to take a huge interest in horror films. He begins to experiment with small animals, but eventually decides to graduate on to humans. His only decision is to focus on adults or other children. He then begins to sneak out at night on a regular basis . . .
  4. An old serial killer is suffering from the equivalent of writer's block and has not killed in three years . . . until he reads an article about horror story ideas.
  5. You are invited to a swanky party full of rich and boring people. To amuse yourself, you ask someone a rather innocent, hypothetical question, "Do you know what it's like to kill a person?" Then, someone says yes.

Short Horror Story Ideas that Focus on Creatures and Monsters

  1. Larry is a necrophiliac and often visits old cemeteries at night to indulge in his hobby. Imagine his surprise after spending hours digging through rooted ground at hearing sounds coming from inside a casket. Larry smiles . . . and then begins to open it.
  2. There is an old legend about the land the Preston family just purchased at a rock bottom price. The family that used to live in the city is going to find out that they definitely need to do research before buying real estate in the country for a price that is too good to believe.
  3. A person visits the same spot in the forest every night for the past five months He (or she) always stays until dawn until he has to get ready to go to work. He had heard a rumor that the forest was inhabited by some sort of monster. Tonight, he'll find out that the rumors are true.
  4. Ricky has been given the OK to get a pet dog and, despite looking all day, he just couldn't find the one he wanted. They were heading home when they saw someone putting out a "dog for sale" sign at a house. The boy falls in love with the animal and convinces his parents to purchase it despite their reservations. So, what were the parents nervous about? They had never seen a dog that stood so tall, with solid red eyes, even though they were assured by the owner that these were just medical oddities.
  5. Emily knew the risks of calling forth such ancient creatures for simple favors, but she just had to make Josh love her. Nothing else was more important. She had done everything the book said to do down, down to the last detail, and felt confident her spell would be successful. It's a shame that she didn't realize the typo on the word "tree." Someone had forgotten the letter "h." Now, Emily has to live inside her body alongside a powerful demon—a demon that takes control more often than she wants it to.

Scary Ghost Story Ideas (Featuring Other Things That Go Bump In the Night)

  1. Rose was quite comfortable with Henry having an imaginary friend. After all, she had one when she was little was fine. Tom was a little worried about him talking to nothing all the time, but she wasn't. She picked up his clothes and headed to his room; the door was closed, as usual. She opened it just in time to see a checker piece move across the board . . . by itself.
  2. As the spirit sat and watched the girl on the other side of the mirror, he felt such sadness. Despite being dead for only a short time, it felt like an eternity. He watched his wife with loving eyes and watched as she put the gun into her mouth. "It'll be good to see her again," he thought.
  3. Ouija boards are tricky contraptions. Even the most seasoned demonologist will tell you to treat them with extreme caution. As the salesman was going over the finer points of using the device, all Karen could think about was why someone would bother to create one using human bones. She would later regret not learning why.
  4. A new author becomes worried when he can't come up with a good idea for his second book. In an act of desperation, he takes out a very old book that his grandfather brought back from the homeland. As he turns the book to an ancient spell, he seriously contemplates contacting H.P. Lovecraft and making a slave out of him.
  5. Allen has tried to contact the spirit world 12 times, and has failed 12 times. This time, he has taken some advice from a seasoned medium and feels confident he will succeed. Too bad, because he didn't know the medium was suffering from a mental breakdown while giving him that advice. He will definitely get more than he bargained for on this attempt.

Short Scary Story Ideas to Develop at Your Own Leisure

  1. A man is working the graveyard shift when "Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring comes on the radio. The clock strikes 2 A.M. just as the song lyrics "It's 2 A.M., the fear has gone . . ." plays. The lights go out, yet the radio continues playing. Other things begin to happen as well. The song continues to play this whole time.
  2. A guy has an opportunity to spend the night with a childhood crush who has been dead for over twenty years. There are drawbacks, of course.
  3. A 7-year-old child decides to take revenge on his abusive parents after getting no help from his teacher. He also draws inspiration from watching Friday the 13th Part III.
  4. A painter decides to make his ultimate masterpiece by using his own blood to paint with.
  5. A woman is overcome with the need to dig a hole in a particular spot on her lawn. After digging 30 feet down, she finds something: a doorknob and a door.

Lastly, Some One-Liner Writing Prompts to Get Those Creative Juices Flowing

  1. Four strangers are drawn to a small town to enter a bizarre contest.
  2. A small child will go to any lengths to win this year's science fair.
  3. A guy becomes worried when he notices the neighborhood cats begin following him.
  4. All of a sudden you can hear the thoughts of plants, and they are not pleasant.
  5. Someone leaves an old key with directions on where the lock is. Do you follow?
  6. A town falls victim to a large plague of killer rats.
  7. What would you do if you suspected your child of killing someone?

