Teaching Ideas

3 Unique and Spooky Short Stories for Middle School that Students Probably Haven’t Read Before

3 Spooky Short Stories for Middle School Students featuring a skeleton waving hello

Want to build some suspense in your class this Halloween? Check out these 3 lesser-known spooky short stories for middle school.

3 Spooky Short Stories for Middle School Students featuring a white background with several pumpkins and paperr cut out bats & spiders spread around

It’s OFFICIALLY spooky season, friends! This is my favorite time of year in the classroom because, like many of my students, I enjoy turning up the suspense and spook.

For this Halloween, I researched some diverse and lesser-known spooky short stories for middle school ELA. 

Do you teach high school? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check this post out where there are several inclusive high school horror stories for your choosing.


3 Spooky Short Stories for Middle School Students

You might be wondering: “Are horror stories appropriate for middle schoolers?”

Heck yeah! Using Common Lit, a free resource site for teacher-approved content, I found 3 titles that I think your students will LOVE (or hate if they scare easily 😉).

"Showdown" by Shirley Jackson

Summary Snippet from Common Lit:
👻 “In this short story a teenager relives a haunting experience in a small town.”

Instead of teaching Jackson’s more popular text “The Lottery,” consider swapping it out for this lesser-known more recent (2015) short story.

Idea: This short story would pair wonderfully with almost any Twilight Zone some TV episode recommendations here!episode; check out

Summary Snippet from Common Lit:
👻 “Shinichi Hoshi, one of the pioneers of Japanese science fiction, is best known for writing more than 1000 ‘short-short’ stories like this one. In ‘He—y, Come on Ou—t!’, the residents of a Japanese village discover a mysterious hole.”

Idea: Hoshi’s short story is GREAT for analyzing the human condition; I personally would pair it with a classic, like Richard Matheson’s “Button, Button” or Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt.”

Summary Snippet from Common Lit:
👻 “In ‘The Night Oak Street Burned Down,’ Sarai and her family have a tough choice to make on a night that changes their lives.”

Personally, I think this short story is a fantastic means to introduce allegory to your students. 

Idea: I would pair this with Lily E. Yu’s short story “The Wretched and the Beautiful” or for a more lighthearted pairing, Pixar’s “For the Birds” share similar themes of “otherness.”


👻 Other ELA Resources for your Spooky Season 👻


🦴 Play some drama-themed Halloween games in your classroom this year!

🦴 Check out 15 MORE Halloween activities you can implement in your ELA classroom. While you’re at it, head over to The Secondary English Coffee Shop for 7 more ideas!

🦴 Add any of these 15 YA thriller novels to your classroom library.


🦴 Looking for short stories that diversify your curriculum? This short story planning resource has countless hours of research done for you and can be used year-round!

🦴 Pairing spooky stories with some classics? This short stories writing bundle has everything planned for you for 3 popular classics.

Final Remarks

My advice for this spooky season: don’t stress about elaborate decorations or plans!

Stay on-track and standards-aligned with a simple spooky short story for middle school students that they’ll appreciate!

Happy teaching, pals!