Posted by: Jack Henry | October 31, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Happy Halloween!

I know, I’m a day early, but I wanted to provide you with these ghastly words before you started trick-or-treating!

Here is a list of spooky words for you from If you’re interested in the words as they appear in haunting literature, see the Grammarly website.

· Ghastly

The adjective “ghastly” evokes a horrifying or terrifying sentiment about the noun it’s describing. It’s reminiscent of the word “ghost” as if the subject is taking on a death-like pallor.

· Ghoulish

The word “ghoulish” describes grotesque or perverse characteristics that are frightening to the beholder. It’s also a form of “ghoul,” a word derived from Arabic that means demonic being.

· Macabre

Nothing screams Halloween like the word “macabre,” which was derived from an Old French phrase that alludes to the “dance of death.” Today, macabre acutely describes death in a grisly and gory fashion.

· Phantasm

“Phantasm” conjures a haunting image of an unnatural apparition. Emerging from the supernatural, a phantasm might be seen so faintly, so momentarily, that its beholder questions the reality of the surrounding world.

· Spine-tingling

Alluding to the human anatomy in your writing conjures sensations of fear. The adjective “spine-tingling” can refer to a chilling, heart-thumping type of fright, but can also describe thrilling suspense about an unknown situation.

· Blood-curdling

The word “blood-curdling” arouses terror and fear from the senses. It comes from the medieval idea that an excessive amount of fear can turn the blood cold and therefore curdle it.

· Creaky

Descriptive words for sounds add layers to an already spooky writing project. “Creaky” objects, like wooden floorboards in disrepair or a rusty swing, almost cry out in warning to the reader.

· Howl

The word “howl” evokes a melancholy, pained cry. It’s made by an animal, but attributing a howl to a subject that’s not an animal sets an especially eerie mood.

· Shadowy

Describing a noun as “shadowy” makes it mysterious, dark, and difficult to see. And when it’s hard to discern nearby spooky figures, your imagination races to the creepiest possibilities.

· Lurking

When a subject is “lurking,” it suggests someone who poses a sinister threat and is purposefully biding their time for an opportune moment to attack.

· Crypt

Lead your readers underground with images of a “crypt”—a vault that’s used as a burial area, commonly underneath a church. Crypts elicit an unsettling and foreboding mood that’s perfect for a frightening tale.

· Cackle

The word “cackle” is often described as a witch’s laugh. The sound is harsh, shrill, and menacing. It can be used to evoke a sense of scorn or unpleasantness that’s to come.

· Disquieting

This adjective is used to refer to something that makes someone feel anxious or uneasy. The combination of the prefix “dis-” and the root word “quiet” in and of itself implies the opposite of calm; the word is used in the context of a disturbing or fearful situation, ratcheting up a sense of dread.

Happy Halloween!

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | Call via Teams |

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