Can you crack the code? Use the Halloween decoder wheel to solve Halloween-themed riddles! This fun printable activity is easy to set up and perfect for kids who love spies, secret codes, escape rooms and solving mysteries!
Hello Crafty Friends! It’s Halloween season and the perfect time for a fun Halloween activity for the kids! Today I’m excited to share my new Halloween-themed decoder wheel. Kids can use the decoder wheel to solve Halloween riddles! If your kids love spies, escape rooms, solving mysteries and secret codes then they’ll love decoder wheels!
A decoder wheel, also called a cipher wheel, is a tool that can be used to encrypt messages. Most often they are seen with two wheels of letters. When you write the message you are transforming each letter of your message into another letter so the message becomes encrypted. To read it the recipient would need to use a cipher wheel set the same way.
Sometimes cipher wheels include a wheel full of symbols instead of a second wheel of letters. My decoder wheels work like this, featuring one wheel of themed illustrations. Instead of writing an encrypted message, kids will decipher a riddle using the wheel. It’s a fun activity for children of all ages including – little ones practicing their letters.
My kids enjoyed doing these with my help in preschool and it was a great way for them to practice their letter recognition. I would help them set the wheel and then we would go through the symbols in the encrypted message one by one. They would read the letter that matched the image and I would write it down.
Now that my kids are older, they still have fun solving the riddles but are able to them on their own. My first decoder wheel was my Christmas decoder wheel and it was such a hit with my kids I have continued making them.
Decoder wheels are a simple activity to prepare. Simply print the activity and assemble the decoder wheel using a brad. I love creating decoder wheels for holidays and different seasons.
Check out my other printable decoder wheels!
Halloween Cipher Wheel Activity
- Halloween Decoder Wheel Printables
- White cardstock for decoder wheel
- Push pin
- Brad – I used a black brad to match the pumpkin’s nose!
- Paper trimmer – handy for cutting out riddles
How to Assemble the Decoder Wheel
The decoder wheel is easy to create. Simply print the decoder wheel on white cardstock and carefully cut out both circles with a scissors. Layer the circles together, with the smaller one on top, and poke a hole in the center of both using a push pin. Attach the layers together with a brad in the center. The wheel should rotate easily.
How to Use a Cipher Wheel
For each riddle the “KEY” will tell you how to set the wheel. For example if the riddle’s KEY is “G is for GHOST”. Spin the wheel until the ghost picture lines up with the letter “G” and then you are ready to solve!
Make sure to check the key for each riddle as each one is different. For younger kids, it may be helpful to cut apart the riddles to help them remember to change their wheel to a new key.
How to Create Your Own Coded Messages
My decoder wheels are a reader favorite and I have had lots of requests to make an editable version so you can write your own secret message for kids to solves. Since I use hand-drawn illustrations on my decoder wheel, it is tricky to write your own secret messages without access to the little images. I have finally figured out a way to make that happen using a PowerPoint file.
The editable PowerPoint is available with the printables in my Etsy shop. All of the symbols, along with several pre-made keys, are ready for you to create your own message. I have even started a birthday message for you on one of the slides! Copy and paste the images to write your own message. Whether you are writing a secret message for your kids, classroom or to use in a homemade escape room, the PowerPoint will help you get creative!
Where to Download the Files
- My Halloween Decoder wheel printables are available to download from my Etsy shop and include 20 riddles plus an editable PowerPoint file (you need Microsoft PowerPoint to use the editable file) so you can write your own encrypted messages!
- You can also download two free riddles and the decoder wheel from my Free Resource Library. You will find the file under Printables – Games and Activities or under Halloween.
More Fun Decoder Wheels