How to Get Into a Spooky Mood: Scary Things to Do

Updated on January 15, 2015

Want to Get in a Spooky Mood?

Most of us like a good scare. We like the spooky feeling of being in the dark or hearing about the supernatural. But how do you get into a spooky mood? What are some scary things to do?

Don't be alarmed. There is plenty of horror, fright, thrills, and the otherworldly to be found right here. This page is full of creepy ideas to try with friends or even by yourself if you like to be alone with your fears. Midnight is when the ghouls come out, so trying these ideas in the dark is definitely advised.

You are sure to find something frighteningly fun. Keep scrolling, if you dare . . .

Setting the Tone With An Eerie Atmosphere


It's time to get spooky. Begin by setting the right eerie atmosphere:

  1. Flick off the lights and light some candles. Well, you may want to do that in reverse order. A trip to the hospital for a broken toe is a different type of spooky.
  2. Silence all phones, turn off the television, and shut off all the other noisy distractions. Just listen to the sounds the house makes. The creaky settling sounds can be unnerving, especially when you don't know what is making the sound.
  3. Listen to your breathing. Can you hear your heart bumping in your chest? How is your mood now? A little more subdued, perhaps?
  4. Put on some haunting background music. Find something without words. Classical piano music works well. You'll find mood music suggestions further along.
  5. Now you can begin the entertainment. Tell ghost stories and make up your own tales of terror or woe. Read gloomy poems or just whisper in the dark. Keep your voice low and soft, until you come to the scary part that is. Then, say it loud and jump at your audience. Hold a flashlight up to your mouth for effect. Don't rush the story—go slowly to enthrall the listeners.
  6. When you are out of stories, keep the spooky mood flowing with more dreadful ideas below.

Music for a Spooky Ambiance

Grab your laptop or computer and play the video below in the background while telling ghost stories. Be sure to use full screen for the best eerie effect.

You can also make a playlist of mood music on YouTube (there are tons if you search around). Underneath the video is an "add to" button with an arrow beside of it. Click on the arrow and you will see the playlist selection. Add the videos you want to your playlist.

Spooky Games to Play in the Dark

Playing games in the dark is a thrilling way to get your heart racing and your adrenaline flowing. Some of the games can make you uneasy, especially when you are waiting in the dark. Some are just horrendously fun. You can play most basic games at night—the dark just makes them more challenging. Here are some ideas:

  • There is an optical illusion you can perform in the dark that makes people look headless. Stand about 25 feet away from someone. You'll want to be able to see their shape, but be unable to clearly make out their details. As you stand there staring at each other, your heads will look like they have disappeared.
  • Hide-and-seek in the dark can be terrifying for the people hiding and for the seeker. Imagine having to poke around in dark corners looking for someone.
  • Flashlight Tag is a great game to play at night. The person who is "it" tags the others by shining the light on them and calling their names.
  • Murder in the Dark is the probably the most fun game to play at night in a group. Here's how it works:
  1. Find a decently sized room that you can completely darken.
  1. Cut out pieces of paper (one for each person playing). On one piece write "Detective." Write "Murderer" on another. On all the rest, write "Victim."
  2. Everyone should draw a piece of paper from a pile.
  3. The detective turns off the lights and leaves the room.
  4. Everyone else walks around in the dark room. The murderer should feel around in the room to find a victim. When he does, he should tap the person three times. When someone is murdered, he should scream and lie down. The murderer can try to tap as many victims as he can before the lights come on.
  5. When someone screams, the detective should come back into the room and turn on the lights. Everyone in the room should freeze where they are. The detective tries to figure out who the murderer was by asking everyone questions. If he guesses correctly, he wins. If he is wrong the murderer should reveal who he was and he wins.
  6. Put the slips of paper back into the pile and play again.

"Night was a very different matter. It was dense, thicker than the very walls, and it was empty, so black, so immense that within it you could brush against appalling things and feel roaming and prowling around a strange, mysterious horror."

- Guy de Maupassant

Frightening Tales to Read for a Good Scare

One of the best ways to get into a spooky mood when you are alone is to curl up with a scary book. Read at night when everyone else is fast asleep. Turn off the lights and use a flashlight to read. Snuggle under the covers and imagine all the monstrous things that could be lurking in the room with you, watching you as you flip the pages.

