Scary stories are fun any time of year, but there’s just something about sharing them around All Hallows' Eve that makes the tales that much more frightening. If you’re looking for a quick fix of terror that’ll get your pulse racing, these Halloween short stories are sure to send a chill down your spine.
You can read each one in less than 2 minutes, making them perfect for sharing at Halloween parties, around the campfire, or any time you need some horror in your life. Proceed if you dare.
The Peace and Plenty Inn
by Sally Painter
The Peace and Plenty Inn was once a tavern and stagecoach stop before the Revolutionary War. Centuries passed, and it was converted into a private residence. The sprawling red-clapboard home had welcomed many families in its almost 400 years until one night just before Halloween.
The Armstrong family now owned the home. That night, the Armstrongs went out to dinner. The babysitter, Ann, got the girls ready for bed. By nine o'clock, all three girls were tucked in safely, and Ann settled in front of the television to watch a movie.
About 15 minutes later, Ann suddenly felt chilled to the bone. She got up to check the thermostat, but the room temperature was set at 70°F, and she could hear the oil burner chugging along in the basement.
"Hmm, that's strange," she thought. "It's freezing in here." She found an afghan on the back of the couch and settled back to watch television. But a few minutes later, she heard footsteps on the stairs leading from the kitchen to the second floor.
"Katie? Elizabeth? Laurel?" She called out the three children's names. The footsteps seemed to come closer. "Are you girls playing a trick on me?" Abruptly, the light on the end table flickered, flared, and went out.
Ann checked the hallway and kitchen for the prankster girls, but no one was there. She shivered. It was even colder in the kitchen. She shook her head and went upstairs and found the three girls sound asleep. Feeling confused, she convinced herself that it was her imagination and returned to the living room.
"Hmm, that's funny," she said as she looked at the television. "I thought I left it on Channel 2. It's on Channel 4 now." These were the days before remote controls, so she walked over to the television and put it back on Channel 2. She sat back in the chair.
Suddenly, the knob began to turn on its own, switching to channel 4, 7… and then static.
A voice whispered through the TV, "Get out." With a shriek, Ann pulled the plug from the television.
Mrs. Armstrong found Ann upstairs, curled in her afghan, asleep at the foot of the girls' beds.
"Ann, are you all right?" she asked.
"T-t-take me home," Ann cried. "This place is haunted!"
The Face on the Tree
by Sally Painter
Gloria and her friends Sarah and Megan enjoyed riding their horses through the woods next to the riding stable. Many of the old timers at the stable warned them not to pass Black Woods at night on horseback. The haunted woods often spooked the horses — as well as the riders. One particularly beautiful afternoon close to Halloween, the girls rode out farther than they intended.
Crisp leaves crunched under the horses' hooves, and the girls spent more time than usual exploring an unused trail. The sunset faded, and they suddenly realized they had to pass Black Woods in pitch darkness. The horses knew the path and picked their way carefully through the woodland trail.
They came to a fork in the trail. If they took the shortcut, they would go past Black Woods toward the stables. The horses balked and refused to turn left onto the shortcut.
"Let's dismount and walk them the last little bit. We're almost home," Gloria said.
"You go." Sarah shivered. "I want to take the long way home and ride to the road."
"We're going to get in trouble if we walk the horses on the road at night. It's too dangerous. Besides, we're almost at the stables. We just have to get through Black Woods." Gloria persisted.
Sarah and Meg had already turned their horses towards the road.
"We could get hit by a car being on the road in the dark," Gloria warned.
"Fine," Sarah fumed. "I'll go by the forest."
Gloria urged the horse forward. As they rounded the last turn into Black Woods, an eerie glow suddenly lit the path in front of Gloria. She urged her trembling horse forward. As she turned towards the riding stable, the glow became stronger and centered on a huge, lightning-struck oak tree. On the trunk of the tree, a woman's face appeared. She glowed with a white light as her lips moved.
"Tell them…," she whispered. "Tell them I'm innocent."
Gloria kicked her horse, but the horse needed no urging. He flew through the woods and stopped at the stable door, trembling in fear.
The next day, one of the stable owners, Tommy, stopped by while Gloria groomed her horse. Tommy had heard that Gloria had ridden through Black Woods after dark and so close to Halloween. As she groomed her horse, Gloria worked up her courage and asked, "Tommy, why do people say we shouldn't go into Black Woods at night?"
"Because of the Hanging Tree," Tommy said.
"The big oak." It was a statement from Gloria, not a question.
"The very one," said Tommy.
The apparition's words echoed in Gloria's mind. "Tell them I'm innocent." She shivered.
She never rode anywhere near Black Woods or the old Hanging Tree ever again.
These stories are great to tell during parties, or you can simply curl up by candlelight and enjoy a spooky tale on your own.
Riding Home From the Party
by Sally Painter
Fifteen-year-old Jacob went into the garage to retrieve his bike to ride to a Halloween party, but he discovered the front tire was flat. Running late, he hopped on his sister's bicycle and pedaled toward his friend's house.
As he turned down the lonely side street, skirting the woods that he and his friends used as a shortcut through town, Jacob shrugged off the creepy feeling that someone was watching him as he neared the darkest part of the street and sped through as fast as he could. He arrived at the party and stayed until 10 p.m.
