Ready to Stay Up All Night? Here are the (F)right Story Collections for You!

Are you looking to maximize the scare quotient in your Halloween reading?  Then you cannot do better than a collection of creepy short stories, that will offer you a variety of spine chilling narratives, spooky goings-on and unexplained phenomena.

After all, the only thing that can  work better than one horror story to scare you out of your wits is a book full of them.

Here are some short story collections available as books or ebooks that you can borrow with your library card,  that are guaranteed to keep you up at night and haunt you way past Halloween.   Dont’ say you weren’t forewarned!

The Best of the Best Horror of the Year by Ellen Datlow

This anniversary volume, which collects the best stories from the first ten years of the  annual The Best Horror of the Year anthology series, includes fiction from award-winning and critically acclaimed authors Neil Gaiman, Livia Llewellyn, Laird Barron, Gemma Files, Stephen Graham Jones, and many more.

The Doll-Master : and other tales of terror by Joyce Carol Oates

Six terrifying tales to chill the blood from the unique imagination of Oates. A young boy plays with dolls instead of action figures. But as he grows older, his passion takes on a darker edge…A white man shoots dead a black boy creating a media frenzy. But could it be that it was self-defense as he claims? A nervous woman tries to escape her husband. He says he loves her, but she’s convinced he wants to kill her…These quietly lethal stories reveal the horrors that dwell within us all.

Final Cuts: new tales of hollywood horror and other spectacles edited by Ellen Datlow

From the secret reels of a notoriously cursed cinematic masterpiece to the debauched livestreams of modern movie junkies who will do anything for clicks, Final Cuts brings together new and terrifying stories inspired by the many screens we can’t peel our eyes away from. Inspired by the rich golden age of the film and television industries as well as the new media present, this new anthology reveals what evils hide behind the scenes and between the frames of our favorite medium. 

Flight or Fright  edited by Stephen King and Bev Vincent

An anthology about all the things that can go horribly wrong when suspended six miles in the air, hurtling through space at more than 500 mph and sealed up in a metal tube with hundreds of strangers. All the ways a trip into the friendly skies can turn into a nightmare, including some never thought of before. Featuring brand new stories by Joe Hill and Stephen King, as well as fourteen classic tales and one poem from the likes of Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, and Dan Simmons.

Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill

Thirteen relentless tales of supernatural suspense offer a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. , including “In the Tall Grass,” one of two stories co written with Stephen King and the basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix.  Hypnotic and disquieting, these stories mine our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears.

Ghost Stories: Classic Tales of Horror and Suspense edited by Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger

In this anthology, little known stories from literary titans like Charles Dickens and Edith Wharton are collected alongside overlooked works from masters of horror fiction like Edgar Allan Poe and M. R. James. Acclaimed anthologists Klinger and Morton set these stories in historical context and trace the literary significance of ghosts in fiction over almost two hundred years—from a traditional English ballad first printed in 1724 through the Christmas-themed ghost stories of the Victorian era and up to the science fiction-tinged tales of the early twentieth century.

Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay

A masterful anthology featuring nineteen pieces of short fiction of psychological suspense and literary horror.  From global catastrophe to the demons inside our heads, Tremblay illuminates our primal fears and darkest dreams in startlingly original fiction that leaves us unmoored.

Haunted Castles: The Complete Gothic Stories by Ray Russell & Guillermo Del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro’s favorites, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Ray Russell’s short story “Sardonicus,” considered by Stephen King to be “perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written,” to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and stories by Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Ted Klein, and Robert E. Howard. 

Her Body and Other Parties: stories by  Carmen Maria Machado

Machado blithely demolishes the borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism.She bends genres to shape startling stories that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

If it Bleeds: new fiction by Stephen King

King’s remarkable range is on full display in these 4 new and compelling novellas. In the title story, reader favorite Holly Gibney (from the Bill Hodges Trilogy and The Outsider) must face her fears and possibly another outsider-this time on her own. In ‘Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,’ an intergenerational friendship has a disturbing afterlife. ‘The Life of Chuck’ explores, beautifully, how each of us contains multitudes. And in ‘Rat,’ a struggling writer must contend with the darker side of ambition.

The Mammoth Book of Halloween Stories: Terrifying Tales Set on the Scariest Night of the Year! by Stephen Jones

Treat yourself to some very tricky stories! Halloween . . . All Hallows’ Eve . . . Samhain . . . Día de los Muertos . . . the Day the Dead Come Back . . . When the barriers between the worlds are at their weakest—when ghosts, goblins, and grisly things can cross over into our dimension—then for a single night each year the natural becomes the supernatural, the normal becomes the paranormal, and nobody is safe from their most intimate and terrifying fears. A  dark feast of frightening fiction by some of the most successful and respected horror writers.

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg

A collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales.

Mouthful of Birds: Stories by Samanta Schweblin

 Schweblin haunts and mesmerizes in this extraordinary collection featuring women on the edge, men turned upside down, the natural world at odds with reality. We think life is one way, but often, it’s not — our expectations for how people act, love, fear can all be upended. Each character must contend with the unexpected, whether a family coming apart at the seams or a child transforming or a ghostly hellscape or a murder. Schweblin’s stories have the feel of a sleepless night, where every shadow and bump in the dark take on huge implications, leaving your pulse racing, and the line between the real and the strange blurs.

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror edited by Ellen Datlow

An acclaimed horror editor presents 24 terrifying tales from such authors as Garth Nix, Livia Llewellyn, Richard Kadrey, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Laird Barron, Margo Lanagan and Gene Wolfe that remind us that evil is all around us.

Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson

A newborn’s absent face appears on the back of someone else’s head, a filmmaker goes to gruesome lengths to achieve the silence he’s after for his final scene, and a therapist begins, impossibly, to appear in a troubled patient’s room late at night. In these stories of doubt, delusion, and paranoia, no belief, no claim to objectivity, is immune to the distortions of human perception. Here, self-deception is a means of justifying our most inhuman impulses—whether we know it or not.

Suicide Woods: stories by Benjamin Percy

Percy delivers a potent brew of horror, crime, and weird happenings in the woods. A boy in his uncle’s care falls through the ice on a pond and emerges in a frozen, uncanny state. Patients in therapy for suicidal ideation undergo a drastic session in the woods with fatal consequences. And in a pulse-quickening novella, thrill seekers on an expedition in Alaska are stranded on a sinister island that seems to want them dead. 

Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves and Ghosts: 25 Classic Stories of the Supernatural by Barbara H. Solomon & Eileen Panetta

They are the fearful images that have stalked humanity’s nightmares for centuries, supernatural creatures that feast on flesh and haunt the soul, macabre and uncanny beings that frighten and fascinate the imagination. classic stories from literary masters inspired by folklore and mythology who dared to explore the darker side of human nature and crafted tales that defied convention, stirred up controversy, and gave life to a storytelling genre that has endured for generations.

We Are Where the Nightmares Go: and other stories by C. Robert Cargill

A hair-raising collection of short fiction that illuminates the strange, humorous, fantastical, and downright diabolical that tantalize and terrorize us: demons, monsters, zombie dinosaurs, and Death itself.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian 

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