Here are some suggestions for great horror stories, ranging from those for young adults to vampire stories—pick your poison. All are great to read to set a spooky mood.

  • "Nightmares & Dreamscapes" by Stephen King
  • "Glass Houses" (The Morganville Vampires series) by Rachel Caine
  • "Riser" by Becca C. Smith
  • "Interview With the Vampire" by Anne Rice
  • "Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)" by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • "In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories" retold by Alvin Schwartz. (Note: This one is great for the little ones or younger crowd!)
  • "I'm Not Afraid Of This Haunted House" by by Laurie Friedman and Teresa Murfin
  • "Waking Up Screaming: Haunting Tales of Terror" by H.P. Lovecraft
  • "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury

More Creepy Books—Free to Download!

There's no need to pay for thrills. These spooky classics (and many more( are available to download for free from Google Books. You know these stories, but have you read them? The old fashioned language gives these novels a Gothic and dark flavor. Perfect for a dark and stormy night when the electricity is out.

"There are horrors beyond life's edge that we do not suspect, and once in a while man's evil prying calls them just within our range."

- H.P. Lovecraft

Chilling Poems to Read

Here are a couple of good poems to read to get you into a shivering state of mind. Best read in the woods alone at night or by candlelight on a moonless eve.

Poems can put you into a melancholy mood when you read them. The key to making them sound spooky when you read them aloud is to speak slowly. Use a soft tone. Use pauses for emphasis.

Be sure to read the poem to yourself and practice before you read to an audience. Look up any words you don't know. Think about what the poet is trying to express. Try to make that emotion clear as you read it to others.

Other spooky poems include:

  • "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe
  • "The Haunted Oak" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • "The Little Green Orchard" by Walter de La Mare

Night Wind, a Poem by Eugene Field

Have you ever heard the wind go "Yooooo"?

'Tis a pitiful sound to hear!

It seems to chill you through and through

With a strange and speechless fear.

'Tis the voice of the night that broods outside

When folk should be asleep,

And many and many's the time I've cried

To the darkness brooding far and wide Over the land and the deep:

"Whom do you want, O lonely night,

That you wail the long hours through?"

And the night would say in its ghostly way:

"Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo!"

My mother told me long ago

(When I was a little tad)

That when the night went wailing so,

Somebody had been bad;

And then, when I was snug in bed,

Whither I had been sent,

With the blankets pulled up round my head,

I'd think of what my mother'd said,

And wonder what boy she meant!

And "Who's been bad to-day?"

I'd ask Of the wind that hoarsely blew;

And the voice would say in its meaningful way:

"Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo!"

That this was true I must allow--

You'll not believe it, though!

Yes, though I'm quite a model now,

I was not always so.

And if you doubt what things I say,

Suppose you make the test;

Suppose, when you've been bad some day

And up to bed are sent away

From mother and the rest--

Suppose you ask, "Who has been bad?"

And then you'll hear what's true;

For the wind will moan in its ruefulest tone:

"Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo! Yoooooooo!"

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before."

- Edgar Allan Poe

Spleen, a Poem by Charles Baudelaire (Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks)

When low skies weightier than a coffin-lid

cast on the moaning soul their weary blight,

and from the whole horizon's murky grid

its grey light drips more dismal than the night;

When earth's a dungeon damp whose chill appalls,

in which - a fluttering bat - my Hope, alone

buffets with timid wing the mouldering walls

and beats her head against the dome of stone;

When close as prison-bars, from overhead,

the clouds let fall the curtain of the rains,

and voiceless hordes of spiders come, to spread

their infamous cobwebs through our darkened brains,

Explosively the bells begin to ring,

hurling their frightful clangour toward the sky,

as homeless spirits lost and wandering

might raise their indefatigable cry;

And ancient hearses through my soul advance

muffled and slow; my Hope, now pitiful,

weeps her defeat, and conquering Anguish plants

his great black banner on my cowering skull.

"Weather forecast for tonight: dark."

- George Carlin

A Classic Spooky Mood Setter: Scary Movies

Sometimes the easiest way to give yourself a fright is to pop in a movie. Get the house really dark. Huddle close on the couch. During an intense, quiet moment, jump and yell "Eek!" very loudly. Once everyone's hearts have settled back down, finish the movie.

