5 Halloween Short Sories You Can Read Right Now
Halloween is fast upon us, and if you've been waiting for the gloom and creepiness that's in the air at this time of year, then you'll also be looking forward to sit by a fireplace or by candlelight and read some spine-chilling ghost stories to fully get in the spirit. That's my plan, anyway. In the style of last week's short story recommendations, I bring you this special Halloween edition of 5 Short Stories with some all time favorite writers to make your Halloween experience complete.
by Angela Carter
Angela Carter’s beautiful writing style never fails to paint vivid imagery in the minds of her readers, and although “The Werewolf” is one of the shortest stories in The Bloody Chamber collection it does not fail to leave its mark. Being the first of her three wolf stories, “The Werewolf” reintroduces the world of little girls in red, werewolves and grandmothers, but the once “innocent” story of “Little Red Riding Hood” is given a dark and sinister spin. Let’s also not forget to mention that even in this dark world, the young heroine is one who can defend herself sending a strong message of female empowerment. Furthermore, the deviation from the traditional “Red Riding Hood” story and the plot twist will leave readers eager to finish the entire wolf series.
by Loren D. Estleman
This one is the most bookworm-friendly of the bunch, as it's taken from this collection of dangerous books. The setting of "Book Club" is a small town in New Mexico where a three hundred year old castle has been turned into a dark and creepy bookshop by an enigmatic ex-detective. The shop features endless high shelves filled with books, and is somehow connected to what appears to be a murder (rare for such a town). No spoilers, but Estleman is great with her descriptions, throwing you into that world where the bookshop proprietor can be your ally or enemy, and the books themselves might try to get a hold of you. Literally.
"To Be Read At Dusk"
by Charles Dickens
I usually don't have the patience for a guy who was paid per word and drew out entirely unnecessarily long mediocre books like Bleak House and The Pickwick Papers. But when you go for his (much) shorter prose, turns out Dickens was a decent writer. This Penguin Little Black Classic here collects "three chilling ghost stories" and title one is a very good place to start. It features a frame narrative that gives it that distinct feeling of late 19th century continental stories often found in Stefan Zweig. So a guy sits on bench in Switzerland on a very cold winter day and eavesdrops on five couriers having a conversation on the next bench. The couriers start arguing on whether ghosts exist, and two of them share stories from their pasts, involving haunted Italian castles and psychic twins. The title of the story is also really cool and gets you in the Halloween spirit.
"The Oval Portrait"
by Edgar Allan Poe
Poe is probably the most popular author at this time of the year, so I won't go for the obvious stories you've all read (obviously if you haven't read "The Cask of Amontillado" or "The Tell-Tale Heart," please do so). I am going for a very short one which still shows his skill despite its brevity, albeit it having aged perhaps not very well. "The Oval Portrait" is in the first person, and features exquisite prose style when it describes this traveller's night at a château full of paintings. As he cannot sleep, he picks up a book describing the paintings in the château and their stories. One of the portraits, however, give him a fright at first glance, and as he gathers himself, he reads the book's chapter on that portrait, and in the end, perhaps regrets doing so.
by Stephen King
Granted, this one is quite longer than the rest on the list, but it's a really good one, and a bit different in tone. The story is very contemporary and feels more urgent as the main character is a journalism graduate who can only get a job at an outlet which is basically TMZ with a different name. There, he writes mean and offensive obituaries for celebrities who seem to always die young. After he becomes the biggest attraction on the website and his request for a raise is rejected, he finds that if he writes obituaries about people who are still alive, they will become true rather soon. It features King's classic approach of an interesting and simple initial idea turned great Halloween material.
I hope you enjoy them, and as always I'd love to hear back with thoughts and more suggestions from you, so leave a comment below with your favorite story to read on Halloween.
BA English Literature, MSc Publishing. Passionate about contemporary literature, noir comics, beautifully shot films, and whiskies that are old enough to order their own whiskies. Can bore you to death with La La Land songs, Hollywood trivia, George Carlin references, and extensive knowledge on Leonard Cohen.