Mwah ha ha ha! Enter the Library’s Youth Ghost Story Contest.

cartoon ghosts, bats, and eyes in a dark forest

Hit us with a story that’s … well, monstrously good.

The Kansas City Public Library, in partnership with the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library and Kansas City Repertory Theatre, invites youngsters ages 10-14 to unleash their inner R.L. Stine and craft their spookiest, spine-chillingest tales for its annual Youth Ghost Story Contest. Goblins and ghouls. Dark, lightning-streaked nights. Unsettling urban legends. Give us your best, most twisted (and imaginative) shots – in prose or poetry.

Submissions open Thursday, September 1, and run through September 30. Winners will see their stories performed at KC Rep’s third annual Ghost Light: A Haunted Night of Songs and Stories from KC’s Cultural Crossroads in October and featured in videos on the Kansas City Public Library’s youth YouTube channel. Winning and honorable mention stories and videos also will be published on the Library website.

Last year’s contest drew more than 100 entries from across the metro area.

2022 Winners:

We're excited to celebrate this year's selected scary storytellers! We'll be sharing their original short stories and videos closer to Halloween. Congratulations to all!


Addison, age 10 – “Into the Night”

Honorable Mentions:

Rory, age 11 – “The Cursed Grave”
Isaac, age 11 – “The Legend of Alek and the Golden Coin”
James, age 11 – “Doors”

Here are the devilish details:

Who can enter:


  • Can be short stories or poetry and must be original – in the writer’s own words.
  • Maximum 600 words.
  • You can have multiple entries, but submit each separately.
  • Stories can’t be derived from copyrighted works (i.e., Stranger Things, Scream, Five Nights at Freddy’s). Rather, consider why those characters appeal to you and use them as inspiration for your own unique composition.
  • Use of, or allusion to, traditional folklore and characters in the public domain – Frankenstein’s monster, Count Dracula, La Llorona, and the like – is permitted.

Submitting your entry (or entries):

  • Name and save each file as Title_Firstname_Age.
  • Upload document to this submission form (also accessible below) and provide your full name, title of story, home zip code, phone number, and email address.
  • Again, if you have multiple entries, submit each separately.
  • In submitting entries, contestants give the Library permission to adapt or edit the content for promotions related to the contest.

Winning and honorable mention entries:

  • Determined by a judging panel of representatives from the Kansas City Public Library; the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library; and KC Rep.
  • Participants will be notified in mid-October about whether their work has been selected.
  • Winning stories will be announced at the first Ghost Light event on Oct. 21.
  • Winning stories and honorable mention selections may be subject to minor editing for public presentation.

Not sure how to start?

Below are some resources for ghost story writing tips and a selection of sample stories inspired by real people, places, and events in Kansas City history.

Check out this collection of stories to inspire creepy creativity:

View List in Catalog

See the work of previous years’ winners!

Watch our Ghost Story Contest video playlist on YouTube.

View Videos


Contact us by email or call us at 816.701.3400.

Youth Ghost Story Contest Entry Form

Name and save your file as Title_FirstName_Age. You may submit multiple entries by filling out this form for each one.