19 Horror Writing Prompts

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  1. Your character notices a black pickup truck that’s parked down the street—and they’ve never seen it before. They write it off as a neighbor’s new car, but over the course of a few weeks, it still hasn’t moved. They decide to ask the people on your street whose car it is. None of them know.
  2. Your character is with a group of friends hiking in the forest that surrounds your small town. They begin to see and hear something moving in the trees behind them.
  3. A group of teenagers finds an abandoned mansion in the woods, and they decide to explore it. But they didn’t expect what was inside.
  4. Bodies start showing up in the streets of a small town, and the local detective suddenly has his hands full—as well as his desk. Someone keeps on sending him ominous notes about his family and the murders.
  5. A new bookstore opens in town, and a teenage bookworm spends most of her time there. When she asks if the shopkeeper would consider hiring her, he freaks out and kicks the girl out of the store. With the help of an unlikely ally, she tries to discover what the bookstore owner is keeping secret.
  6. All the plants in a village start dying. No one knows why, but an abandoned cathedral might hold the answer.
  7. One night, an old man wakes up to a phone ringing in his basement. It keeps ringing and he can’t fall asleep, so he decides to go down to the basement and turn it off. When he finally finds the phone, he discovers that it’s not plugged into anything—and he can’t turn it off. He picks up, and receives an eerie message from a stranger.
  8. Your character has a dog, and it starts to bring home dead rats. The character puts them in a trash can outside, scolding their dog. One morning, while eating breakfast, they hear the trash can begin to rattle and then fall to the ground.
  9. A single mother begins to feel like someone is watching her—all the time.
  10. Every night, a little boy has nightmares that he wakes up from; screaming. One day, he begins to notice a strange man that he also sees in his nightmares.
  11. A family moves into a new house in an idyllic town. But the other people who live there seem to be almost mechanical.
  12. A group of college friends rent a house in the woods together. One of them falls into the mirror in the living room and disappears. Another one of the friends think it’s a trick that the others are playing on her, so she smashes the mirror—but the missing friend is nowhere to be found.
  13. Mysterious murders haunt a town, and people begin to wonder if they’re next. Your character is on the hunt for the criminal, but, over time, it seems like they’re the one being hunted.
  14. Your character finds an old journal in a library. They discover that whatever they write in the journal comes true—with a cost.
  15. Start your story with someone banging on the door of an old structure, screaming for help.
  16. The dead rise, and at first it seems like a blessing. People are reunited with their loved ones, until the dead begin to turn sinister. A family joins forces with their neighbors to find out why the dead are alive, and how to stop them.
  17. A little girl gets lost in a hedge maze at twilight.
  18. Write a scene set in an empty parking garage with flickering lights.
  19. You go to an abandoned hospital after your friend texts you, asking for help and giving the address of the hospital. Once you get there, you try to search for your friend, but instead uncover a mysterious testing method the hospital used to perform. The victims of the method don’t want this to be discovered, and they try to stop you when you return home without your friend. But something seems off about them.

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