Not-too-scary movies for the little pumpkins:

  • "Hocus Pocus"
  • "Monster House"

Movies to chill your bones—not meant for the little ones. So, wait til it gets really late to watch these:

  • "The Ring"
  • "Paranormal Activity 2"
  • "The Thing"
  • "Fright Night"

"Listen to the night wind as it whispers your name,

It is calling.

Watch as leaves dance like tongues of flame,

It is calling.

Feel a chill rattle through your frame,

It is almost here."


In the Dark, Dark Woods


How many scary stories take place in the woods? Anytime a character enters a dark forest, you know something terrible is about to happen.

If you are in the mood for a good scare, head out to the woods. Go near dusk. Watch as the shadows grow longer and darkness descends on the trees. Notice how dark it is and how little you can see through the trees.

Listen to all of the nighttime forest sounds. Branches moving and snapping. Animals rustling in the leaves. Owls hooting. The wind blowing in the canopy.

Imagine all the creepy, ghoulish things that could be hiding in the trees. Yes. The woods is the best place for a scary setting.

Seven Frightening Things to Do in the Woods

These activities are best done in the dark for the optimal fright factor. Remember, the dark seems more intense in the woods where there are no lights or other people.

  1. Go for a nighttime walk.
  2. Tell ghost stories.
  3. Watch a scary movie.
  4. Have a late night picnic.
  5. Camp out for the night.
  6. Look for owls and bats.
  7. Play hide and seek in the trees.

Haunted Forest

Watch the video below of a haunted forest. The cool thing about this video is that it uses a 3D sound illusion called "Holophonic." When you listen with headphones on, you can hear the sound illusion. It'll definitely creep you out.

"The streets were dark with something more than night."

- Raymond Chandler

Haunting Events and Terrifying Places

Another way to be unnerved is to go somewhere with an otherworldly reputation. During the Fall, there are bunches of haunted attractions to be found. Haunted houses and other haunted places are usually an adrenaline rush meant to shock you and make you jump.

Some of the more low key seasonal attractions can be a more subtle type of scary that settles deeper under your skin. Go to a corn maze or on a hayride on a night when there are very few other people there. The middle of the week near closing time is typically the best time. Go alone or with a small group. Wander around in the maze lost and in the dark and an eerie feeling will start to creep over you. Just hope you make it out before everyone else goes home for the night.

Visit a local place that is known for being haunted. See if you can find any ghosts. Listen for interference on electronic equipment.

Many towns offer ghost walks where a local guide will take you around to supposedly haunted spots and give you some local lore and legend.

Nighttime carriage rides through deserted parts of town can make you somber as well.

Go caving in a natural cave. Dark caverns, bats, eerie sounds, echoes, being below the surface--what could be a spookier place. Stop periodically and turn out the lights. Have you experienced a more intense darkness? Be sure to go with an experienced guide.

If it is a warm night, go for a midnight swim in a lake. When the water is dark and murky you won't be able to see who or what is swimming with you.

Photographic Apparitions

Taking pictures of creepy things can turn your outlook grimmer. Take pictures of shadows or of the forest at night. Go do a photo shoot in the cemetery.

Or, do some editing to your photos using a site like You can give yourself red vampire eyes or give the picture a spooky fog effect. Turn even a sunny day dismal and gray with a few clicks.

Make fake ghost pictures using camera tricks found in the links below. Then you can tell everyone your house is haunted and you have proof. Be sure to make up a thrilling ghost story to go along with your photos.

"One need not be a chamber to be haunted;

One need not be a house;

The brain has corridors surpassing

Material place."

- Emily Dickinson

Seven Spooky Shows

The shows below are rated according to the number of hairs they will raise, from kid friendly to adult eyes only.

  1. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
  2. Twilight Zone
  3. Unsolved Mysteries
  4. X-Files
  5. Supernatural
  6. Tales from the Crypt
  7. American Horror Story

"A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus."

- Herbert Hoover

Gloomy Picnic: Pause for a Petrifying Poll


Which would make a spookier setting for a picnic?

See results

"My sorrow, when she's here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane."