What type of horror stories do you like to read or write?

See results

Do you have any horror story ideas of your own you would like to share?

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    • profile image

      Brooke 5 days ago

      these were great im looking for killer ideas for a story.

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      Emallie 2 weeks ago

      Here is mine.

      I walked upstairs to my son's room. It was past 10 o'clock and it was time for him to go to bed. Before I opened his door I stopped and listened to Sam talk to his imaginary friend. "What are your parents like?" he asked. Sam waited a few seconds before replying. "Oh I am so sorry,'' he said.

      I pushed opened the door and told him it was time for him to go to bed. He started to talk to me about his friend.

      My husband James stopped at his door, then he came in. He looked at Sam. "Sam you are eight years old, your friend is not real. You need to stop talking to yourself and acting like he is a real person or monster or demon, or what ever he is!" I looked at James. We had not talked about this. I was snapped out of my daze by my son yelling back at his father. "But he is real, his name is Titan! Daddy he is not fake." Sam's face redened. So did James'. I jumped up and put my hand's on his chest. I could smell the foul scent of alcohol on his breath. He had been drinking again. James shoved me off and I hit the wall and then the floor with a thud. "He is not real!" James' hand flew threw the air and hit Sam's cheek. Sam hit the floor crying. I tried to reach to him but James stepped on my fingers. I screamed and kept hitting the back of his leg but he would not let go. I looked away and the pressure was gone. I looked over and James was floating in the air. His face red. I crawled to Sam. Getting a better look at James, he looked as if he was being choked. I did not understand what was going on, until Sam yelled,

      "Titan, PLEASE STOP!!"

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      Abby 2 weeks ago

      Here´s one that I came up with.

      I was always fine with Henry having an imaginary friend, but my husband Jerry on the other hand, wasn't to fond about it. I had an imaginary friend when I was young, and we always had fun together. I knew it was good for henry to have a strong imagination as it would keep him busy. I passed by Henry´s room and stopped when I heard him talking.

      ¨When I grow up, I want to be a construction worker. I want to make big, tall buildings that reach the clouds.¨

      I motioned to my husband to come over.

      ¨What?¨ He asked.

      ¨Just listen.¨ I smiled.

      ¨Is it him talking to nothing again?¨


      ¨I don't want to hear it then.¨ He started walking away.

      I grabbed him by the wrist and yanked him towards me. ¨All I'm asking you to do is listen.¨

      He glared at me then pressed his ear up above the door.

      ¨What do you want to be when you grow up?¨ Henry questioned. He paused for a moment as if he was listening to someone responding.

      ¨Wow! That is so cool!¨He squealed.

      Jerry took his ear off the door. ¨I am sick of all this nonsense!¨ He hissed, his face turning crimson with anger and fear boiling in his dark blue eyes.

      ¨I don't understand why it gets to you so much.¨ I shook my head in confusion.

      ¨It´s beginning to become scary, don't you think?¨

      ¨No, I don't think so!¨

      ¨Look, I have my opinion and you have yours. I´m done arguing.¨ He walked away into our bedroom and started to get ready for bed.

      Ï opened Henry´s door. ¨Hey buddy. It´s time to say goodnight to your friend.¨


      I put him in his pajamas and tucked him in.

      ¨Goodnight mommy.¨

      ¨Goodnight sweetie.¨ I walked towards his and was about to turn off the light when I noticed a drawing on his desk. I picked it up looking it over. It was a drawing of a man in a hockey mask, with black eyes that were bleeding. His skin was completely white and he was wearing long black robes. His hands were knives that were also bloody.

      I turned to Henry. ¨Who is this?¨ I asked, the blood draining from my face.

      ¨My friend of course.¨

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      Zach 4 weeks ago

      you have no idea how helpful this was

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      Jay Anderson :) 4 weeks ago

      You look to your left then to you right you should have listened when the people in the town told you not to by the farm anyone who by's her farm gets killed and now the farm girl is coming for out and there is no where to hide your fate has been sealed by the one and only Farm girl

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      Tatum Bunch 2 months ago

      I really like your ideas. I have been in the process of writing my book for awhile, but I'm scared to go through the publishing process? Can someone give me some advice?

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      Elica Marrua, Age 13 3 months ago

      The day your are born, the day your die is tatooed on your arm. It's offical, your death date, and only you can escape your death date if someone kills themself the day you wehere supposed to die in your honnor. Your situation is quite unforntunate. You where supposed to die three days after your 12th birthday. You wake up, unaware of the time, and look at the calendar. It's odd, you think. The town is deserted. You look out your window just before looking at the calender. Blood leaks from the doors from every house on the block. You look at the date. You where supossed to die yesterday.

