Let’s get you in the mood for Halloween. The following is a quick reading practice that makes use of the words from my Halloween noun and adjectives lists. It is a short story about a haunted house – read through it and see which words you can spot from the lists. I’ve given you a few questions underneath to get you thinking more about the story. Have a creepy, chilling Halloween, and a devilishly good time.
The Unlit House on the Hill – Reading Practise
Rufus and Carlos were looking for a frightening activity to complete their Halloween weekend. It needed to be thrilling – they had already run through a cemetery and crept into an old mausoleum. That had been empty. The graveyard was eerie, and the shapes of the gravestones unnerving, but despite the macabre setting nothing scary had happened.
Walking down the road, the pair of boys saw a large house on a hill. It was a bizarre shape, barely illuminated in the moonlight and partly hidden by mist.
“We’re going there,” Rufus announced. Carlos was unsure; the house alone was a frightening sight. There could be all types of monsters in there. He had to be brave, though. They walked up the long driveway.
The house was unlit, but had a single pumpkin carved in the shape of a jack-o-lantern next to the door, with a single small candle in it. The porch was covered in cobwebs, and there was a large box that looked like an old coffin sat next to the front door.
“These decorations are awful,” Rufus said.
Carlos did not think they were decorations. They were too creepy. Rufus was not afraid, though. He pushed on the door. With a creek, it opened. Rufus laughed, and walked into the house. Trembling, Carlos followed.
The main entrance was dark and smelt horrible. It was a rotten smell, which made both boys cringe. Rufus said “Smells disgusting! There could be anything in here, zombies, unwashed trolls, what do you think?”
Carlos did not answer. He knew that Rufus was trying to scare him.
Rufus turned on the torch on his phone; both boys jumped back in alarm. Carlos screamed as he saw the devilish face of a skull looking at him. The Grim Reaper? A live skeleton?
Rufus started laughing as he shone more light on the skull. It was plastic, on a shelf. When they looked closer, with more light, it was clear there was nothing otherworldly about it.
“See, nothing to be scared of, just a-“ Rufus began, but he was interrupted. The front door slammed behind them – as if pushed by a poltergeist. Terrified by the bang, Rufus dropped his phone, and it rolled away into the darkness. The boys shrieked.
Answering their scream, a loud groan rumbled through the house. It was low, like the howl of a wolf. The walls seemed to shake.
“Is it a ghost?” Rufus asked quietly.
The noise came again, with a crash. The two boys ran for the door, desperately trying to open it. It was stuck though, jammed or locked. They looked at each other, starting to panic.
Suddenly, another door opened, across the hall, with a small beam of light coming through it.
Carlos took a few steps towards it, and Rufus pulled him back.
“What are you doing!” Rufus hissed, “This house could be haunted! There might be phantoms down there, even a mummy!”
Carlos had to investigate though. He walked to the door and looked in. Rufus whimpered. There were stairs going down – down to a basement. Carlos grimaced; the revolting smell was stronger here. Were there corpses down there?
A slight light was visible at the bottom of the stairs.
A dreadful sound came from below, another sinister groan. Carlos decided he had to find out what it was.
“Don’t go down there!” Rufus pleaded.
It was too dark to go anywhere else, though. They could not see through the darkness. Carlos crept quietly down the stairs. Rufus, not wanting to be left alone, ran after him. As they went into the basement, the mysterious smell got worse.
There was an open door at the bottom of the stairs, where the light was coming from. Carlos and Rufus approached it together. The sound came again – a deep, bloodcurdling groan, followed by a grisly screech.
They held on to one another, as they moved into the doorway, and finally found the source of the sound.
A massive figure in tatty clothing rose above them, skin stained black and red in uneven patches. He had dark holes instead of eyes, and a massive metal weapon in one hand.
“Ogre!” the boys screamed at the same time, and turned to run. Rufus jumped up the stairs, but Carlos was too slow, and a hand grasped onto his arm. The ogre had got him! It dragged him back into the room as he squealed with fear.
He struggled to break free, flapping his arms. The ogre let go of him, though, and said in a booming voice, “Calm down, what’s wrong with you?”
Carlos looked at him again, finally seeing him properly. The man was not an ogre at all: he was stained by the oil from a machine. His eyes were dark because he was wearing goggles. He removed them to reveal normal, human eyes.
He said “I don’t know why you’re creeping around my house, but it’s good you’re here. You can help me get the generator working.”
Carlos watched as the man went to a massive machine in the corner, lit by a small gas lantern. The generator. The man used a wrench to try and move part of it, and it made a loud, strange sound. There was nothing spooky or supernatural about it – he was just trying to fix the machine. The stranger explained, “If you hold onto it at the other side, I can finally tighten it and get the power back on in the house!”
Carlos smiled and did as the man asked. They should not have been so afraid; this was an ordinary person having problems with his generator, not some evil monster. Carlos held onto part of the machine and the man turned the wrench again. It moved this time, and something whirred into action. Suddenly, the house came to life. The lightbulbs above them lit up and the heating hummed into action.
The large stranger laughed at their success, and Carlos joined in. Silly Rufus, he thought to himself, making this all so scary for both of them.
The stranger put a firm hand on Carlos’s shoulder and said, “Thank you boy. It’s so difficult to cut up bodies in the dark.”
Halloween Reading Practice Questions
Try and answer the following questions as fully as you can. In English!
- Why did the boys go to the house?
- Where had the boys been before the house?
- What happened to Rufus’s phone?
- Why did Carlos go into the basement?
- What do you think will happen next?