Five Halloween Writing Prompts

There’s something very 1970s about autumn that I love. Maybe it’s the colours, intertwined with the fact that I live in an old neighbourhood. Whatever the reason, everything about this time of year just fills me to the brim: sharing Thanksgiving dinners with the people who I love; seeing couples out for walks, hand-in-hand, as the different coloured leaves all flutter to the sidewalks around them; the smell of the harvest; and the ominous whisper in the air that ghouls, and witches, and vampires just might be lurking while I sleep.

Halloween is less than two weeks upon us. It’s by far my favourite holiday of the year, due to the fact that I grew up naturally drawn to all things gothic and horror-themed. Not only is it the one time of the year my local Wal-Mart regularly merchandises a semi-wide selection of classic horror movies (usually at an affordable price!), but ideas of house redecoration that rival Morticia Addams can’t help but come to mind.

That, and the excitement for NaNoWriMo starts to kick in.

Yes, National Novel Writing Month is right around the corner. Whether this world-wide bonanza celebrating authorship and the death of procrastination fills you with vigour or dread, there is no better way to bridge the gap between now and November and prepare the creative brain-gears than some Halloween-themed writing prompts.

Obviously, you are free to do one, a couple, or all of them – however long or short you’d like. Doesn’t matter. The important thing is to at least get into the habit of writing by the seam of your pants, because come November, the terror of the word count begins.

1. I awoke to the sound of the baby monitor crackling with a voice comforting my firstborn child. As I adjusted to a new position, my arm brushed against my wife, sleeping next to me. – From Tickld

2. You are frozen with fear. You open your eyes, the tent is dark. But you can feel the heavy weight of a large tarantula covering one eye. Through the other eye you can see the shadows, from the moonlight, of hundreds, if not thousands, of other spiders covering the tent. – From Every Writer’s Resource

3. Write from the perspective of the antagonist. Give them a name and a backstory. What drove them to be the big bad in your horror story? What are their motivations? Do they have any special tattoos or scars or other sorts of branding? Where do they live? What do they have planned for their victims? What is their relationship to one another? – From Needle in the Hay

4. When we bought the house I assumed the scratches on the inside of the basement door were from a dog, but the neighbors say the previous owner didn’t have one. This morning the scratches had multiplied. – From Chicago Now

5. 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. – From Letter Pile

Happy writing, my little ghosts and goblins! In the coming weeks we will be delving more into NaNoWriMo, and how to survive thirty days and 50,000 words of literary abandon.


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