Hello, hello! How is everyone doing this lovely October day? It’s that scary time of year where people normally start decorating with spider webs and carved pumpkins in preparation to hand out candy to appease all of the little ghosts and goblins. Unfortunately, Covid is dampening this year’s Halloween spirit, but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate. You can always watch scary or corny movies. You can still decorate to your heart’s content as well. And now is as good a time as any to read (or reread) some scary stories. So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite short stories with you today.
1. “Strawberry Spring” by Stephen King. Of course King would be on my list, so I might as well start there. This particular story is in the collection Night Shift. What’s not to love about a serial killer story? But really, you can’t go wrong with any of King’s short stories.
2. “The Colour Out of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft. This is one of the few stories that kept me up at night and I have no idea why. It’s just one of those creepy stories that gets inside your head. It can be found in a number of Lovecraft collections or you can read it here. And yes, I acknowledge he was a racist. I don’t have to like a person or agree with them to enjoy their work.
3. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Because who doesn’t love a slow descent into madness? If you’ve taken any college level English courses, you’ve probably read this, but it’s always worth another look. It can be found in a bunch of collections or here on the Project Gutenberg website.
4. “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. This is another you’ve probably read if you did your English homework, but I still love it. The story of a creepy recluse is always intriguing. You can find it in loads of collections and if you Google it, the whole text usually pops up in at least one public lesson plan.
5. “Berenice” by Edgar Allan Poe. Pretty much any Poe story fits the season, but the one that creeps me out the most is this one. Why? Because teeth freak me out. Of all the things to be obsessed with, I just don’t understand why anyone would fixate on teeth. But I digress. If you have a collection of Poe, it’s probably in there. If not, you can read it here.
6. “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” by Neil Gaiman. This is a weird and cute story that’s pretty predictable, but still fun. It was published in the anthology Impossible Monsters (edited by Kasey Lansdale), but you can listen to Gaiman read it here if you have 10 minutes to spare.
7. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. It’s not scary like the usual horror story, but it’s terrifying because it’s not a particularly far-fetched idea. This could happen because people suck. It has happened in the past in various ways. It’s basically ritual sacrifice without the whole appeasing a god angle (at least from what I remember). Stuff like this happens and that’s terrifying. You can find this one in a bunch of anthologies and it’s usually around online if you Google it.
I could keep going, but I think I’ll save some for another time. What are some of your favorite scary or creepy short stories? How about corny Halloween short stories? As always, feel free to share your lists or comments or thoughts here or on my social media pages!