Spooky Story Starters

Shutterstock / Daria Lukoiko © photo of pumpkin with ghostly shadow

It’s the most frightening time of the year – the perfect excuse for some spooky story starters!

The readers of “The People’s Friend” do enjoy a good ghost story, as long as it’s not too scary or upsetting.

The History Of Halloween

If there’s a genre we love more than anything on the Fiction team, it has to be historical!

Consider the fascinating history of Halloween as the backdrop for your story.

From Celtic origins, through Roman additions, the introduction of All Soul’s Day by the Christian Church to the new traditions which evolved in the USA.

The celebration has taken many different forms and emerged as one of the biggest celebrations in the USA, and increasingly, the UK.

What did celebrations look like for those living in one of those eras?

Terrifying Traditions: Old And New

Bobbing for apples, sharing ghost stories, telling fortunes, crafting the perfect costume and trick or treating. There are a lot of Halloween traditions to choose from.

Is there a story about a group of friends who let a ghost story get carried away? There could be a funny twist!

What about the parent who’s been asked to make a costume for their child at the last minute? The problem is, they can’t sew and a sheet with holes cut into it just won’t do . . .

Before pumpkins, the vegetable of choice for carving was the humble turnip. What would a modern child think of that? Perhaps there’s a story from a junior point of view.

Now that pumpkins are popular, a new family tradition is to go and pick a pumpkin from a local farm. A bit like choosing a Christmas tree. Is there a story here?

Spooky Settings

A great setting is the key to a good ghost story, in my opinion.

The classics are always good – a churchyard, an abandoned house or hotel, a lighthouse, a castle . . . But maybe there are less obvious places to set your story. Where might make a good place for a haunting? It could be the place you least expect!

Remember, if you’re planning to have something supernatural happen in your “Friend” story, keep it ambiguous and give it a positive end.

Check out our previous writing prompts.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.