If you're looking for something to get you in the Halloween spirit before this weekend's round of costume parties and horror movie marathons, try some of these scary stories.
The Cask of Amontillado, by Edgar Allan Poe
It's such a classic partly thanks to the thoroughly cold-blooded narrator. I've always loved its tight focus, we're left to wonder what Fortunato did to provoke such a drastic reaction.
The Yellow Wall-Paper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
I like this story best when I imagine that the ending wasn't inevitable, that things would have gone differently if only anyone had listened. Point-of-view madness makes it the scariest one of the bunch.
The Mask, by Robert W. Chambers
Art and alchemy have tragic effects on a love triangle. This one went in a different direction than I expected, but my inner mean person wishes it had ended a little sooner.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth, by H.P. Lovecraft
Nobody beats Lovecraft for pure, horrific atmosphere, and this novella is one of my favorites of his. The introduction, which explains the response of the outside world, always heightens the tension for me.
The Haunter of the Ring, by Robert E. Howard
After a meeting with friends provokes a strange reaction, one of the characters explains that he's afraid of an inherited curse. This story hooked me quick and kept the twists coming.
For maximum effectiveness, be sure to read them in a dark room during a thunderstorm.