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Helping writers become bestselling authors

Setting Description Entry: Haunted House (inside)

May 23, 2009 by BECCA PUGLISI

haunted house setting description ks1

Sight Dust, cobwebs, sheets on furniture, broken tables, chairs, windows, lamps, peeling wallpaper, gaps in the floorboards, holes in the walls, flickering lights (if there’s electricity) chandelier with broken strings of crystals, broken glass on the floor, spiders, cockroaches, rust, mildew, ripped curtains, shadows, gloomy staircases, old portraits & paintings, cracked…

footsteps on the stair, creaking doors, window shutters rattling on the outside, wind scattering/rustling paper through a broken window gap, words whispered in ear, screams, crying, wailing, laughter, glass smashing, the scrap of a chair moving, the scritch of tree branches scraping at the windows, rats squeaking, movement in the walls, a…

Phantom perfume or cologne, burning smells, pipe or cigarette smoke, mildew, rot, dank, rusty or metallic smells, wet wood and stone, rancid breath, yeasty beer smell, food, dust, dry rot, rat/mice feces, urine

Sour & dry mouth from fear, dust floating in the air and coating the tongue, salty tears

A phantom hand on the shoulder, the puff of breath on the earlobe or the back of the neck, the sensation of being grabbed on the arm, pushed, pulled, pinched, poked, slapped, burned, a feeling of light-headedness and nausea, hair rising on arms or the back of the neck, the body’s reaction to a drop in temperature (chills, shivering, breath puffing out…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:  I cringed at each creak on the old warped stairs, but it didn’t sway my determination to make it to the bedroom on the second floor. Halfway up, a shadow flickered at the corner of my vision. I froze, and as I stood there, caught a woody scent lingering in the air. Tobacco smoke? A shiver curled through the hairs on the back of my neck then cascaded down my backbone. It was all I could do to not hurl myself back down the stairs toward the front door…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Metaphor ) The dining room chair suddenly jolted back and tilted toward me, a gracious invitation by an invisible host…

Think beyond what a character sees, and provide a sensory feast for readers

haunted house setting description ks1

Setting is much more than just a backdrop, which is why choosing the right one and describing it well is so important. To help with this, we have expanded and integrated this thesaurus into our online library at One Stop For Writers.

Each entry has been enhanced to include possible sources of conflict, people commonly found in these locales, and setting-specific notes and tips, and the collection itself has been augmented to include a whopping 230 entries—all of which have been cross-referenced with our other thesauruses for easy searchability. So if you’re interested in seeing this powerful Setting Thesaurus , head on over and register at One Stop.

haunted house setting description ks1

On the other hand, if you prefer your references in book form, we’ve got you covered, too, because both books are now available for purchase in digital and print copies. In addition to the entries, each book contains instructional front matter to help you maximize your settings. With advice on topics like making your setting do double duty and using figurative language to bring them to life, these books offer ample information to help you maximize your settings and write them effectively.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers —a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.

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Reader Interactions

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May 14, 2021 at 1:51 pm


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May 8, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Oh wow. It hadn’t occurred to me to make a list of all the things to do with my settings. Thank you for this. Brilliant!

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May 10, 2021 at 5:53 am

It’s so much easier to get the setting exactly where we want it when we know beforehand what to aim for :).

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March 12, 2021 at 5:58 pm

I really love this Thank you so much for doing this

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March 2, 2021 at 2:17 pm

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February 18, 2021 at 8:34 am

Thankyou soo much…it really helped me

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February 13, 2021 at 5:04 am

omg!! Thankyou so much, this helped with my assignment!!!

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February 10, 2021 at 6:25 am

thank you so much, helped me alot during lockdown!!

February 11, 2021 at 8:29 am

Well thank goodness for that!

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December 22, 2020 at 12:24 am

Thank You really helpful

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December 12, 2020 at 5:30 am

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December 4, 2020 at 11:38 pm

Thank you so much, there are totally enough ideas for me for my essay

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November 22, 2020 at 10:04 am

Very helpful

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November 10, 2020 at 5:41 pm

thank you so much i needed ideas and this gave me so much.

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October 21, 2020 at 4:50 pm

I am doing a descriptive writing project and this helped me so much! Thank You!

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October 21, 2020 at 7:01 pm

Glad it helped!

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March 20, 2021 at 6:59 am

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October 8, 2020 at 11:51 am

I love the website I had to write a paper about Halloween and I used this website to find my d Description Word I need . Who ever made this website I don’t know what I would tell him or her but it’s one of my favorite it gives me great description of what words I don’t understand and I then I can use it later if I could rate it 5 stars

October 8, 2020 at 1:07 pm

Zachary, I am so glad you like this website and it’s a help to you!

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September 26, 2020 at 5:48 pm

thank u a lot s helps me in my writing

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September 19, 2020 at 1:49 am

Thanks! It was quite helpful for my paragraph. 😊

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March 25, 2020 at 1:17 am

This was SOOO helpful. Thanks a lot. It was very helpful.

This was SOOO helpful. Thanks a lot.

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January 2, 2020 at 5:56 am

this helped me with my essay A LOT!!!!!!!!!!! 😊

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December 3, 2019 at 2:51 pm

This is awesome!👌

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March 31, 2021 at 11:41 pm

This awesome

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November 18, 2019 at 1:32 pm

This is so helpful for everyone . People can use them in essays while describing a haunted house .

