Friday the 13th Tattoos: All About the Traditional ‘Holiday’ for Tattoos

The number 13 has been steeped in superstition for generations now with horror movies like Friday the 13th helping to continue the notion that the number is inherently unlucky. For tattoo fans, however, anytime a Friday the 13th rolls around, it’s cause for celebration. Yes, you would think that a day considered so unlucky would not be ideal for getting permanent ink on your body, but think again! In the world of tattoos, 13 is actually seen as a lucky number and you will find it inked on countless bodies today.

Friday the 13th is the perfect excuse to get a fun and funky tattoo at an affordable price. Almost every tattoo shop in the US offers specials for the day that often includes pre-designed flash designs created specifically for the day. We wanted to give you an idea of what to expect with your Friday the 13th tattoos so we rounded up some examples to share with you along with some more information about the history of these tattoos. Take a look below and get fired up for the next time the “Tattoo Holiday” rolls around.

Friday the 13th Tattoo Design

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Above you will find an example of the typical flash designs offered on Friday the 13th. These fun and often morbid and creepy designs are all about celebrating the day and tempting fate.

Friday the 13th Tattoo Design Part II

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Here is yet another example of Friday the 13th tattoos. Typically these tattoos are created with simple lines and not a ton of detail so that artists can finish them quickly before moving on to their next eager client. Getting squeezed in at a tattoo shop on Friday the 13th can be difficult and many offer reservations. If that’s the case for you, we urge you to book an appointment!

How Did the Friday the 13th Tattoo Tradition Start?

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Depending on who you ask, you get different answers about the origin of Friday the 13th tattoos. According to The Sun, one of the first people to make a big deal out of it was Oliver Peck in Dallas, Texas.

It Started as a Party

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Peck started DIY-tattooing himself and his buddies in 1988, then professionally in 1991, and threw his first big Friday the 13th party in 1995 at the now-shuttered Pair O’ Dice shop in Dallas, The Sun reports.

One Busy Day for Tattoo Parlors

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“I definitely wasn’t the first person to do it, the number 13 tattoo on the Friday the 13th,” says Peck, who now owns Elm St. Tattoo in Dallas. “But, I definitely made it an event.” 

Peck told the outlet Elm Street expects to tattoo around 1,200 customers on this or any Friday the 13th. According to a post on social media, the last Friday the 13th, the team tattooed 1,358 tattoos in 24 hours. That’s a lot of ink!

$13 + $7 = Friday the 13th Tattoo

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In the beginning and still in practice at some tattoo shops today, the going price for a Friday the 13th tattoo was $13 with a $7 tip. That means that most people with limited budgets could afford a little tattoo. $13 is not what it used to be so tattoo shops, especially those in buildings with high rents, charge a little bit more.

GWYG Friday the 13th Tattoos

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GWYG in tattoo parlance means “get what you get.” Many have taken old toy dispenser machines with those little plastic containers and filled them with Friday the 13th tattoos. The idea is that you get whatever flash is inside the plastic container. Some shops do a flat price while others offer a sliding scale based on how intricate the designs are.

Designs to Expect

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As we mentioned, most of the Friday the 13th tattoos include more macabre subject matter. In the above example (don’t mind the chain), we see three nails. Could these be nails for a coffin?

Tombstones

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Tombstones are very popular among Friday the 13th tattoos. They often say something ironic or have the number 13 on them. This one deadpans “cool.” What would your ideal tombstone tattoo say?

He Had to Die

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Here is another one of the tombstone Friday the 13th tattoos. We find the name Earl on this one, a reference to the classic The Chicks’ song “Earl Had to Die.” These tattoos can be so fun if the artist has a sense of humor.

When Two Worlds Collide

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You might have stumbled across this list because you were looking for Friday the 13th tattoos inspired by the horror film franchise. Often you will find Jason’s mask or his machete as part of the offerings. They offer double the meaning and fun for fans of the films.

Occasional Color

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The majority of tattoo shops offering Friday the 13th tattoos are only going to offer black ink. On rare occasions, you find red and black. However, you will almost never find them with this much color. We share this with you so you know what to expect.

Yee-Haw

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How fun is this cowboy hat with a star that features the number 13? Not all designs are creepy and most of the ones that are not will include the number. Most tattoo shops post the designs they will be offering before Friday the 13th on social media. Check out your local tattoo artists’ posts to find the right sort of design for you.