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      not a good name 4 months ago

      i love dogs

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      tacocat 4 months ago

      I watch a lot of horror films

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      snowythewolf04 4 months ago

      try to base it off something that happened in real life such as a radiated zombie breakout from Chernobyl.

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      maddog 4 months ago

      I'm writing a horror story with a friend and the name of the story is The Blood Dripping Off The Knife. {Please don't copy name and idea} It has murder, demon position and some romance. It has 9 chapters so far.

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      Vansh 5 months ago

      I like goosebumps

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      Kris 5 months ago

      Cool these ideas are the best!

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      MAJESTIC 6 months ago

      Mommy says I have a bad thing. We’ve only called it the bad thing ever since. The night that it happened I lost control, the bad thing was loose, the flames engulfed Mommy and I made her wear bandages, I made Mommy wear bandages. Great story starter for all you writers out there.

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      Emoji xx12 6 months ago

      Thanks this site helped a lot I hope my dreams come true

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      Puta 7 months ago

      very nice

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      Anonymous 7 months ago

      Thank you this really helped me write a story

    • profile image

      lillie wright 7 months ago

      this is so cool

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      chrisandmary 7 months ago

      i also have had ideas for years, iam very much a nonfiction person, but i couldnt turn a true story into a screenplay, mostly becuase real events are so depressing and accuracy is a lot of pressure, if there isnt a happy ending or a point to pulling the audience through the dialogue;im lost. the other day i was watching a romance, so upbeat, and i felt inspired and discouraged at the same time, romance is probably not going to be my specialty genre, but it helped me decide to write about a different genre, and for the first time in 15 years, a story came pouring out of me, peice by peice idea led to idea, and in a matter of days, i have my beginning middle and end, with only a few things left to fill in. i believe you are incredibly creative, thats a lot of ideas, if youre still stuck as i was, i would be happy to give you a couple of ideas you might be able to do something i havnt been able to pull together was reincarnation/past life issues causing problems in present life, and another was the black plague, interesting warfare, the mongols catapolted plague bodies over walls of genoa,italy. it was the begginningof the movie, i kind of wanted to throw ghosts in there somehow. and another favorite was going to be a ghost slave revenge haunted plantation type, hope this helps, ill keep my fingers crossed you get your ink flowing!

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      WrtitingNana 8 months ago

      Amazing ideas, here's another. You finally settle into bed on the brink of sleep when you hear movement. Its very small and quiet, but there. You open your eyes and sit up to your glass doll, facing you, a wide grin on its face.

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      Princess rose 9 months ago

      I really love horror stories. I love to make short horror movie and I think I will make more than 15 short horror movie . I am so interested to bo horal

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      anonymous 10 months ago

      Really helped with my school writing project. Thank-you!

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      aarushi 10 months ago

      actually I' m also writing a story...I wanna become an author. I am writing a story about a girl named cydney who has terrifying adventures in a haunted lift. a ghost who wants to be a friend of her.....forever...this is what the story is about. I am not able to make the story scary enough....any ideas?

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      cbro1188 11 months ago

      this website is super awesome i think if you had to rate it 1 thru 10 it would get 10 and it helps me get information

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      lily 11 months ago

      Olivia I agree with you...WHY? Why can't we find anything CREEPY without involving death?

    • profile image

      lily 11 months ago


    • profile image

      Brayden 11 months ago

      Hi i really li

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      anon 11 months ago

      I love horror so much, and there are some great ideas here! I really like #5 under "Short Scary Story Ideas to Develop at Your Own Leisure", and I think it's got a lot of possibilities to become scary. The one toward the beginning of the list about the child who goes from murdering animals to murdering humans is a very creepy idea.

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      Olivia 11 months ago

      why can i not find anything really CREEPY that is not involved with death?

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      anonymous 12 months ago

      thanks for the inspiration :D

    • profile image

      lele 14 months ago

      I love these

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      Amy 2 years ago

      I have had an idea in my head about an horror story for a while now; but I never knew how to get the middle and end of the first book, the future books were already planed out and the only thing yet to do was plan out the start of the first book and your ideas have helped me allot thank you!:)

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      lila 2 years ago

      not good

    • DChance2 profile image

      DChance 2 years ago

      Why not write some of this ideas, yourself? These idea seem like fun to write.

