These 6 Short Gothic Classics Make the Perfect Halloween Read
Ah, Gothic literature. Moody, melancholic, and marvelous for a spooky night indoors.
If you’re looking for an atmospheric read for Halloween night, you can’t go wrong with some Gothic fiction. Here are 6 short classics to get cozy and just a little creepy this October.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
No classic spooky reading list would be complete without it. Yes, it is a masterpiece of horror and science fiction, but also simply a delight to read. It’s hard to overstate the exquisite beauty of Mary Shelley’s prose.
In Frankenstein you have a melancholy novel about rejection, identity, and humanity. If you’re only familiar with the popular image of the “monster” do yourself a favor and get your hands on this dark and beautiful novel now.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House follows four main characters as they spend a summer at the ill reputed Hill house. Dr. Montague is an investigator of the supernatural and invites three others to stay with him as he looks for evidence that the house is indeed a site of paranormal events.
This book practically defined the haunted house trope in horror fiction. The story weaves a sense of unease that grows as you reach the final page. The ending of this creepy story will haunt you for days.
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
This is a collection of ten short stories with curiously creepy and twisted takes on classic fairy tales. It includes a retelling of Bluebeard that is sure to give you chills. Angela Carter also takes the stories of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast and turns them upside down.
The prose is macabre and decadent. The descriptive narratives are reminiscent of traditional tales, but Carter challenges the traditional representations of women in fairy tales. These women are strong, cunning, and at times, ghastly. These are the stories to read when night is long and the cold is bitter.
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A murder mystery set in mid-October with a creepy bog, a family curse, and a hell hound! This one’s a fantastically fun ride. One of the most beloved Sherlock Holmes stories, Hound of the Baskervilles is a great place to start if you’ve never been on a Holmes adventure, and makes a great all-around story with an autumnal and chilling atmosphere. This is the perfect book for sitting by the fireplace, sipping a warm cup of tea as the fog rolls in.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Published as a “penny dreadful” in the 19th century, this story spawned over 100 adaptations (and parodies) on film, television, stage, and literature. Read the original story in it’s beautiful Gothic splendor. Two cousins, Utterson and Enfield, investigate a strange relationship between their good friend, the respected Dr. Jekyll and the sinister Mr. Hyde.
When Utterson finds out that Mr. Hyde has recently been written as the sole beneficiary in Dr. Jekyll’s will, he begins to suspect blackmail, and determines to investigate the matter to save his friend from the evil Hyde. Combining elements of horror, mystery, and science fiction, it’s no wonder this story has left such a legacy.
The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe
You really can’t go wrong with any of Poe’s short stories, but The Cask of Amontillado is one of those you won’t be able to forget. We follow our narrator as he seeks revenge against an acquaintance for some unspecified insult. The acquaintance is a wine lover, and lucky for him, our narrator believes he has acquired a rare vintage of Amontillado, a Spanish sherry. To say more would reveal too much of this super short story. This one combines humor and horror to leave a lasting impact.
Sometimes you just want a quick read to get into the spooky spirit. Each of these stories can be read in a day, making them a perfect treat for Halloween night.