Keep the Lights On: Spooky Stories

Photo by Marko Blažević via Unsplash

Natalie Harris

The crisp air cuts through the changing leaves and slips under the door and bangs against the window, crawling into cozy nooks and crannies to remind me of why I’m curled up in blankets to begin with. Even if the cold is relentless, there are ways I try to combat it during this time of year, and that’s by doing my favorite things. I love snuggling up on the couch with a mug of tea in my hands as a book sits on my lap — a world of stories, waiting for me to explore.

When it’s spooky season, that means it is time for spooky stories. If you’re needing more excuses to stay inside, I’m sharing with you today a list of short stories that are perfect to read during fall, and particularly during this Halloween haunting season (but let’s be real, fall is all the way until Thanksgiving, so you can read these into November as well).

Let’s start our bewitching journey through fabulous words then!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

by Washington Irving

This is one of my personal favorites on this list because it’s one of those stories that just sticks with you. If you’ve ever wondered what the full story is behind the headless horseman, then this story is for you!

La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)

by Joe Hayes

This ghost story is from Hispanic American folklore, but there are also tales of weeping ghostly figures found in indigenous American cultures, including some similarities to Aztec goddesses. This is just one adaption, but others can also be found at a library or to purchase.

The Black Cat

by Edgar Allan Poe

On our podcast this week I read “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, and this spooky tale is another story we read in my literature analysis class at Oregon State University. It’s a great read and warning story about being nice to your pets and others, but also there’s a lot to analyze between the lines if you’re into that sort of thing.


by Lafcadio Hearn

This is a thrilling ghost story from Japan! It was published in 1904 in a collection of Japanese folklore, “Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things” by Lafcadio Hearn. Fun fact: there is also a movie called Kwaidan that is based off of this collection of stories.

The Invisible Girl

by Mary Shelley

You may recognize this name as the author of the famous novel, “Frankenstein”, but Mary Shelly has also written some incredible, and haunting, short stories. This is just one of them, but I highly recommend checking out her other work as well.

For more perfect Halloween haunts, take a look at this online collection.

Spooky, chilling short stories aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some of you may be thinking, “2020 is the only spooky story I need for a long time!” Well, I hear you on that. Here’s a little love note to fall that is cozy, delightful and with a bit of humor. So no fear, there are no ghostly or haunting elements woven between the sentences!

Welcome to Fall, the Two Days Between Summer and Winter

by Eli Grober

If you’re itching for some more spooky content, I’ll be back next week with some poems for you to read! (And yes, Edgar Allan Poe will be mentioned, but I’ll have some other suggestions for you as well) If this article inspired your creative energy, take a look at our short form poetry writing contest. Submissions are due by October 31st, and you can check out the link here. Thanks for reading and we’ll be back with some more creative things to share real soon!

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