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  • Writer's pictureWrite and Read (Laura)

7 Scary Short Stories to Read on Halloween in Secondary ELA

Updated: Sep 11

A crowd of dirty zombie hands grasp upward into the night. Bold text says, "7 Scary Stories for Secondary ELA."

A good scary story is all it takes to get your middle and high students invested in their reading. Here are six scary short stories your secondary ELA students will love on Halloween.

Lamb to the Slaughter

In “Lamb to the Slaughter,” poor Mary loses her husband. Will police ever be able to find out what happened? This story is great to discuss character motivation and irony.

This image shows pages of the short story unit for "The Most Dangerous Game." The pages include the story text with guided reading questions, writing prompts, a quiz, and a foreshadowing chart.

The Most Dangerous Game

In “The Most Dangerous Game,” students will be shocked when they realize what General Zaroff is hunting. This story works well for teaching mood, imagery, and descriptive language. Click here for a free story unit for “The Most Dangerous Game.”

The Landlady

In “The Landlady,” Billy leaves home for work and stays at a nice boarding house. What could possibly go wrong? Students love the twist in this story, and it’s a great story to use when discussing foreshadowing.

This image shows pages from the short story unit for "The Cask of Amontillado." It shows the story text with guided reading questions, a vocabulary page, an irony chart, and a creative task.

The Cask of Amontillado

In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montressor vows to get revenge. Secondary students love revenge stories, and the end is always shocking. This short story is full of irony, and you can also use it to discuss unreliable narrators.

The image shows pages from the short story unit for "The Pedestrian." It shows story questions, a figurative language analysis page, a quiz, and a creative writing task.

The Pedestrian

In “The Pedestrian,” Leonard goes for an evening stroll, and students can’t believe what happens to him. This story has beautiful imagery and descriptive language, and it lends itself well to discussions on mood.

The Lottery

Before reading “The Lottery,” students always see a lottery as a prize. They never see the twist coming. Skimming through the story after their first read, students will see foreshadowing throughout the whole story.

Pages from a "Three Skeleton Key" story unit are laid out on a desk. There's a foreshadowing chart, vocabulary page, suspense chart, and story questions. Some answers are filled in with red pen.

Three Skeleton Key

In the short story "Three Skeleton Key," three men take jobs working in a lighthouse on a small island with a bad reputation. Unexpected visitors turn their work into a nightmare. This is a great short story to teach suspense.

I hope you’re inspired to teach some spooky short stories this Halloween. Middle and high school students love a good scary story, especially one with a twist at the end. Happy Halloween!

Short Story Units

The Most Dangerous Game (Free Story Unit)

The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

The Landlady by Roald Dahl

Three Skeleton Key by Georges-Gustave Toudouze

Scary Story Bundle (3 Story Bundle)

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