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      ESOG 2 years ago

      Number 21 is hands down the creepiest one with the most potential too, imo. Good luck to everyone and their writings. :o

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      Death_The_Kid 3 years ago

      Some friends go over to a guys house and stay up all night watching Corpse Party: Book Of Shadows. Then, the lights go out. When they come back on, one person is dead. And more are to follow.

    • Nightcat profile image

      Nightcat 3 years ago

      This was great, please keep up the good woork and feel free to join us on Horror Mavens on FB. Well done!

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      JerJer21417227 3 years ago

      You work at the zoo, and there is a new shipment that is uncharted. Only a few people now about it, and there is no open cage for it. You go to the zoo at nighttime because that is your shift when it comes in and the works take it to the basement of the office at the zoo. They movers leave quickly and u look in the crate. Is it a new species maybe a dead body, u decide.

    • graysquidooer profile image

      graysquidooer 3 years ago

      Old man dies surrounded by his family, then see himself leaving his own body

      He looks downwards at his grieving family and feels sorrow

      Because he knows he can't comfort them ever again

      I know this is More weird than a horror story, but it was a story I never got around to finishing

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      minecraftloveR007 3 years ago

      a man is all alone in a house then he starts to hear banging coming from the window in his bedroom

      he opens the curtain and there is his last victim-his wife

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      angelchloe123 3 years ago

      Love these ideas! They will really help me writing horrors because I have already created a few and couldn't think up anymore ideas... Don't you think #26 sounds like the pied piper story? Anyway, thank you! :{P

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      Bobby245 3 years ago

      Ah this helped so much, thank you! I'm going to use #25 as my base idea . Thank you for the help :)

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      armstrongsierra5 4 years ago

      I have written a page of scary stories before but i can't think of anymore thanks for the help though

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      Beingsingle 4 years ago

      As a published horror story writer, how about this for a good idea for a horror story: A lonely old man, fed up with being unloved and unwanted, resorts to dabbling in black magic to conjure up the perfect female companion . . . with disastrous results.

    • GlennConrad profile image

      GlennConrad 4 years ago

      I'm tweaking #17 for a story for Camp NaNoWriMo. Decided on this just a few minutes before the start of the event. Thanks for having it on your lens. Changed enough that it's different from yours, but yours sparked the idea.


    • shortnscarystor profile image

      shortnscarystor 4 years ago

      @ElizabethSheppard: Its too nice. We would like to invite you to visit our lens and website. Hope you like it

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 4 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      No, I don't have any current horror story ideas, but it would be fun to think some up!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Theses are great stories ideas ! here's are some tips for what to not do in your story !

      1. Do not put stupid things in your story that would not happen ,(Do: put things in the story that could also happen but can't happen but more likely can happen)

      2. If it's a scary movie , don't have one thing happen that's very bad put many , because it can help you get more liking of that .

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for all the great ideas

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for all these ideas because I have to write a scary story for school and these ideas really helped a lot with my story. You all are very good at coming up with creative scary story ideas so thanks. :)

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      lisa-oliver-395454 4 years ago

      Wow this is a really helpful lens, thank you. I will send the link through to my husband as he is looking to write in the horror genre. Thanks for the great tips and ideas :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      two sisters and their three new friends in a new town find out about a demon who is trapped in objects and dreams, birds laughing like children, whispers coming out of walls in other languages, holding you down while you sleep. all very creepy!!!

    • sollertis profile image

      sollertis 5 years ago

      As a fan I think much of my own story writing is influenced by Stephen King so this lens is right up my street, great stuff!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      well i am writing a story at the moment and these little ideas have really helped me to boost up the story!!! thankyou for the great ideas

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I always think the scariest ideas for a story is when your trapped and you feel like a presence is watching you. Maybe a murderer has took you hostage and your drowning in a box of water and your friend has to figure a way to free you before you drown. Suspence is always a good way to freak someone out. But away from the horror i'm used to comedy that's why my middle name is Mack because of 'Lee Mack'.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I want to reignite the flames of horror. It can be one of the true genres again, and I am glad to see there are others here who see it through the same eyes as I do.

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      laniparis 5 years ago

      It's funny the more horror movies I watch and horror books I read the less nightmares I have.

      I've always had an irrational fear of porcelain dolls and whales. A horror story incorporating one of those themes would probably shake me to the core.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I used to love having nightmares when I went to bed. Luckily for me, I wrote most of those scary story ideas down, because I don't have that many nightmares any more. So sad.

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 5 years ago

      Very good lens! Creative! :]

    • Mauhro profile image

      Mauhro 5 years ago

      Great lens, i love this fiction. King, Lovecraft Poe and Matheson :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      My favorites are your first one and the Ouija board one.