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Five Great Short Stories for Halloween

Updated on October 8, 2012

Halloween Short Stories that are Scary and Creepy

For Halloween it can be a lot of fun to read a great scary short story. Not everyone has the time to read an entire spooky novel, but a creepy short story can be just as entertaining and can still make your hair stand on end.

I used to teach high school English and here you will find my five favorite short stories to read on Halloween.

Image: Halloween window stickers on Amazon.

"A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury

The original butterfly effect.

Way before the movie "The Butterfly Effect," Ray Bradbury wrote "A Sound of Thunder." This short story explores how one tiny little butterfly that lived once millions of years ago can affect all of mankind. It also explore, as Bradbury is famous for, the darker sides of mankind. It gives a disturbing glimpse into the ugly depths of humanity and reveals how truly selfish and egotistical we all can be.

"A Sound of Thunder" is a great read. It's suspenseful and has the feel of a Twilight Zone episode. My students loved this story.

Image: Jennifer Renee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

"A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury - A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories by Ray Bradbury

A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories
A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories

With his disarmingly simple style and complex imagination, Ray Bradbury has seized the minds of American readers for decades.This collection showcases thirty-two of Bradbury's most famous tales in which he lays bare the depths of the human soul. Ray Bradbury is the author of more than three dozen books, including Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

 

"The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs

Be careful what you wish for.

"The Monkey's Paw" is a super creepy story. It is written to be ever bit as frightening, disturbing, and thrilling as anything thought up by Poe. The language, since it was publised in 1902, can be difficult for some to get past. But if you can read through the formality, "The Monkey's Paw" is a true tale of despair and regret.

Elements in "The Monkey's Paw" can be seen echoed in modern day works of literature and film, such as the last tale in the Twilight Zone movie, Steven King's Pet Cemetary, and the more recent "The Box" with Cameron Diaz.

"The Monkey's Paw" warns the reader to be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

"The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs - The Monkey's Paw and other short stories.

"Contents of a Dead Man's Pocket" by Jack Finney

If you died today, what would the world's impression of you be?

Tom Benecke had work to do. His work took priority over everything else in his life. He didn't even have time to enjoy an evening at the movies with his wife because he had to get this work done. So, when the piece of paper he was working on blows out of the window of his high rise apartment, the importance of that paper seems to weigh more to him than anything...even his own life.

"Contents of a Dead Man's Pocket" is a super suspenseful thrill wide. The first time I read this short story, it kept me on the edge of my seat like a Dean Koontz novel. It's a real nail biter and you can read it here.

Image: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

"The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892) by Charlotte Perkins is considered to be a very imporant piece of American feminist literature. It details the story of a woman who seems to be suffering from what we now call the baby blues, or perhaps the more serious post partum depression. Her husband, a physician, "treats" her in the way that was common during this time period by confining her to home.

This short story details the woman's disturbing decent into madness. The story is so well written that it at times has you identifying with the narrator, thus causing you to question your own sanity. Very disturbing and chilling indeed.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Yellow Wallpaper And Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper And Other Stories
The Yellow Wallpaper And Other Stories

The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories is a collection of short stories written by popular American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The featured short story in this collection the very personal story, The Yellow Wallpaper, which is based on Gilman's own bout with depression. Along with the featured short story, are an array of stories which have been popular for decades among fans of this talented writer.

 

"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

Faulkner's most famous short story A Rose for Emily

"A Rose for Emily" was first published in a magazine called Forum in 1930. This was the first short story to ever be published in a major magazine. The story is about an eccentric old maid named Emily. The story explains Emily's bizarre relationship with her father and her one and only lover.

As the sory unfolds, Emily's character seems to change from a sweet older lady to one with many dark secrets. I would say something witty and creepy about "A Rose for Emily" but I won't give the story away.

Image: Sharron Goodyear / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner - A Rose for Emily and other short stories by Faulkner

Selected Short Stories (Modern Library (Hardcover))
Selected Short Stories (Modern Library (Hardcover))

This Modern Library compilation of some of Faulkner's short stories is a perfect place to start to read this author, or to keep returning for his keen insights into the heart and nature of the Southerners he created from the Southerners he knew. There are thirteen stories here and they include one of Faulkner's most famous, "A Rose For Emily." My personal favorite, depressingly sad though it is, is "Dry September" which tells of the extreme violence not only of small town whites to blacks but of whites to whites. Every one of these superb stories is a gem, masterfully written. Most were intended for magazines and so are much more straight forward and "simple" than the novels

 

What's your Favorite Scary Short Story? - Thank you for visiting.

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    • Adrien Richards profile image

      Adrien 24 months ago

      Great post, I am a great Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood reader. I read Charlotte Gilman, have to read the rest sounds great. It is great time of the season for these readings.

    • Wendy Leanne profile image
      Author

      Wendy Leanne 3 years ago from Texas

      @Fiorenza: Thanks so much for sharing. I'll have to check out your other suggestions.

    • Fiorenza profile image

      Fiorenza 3 years ago from UK

      Read The Yellow Wallpaper many years ago and found it very disturbing. I also was creeped out by "The Novel of the White Powder" by Arthur Machen and "The Wendigo" by Algernon Blackwood, in fact a lot of the Victorian classic ghost stories.

    • SarahB709 profile image

      SarahB709 4 years ago

      The Cask of Amontillado--murderfor the sake of murder in a most terrible way. Eeeeeaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkkkkkkk!

    • LondonWanderer profile image

      LondonWanderer 6 years ago

      "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" By Ambrose Bierce. Famous for its superlative 'twist ending.'

    • myneverboredhands profile image

      myneverboredhands 6 years ago

      Didn't have a chance to read any of these stories...Looking forward to read all of them. Added to My Favorites list.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Halloween story telling is SO much fun.

    • girlfriendfactory profile image

      girlfriendfactory 7 years ago

      Very interesting looking choices. I have not read any of these, so I'm glad they're short! :)

    • profile image

      bdkz 7 years ago

      Congratulations! You've been SquidBoo Blasted. Happy Halloween!

    • LadyLovelace LM profile image

      LadyLovelace LM 7 years ago

      Oooh, I love 'The Contents of a Dead Man's Pocket' - going to add this lens to the featured lenses on the top five lens I did today, it rather seems to fit the theme!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      You've created an awesome night of reading for All Hallow's Eve!