Halloween Short Stories not by Edgar Allan Poe

I got this letter from a former student not long ago.

Dear Former Teacher

You may not remember me, but I was in your class many years ago. It was Halloween. I hated Halloween. But then you came up with awesome lesson plans involving Halloween short stories that didn’t involve Edgar Allan Poe. You see, I assumed that people who liked Halloween were mentally disturbed freaks with alcohol and opium problems. After you shared awesome Halloween stories not by Poe, I became a fan of the holiday and even wrote my own stories about wizards and trolls and goblins and all sorts of magical creatures. Thanks.


I did a Google search for an author named J.K. who writes about wizards and magical creatures, but found nothing. We’ll just have to take her word for it.

Anyhow, here’s a list of short stories for Halloween not written by Edgar Allan Poe.

“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs. This story should have been written by Poe. In fact, I even put it in my Edgar Allan Poe lesson plan bundle. There are enough pop cultural references to the paw that the story’s worth a look, even it it’s not Halloween. The paw even resurfaced on two consecutive weekends in college football in October of 2015, just in time for Halloween. The kicker in the video below had been seen clutching a monkey’s paw the night before this game. It is rumored he was wishing to be involved in a tie-breaking score on the last play of the game.

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Before The Hunger Games, there was “The Lottery.” Unlike most of the short stories we teach on Halloween, there are no supernatural forces at work, which makes this story even scarier. Oh and there’s a nice 20-minute video (made the year I was born (not by me)) that will creep out the staunchest of Halloween revelers.

“The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. One of Poe’s contemporaries, Hawthorne has quite a few stories suitable for Halloween, including “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Birthmark,” “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” As with many stories from the American Romantic period, these stories are heavy with the supernatural.


A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury. Before there were bad movies based on the Butterfly Effect, there was an awesome short story about the Butterfly Effect. It’s called “A Sound of Thunder.” Bradbury uses science fiction instead of the supernatural to create suspense and scare the heartiest of haunted house aficionados.

“A Sonata for a Harp and a Bicycle.” This is a light-hearted love story involving ghosts, so you could also read it on Valentine’s Day.

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