Top 10 Scary Story Ideas To Get You Started


Scary stories have a separate fanbase. For those who relish the spine-tingling, sleepless nights, and the eerie ambiance that pervades their homes, the allure of the horror genre is undeniable.  These are the things that have helped scary stories become a huge part of literature.

However, crafting a truly exceptional scary story requires more than the mere presence of a ghost within the confines of a spooky mansion. While this classic trope can be effective when done right, limiting your creative ideas to this well-worn path can hold back the potential for innovation and fresh horrors that the genre offers.

If you’re considering writing a scary story and want to truly terrify your audience, Hancock Ghostwriters offers professional ghostwriting services that can help you bring your scary story ideas to life.

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10 Scary Ideas To Write About

First of all, understand that not all scary story ideas have to be set during Halloween. We understand that it is the festival of horror, but there are other ways to tell scary stories with a touch of fiction writing. With that clear, let us get to the list of ideas for writing a scary story.

1. A Haunted Mansion

One of the most common and famously used horror story ideas is when a family moves into a secluded mansion and later discovers that the place is home to restless spirits. The family experiences unexpected events, such as things going missing, doors opening on their own, etc.

To enhance this scary story idea with a twist, the author adds a tragic event where the ghost possesses one of the family members. This leads the main character to the spirit’s history. It could either be a tragic death of the spirit or some dark past locked within the mansion.

Once your character discovers that their house is haunted by ghosts, their journey begins to save their family and free the spirit from this world before it gets to all of them.

If you want some inspiration on this idea, you can read “The Haunting of the Hill House by Shirley Jackson.”

2. People Going Missing Unexpectedly

This is another hit scary story idea, where your protagonist can either be an adult or a group of kids. It can be set in an old town, where everything is peaceful and slow.

Suddenly, a number of people start going missing, and the town is scared, but your protagonist is aiming to get to the root of these kidnappings.

The protagonist can later on team up with a few people, who at some point want to stop this hunch when they come face-to-face with the kidnapper, who can either be a psychopath or a wicked entity that feeds on other people’s fears.

Then to add a twist, you can show that the protagonist has lost a dear one in these kidnappings, which is why they want to continue. This motivation can be the tool that helps the group face this entity one more time and put an end to its terror.

For reference or ideas, we suggest you read “IT by Stephen King.”

3. Camping At A Haunted Jungle

A group of friends decides to go camping in a deep forest, but they soon realize that the woods are not as safe and adventurous as they expected them to be. You can add aliens, supernatural creatures, a cult, evil spirits, or wild, ferocious animals to enhance the scary story with a twist.

Such an idea will be more impactful and terrifying if your characters start dying, one after another. These deaths will put their friendship to the test and their lives in trouble, where each individual tries to escape the jungle alive before it gets all of them.

You can read “The Ritual by Adam Neville.”

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4. The Cursed Piece Of Art

In this scary story idea, your protagonist is an art lover, and one fine day they discover an art piece (it could be a painting or a sculpture) and bring it home with them.

The story will be more impactful if your protagonist has a family. Otherwise, a group of friends will also work, but they have to meet each other every day.

After bringing the art piece back home, make your character become madly obsessed with the art piece. The obsession should be so passionate that the character starts descending into madness.

Then to make the story more interesting and twisty, you can bring the art piece to life and torment the people involved in the character’s life. You can read novels like “The Shining by Stephen King” to get inspiration on how you show your character falling into insanity.

One thing you must be very careful about is to take things slow. The personality shift cannot happen overnight. Give your character time, and also play with minor details to show the shift.

For example, show that your character does not drink much water but has started drinking too much of it, or that they used to wear a specific perfume in the morning, but the smell has started to bother them now. Use such minor changes and lead them to big ones.

5. A Mysterious Asylum

In this idea, your setting plays a major part. It has to be an old place (could be any asylum, an orphanage, a recovery center, etc.).

You have to set the whole environment of the place and explain everything in detail. Talk about everything, from the lighting to the inmates and everything else.

After you establish the environment, introduce your main protagonist, it could be a reporter, an inmate, or a new recruit to the facility. Proceed the story with a few inmates going missing and later on found dead.

It is here where you are going to decide whether you want the story to have a paranormal theme or a psychotic one. Make your protagonist curious about the kidnappings, and lead them to the point where they discover the real culprit behind the deaths.

If you decide to make it a story of a psychopath, you can reveal that the most trustworthy people of the facility, the ones your protagonist looks up to, are behind the murders. You can read books like, “Frankenstein. by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley” for inspiration and research.

6. A Mysterious Town

Here, your protagonist is a traveler who stumbled upon an abandoned town in an abandoned area. In this scary story idea, the town will play a vital role in setting up the whole flow of the story. 

The quiet and empty streets, the hazy alleys, and the mysterious civilians are going to keep it filled with suspense.

The story can, in many ways, be that the protagonist has entered the town but cannot find a way out or that the longer they stay, the more they start to forget about their past and get lost in the town. You can also end the story with a big twist. 

