Haunted house stories are fun to write and read. Who doesn’t love a story about an old house with a dark secret; where danger lurks and shadows stir up terrible memories?
If you’re looking for inspiration for your next haunted house short story, read on. We’ve got lots of ideas to help you get started.
Why do Haunted Houses Scare us?
The reasons why people get spooked by haunted houses are concrete and well-known. We can see the dark corners, we feel uncomfortable when actors are jumping out of nowhere, and we’re afraid to step on a dirty floor. In general, an abandoned environment with a ghastly atmosphere is enough for one’s imagination to work to produce horrifying scenarios that we can’t shake off.
We are also scared by the thought of something idiotic, indefinable, and unexpected. Haunted house short stories exploit this fear. The spine-chilling ambiguity of a paranormal story with no clear explanation of what’s going on keeps us on the edge of our seats. This is a common theme in horror stories that, like a haunted house, is mysterious and alluring at the same time.
Sometimes, the idea of a haunted house also serves as a metaphor for some psychological issues. If a person experiences fear of abandonment and loneliness, this can be another way to illustrate his or her fears and anxieties in written form. Living alone might bring up unpleasant images of things crawling and lurking nearby – it’s not entirely clear whether they are real monsters or just our imagination taking over because we’re too depressed to go out.
Elements to Include in a Haunted House Story
Some elements to include in a haunted house short story are like a recipe for a ghost story. The central premise must be compelling enough to keep us engaged, and preferably with some sort of twist or unexpected event that raises our curiosity. For example, sometimes we don’t see the truth behind what’s happening, because we are not smart enough or have not done enough research to know the truth. This leaves us confused and wanting more, making it easier for these stories to keep you hooked.
One of the most important elements to include in a story featuring a haunted house is the main character’s personality. If a person experiences fear of abandonment and loneliness, for example, it must be visible in his or her actions. It would be best to show how this person deals with a paranormal situation and think about what are the scary parts of that experience instead of writing about the environment itself.
Another popular element to include in haunted house short stories is one or more creepy characters that are constantly monitoring the main character’s progress. It can be helpful to have someone who has been around the haunted house for years, knows exactly what’s going on inside and is ready to tell you everything. This can lend plausibility to the story and make it more frightening.
Finally, an abandoned environment is always an essential element in the concept of a haunted house short story. It’s impossible not to pay attention to such buildings because it must be startling enough for us to want things more complex and unfathomable than what we can see from here.
Short Story Ideas Set in Haunted Houses
Alone in an Abandoned House
An abandoned house with a history of murder, unusual noises, and inexplicable events taking place inside
This can be an invasion. Perhaps it’s the work of a ghost or some kind of spirit. The main character is alone in this house and has no idea why the surroundings are that way. The story can be about his or her fears and anxieties as they are discovered more and more by the pages, with more questions being raised instead of answers.
Dark Family History
An old house with a backstory of a family dying in it. The remaining family member(s) are trying to figure out who the killer is by reading the old, dusty diary kept in the attic
There might be some supernatural elements or at least hints on things that can’t be explained. This type of story is successful when there is an element of fear of abandonment and loneliness mixed with hope for someone to solve the mystery before it’s too late and something terrible happens.
Strange Old Woman
A strange house in the middle of nowhere, with an old woman living inside, who’s not aware that the house has been abandoned for years.
She looks young and healthy even though she’s much older than she appears Sometimes an old woman who seems to be a young girl can be a perfect excuse to write a ghost story. The longer we stay with her, the more likely it is that she’ll admit something unusual and frightening is going on inside.
A haunted house locked inside an old asylum
The owner of the asylum is going to rent out the house to people as a vacation home, but he didn’t tell them what happened inside before it was shut down. There’s only one person who knows the truth – the psychiatrist of the asylum
Rebuilt After a Fire
A haunted house that has been forgotten by its previous residents and was left behind after a fire burned it down to ashes
The house is in the process of being rebuilt and inhabited by a group of college students or new residents. But when they realize what happened before, they start to experience strange things as well
The story is about a newlywed couple inheriting a large mansion from their great-uncle
As soon as they move in, strange things start happening; doorknobs turn on their own, the floorboards creak and groan for no apparent reason and all the furniture moves by itself. The husband thinks his wife is playing tricks on him, but his wife swears that she’s innocent. Is there a ghost in the house or something else? The husband starts to suspect that these things are being caused by some sinister spirit hiding inside the house
House in the Woods
A group of teenagers find an abandoned house and decide to hide there after camping deep in the woods
They didn’t realize they were not alone in the house and that they were sharing it with a creature who doesn’t appreciate guests. The teenagers have to find a way out of there alive and without the spirit killing them – that’s the point of their story.
Over to You
Now you’ve been inspired. It’s time to write. Pick one of these ideas and bring to life your creepiest, darkest idea for a haunted house short story.