- Robert Frost

Host a Midnight Tea Party

Invite guests over for tea. Have them arrive at midnight to take advantage of the prime harrowing hours of the night. Serve a dark brew and finger snacks. It would add more creepiness to the party if the snacks were finger-shaped. Black is definitely the color of choice for the serve ware.

"The sky was dark and gloomy, the air was damp and raw, the streets were wet and sloppy. The smoke hung sluggishly above the chimney-tops as if it lacked the courage to rise, and the rain came slowly and doggedly down, as if it had not even the spirit to pour."

- Charles Dickens

Superstitions and urban legends can be mysterious. Read up on superstitions. Then go out and tempt fate by breaking them. Step on cracks, open umbrellas inside, and line up ladders to walk under. If you are the superstitious type, you will be a puddle of fright by the time you are done. Be sure to keep an eye out for bad luck afterward.

Look into urban legends. Read about lore you may not have be familiar with. For example, have you heard of the thin men legends? The internet is full of urban legends and myths. See if you can find any urban legends specific to your area. You are bound to come across an urban legend that will keep you awake at night.

"The moon suffocates

In ominous clouds

Shut off the lights

Heartbeats too loud."

- Charles Audette

Scary Car Commercial

Spine-Chilling Scavenger Hunt

Go on a Gothic themed scavenger hunt. Make up a list of things that have to do with death. Like a gravestone with a "Q" in the name or a casket. Have each group take a picture of each of the items they find.

Or send the groups on a hunt into scary places. Like take a picture hugging a tree in the middle of the woods. Or a picture on the front porch of a local "haunted house."

You can leave clues in creepy places like the back door of an abandoned building. Make your friends do the hunt at night. It will make the search harder.

"We thought we could hear screams, but for all we knew, that have meant those things were in the house after her."

- Night of the Living Dead

Confront Your Fears


Many people like being scared. Wonder why? Fear largely in part is a physical response. When a person becomes afraid, chemicals like adrenaline start pumping through the body. These can make you feel exhilarated. The buildup of tension and then its eventual release can be emotionally cleansing.

Facing make-believe frights can help you overcome the things that really curdle your blood. Then, when you are ready, you can confront those fears.

Think about what scares you. One way to overcome fear is to submerge yourself in the thing that frighten you. Figure out why it frightens you. After you have faced it successfully often enough, it will eventually lose its power to terrify you.

Another way to confront fears is to think about nightmares. Dreams are usually a key to understanding the problems boiling in your brain. Get together with a group of friends and compare your worst nightmares. Hash them out. What is it that scared you? How does it relate to real life? What can you do about the problem?

Seven Oddest Fears

Where do your fears rank? Are they on this list of strange fears? Or are your fears even more bizarre?

  1. Consecotaleophobia: Fear of chopsticks.
  2. Dextrophobia: Fear of objects at the right side of the body.
  3. Geniophobia: Fear of chins.
  4. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia: Fear of the number 666.
  5. Kathisophobia: Fear of sitting down.
  6. Omphalophobia: Fear of belly buttons.
  7. Pteronophobia: Fear of being tickled by feathers.

Fright Poll

What scares you the most?

See results

"There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on."

- Rod Serling

Host a Spooktacular Party

Parties are an excellent way to create a spooky vibe. Throw a party with a creepy theme to get your guests in the right mood.

Dressing up in a frightening or creepy costume will instantly put you in the party mood. When you look the part, you begin to feel the part.

Be sure to have plenty of horrid party refreshments and plan a few party activities to get everyone into the spirit of the event. Enjoy the party and have a fearsomely good time. Check out these scary party theme ideas:

