If you\u2019re too old for trick or treating but want to have fun on Halloween, trading ghost stories with friends is a great alternative (it\u2019s also how Mary Shelley came up with Frankenstein).\n\n[caption id="attachment_2519" align="aligncenter" width="239"] I feel so pretty.[\/caption]\n\nBut what if you and your friends are all too brave for old yarns about ghosts and ghouls to rattle you? Well, you could invent a scary story to set spines tingling using these (terrifying) writing tips.\n1. Not Peanut Butter! Anything but Peanut Butter!\nWe\u2019re all scared of something, whether it\u2019s the dark, giant spiders or getting peanut butter stuck to the tops of our mouths. (We\u2019ll confess that the last of those is quite niche.)\n\n[caption id="attachment_2520" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The horror! The horror![\/caption]\n\nA good place to start with a scary story is therefore your own fears and anxieties, since it\u2019s far easier to find the dark corners of a situation when it\u2019s based on something personal.\n2. Don\u2019t Panic, Guys, It\u2019s Just a Kitten. What? No! Get Off Me! AAAAARGH!\nAnother possibility is to make something familiar from everyday life threatening. Examples include Alfred Hitchcock\u2019s The Birds and roughly 75% of Stephen King\u2019s written output.\n\nTry considering things in your environment that you usually take for granted, then use \u201cwhat if?\u201d style questions to come up with a situation in which they suddenly become deadly!\n\n[caption id="attachment_2521" align="aligncenter" width="404"] Questions like: "What if kittens had laser eyes?"[\/caption]\n3. We\u2019re Trapped!\nOne very effective way of adding tension to a story is to trap your characters somehow, such as being locked in a haunted building or lost in a forest with something that is hunting them.\n\nAlternatively, you could \u201ctrap\u201d your characters by stripping them of something they rely on.\n\nBeing chased by a serial killer? It\u2019d be a terrible shame if your phone didn\u2019t work and you couldn\u2019t call for help. Something wicked lurking in the shadows? I\u2019m sure you\u2019ll be fine as long as the lights don\u2019t go out\u2026\n\n[caption id="attachment_2522" align="aligncenter" width="300"] *fzzzt-pop!*[\/caption]\n\nOops. Should have changed that bulb before opening a portal to the dark realms, shouldn\u2019t you?\n4. WE\u2019RE ALL GONNA DIE!\nAn important aspect of telling a scary story \u2013 and storytelling in general \u2013 is \u201cshow, don\u2019t tell.\u201d\n\nThis means that you shouldn't be too direct, like openly stating that a character is scared:\n\u201cUpon feeling the peanut butter on the top of his mouth, Duncan started to panic.\u201d\nInstead, you should try to bring situations to life by describing them as they are experienced by the characters:\n\u201cDuncan bit into the sandwich and immediately froze. A bead of sweat ran down his forehead as he felt the sticky, nutty evil spread through his mouth\u2026\u201d\n\n\n[caption id="attachment_2523" align="aligncenter" width="281"] Open wide! Bwa-ha-ha-ha![\/caption]\n\nTelling the story this way can also make your characters seem more real, thereby encouraging your audience to care about them and what they\u2019re feeling. Get this right and you should have a scary story that will haunt the dreams of even the bravest reader!