Halloween riddles, besides being fun, can test a student’s reasoning skills while learning a new language. It’s important to note that different cultures – and by extension, different languages – have a different structure for riddles. At times, something that makes sense in one language may not seem logical in another. That’s why the ability to understand a riddle or word puzzle in another language is a great way of measuring a student’s capability with that language.
The following are just some of the many Halloween-themed riddles that you can give your students this year.
I’m round and orange and my smile is strange.
A: Jack O’ Lantern
This is an interesting answer, because many cultures don’t celebrate Halloween the same way as the United States and other English speaking countries. A Jack O’ Lantern, for example, may not exist in the vocabulary of the ESL student’s native tongue. Learning these highly-specific words is one overlooked aspect of becoming a fluent English speaker.
I can sweep. I can fly. I can take a witch for a ride.
It’s not about how complicated the riddle is, or how obscure the answer – if the ESL student answers this correctly, it shows that they’ve achieved a certain level of cultural knowledge that has formed the foundation of their English capability.
My cloak is red and black and I like drinking blood.
The concept of a vampire exists in most cultures, and for the most part, everyone has the same idea about them. This may be easy, but it’s still possible that the student doesn’t know this answer.
I wear in black with a big hat and a cat.
A: A witch
As with vampire, this exists in most cultures, but the cultural interpretation may vary widely. The ability to answer this question correctly shows that the student has been exposed to an adequate amount of English themed lore.
I’m scary and white, you can see me at night.
This one is probably the easiest of the Halloween riddles on this list.
Day or night, my bones are white.
I become hairy under the moonlight. I look scary if you see me at night
Like a vampire and witch, the concept of a werewolf exists in many other cultures, but their interpretation and word for it may be drastically different from the English word. Therefore, this can be one of the harder riddles for most beginner-level students.
When adults I meet, I shout, “Trick or Treat!”
Not many countries actually celebrate Halloween like this, much less have the tradition of children or “Trick or Treaters” dressing up in costume, and going around to get candy. If the student is new to the country, or has never even been to the English speaking country, this may prove to be a very difficult riddle to both solve and explain.
Although these are all very simple riddles, answering the majority of them requires an extensive vocabulary, and a basic knowledge of North American culture. So, even if your students are much older than the expected target audience of Halloween riddles, these are still very good for testing a student’s level with English.