  • Crime Scene. Think of shows like CSI. Draw chalk outlines and hang crime scene tape. Decorate with body parts. Put evidence stickers around the refreshments. Dust baby powder around strategically and put finger prints in it.
  • Zombie Apocalypse. Decorate with plenty of zombie props. Get body part molds and make gory looking body parts. Brain molds are a must. Play zombie movies during the party.
  • Glow in the Dark. You will need several black lights. Get glow sticks and glow in the dark bubbles. Tonic water glows in the dark, so serve it to guests.
  • Graveyard/Catacombs. Tell guests they will be sitting up with the dead. Use graveyard and skeleton props. Tombstones, chains, and bones should be placed everywhere. Ghosts, zombies, mummies, and anything else undead can be used as well.
  • Fear Factor. Remember the reality show? You will need bugs and other gross props. Get candy bugs to serve. Set up stunts for the guests to try. Like dare them to walk on "glass." Have each guest walk blindfolded one at a time over crumpled chips.
  • Creatures of the Night. Vampires, witches, werewolves, monsters all roam around in the night. Use fake blood and other gory props. Decorate with coffins and bats.
  • Dark Carnival. Creepy clowns are a must. Have a hall of mirrors and carnival rats. Serve caramel apples with gummy worms. Have freakish exhibits like a brain in a jar.
  • Gothic Castle. Have a Victorian or medieval theme. It can even be a masquerade. Use candelabras as lighting. Decorate with black flowers. Set up an apothecary with potions and poison bottles.
  • Arachnophobia. You will need lots of spider web and fake spiders. Find spiders of all sizes. Place bugs in the webs. Wrap some of the bugs in the web. Hang giant egg sacks everywhere.
  • Nightmares. Incorporate some of the most common nightmares (monsters, creepy clowns, teeth falling out) into the decorations. Freddy Krueger and Nightmare Before Christmas, and other movies with "nightmare" or "dream" in the title can also be used. Have the guests come dressed as their worst nightmare or kookiest dream.
  • B movie. Bloody body parts are good decorations for this theme as well. Bloody knives, chainsaws, and other horror movie weapons can be strategically placed. Movie props such as Jason's mask are other things to incorporate.
  • Spooky laboratory. Haz mat signs, caution signs, and caution tape can be used as decorations. Pour slime on the table. Use beakers and test tubes for the drinks.
  • Twisted Fairy Tales/Nursery Rhymes. Use fairy tale decorations and add more blood and gore. Big bad wolves, wicked witches, dragons, and other creatures work as costumes. Serve poison apples and maimed gingerbread men.
  • Roswell. Alien decorations, stars and planets, and green goo can be used as props. Strategically place crashed alien ships. Get body bags for dead alien bodies.

Host a Murder Mystery Dinner

What's more morbid than eating dinner while someone is killed? Invite your dearest friends over and then knock one of them off. Grab a murder mystery kit that will help you plan the crime without investing too much time.

What spooked you the most? What makes you shiver and quake? Do you have the nerve to share? How do you get into a spooky mood? How do you get rid of the creeps?

Questions & Answers

    I have an eery feeling you want to tell me something . . . leave a comment below to do so.

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      • profile image

        Madelaine brule 

        10 months ago

        I love all of this and it`s exactly what I was going to publish at some point. I am a bit obsessed with Halloween and ghosts.

      • profile image


        18 months ago

        Murder in the dark is a great game to play, until you fall over your friends or the fall on you in the dark hahaha

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        So cool i am going to try these with my friends at school

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Love horror stuff creeps me out but I still love it

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        Cool!!! I wanna play Murder in the dark!!!

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        Good and nice info. Many people are scare from ghosts and darkness.

      • sierradawn lm profile image

        sierradawn lm 

        5 years ago

        I think that you have created here, the best Halloween lens on Squidoo!

      • darkflowers profile image

        Anja Toetenel 

        5 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

        Wow, very creative, I love all these spooky stuff!

      • WriterJanis2 profile image


        5 years ago

        I really want to try the Murder in the Dark game.

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        It needs to be more scary but that was good

      • MadScience profile imageAUTHOR

        Candace Bacon 

        7 years ago from Mad Laboratories

        @APackageAtTheDoor: Thanks! I used to play it with my cousins. When you are young, it can be very spooky. Happy Halloween!

      • MadScience profile imageAUTHOR

        Candace Bacon 

        7 years ago from Mad Laboratories

        @cuteordeath: Thanks! Spooky is my specialty. Have a Happy Halloween!

      • cuteordeath profile image


        7 years ago

        GREAT lens! I love all these ideas!

      • APackageAtTheDoor profile image


        7 years ago

        I remember playing hide and go seek in the house in the dark. Fun!

        Great lens, lots of good stuff here.


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