I love Halloween as a teacher and also in general! So I’m really excited to share some of my go-to scary stories for English students.

I love scary stories and students love them too! They’re especially fun to share around Halloween as a way to build atmosphere. I find the best scary stories for the English classroom need to be short and written fairly simply. But they should keep some of the Halloween-specific words, too. They also can’t be too gory or terrifying. The scary part should really come from the suspense. So they need to have a twist. And they should imply violence!

So here are a few classic ghost stories or creepy urban legends that I think fit the bill. I’ve adapted them to make them classroom-safe and to fit the rules above. Take a look, use them in the classroom, and let me know what you think. Or share some scary stories for English students in the comments!

Don’t Turn on the Lights!

142 words

One night, Maria, a student at the University of Los Angeles, decided to have a big party. Her roommate Peng wanted to study. So Peng went to study at the library and stayed late. She didn’t want to be distracted by the party.

Peng came back at midnight. The party was over. The lights in her room were off. It looked like Maria was in bed. Maria was making weird noises and moving a bit. Peng thought she was having a bad dream. Peng didn’t want to bother her, so she got ready for bed and fell asleep without turning on the light.

In the morning, Peng woke up and saw that her roommate was dead. Her throat had been cut by a big knife. Written on the wall in blood, it said, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?”  

The Ghost Hitchhiker

229 words

It was a cold dark night. Two friends, Daniel and Ali, were driving on the highway coming home from a Halloween party. Suddenly, they saw a young girl standing by the road. She looked about 9 years old. Daniel said, “She must be lost. Let’s stop and help her.”

So they stopped and offered her a ride. She said yes and got in the car. Ali noticed the girl was shivering. He took his coat off and gave it to her. She put it on. Then they asked her where she lived. The address was close by.

They dropped her off at her house and went on their way. The next morning, Ali realized that the girl kept his coat. So he drove back to her house to get it. He also wanted to know if the girl was ok!

He went to the girl’s house and rang the doorbell. A woman opened the door and said, “Can I help you?”

Ali said, “Yes, we drove your daughter home. I think she was lost. Is she ok?”

The woman stared at him. Then she said, “My only daughter died 20 years ago. She was 9 years old.”

Ali didn’t believe her so the woman took her to a grave in the backyard. There was the gravestone of the girl.

And on the grave, Ali saw his coat, folded neatly!

Teddy Bear

316 words

Hannah and Aaliyah were two college students in Boston who decided to live together. They found a large apartment near the university. There were three bedrooms. One was big and bright and sunny but for some reason the girls didn’t want to live in it. They decided they would use that bedroom for guests. They moved into the other two bedrooms and every time they got near the guest bedroom, they felt strange. They tried to never go in that room!

Hannah had never been away from home before. So she brought a stuffed animal with her, her favorite toy from her childhood. It was big pink rabbit that she kept on her bed. One day, Hannah came back from college and the rabbit was gone. She asked Aaliyah if she had seen it. Aaliyah said no. Hannah looked all over the apartment, but she couldn’t find it.

A week later, the landlord who owned the house came by to check in with the girls.

“Is everything ok?” the landlord asked.

“Sure, great,” Aaliyah said, “But that room at the end of the hall is kind of weird.”

The landlord sighed, “I didn’t want to tell you, but the people who lived here before you had a little boy. That was his bedroom. One day, a killer broke into the house. The boy ran into his room and hid in the closet. The killer killed the mom and dad. Then he went to the boy’s room and killed him too. They found the boy cuddling with a big stuffed animal.”

Hannah gasped. She ran to the third bedroom and looked in the closet. There was her rabbit!

Hannah whispered, “Don’t be scared. We won’t hurt you. You are safe now.” Suddenly the weird feeling disappeared. Hannah smiled and took her rabbit. Sometimes, the rabbit still disappears but now Hannah knows where it is and who has it.

Want More Scary Tales?

  • Cover of Scary Stories for English class by Walton Burns

    If you like these, check out my whole ebook of 16 scary stories for English students, plus 4 story starter prompts so students can write their own Halloween ghost stories!

    I’ve also included a set of comprehension questions at the back that fit any story!

    It’s available wherever you buy ebooks, including:

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