Happy Halloween and Horror Tattoos

Happy Halloween and Horror Tattoos

Tattoo trends may come and go, but some things stay classic throughout the years — like a high-quality, horror-inspired tattoo. (Oh, what, Halloween this week you say, hadn’t noticed.) A great tattoo artist can make a horrifying theme frighteningly cool.

Whether you think of it as Samhain, All Hallows’ Eve or Halloween, let’s honour the holiday and take a look at some traditions and classic motives from the darker side of the art of tattooing. 

Warding off the evil spirits

Before we get into the inky side of things, we thought we would just give a little overview of why it is people dress up on Halloween (it’s since way before Freddy Kruger moved to Elm Street, after all). 

Halloween themed tattooo
By Dennis from Vivid Ink Birmingham

As you probably know, Halloween as we know it today evolved from Celtic celebrations such as Samhain. The idea was that this was a time of the year when the veil between worlds was at its thinnest.

Therefore, it was a good time to commune with spirits or ancestors, but it was also a time when ghosts, ghouls, and all manner of mischief could wander the realm of mortals. Some were thought to be mischievous, or even malevolent. 

Vampire lady tattoo
By Scott from Vivid Ink Sutton

To protect themselves from evil spirits, the Celts would wear masks or costumes made from animal hides. The disguises were intended to confuse the spirits. This tradition was then carried into the Christian version of the holiday, which became known as All Saints’ Day (with All Hallows’ Eve the evening before). 

The migration of Scottish and Irish immigrants to the US in the 19th century brought these costume customs with them, and as these things go, they gradually morphed into how Halloween is celebrated today.

Oh, and trick-or-treat evolved from the tradition of poor people walking door to door offering to pray for the house not to be beset (“tricked”) by spirits in exchange for soul cakes. (These do not, to our understanding, house souls. They are just biscuits.)

deat moth tattoo
By Faye at Vivid Ink Hagley Road

These days, many people use temporary tattoos as part of their costumes. Nothing wrong with that, and temporary ink has come leaps and bounds over the past few years. But we must say that we are partial to the real deal. 

The movie connection

Some of the most popular spooky themes for tattoos are, unsurprisingly, horror movie motives. The most requested characters are Friday the 13th’s Jason in black and grey, Halloween’s Michael Myers, colourful renditions of Chucky, and, honestly the scariest of them all according to us, not sure how you feel, Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s It. Honourable mention to Alien, which we say goes in the horror category, not just sci-fi. 

Alien tattoo
By Luke R from Vivid Ink Stafford

Facing our fears and worst nightmares on screen can be very therapeutic. The release that comes with a good fright while still being absolutely physically safe on your sofa under a blanket can be cathartic, leaving us with a sense of well-being due to the release of chemicals and hormones in the body and brain. It is no wonder we want to stay connected to those experiences by getting our favourite horror characters tattooed — whatever time of the year.


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