RELATED: 33 Lucky Tattoos That Will Charm You for Life

Snoop

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See? Friday the 13th tattoos can be so playful. We find a cool Snoopy wearing some shades and a shirt that features the number 13. Isn’t it so nostalgic and cute?

Moo!

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This calf tattoo is a blast. We find the number 13 formed here using the spots in the cow’s coat. Expect to see plenty of animals including some with two heads and other deformities.

Stamp of Approval

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As you have seen a couple of times now, stamp Friday the 13th tattoos are wildly popular. They are found on almost every flash sheet and some are more chilling than others. The number 13 is all it takes to let viewers know that you mean business.

Expect Some Whimsy

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As promised, here is another animal Friday the 13th tattoo. It’s of the mythical jackalope and it has been sliced in half for good measure. So many of these tattoos have such a darkly funny appeal.

Crunch

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For this Friday the 13th tattoo, we find a dazzling bit of jaw bone. Skeletons and bones are out in full force around this tattoo holiday so if you’ve got a bone to pick, pick one of the bone designs.

Get Weird With It

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Some Friday the 13th tattoos feel more unique than others. This cartoonish dog character is a great example of the possibilities that await you. Choose the most daring design from their flash and be proud of your bold choice!

Ghostly Delights

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A ghost with three eyes is just the sort of weirdness you should expect from your Friday the 13th tattoo. We have more questions than answers for this one but it still is one of our favorite designs on this list.

Funny Fruit

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So, we looked at a ton of Friday the 13th flash sheets while researching this project, and food and fruit tattoos are quite the trend these days. This banana looks like he’s having a better day than you. We are in love!

Really, It’s a Thing

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We told you so! You have got a friend in this cute mug tattoo. Anthropomorphism is alive and well when it comes to Friday the 13th tattoos and that’s becoming increasingly true for food and fruit tattoos. Bring them on!

A Reversal

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We have all seen those plastic grocery and takeout bags with smiley faces and the words “thank you” emblazoned on them. The tattoo artist has flipped the script with this Friday the 13th tattoo that has a sad face and the addition of the word, “no.” Yes, please to “no, thank you.”

Aw, Rats!

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We’ve got a rat on our hands with this cute little tattoo that finds the creature with a heart with the number 13 inside. We think this one is a blast and that feels most punk rock and even playful.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 25 Chilling Horror Movie Tattoos That Welcome the Halloween Season

A Touch Artful

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Friday the 13th tattoos come in all styles with a diverse array of subject matter. This is one of our favorite Friday the 13th tattoos that we found as it looks so sophisticated. There is still a sense of playfulness here but it’s mostly cool by our standards.

What did you think of these Friday the 13th tattoos? We hope you feel the urge to get one or more of your own! These are so much fun and a really unique aspect of tattoo culture. If you liked these designs, keep on reading. We’ve got even more ink inspiration to share with you.

Morbidly Moody

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Let’s kick things off with a grim reaper tattoo that represents a common theme among these tattoos. Most are like this, with dark black ink and a creepy skull. While it may be the most popular style of design, it’s not your only option!

Choices

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“Choose wisely,” a tombstone says in the above grim reaper tattoo that finds the character looking rather sinister. The tombstone is a great place to put any sort of message and we recommend something that shows off your sense of humor.

Creepy Factor: 100%

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We find photorealism achieved in this grim reaper tattoo that constitutes half of a sleeve. While most people are not looking for grim reaper tattoos at this large size, we did want to share it with the few folks who might want a larger piece like this.

A Fresh Take

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This grim reaper tattoo is wild! We have a contrast between life and death here with the character surrounded by botanical elements and even a little frog. We’re not sure what is going on with the smiley faces but we’re not mad about them.

Killer Contrast

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If you are looking for ways to create visual interest and drama for your grim reaper tattoo, consider going black and grey for the majority of the design but have other aspects of it in color. This will help bring your (grim) design to life.

For the Fun of It

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Now, for something a little lighter, we find a cartoonish grim reaper tattoo with the message, “Killin’ it,” tattooed underneath. If you’re not taking yourself too seriously, you might find these good-humored designs to be the right direction for you to go in.

Really, Have a Ball With It

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Here’s another example of how to turn your grim reaper tattoo into something a bit more whimsical and even funny. Pair your reaper with elements that have fun connotations. Take your reaper to the beach, put your reaper on a playground, or even on a rollercoaster.