On the way home, Jacob considered not using the shortcut. But he needed to study for a math test and wanted to get home as fast as possible. He started down the narrow lane when he noticed someone was in the middle of the street. It must be some kid from the party taking the shortcut home.
Jacob slowed down as he drew closer. The figure turned around. An ugly, twisted, gnarly face glowered at him. Jacob slammed on brakes, intent on turning around, when a heavy chain rattled through the air. He turned just as the chain slammed into his head, wrapping around his neck.
"Got you!" the wicked voice boomed as Jacob felt himself falling to the ground. The macabre being stood over him with blood dripping from its lips.
"Thought you'd never come back this way, boy. Glad you decided to take the shortcut home!"
Jacob's sister's bicycle was found in the middle of the side street. Authorities determined that the killer dragged Jacob's body off the road, leaving two parallel lines that led straight to Jacob's body. The police discovered Jacob's body drained of all its blood only a few feet from the street.
His killer was dubbed The Halloween Vampire. To this day, no one travels down that side street, especially at night.
Moss Man and the Bully
by Sally Painter
One Halloween, a group of teenage boys decided to play a prank on the school bully. They invited him to a secret initiation into the Society of the Forest, where the most popular high schoolers would be in attendance. They chose a spot where the ground was completely covered in moss.
One of the boys dressed in a camouflage ghillie suit and hid in the thicket, while the others, dressed in black robes with hoods, gathered around a makeshift altar underneath the tree canopy. The bully arrived, and the ceremony began with unintelligible chants. The bully looked about and decided he'd been punked.
He shouted threats at the hoaxers. But just then, the boy in hiding sprung up from the moss-covered ground and grabbed the bully, dragging him deep underground. The other boys assumed their friend had discovered a cave or underground opening, so they laughed and cheered him on as the bully cried out in terror.
Their laughter broke off when the boy dressed in the ghillie suit came walking out of the forest. Confused, the boys turned in the direction where the Moss Man had dragged the bully away. The boys screamed, and, stumbling over each other, ran out of the woods.
The bully was never seen again, and the Halloween story of the Moss Man was born.
by Sally Painter
Three middle school boys decided to toiler paper an old woman's house. Rumored to be a witch, the woman lived on the outskirts of the small town, and no one ever saw her. Her yard was overgrown, and the house was in a state of disrepair.
They waited until it was late at night to sneak out of their houses and met at the edge of town, where they walked to the witch's house. It was dark and cold. The boys couldn't see any light or warmth inside or outside the house. The only thing resembling Halloween was an orange helium-filled balloon tied to the front door.
With muffled chuckles, the boys went to work tossing rolls of toilet paper up into the trees, overgrown shrubbery, and onto the roof of the house. They were nearly finished when a black cat mewed by the front door. Startled, the kids stopped like frozen statues.
A puff of black smoke emerged from the house. Two of the boys sprinted across the yard, but the third one tripped and fell in front of the smoke and was quickly engulfed. Screaming and crying, he found himself lifted from the ground and being drawn toward the front door.
He panicked and cried out for his friends, but they were long gone. He sobbed for his mommy when he found himself inside the orange balloon. Struggling against the mylar prison, he pounded his fists against the elastic walls.
"Happy Halloween, my mischievous imp," said the crackling voice as the cat shape-shifted into the witch. She reached up and untied the balloon. She stood laughing as the screaming boy drifted up higher and higher over the sleeping town, never to be seen again.
The story of the Balloon Boy spread through the town. But it was considered an urban legend created to explain the mysterious disappearance of the unfortunate missing boy.
Beware of Shapeshifters
The vibrating bass of the sound system is a little too much for Asher, who decides to retreat upstairs for some quiet. No one at the party will miss me, he reasons with an eye roll. He was barely invited to the Senior's Spooky Halloween Bash, anyway. He wouldn't be here if he hadn't scored a last-minute invitation from his lab partner and crush, Trisha.
Asher doesn't really care about the party itself. He just wants to spend some time outside of school with Trisha. As a bonus, he'll have a chance to see the inside of the haunted Shapeshifters Tavern where the party is being thrown.
Unfortunately, most of the rooms are locked and blocked off with caution tape, so there isn't much to see. Asher still tries every door as he strolls down the hallway on the second floor. To his surprise, one creaks open. It's an old bedroom complete with a dresser, chest, vanity, and four-poster bed frame.
And there, lying in the center of the bed, is Trisha. Her face is pale, and she's clutching her stomach. Asher drops to his knees at the side of the bed and reaches for her. "What's wrong? What happened?" he asks eagerly.
Her response is so quiet it's barely audible. "I didn't feel good, so I came up here to lie down." Asher's blood runs cold as Trisha begins violently coughing and produces handfuls of bright red liquid. Blood. He has to do something.
Asher scoops up her limp body and rushes out of the room to find help, but as soon as he reaches the hallway, the weight of her body vanishes. Trisha is gone. Through the tears, Asher looks down at his arms in disbelief. But he can't ponder for too long, because he hears a sound to his left that makes his jaw drop.
"Hey Ash, you OK?" Trisha asks as she walks up the stairs with a small smile.
"You look like you've just seen a ghost."