Teach Students to Write Scary Poems Using Onomatopoeia and More

Creepy Poem Lesson

For the next creative writing lesson, write creepy or scary poems. It all begins with a picture to inspire the writing. The pictures

Spider Mother spider with babies

included in this lesson were taken around a house garden. And, yes, there are many baby spiders on top of the mother spider in the first picture. However, you may have budding photographers in your class who can take even better photos to inspire creepy poetry.

Students will need to have access to a computer with Microsoft Word software. If students want to take pictures, they will need a digital camera as well.

Poetry Techniques

Before assigning students to take the first photo or write their first line of poetry, take time to teach some basic poetry techniques. The following are some that work well with this assignment:

  • onomatopoeia — words make a sound, such as buzz, crack, bam, boom
  • alliteration: repetition of consonant letters, such as scary spiders scamper
  • hyperbole: exaggeration: a million baby spiders clung to the mother's back
  • simile: a comparison of two unlike things using like or as: the moth was a furry as my Persian cat
  • metaphor: a comparison of two unlike things: the wasp was a bricklayer to make a home for its brood

For additional poetry techniques, use the resource in the reference section below. Another resource is the book Dinner with Dracula by Bruce Lansky [Medowbrook, 2006]. This book is a fun/scary collection of poems that can be read to the students before students begin writing.

Using Digital Photos to Inspire

Once students have brought in their digital photos, make a collection of the jpeg files and display them. The ones included in this lesson can be used as well. Please give all of the photographers credit when using the photos. Display the pictures by placing them all


on a PowerPoint slide and projecting them. Or, print off all of the pictures and display them on a bulletin board.

Write Poetry

Allow students to select one poem to place on the top of a Word document. There should be room below the picture to write a poem. Print off the paper so that students can work on a rough draft of their poem. Students should be encouraged to use at least two poetry techniques in their poem.

Once the students write creepy or scary poems, have students type their poems on the Word file with the digital picture. Then, have students share their poems and display them around the classroom.


This post is part of the series: Creative Writing Lessons for Scary Poems and Short Stories

These lessons will help students to write short stories and poems that focus on Gothic elements. These can be used for a unit around Halloween.
  1. Write Scary Short Stories by Studying a Master of the Gothic Genre — Poe
  2. Use Digital Photos of Scary Things to Inspire Poetry Writing