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6 short horror stories to read before Halloween

The Jack-O-Lanterns are carved, and the 12-foot skeletons are on the lawns. In less than a week, Halloween will be upon us. What better way to celebrate this time of the year than with a scary story?

Here are six short horror stories to read before Halloween:

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson 

In “The Lottery,” Jackson uncovers the hidden horrors of long-standing traditions and the consequences when they are unquestionably followed. First published in The New Yorker, this quick read will make you uneasy and question every tradition you’ve ever been a part of. Read it here

“The Colour Out of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft

For fans of the science fiction genre, “The Colour Out of Space” is a perfect short read for those seeking a thrill. This short story is a prime example of the Lovecraftian genre, also known as cosmic horror, that originated Lovecraft’s unique storytelling. Read about the horrors a meteorite brought to a small town here.

“The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood

“The Willows” is a weird, supernatural and psychological horror story, perfect for those wanting to be spooked. Published in 1907, this tale is one of the earliest examples of the modern horror genre. Lacking the gore of stereotypical horror, Blackwood builds suspense through the personification of nature and the horror of the woods coming alive around you. This story will definitely have you looking over your shoulder next time you pass the Hocking River. 

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 

Gilman, a known social reformer and feminist, wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” after coming out of a deep postpartum depression. This short story is a heart-wrenching reflection on the attitudes toward women’s mental health and the consequences of male-dominated medicine in the 1890s. This semi-autobiographical tale details a woman’s rapid descent into madness caused by her isolation and an abusive husband. 

“The Landlady” by Roald Dahl 

Roald Dahl may be widely known for his books “Matilda” or “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” but the children’s author also wrote short stories. Perhaps his most famous is the short horror story “The Landlady” about a stay at a bed and breakfast gone wrong and a landlady with a dark secret. 

“The Mist” by Stephen King

First published as a part of King’s “Dark Forces” anthology, “The Mist” is a unique psychological horror novella. After a thunderstorm, a dense mist consumes a small town, blocking communication and causing speculation about a nearby military project. When prehistoric horrors begin to come from the haze, a group of Maine residents and tourists stuck in a grocery store must figure out how to survive. 


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