A challenge to write ‘scary stories in five words or less’ (though grammar lovers are cringing and whispering ‘fewer!’) has circulated recently, popping up on Reddit back in August, and being brought to life again by Comedy Central’s @Midnight series. Now Twitter users are having fun with it — and some of the stories they come up with will have even the staunchest horror reader cringing.

The Reddit thread, posted by user CraftJunkie two months ago, boasts a number of unrepeatable examples, but it also brings out some horror classics:

I frown, my reflection sneers.

Ziptied to the railroad tracks.

Others appeal to more modern and societal fears:

Home alone. Toilet Paper gone.

Both your girlfriends are pregnant.

After @Midnight’s Chris Hardwick offered it up as a challenge on the Comedy Central late-night show, though, the trend dashed to Twitter, where users strove to create five word scary stories, with similar results.

There, too, many lean toward classic fears, mirroring (no pun intended) some of the same ones that always recur:

Many, though, are more political:


On Twitter, too, many express fears of social embarrassment or taboos:

It’s a fun game, but ‘scary stories in five words or less [fewer!]’ also reveals something about the things we’re all really afraid of. Even though the idea of your reflection doing something you didn’t do is still high on society’s scare factor scale, there’s a lot of fear, too, about the wrong person (whoever you happen to believe that is) in a position of power. Also, we’re all pretty afraid of information we thought was private or secret (even if we published it publicly) getting out.

To find more scary stories in five words or less, check out the Twitter hashtag #scarystoriesin5words. What are you afraid of?

[photo credit: ford]