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Halloween Symbols Puzzle

This Halloween Symbols Puzzle challenges students to arrange four cards so that various numbers of symbols are visible on each card.

halloween symbols puzzle.

What is the Halloween Symbols Puzzle?

This is a fun Halloween-themed version of a classic playing card puzzle. For this Halloween puzzle, I replaced the classic hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds with fun Halloween symbols including spiders, pumpkins, black cats, and bats.

Halloween Symbols Puzzle

I posted this puzzle in my classroom on the dry erase board with large versions of the cards. I put ceramic disc magnets on the back of each card so that students can manipulate the cards as they attempt to solve the three challenges.

Halloween Symbols Puzzle

Puzzle Instructions

This puzzle is actually three challenges in one.

Challenge 1: Arrange the cards so that exactly four symbols are visible on each card.

Challenge 2: Arrange the cards so that exactly three symbols are visible on each card.

Challenge 3: Arrange the cards so that the four cards display 1, 2, 3, and 4 symbols respectively. The specific order of the symbols isn’t important, only that there is one of each.

Halloween Symbols Puzzle

Original Puzzle Source

I ran across the playing card version of this puzzle in The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers by the Grabarchuk Family. The original puzzle was posed by Professor Hoffman in 1893.

Printing and Prepping the Puzzle to Use in the Classroom

I laminated the instructions and cards to make them more durable and hopefully discourage students from trying to fold or cut the cards.


drawing of laminator machine with text "laminating recommendations"

A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.

I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.

I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!

This puzzle can be solved without any cutting or folding!

If you don’t want to post all three challenges at once, I have also included individual posters for each challenge in the downloadable file at the end of this post.

Halloween Symbols Puzzle

Free Download of Halloween Symbols Puzzle

WARNING: Make sure you trim around the edges of the playing cards after printing them. If you do not trim the edges off of the printed pages, students will be unable to solve some of the challenges.

Halloween Symbols Puzzle (PDF) (2155 downloads )

Halloween Symbols Puzzle (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (815 downloads )

Looking at this post in a month that isn’t October? I suggest printing the 4 Cards Puzzle. It is the same puzzle but with traditional playing cards instead of Halloween symbols.

If Halloween is near, check out my other Halloween math activities! I especially recommend the Halloween Triples Word Puzzle.

More Halloween Puzzles, Games, & Activities