25 Grim Reaper Tattoos That Make the Macabre Marvelous

Grim reaper tattoos represent some of the most popular tattoo designs over the last 100 years. Grim reapers might be a dark subject matter but that is not stopping folks from requesting the subject matter for tattoos. In fact, most folks are attracted to the moodiness of these designs and how tough they look. These designs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. A tattoo is the ultimate form of self-expression, so we wanted to give you some ideas for your own but we encourage you to think outside the box and to work with an artist who can help realize your vision for your own grim reaper tattoo.

We wanted to bring you the freshest ideas for your grim reaper tattoo so we turned to social media to discover what sorts of designs are trending. The most popular tattoos are dark and twisty but upbeat grim reaper tattoos are also highly favored. We have curated a list of tattoos that are a great mix for you to find the right style that will be a perfect fit for you! Take a look below.

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.

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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. If you enjoyed these grim reaper tattoos, keep reading for even more design ideas!

Ready to Get Freaked Out? Take a Look at These Chilling Scary Tattoos!

Toothy the Clown

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Okay, let’s kick things off with this creepy clown. Clown designs are well-represented among scary tattoos and while this is the first it will not be the last on this list.

Spider Lady

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There’s something eerily beautiful in this spider lady tattoo that stretches down the arm. The artist has worked the spider’s web into the hair which proves an interesting feature of this design.

‘Dungeon Lord’

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The person who shared this design described it as a “dungeon lord” and we must say that we see it! Many scary tattoos are portraits of creepy characters so expect plenty more where this one came from.

Creepy Crawler

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If you’re like most, bugs are deeply creepy. Here’s one that climbs the spine and it is such a tingler! Eek!

Behold, the Devil

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Every aspect of this design is scary. From the horns to the teeth to the way the skin seems to be torn at the neck. Yikes!

Creature from the Dark

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Here’s another one of the creepy-crawly scary tattoos. It is a full sleeve design that covers a lot of real estate.

A Weird One

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We don’t know what’s going on with this strange tattoo but we’re inexplicably drawn to it. What is going on with those grapes? Is this some sort of agricultural deity?

Hell’s Nails

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Nope! Do these nails make you cringe? It’s the only tattoo like it we saw so points for creativity!

In Your Walls

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“I live in your walls,” this ghostly tattoo says in front of an ethereal shadow. This is one of the scary tattoos that feels like a threat.

Number Nine

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Here’s one of our favorite scary tattoos we found. Once you get around the subject matter, you can see that the design has been tattooed masterfully. There’s so much detail and depth thanks to all of the magnificent shading. What a creeper!

An American Werewolf In…

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Here’s one of the scary tattoos inspired by a horror movie. 1981’s An American Werewolf in London took practical effects to newheights. This tattoo is a celebration of the scary movie.

Eyes’ Cream

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A trend among scary tattoos these days is eyes. You’ll find eyes in ice cream cones, in hands, and anywhere else they should not be.

Burning Eye

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See? Here’s an eye candle. What an unsettling prospect.

Demon Kitty

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Here’s one very scary cat that’s got a dramatic tongue and an additional mouth in its stomach. Gross!

Fallen Angel

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Here’s one of the scary tattoos that will haunt and stick with you. It’s beautiful in a macabre manner.

Scary Stories

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Did you read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when you were younger? Here’s one of the iconic images from the book that’s been translated into ink.

RELATED: 25 Coffin Tattoo Ideas

Hybrid

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This is one of the scary tattoos that raises more questions than it offers answers. It’s a mysterious design that finds a sort of cow and human hybrid.

Scream

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We find the reflection of Ghostface from Scream in this knife. It’s a sharp today to boot with very clean lines.

Death’s Head Moth

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One of the most popular scary tattoos today is the death’s head moth. You see it again and again and it’s such an arresting character that it never gets old.

A Twisted Pin-Up

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“Can we do a pin-up ripping her face off?” the artist who shared this image said his client asked. We think the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

Bad News

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We find a devilish reading some “Bad News” in this design. Is bad news actually good news for the devil? What a chiller!

Clowning Around

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For those who get freaked out by clowns, this is one of the scary tattoos that is pure nightmare fuel. Are the razor-sharp teeth or set of four eyes doing it for you?

Eyes, Eyes, Eyes

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See? More eyes! Here’s a blob full of them. This was a choice for the back of the neck, like a play on the saying “eyes in the back of my head.”

Stretch the Baby

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Here we find a baby doll figure that’s been transformed into a centipede. Anything with creepy dolls is up for grabs among scary tattoos.

As Above, So Below

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There’s some “evil symmetry” in this tattoo that features crows, a creepy tree, and bloody hands. Tattoos that are long like this are ideal for arms, legs, or down your spine.

Feisty Bat

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Here’s a neo-traditional bat that radiates color. The glowing eyes are almost too much for us to handle.

Melt

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How about a melting face? This is one of our favorite scary tattoos on the list. Take a look at the thick lines paired with thinner ones to give the design movement.

Plague Doctor

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Too soon? We found this plague doctor tattoo to be particularly creepy. The figure is framed by these thorny object that helps bring the design depth and dimension.

Haunting

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We find pieces of a face on the wings of these moths. How cool did they turn out? The image is definitely creepy but there’s a poetry to it as well.

A Helping Hand

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We did not see many scary tattoos done in micro size but here’s a hand with a burning candle in it that makes a big impact even though it is rather small.

Rabid Rat

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The person who shared this image captioned it “rabid rat.” This looks more like a mutant rat to us but what do we know? Ick!

Haunted Horse

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We’re not entirely sure what is going on in this scene that finds a bloody horse and skull in a lake together. Did the horse commit a crime? Is the horse a zombie? It’s not clear but that just makes us more interested in the design.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 25 Chilling Horror Movie Tattoos That Will Give You Goosebumps

Toxic Twins

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Demented Teletubbies? You bet! How creepy are these “toxic twins?” You’ll never have a good night’s sleep again. You’re welcome.

There you go! What did you think of these scary tattoos? We hope they brought the horror vibes you were looking for. There’s nothing wrong with being interested in horror and the macabre. Scary tattoos and tattoos in general are forms of self-expression that share your unique point of view. If that POV is a little bit creepy, let that freak flag fly!

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