Ditch the bad horror films. This year, read these five short stories and see how many times the knocks on the door make you jump. Hopefully, it’ll just be trick-or-treaters.
The master of macabre had to make an appearance on this list. Although almost any of his stories will put you in the Halloween spirit, “The Black Cat” is a psychological thriller that cat owners should read at their own peril. In the story, the narrator confesses his love for animals before unceremoniously gouging out his cat’s eye. After this, bad things keep befalling the narrator who ends up committing murder after causally losing his mind. The conclusion of the story will make you be sure to tuck your pets in at night.
Major Take Away: Be kind; don’t stab your cat (or any pet) in the eye.
Not your quintessential scary story, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a slow psychological burn. A woman is on vacation with her “husband” in a seemingly horrific estate in the country for her health. As the story progresses, the woman starts noticing that things aren’t as they appear, including the shapes in the yellow wallpaper. By the end, you’ll be questioning if everything is as it once seemed. This story is not only creepy, but also a commentary on the treatment of women with mental health issues in the very late 1800s.
Major Take Away: Stay woke (literally).
A classic tale of horror, many of you have probably already read this story (even if you don’t remember it). Often taught in middle schools and high schools, this story will still send shivers down your spine. The White family come into possession of a mysterious monkey paw (as the title suggests) that is infused with magic to make three wishes come true. When the first wish goes horribly awry, the suspense only continues to build.
Major Take Away: Be careful what you wish for.
Inspired by real events, this story is certain to make you double-check that you locked your front door before turning in for the night. The story begins with a young, vapid girl named Connie, who is tired of being compared to her sister. When her family goes to a barbecue, she is left home alone, which takes a frightening turn when a strange man shows up at her house. If you read into it, the story deals with some very heavy topics; but even at the surface level, there’s a lot to scare you.
Major Take Away: If the boots don’t hit, he might be a hooved devil.
If you want gore, this story is for you. Made into a film in 2008 starring Bradley Cooper, the story of Leon Kaufman is sure to thrill and chill. After falling asleep on a late-night subway, our protagonist finds some dead bodies on the train, and he comes face-to-face with the killer. That, however, isn’t even the creepiest thing about the story. It descends into a hellish nightmare you’ll have to read to believe.
Major Take Away: For the love of everything, don’t fall asleep on the subway.