November 10, 2020 at 5:43 pm

That is exactly what i used it for

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November 11, 2019 at 7:02 am

This is so helpful! Definately the best website for writing! Thanksssss❤️❤️

November 11, 2019 at 10:42 am

Happy this helps!

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November 3, 2019 at 7:28 am

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October 25, 2019 at 4:58 am

I really like it. It’s really good.for.young children and writers. I love it do much

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July 1, 2019 at 6:21 pm

wow I really needed this thank you sooo much

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May 25, 2019 at 11:22 am

Amazing. Im a 14-year-old writer and all these descriptions inspired me on how to write my mystery book. Thanks so much Becca

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February 9, 2019 at 6:29 pm

I really liked it because it helped me a lot to inspire me with my writing for greater depth.It was all very creative and amazing 😃👍🏻

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January 28, 2019 at 11:34 am

very good descriptions

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January 3, 2019 at 11:03 pm

This is too helpful

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November 11, 2018 at 4:21 am


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June 6, 2019 at 2:08 am

Good descriptive terms and phrases!!

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October 24, 2018 at 1:23 pm

Thank you so much you have helped me so much.

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October 23, 2018 at 10:49 am

This story describes the house and starts to leave an image of what the inside of the house looks like. I get shivers reading it.

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October 22, 2018 at 11:10 am

I love this website it helps me

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July 22, 2018 at 8:38 am

Thank you so much.. It helped me a lot… I am very happy about this web page😊

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November 19, 2018 at 11:04 pm

yeah me too it helped alot

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December 13, 2017 at 7:04 am

Thank you so much it really helped write my writing assessment and get full marks, don’t worry i didn’t cheat that much!

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October 25, 2019 at 12:17 pm

lmao “that much”

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November 9, 2017 at 5:32 pm

It Game Some Ideas What To Write

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April 4, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Its just awesome because I get a idea to write it in my suspense story??

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March 19, 2017 at 11:49 am

thanks alot it really helped me in my suspense story writing and it did really gave me some ideas to write it thanks 😉

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December 3, 2016 at 8:15 am

Thank you very much. This is helpful to do my English HW. Zabit Khwaja

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September 12, 2018 at 2:01 pm

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October 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Thank you !! This has really helped me to do my homework and to inspire me for different t ideas.

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October 6, 2016 at 9:45 am

this helped me do my English course thank u sooo much

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September 1, 2011 at 9:32 am

this is awesome! 😀 helped me do my coursework for English! thanks a lot 😀

October 14, 2010 at 8:47 pm

this story is awsome i want to read another one.

September 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Thanks Aloot It Helped Me In My English Homework:) But I Think It Would Be Better If There Were More Examples Of Haunted Houses:D x

April 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm

this has helped me a great deal with my story for my English class 🙂

May 27, 2009 at 11:34 am

I love the image of the child riding a phantom rocking horse — very effective.

May 25, 2009 at 11:48 pm

This one was so fun to do. There are so many unusual settings to explore–stay tuned!

May 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm

You gals cover some of the greatest topics!!! Hope you can get these out in book form soon or eventually! Keep up the good work!

May 24, 2009 at 7:21 am

I can hear the wind moaning around corners…whhoooooooooowhoooooo.

May 24, 2009 at 7:14 am

Fantastic! Thanks!

May 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Gives me the shivers too. =)

May 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Gives me shivers just reading it. 😉

Privacy Overview


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  1. Setting Description Entry: Haunted House (inside)

    SightDust, cobwebs, sheets on furniture, broken tables, chairs, windows, lamps, peeling wallpaper, gaps in the floorboards, holes in the walls, flickering lights (if there’s electricity) chandelier with broken strings of crystals, broken glass on the floor, spiders, cockroaches, rust, mildew, ripped curtains, shadows, gloomy staircases, old portraits & paintings, cracked… Sounds footsteps ...

  2. In the Haunted House Writing Activity (teacher made)

    Encourage children to think about the five senses when writing about visiting a haunted house with this In the Haunted House Writing Activity. Pupils consider what they might see, hear, smell, taste and feel when visiting a haunted house and write about it. This activity can be used to stretch more able writers to include a descriptive sentence for each sense, or made simpler for early ...

  3. 423 Top "Haunted House Description" Teaching Resources

    Halloween Haunted House Aistear Stick Puppets 5.0 (5 reviews) Explore more than 354 "Haunted House Description" resources for teachers, parents and pupils as well as related resources on "Haunted House Setting Description". Instant access to inspirational lesson plans, schemes of work, assessment, interactive activities, resource packs ...

  4. Writing a Spooky Setting Description Differentiated Worksheets

    Educake Assessment for Secondary & Primary. Help. Use these beautifully illustrated planning sheets to help your children to prepare for writing a great setting description for a scary story! Each of these differentiated worksheets comes with a picture of a mysterious location and prompt questions which help children to focus on their senses ...

  5. Describe the Haunted House Writing Activity

    Use this spooky Describe the Haunted House Writing Activity as a frame for children to write their own sentences about this scary setting for Halloween! Children can choose appropriate words to describe the haunted house from the list provided on the sheet, and use these to support them in writing their own descriptive sentences. You could even challenge children to include expanded noun ...