7 Spooky Short Stories for Halloween

It is the spooky Halloween season! What better time to do some spooky Halloween activities with your students? We all know that around this time of year, kids tend to get more squirrelly as the excitement of the holiday season looms ahead, tipped off by Halloween.  Now is the time to harness some of that excitement and use it to our advantage — and what better way to do that than with some spooky short stories for Halloween!

I have compiled a list of my favorite scary short stories to teach in October. Have students read the short story, or show a video of a dramatic reading of the short story in class. I have linked the video versions, which students LOVE!  Each student also has a copy of the text to follow along as they listen to the dramatic reading. 

** These stories range in maturity level and content. Be sure to listen to the entirety of the videos so you can determine if they will be a good fit for your students. 

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe is my absolute favorite! This reading by G.M. Danielson is so spooky and phenomenal that I share this with my students every year and make a complete unit about it. The Tell-Tale Heart is a story of an unnamed narrator who tries to convince the listener he is not insane, all while describing the murder he committed. There is also a Simpson's adaptation that is fun to share with students. Check it out here. 

The Masque of the Red Death is another excellent short story by Edgar Allan Poe that follows Prince Prospero and his attempts to avoid the Red Death, a very dangerous plague. 

The Raven is one of the most famous pieces of work by Edgar Allan Poe. A raven shows up to a grieving man and taunts him, which slowly turns the man mad. There is a Simpson version of this as well! This is fun to share with the students so they can see more modern adaptations of some fantastic stories. 

The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs is about the White family. The owner of said monkey paw is granted three wishes, but it is quickly learned how these wishes have enormous consequences. We have an entire bundle in our store! This BUNDLE has practice questions, story vs. movie comparison questions, and analysis questions! 

Lamb to the Slaughter is a fantastic short story about the murder of a police detective, Patrick Maloney. The murderer gets away with this because of the creative way the person destroys the evidence. 

The Lottery is the most famous story by Shirley Jackson. In this short story, there is a village with an annual lottery drawing, but the winner of this lottery is no winner at all. 

The Elevator by William Sleator has a young boy named Martin who is terrified of the elevator in his new apartment complex. When his dad finds out about this fear, he makes him take the elevator.  

What are your favorite spooky stories to share at Halloween?

For a FUN, FREE activity, try our Halloween Tombstone Limerick activity!   It’s a Halloween favorite we’ve done for years!


by Erin-Jane Stevens, Contributing Teacher/Writer. Erin-Jane Stevens is a middle school ELA teacher who strives to bring excitement to each class she sees.  She continues to find and create fun, new, and rigorous ways to captivate students’ attention and grow their love for ELA.

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