5 Spooky Stories to Get You in the Halloween Spirit: Part I

Halloween is right around the corner, and here at eNotes we are huge fans of the spookiest time of year! We’ve been reading some of the most haunting stories in the public domain in preparation for this month, and we’d like to share some of our favorites with you. Let’s take a look at part one of this ongoing series. Here are five of our favorite spooky stories to get ready for the Halloween season!


1.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!

Rescued deep in the heart of the arctic circle by a party of explorers, a half-frozen scientist by the name of Victor Frankenstein tells his story to the astonished crew. In his youth, Frankenstein succeeded in igniting the spark of life in a body he assembled from bits of flesh, creating a sentient being. As the novel unfolds, this hideous but intelligent creature ventures out into an unaccepting world.

Frankenstein’s “monster” is haunted by the unanswerable questions and sorrows that mark the human experience, making for a truly chilling tale, perfect for Halloween.

Our spookiness rating: 7/10


2.) The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer.

The narrator, a disturbed, unreliable man sentenced to death, confesses how he slowly descended into cruel and merciless behavior. We watch as this soft-hearted young man’s love for his wife and animals morphs into a need to destroy everything and everyone in his life. His cruelty is not to be taken lightly; animal lovers might want to think twice before picking up this book.

This short story is great for Halloween as it dives into the truly scary: the corruption of our moral selves. (Our managing editor, Wesley, wants to pitch in that it’s also about how all cats are really just devils in disguise… But I think that’s more because he’s allergic.)

Our spookiness rating: 9/10


3.) The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

You can have your secret as long as I have your heart.

An American family relocates to England, where they purchase a haunted mansion. The Canterville ghost does not take kindly to the new owners, resolving to scare them away. However, he quickly realizes that he has met his match: the skeptical adults and the young American children thwart his every spook, reducing him to tears and self-loathing. Only through the love of a young child can the Canterville ghost reconcile his past and move beyond the grave.

If you’re looking for a ghost story this Halloween but not particularly interested in a good spooking, then try this humorous take on the classic ghost-story trope!

Our spookiness rating: 4/10


4.) The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Here I opened wide the door;— Darkness there, and nothing more.

On a dark and stormy night, a grief-stricken young man is haunted by the memory of his lost love, Lenore. A mysterious raven appears at his window to give voice to his deepest fears and terrors. Will the man ever see his love again? According to the raven, “nevermore.”

This story is great for the Halloween spirit because of Poe’s haunting writing style as well as the desolate tone of  the Raven, pulling readers into the narrator’s woe as they realize his soul shall be lifted—nevermore.

Our spookiness rating: 7/10


5.) The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving

Tom Walker, however, was not a man to be troubled with any fears of the kind.

An unsympathetic miser, Tom Walker lives to gain wealth and spite his wife. One day, his ability to do both is greatly enhanced when he encounters the devil in the forest. He initially refuses the devil’s deal, much to his wife’s chagrin, and only decides to accept the devil’s bargain after his wife sought her own deal—and paid for it dearly. More of a legend offering a moral message than a horror story, “The Devil and Tom Walker” is still great to read during October to experience the power of greed and the true evils of men like Tom Walker.

Our spookiness rating: 4/10

Have you read any of these texts? Which is your favorite? Give us your own recommendations in the comments, and stay tuned for next week’s spooky story suggestions!

Happy reading!