For example, you can declare the town haunted, show your protagonist struggling with getting out but eventually forgetting about their past and becoming a part of the town, or reveal in the end that it is a ghost town and your protagonist died in the first act.

We suggest that you read books like “Snareville by David Youngquist” to learn how to play with your setting to grab the readers.

7. A Mysterious Creature On The Loose

Introduce a mysterious life-threatening creature in your story. Set your scary story in a town where a series of killings are taking place, and it is all pointing towards a mysterious creature, which is only mentioned in the books.

Your protagonist can be one of the natives of the area, or a complete outsider, who decides to investigate this case and find out whether there is an actual creature or not. Now, to add an interesting twist to the story, you can later reveal a bigger truth behind these killings.

It could be a cult ritual, a mysterious creature, or even aliens. If you are looking for any inspiration, we suggest that you read books like “Jaws by Peter Benchley.”

8. Living The Worst Nightmare

Make your character live their worst nightmare. You can start the story by showing that your character is one of the happiest people on earth. 

But someone whom they thought of as a friend betrays them and uses black magic and evil spirits or puts a curse to destroy the character.

The story can proceed with the character experiencing some of their worst nightmares in real life, such as losing their dream job, being haunted by demons, and eventually going insane. Once every hope is lost, bring a well-wisher of your character into the picture.

This person helps your character break out of the curse and reveal the real culprit behind the whole mishap. You can also read “Cold Fire by Dean Koontz” to see how he has used nightmares within the story.

9. Protagonist Becomes Evil

How many times do we see a protagonist turning into an evil person? Such an idea has great potential because your readers will not see any twist you throw their way. They will not expect the protagonist to become a bad person first of all.

But then, with your exquisite writing skills, you will make them believe that the person who was once good is lost and has turned completely dark. The darkness can be of any kind. It could be a mutation, a curse, or being possessed by a spirit.

How you want to conclude the story completely depends on you. Either make the protagonist a complete picture of evil or, at the last moment, show a turn of heart and bring them back to good. If you need some research material, we suggest you read “The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.”

10. Your Life Is A Documentary

Everybody these days is obsessed with social media. How about you use this idea to show a horrifying side-effect? For example, you introduce a character that is a social media influencer. They post every single detail of their day on the internet, and that is their bread and butter.

But one day, they wake up and realize that the internet has a documentary on their life, with their deepest darkest secrets. Revealing everything that happens off-camera. The story, later on, takes a turn when the protagonist learns that their phone recorded everything and compiled it into a video.

With this idea, you will be able to show the negative sides of technology and how we need to have a life outside of social media. You can also read books like “Followers by Megan Angelo” to understand the idea better.

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How To Create Ideas For Scary Stories?

Horror story ideas are built on a number of factors. The writing style of the author plays a huge part in setting the tone of the story. If you cannot build pressure and suspense with your writing, then the story will have zero impact on the reader.

Next up is the structure of the story. Each moment should be highly unpredictable and filled with twists. A scary story with a twist is what excites readers and gives them hope that protagonists can still survive and make out alive.

Lastly, your scary ideas for a story do not have to be restricted to ghosts only. It is true that ghosts make the most impact, but other creatures like aliens, monsters, wild animals, and even psychopaths can turn a normal story into an epic, nail-biting tale.

Share Your Ideas With A Professional

Do you have a scary story idea but are unsure how to go about it? If yes, then there is nothing to worry about. Writing a horror story is extremely challenging because you cannot rush any event. You have to keep things slow and mysterious to build tension.

So, if you are unsure how to do your idea justice, we suggest you hire a professional writing company like Hancock Ghostwriters to do the job for you. We have some of the best ghostwriters on board who have worked on numerous horror novels.

We understand the author’s vision and ensure to turn them into a scary story filled with unexpected twists and mysterious discoveries.

Wrapping Up

Every scary story idea has the potential to frighten the reader, but a good idea can turn into a no-show if not expressed with the right words. So, be sure that you follow the right structure of the story. Fill it with unexpected twists and terrifying mysteries. But remember that your aim is to entertain and scare at the same time.

And in case you find yourself grappling with writer’s block while attempting to give shape to your terrifying ideas, fear not! Hancock Ghostwriters offers a solution not only in the form of our ghostwriting services but also through the valuable resources available on our blog.

Share your ideas with us and let us turn it into a scary story.


What makes a good scary story idea?

A good scary story idea should evoke fear, tension, and unease in the reader. It often includes elements such as a haunting atmosphere, compelling characters, and unexpected twists.

How can I make my scary story unique and memorable?

Consider combining unexpected elements or taking a fresh perspective on classic horror themes. Introduce a unique twist or incorporate lesser-known folklore or legends. 

Developing well-rounded characters and building suspense through pacing and atmosphere can also make your story stand out.

What are some effective techniques for building suspense in a scary story?

Use pacing to gradually escalate tension, revealing frightening elements bit by bit. Employ sensory details to immerse readers in the story’s atmosphere. 

Employ foreshadowing and create a sense of anticipation. Leave certain details to the imagination, allowing readers to fill in the gaps and utilize unexpected plot twists to keep readers on edge.

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