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A baker's dozen of short stories for Halloween

Halloween is tomorrow, and since most of my readers are located in the USA, where it is celebrated in a big way, I decided to recommend some spooky short stories to get into the Halloween mood. They are all fairly short and would, I think, be perfect for reading aloud to a group on Halloween. Much as I would have liked to include The Willows or The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood, they are simply too long to be read aloud in one session.

I basically made a random choice of stories by Poe, James and King, because they have all written some really scary stuff.

I have tried to include some variety, so you will find a mixture of horror, suspense, scary and creepy stories, some paranormal or supernatural, some psychological, others fantastical. I make no claims as to their being the best of anything, merely that they would make good Halloween reading.

  1. “Oh Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” by M. R. James. Ghost story.
  2. The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs. Magic. A hoary old classic of the unexplained that still has the power to frighten.
  3. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. Another classic, this one about the evil that lurks in the hearts and minds of man.
  4. Sometimes they come back by Stephen King. Ghosts/demons. Not the scariest of King’s stories, but scary enough.
  5. A Return to the Sabbath by Robert Bloch. I couldn't pass an opportunity to include one zombie story.
  6. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. A terrifying account of a woman’s descent into madness.
  7. The Man and the Snake by Ambrose Bierce. A psychological suspense story.
  8. Berenice by Edgar Allan Poe. Horror. While not one of his best, I have always found this story very creepy.
  9. Being by Richard Matheson. Aliens. Evil ones.
  10. The Tall Woman by Pedro Antonio De Alarcón. Supernatural, ghost, demon or omen.
  11. Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker. Paranormal, spooky, werewolf. 
  12. One Happy Family by John S. McFarland. Monsters. While this story is a prime example of prejudice against "hillbillies", it is also very creepy indeed.
  13. The Deacon of Dark River – Icelandic folk tale. Ghost story. I will be posting this one here at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.


George said…
I love your lists! I've read about half the stories you're listed and I'll have to track the others down. Here's a list THE LITTLE PROFESSOR came up with for Halloween:
* "The Old Lady's Story"
* Algernon Blackwood, "The Empty House"
* Mary Elizabeth Braddon, "The Shadow in the Corner"
* Edward Bulwer-Lytton, "The Haunted and the Haunters; Or, the House and the Brain"
* Bernard Capes, "An Eddy on the Floor" (strictly speaking, a haunted jail story)
* Dinah Mulock Craik, "The Last House in C-- Street"
* Charles Dickens, Hesba Stretton, George Augustus Sala, Adelaide Anne Procter, Wilkie Collins, and Elizabeth Gaskell, The Haunted House (this group effort was All the Year Round's Christmas Number in 1859)
* Elizabeth Gaskell, "The Old Nurse's Story"
* Thomas Hood, "The Haunted House" (a poem)
* M. R. James, "Number Thirteen"
* Perceval Landon, "Thurnley Abbey"
* J. S. Le Fanu, "An Account of Some Disturbances in Aungier Street"
* J. Warren Newcomb, Jr., "Three Nights in a Haunted House"
* Fitz-James O'Brien, "The Lost Room"
* Margaret Oliphant, "The Secret Chamber"
* Sir Walter Scott, "The Tapestried Chamber"
* Bram Stoker, "The Judge's House" (plot very similar to "Aungier Street," above)
* H. G. Wells, "The Red Room"
* James Reynold Withers, "The Haunted House" (poem)
Dorte H said…
No 2, 3 and 6 are wondeful stories! I have not read any of the others, at least not yet.

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