RELATED: 35 Cute Tattoos That Will Give You Kawaii Vibes

In Frame

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By choosing a shape to frame your grim reaper tattoo in, you can achieve more definition. It’s like a peek into another world. We liked this oval shape but obviously, there are tons of options for you to choose from. We’ve got a heart one for you further down the list.

Old-School

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Here’s a traditional design that looks like one of the grim reaper tattoos from the past. Pairing a rose with a grim reaper has been a popular choice for decades. This example is rather large but you could easily scale something like this down for a smaller tattoo.

Death Becomes Her

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Lady Death? This grim reaper tattoo really made us happy. We find the personification of death in this tattoo that has the coolest fade effect down the face with tiny, white eyes in it. Think outside the box for a grim reaper tattoo that really fits you.

The Sweet Smell of Death

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The way color has been applied in this grim reaper tattoo is remarkable. There is just so much detail to discuss but the way the colors have been blended really make this grim reaper look haunting but also beautiful at the same time.

Contemplating Life

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How fun is this design? We love the idea of a grim reaper who has to actually contemplate its own life and not just those of his victims. This very simple design manages to communicate a lot in a small amount of real estate.

Love You to Death

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As promised, this grim reaper tattoo has been framed inside of a heart. Unlike the previous framed tattoo, this one colors outside the lines a bit with the human character’s hair. We find a life-meets-death motif here that is so popular among other tattoos in this class.

Too Much?

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This grim reaper tattoo is pure nightmare fuel. The terribly long, slender fingers really unsettle while the hood casts a shadow over the character’s face. The unknown is so much scarier than what we see. If you’d like a tattoo that thoroughly creeps people out, consider something similar.

Crowned

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Wow! What a handsome tattoo. We find our grim reaper inside of an oval frame again. This time, the border is made bold and thick. Inside, our grim character has been topped with a crown of roses which is the right touch to turn this design from mundane to marvelous.

A Moment We All Will Have in Common

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“Memento mori,” is an artistic trope that acts as a reminder of the inevitability of death. The concept has its origins in the philosophers of classical antiquity and Christianity. The symbol appeared in funerary art and architecture from the medieval period to today. The Latin words mean “remember you must die.”

A Little Color Never Hurts

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Here’s a neo-traditional grim reaper tattoo that finds out character decorated with plenty of colors. If you are after something that features fire, a grim reaper tattoo surrounded by flames like this could be the right way to go for you.

Classic

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Here’s a traditional grim reaper tattoo that uses black ink and three other ink colors (red, yellow, and green) to make the design really pop. This is a very typical traditional tattoo that you will find tons of variations for on many tattoo artists’ flash.

Yikes

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Your life is in his hands according to this grim reaper tattoo that finds our macabre character holding an orb with a shadowy figure inside. Take a look at the grim reaper and you will see that there is so much detail.

Out of the Office

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A popular grim reaper tattoo theme is to have the character at the beach. As if death was taking a vacation. Here, we find him in a Hawaiian shirt sipping a tropical cocktail. If you are wanting something light and fun, this could be the right style of grim reaper tattoo for you.

Skull

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We have seen a number of grim reaper tattoos that feature just the character’s head but this one looked particularly amusing. If you want a smaller design, consider just the skull and little else. You could put something like that just about anywhere on the body.

R&R

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We find our creepy pal in a pool float complete with a flamingo (oddly enough, the second one on this list). This grim reaper tattoo is such a joyful and carefree design that we are sure will appeal to plenty of folks who are only after the good vibes.

Singular

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This grim reaper tattoo is hard to describe because it is so unlike any tattoo we have ever seen. We find the skull again but this time it is in profile, with a hood behind that makes the yellow ink of the skull jump out. Behind the hood, hot pink has been applied for a singular effect.

King Dread

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We find our dark friend here with a crown. Does this make him the king of the dead? The lantern was an interesting and inspired choice to add to this tattoo, making it feel more atmospheric than many other examples on this list.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 33 Scary Tattoos That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

Rainbow Reaper

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Did you think you would see anything remotely like this on a list of grim reaper tattoos? We certainly were not expecting anything so trippy and weird. Whenever artists and their clients get creative with their collaboration, magical things happen. This is proof of that point. Wow!

What did you think of these grim reaper tattoos? We hope you found some to inspire your own ink but we encourage you to work with your tattoo artist to help realize your singular vision.

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