I've never been much a fan of "best" or "top five/ten/twenty-five" lists (even though I've thrown together a few myself). Call this a list of some of my favorite works of short fiction fitting the Halloween spirit. I'm sure I'll add more in time.
1. "The Lonesome Place" by August Derleth. No other single story has influenced my own writing more than this short story by Lovecraft's biggest fan. You can find snippets on the 'net (like at Google Reader), but the real value is in finding a dusty old book with the whole text.
2. "The Assembly of the Dead" by Chet Williamson. I've read this piece more than any other I've not taught. (as a teacher, I have too many touches with some stories to count) The end still baffles me, but in a good way: just enough mystery, just enough darkness.
3. "The Caterpillars" by E.F. Benson. You can read this one yourself.
"Occasionally one fell off on to the floor, with a soft fleshy thud, and though the floor was of hard concrete, it yielded to the pincerfeet as if it had been putty, and, crawling back, the caterpillar would mount on to the bed again, to rejoin its fearful companions."
4. "The Rats in the Walls" by H.P. Lovecraft. Only recently has this piece unseated "In the Vault" as my favorite by Mr. Lovecraft. Gawd...the ending. Just read it.
5. "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road" by Joe R. Lansdale. Say what you will about Mr. Lansdale, he spins one helluva entertaining story. "Incident..." kept me going right up to the end, then blam!--punch to the gut (in the best way possible).
I'll add more before Halloween. Promise. I haven't even touched King or Poe, so you know it's going to get messy.
What else should I consider? What are some of your favorites?