21 Scary Halloween Short Stories For Middle School

The creepier the tale, the more middle school students love it. October is the perfect month to introduce middle school students to scary short stories. Download these 21 short stories that are perfect for your Halloween-related units. I have tried to include other resources such as YouTube videos, TV show adaptations, paired texts, and related songs. If I can find existing lesson plans online, I may will link to those, as well. Happy Halloween!

Note: Would you like access to ALL of our curated short story resources — PLUS a free lesson plan template you can use for ANY short story — right here on this page — without having to enter your email address more than a dozen times?

For just $10 a month, you can have ongoing access to current and future curated resources! Let us do the late-night searching for you. Learn how you can sign up for instant digital access. Note: Curated resources DO NOT include RTE created lesson plans.

Curated Short Stories Library Members: Click here to access your downloads!

  1. The Possibility of Evil by Shirley Jackson | Assessment Activity & Writing ProjectAssessment Activity & Writing Project on TpT
  2. The Masque of the Red by Death by Edgar Allan Poe* | Assessment Activity | Assessment Activity on TpT
  3. The Landlady by Roald Dahl | Assessment Activity | Assessment Activity on TpT
  4. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
  5. A Ghost Story by Mark Twain
  6. The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson
  7. The Mortal Immortal by Mary Shelley
  8. The Tomb by H.P. Lovecraft
  9. The Tree by H.P. Lovecraft
  10. The Screaming Skull by F. Marion Crawford
  11. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (Available in our Curated Short Stories Library)
  12. The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe (Available in our Curated Short Stories Library)
  13. The Spectre Bridegroom, a Traveller’s Tale by Washington Irving (Available in our Curated Short Stories Library)
  14. The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs
  15. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce (Available in our Curated Short Stories Library)
  16. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe*
  17. The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
  18. The Hitchhiker by Orson Welles (Available in our Curated Short Stories Library)
  19. Contents of a Dead Man’s Pocket by Jack Finney (Available in our Curated Short Stories Library)
  20. A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner (Available in our Curated Short Stories Library)
  21. The Boarded Window by Ambrose Bierce (Available in our Curated Short Stories Library)
  22. A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

Note: An RTE subscriber recently emailed me to ask if there was a simple way to subscribe to all the curated resources in one place, without having to enter an email address for every short story. At the time, there wasn't, but we have worked out a way to make it easy for you to access all the resources in one place — right here on this page! For just $3 per month, you can have ongoing access to current and future curated resources! Let us do the late-night searching for you. Sign up here for instant digital access.

Curated Short Stories Library Members: Click here to access your downloads!

NOTE: Curated resources do not include the units that RTE has developed in house.

*These stories may be more appropriate for students with higher-level reading skills, or may require extra scaffolding from the teacher.

Copyright notice: These stories are published on sites other than reThinkELA.com and NO copyrighted stories are excerpted or quoted in RTE-created materials. Some stories are in the public domain (not copyrighted), or are excerpts of larger works, while others are not. In some cases, teachers may print a class set for their own classroom usage, but there are exceptions. Please check with your district regarding its policies and licenses for reproducing printed copies. Generally speaking, you may ask students to download their own copies (outside of the one you download for your own use) to their devices for their own educational studies.

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Mark. Poe’s works are deliciously macabre, and are favorites of students. Have you read “The Tell-Tale Heart?”

  1. Great list. If any teachers reading this want to teach some of these pieces to their students, but are finding that their students just aren’t ready for such complex text, they may want to check out our free, multilevel versions at http://www.booksthatgrow.com. We have The Masque of the Red by Death, The Black Cat, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Hearth, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, The Monkey’s Paw, A Rose for Emily, and 130+ more.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Jason. I’m checking out what you’re offering, particularly the myths and folktales, and legends.

    2. Do you know if these leveled versions can be printed? Or you can only view through internet?

  2. WOW!! Thank you so much for your generosity! My students and I will enjoy several of these stories and activities.

    1. You’re welcome! I’d love to hear feedback from you and your students. Let me know if there are any other resources I can find for you.

  3. These are absolutely fantastic! Thank you for the list. Do you happen to have the Lexile levels for each story?

  4. Great list and useful links. Thanks for putting this together. My son loves spooky stories and we have been reading them together.

  5. Thank you for your amazing blog/website/fb page, and all these stories! Everything is useful and wonderful.
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