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Winter Horror Story

A Writing Prompt

By Stephanie HoogstadPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 3 min read
Winter Horror Story
Photo by Alessio Zaccaria on Unsplash

‘Tis the season to go through old things, isn’t it? It’s a rather nostalgic time of year, and for me, that means rifling through my older pieces of writing. Sometimes, it can lead me down a bad road and cause me to doubt my writing even more than I already do. Other times, it brings a smile to my face and makes me want to share what I’ve rediscovered with others. Fortunately, I’ve recently stumbled across the latter.

I was going through some of my old posts on my blog, The Writer’s Scrap Bin, and I found an old gem that still seems to be a favorite this time of year: a Friday Fun-Day writing prompt that I simply called “Winter Horror Story”. I haven’t touched it in a while, but when I look at the statistics for my site, it seems to be among the top posts, even outside of the season. Since this prompt seems to be popular on my blog and it would be fun to see what people on here would come up with, I decided to pass it on to the wonderful writers of Vocal.

Mind you, I cannot afford to hold any unofficial contest like all the wonderful ones I have entered on here. As such, I am only leaving this prompt for people to have fun with, as I have seen many others before me do. Still, I hope that doesn’t discourage people from taking the premise and rolling with it.

The prompt itself is fairly straightforward. All you have to do is write a horror short story, microfiction, or poem that takes place in the winter. If you can tie in Christmas or some other winter holiday, even better! In fact, for maximum benefit, I highly recommend incorporating any festive elements that you can and try to twist them to enhance the horror in your story. You could even write it in the form of a rhyming children’s story or Christmas poem, like “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. (Nothing like scarring the little ones for the holidays, right?)

Get as disturbed and deranged as you want. Turn white winter snow red, explore the darkest thoughts that arise around this time of year, do whatever you feel it takes to make the most wonderful time of year frightening. You can follow Krampus on his annual journey to beat naughty children, turn Santa into a psychopathic stalker that sees you when you’re sleeping, make elves into the cannibalistic beasts of your nightmares–the only limit is your imagination!

There are several examples of winter horror stories in movie form: Krampus (2015), Elves (1989), even The Abominable Snowman (1957). My personal recommendation for inspiration, though, is this reading of “The Night Before”, a zombie twist on “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, by paranormal investigator John L. Tenney: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjXQe0fWrRM. (Yes, I watch a lot of paranormal investigative shows and follow paranormal investigators online. Don’t judge me for it.)

Even though there is no contest for this prompt, I would still love to see what people come up with. If you do use this prompt to write a short story, piece of microfiction, or even a poem, feel free to leave a link to it in the comments here. I might even write one of my own if the inspiration strikes me. If you have your own winter-based writing prompts, feel free to leave them as well. The more, the merrier!

For the original writing prompt and more of my blog posts, check out The Writer’s Scrap Bin. For more of my Vocal pieces, go to my Vocal profile.

Edit 12/10: I took on my own prompt! Below is the link to my microfiction piece, "All is Bloody and Bright":


About the Creator

Stephanie Hoogstad

With a BA in English and MSc in Creative Writing, writing is my life. I have edited and ghost written for years with some published stories and poems of my own.

Learn more about me: thewritersscrapbin.com

Support my writing: Patreon

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Comments (20)

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  • Tressa Rose3 months ago

    Finally finished mine! https://vocal.media/criminal/frosty-the-snowman

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    Back with a part two, encouraged by Tiffany Gordon. Its Barbie time. https://vocal.media/horror/defeat-of-the-hoogstadite-pt-2

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    You asked for bloody...can't say I did not warn you. Here is my entry, they took so long to publish it. I though it got rejected. https://vocal.media/horror/the-wicked-naughty-xmas-list

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    Great prompt. Let's see if I can think of something.

  • Kendall Defoe 3 months ago

    Right up my street!

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    I just saw this, heheheh, was just gonna do a horror one meself, but i will check yours out. I so need to write a horror story.

  • Amanda Starks3 months ago

    Oooooh this is right up my alley!! Thank you for offering this super fun prompt!!

  • Lamar Wiggins3 months ago

    Excellent, I just stumbled upon this after reading Matt's and Ceila's entry. Might just have to take a stab at it!

  • Ok, here is what I came up with . . . https://vocal.media/poets/santa-claws Thanks again for the great prompt!

  • Great prompt! I look forward to the entries. Nice job, Stephanie! No judgment from me. (I follow some of those same shows, perhaps.)

  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    Jane posted this and forgot to post the link ;) https://vocal.media/writers/a-journey-of-sorts

  • Tressa Rose3 months ago

    Sounds fun, I'll be back with my piece!

  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    My silly attempt, which you read-thank you! And thank you for shoving me the heck out of the comfort zone! https://vocal.media/fiction/silent-night-dm905c4

  • Paul Stewart3 months ago

    Oh yay! I am definitely going to be putting something forward for this. Well done on putting forward an excellent prompt, Stephanie!

  • Matthew Fromm3 months ago

    Here you go for your reading pleasure! thank you for the prompt: https://vocal.media/fiction/silent-night-deadly-night

  • Oooo, now this is right up my alley! Let's see if Mr Brain can come up with anything!

  • Matthew Fromm3 months ago

    have a piece for this that I'll hopefully get out tomorrow

  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    Oh I was literally just thinking...what to do...Thank you so much for sharing. Not really a horror king of Underland dweller but will have a think! Thank you for sharing, not sure I can handle the You Tube though, I'm a wimp of the highest order! 🤍

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    What a fantastic and chilling prompt! The idea of taking the festive cheer and turning it into a canvas for horror is both creative and intriguing

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