A Guide to Friday the 13th Tattoos!
Numerous cultures around the world consider Friday the 13th to be a cursed date.
The slasher movie franchise starring hockey-masked murderer Jason Voorhees has capitalized on the superstition for decades, as he terrorized camps, outer space, and (of course) hell. The fear of the number 13 is scientifically referred to as triskaidekaphobia, and the origins of this fear are still debated. The iconic day always occurs a minimum of once per year, but it can happen a maximum of three times.
Along with inspiring horror films and inciting anxiety, Friday the 13th has also given us discounted tattoos! Many tattoo parlors offer deals on these dates, typically off of flash sheets with the occasional opportunity to bring in a quarter-sized design of your own. Prices range from the traditional $13, plus a $7 "good luck tip", to some shops offering deals around $50-$100 for more detailed pieces. While not all parlors participate, blessed are the ones that do. Artists put up with hours of heavily discounted work and lines of sometimes-impatient customers.
Tattoo artist and "Ink Master" judge Oliver Peck is credited for turning Friday the 13th into the event that it is today. Although he wasn’t the first to correlate the themed tattoos with the date, he started bringing publicity to the concept in the ‘90s. His shop, Elm Street Tattoo in Dallas, Texas, still does 24-hour tattoo marathons on the unofficial holiday. However, he also owns a shop in Hollywood that offers designs from Elm Street. Here are a few participating shops in L.A. County and their Instagram handles in case you're thinking of tempting fate and getting inked!
Located in Hollywood. This is Oliver Peck’s Los Angeles shop. Head to their Instagram and check out their saved story to look over the flash sheet.
Located in Silverlake. I’ve been tattooed here a few times, and the environment is filled with warm, talented artists.
Located on Melrose. I received my first and only (so far) Friday the 13th tattoo here, and it’s holding up beautifully even though it’s on my foot (see pic above). The shop has individual artists tagged in their bio, and a few of them have flash listed.
Located in Mission Hills. The artist needlef0x has some designs listed, and states that tattoos will range from $31-$93.
Located in Cypress Park. The artist lovettetattoos posted a few pages of designs on Instagram, from $20-$100.
Unfortunately, not all shops have their deals listed. If you want to do some research on your own, try typing “Friday the 13th tattoo” into Facebook and setting your location. Many shops post events with their sheets. You can also find local shops on Yelp and give them a call. Otherwise, digging through Instagram hashtags such as “#fridaythe13thtattoo” and attempting to find one near you can also work well. Some shops don’t post until right before the day, so keep checking.
Keep in mind that Friday the 13th tattoos are almost always from a flash sheet, which means that multiple people could have the same tattoo as you. However, it can be a great experience if you love a design that you come across. Typical designs incorporate superstitions such as black cats, open umbrellas, the number 13, Ouija planchettes, and more, but there are countless other options. Shops usually only allow one per customer, but you can try going to more than one shop in a day. Did you know that there’s research that suggests that having multiple tattoos can strengthen your immune system?
If this will be your first time getting a tattoo, be sure to care for it properly afterward. Although they are beautiful, they are still wounds. Keep the tattoo covered for 1-2 hours after receiving it, clean it with unscented bar soap and warm water, and cover with Aquaphor to moisturize. Do not enter pools or soak it at all until it is healed; however, you can leave it uncovered in showers to cleanse it. After two or three days of using Aquaphor, you can switch to unscented lotion to keep it moisturized as it begins to peel. This is actually worse than the pain of getting the tattoo, because it will begin to itch unbearably and scratching it could harm the art. Let it peel off on its own, and never pull at it. Finally, keep it out of the sun. When it is fully healed, use sunscreen to preserve it better.
- Bring cash.
- Don’t forget your ID.
- Speak up if you have concerns.
- Tip your artist. Please do not get a tattoo if you are not going to tip.
- Once the stencil goes on, tell the artist if you want to change the placement.
- Arrive early, as it is first come first served, and many people will be showing up.
- Always be courteous to your artist. Friday the 13th tattoos are their way of giving back.
- Check out the shop and artists’ portfolios/Instagram accounts and be sure that you like their work.
- Don’t go in feeling faint, as tattooing will exacerbate it. If you haven’t eaten all day, you could become shaky.
- Consider that certain areas of the body are more painful to tattoo than others, and some areas fade faster.
- If you’re worried about pain, try bringing headphones and listening to music during the process to take your mind off of it.
- “Good tattoos aren’t cheap, and cheap tattoos aren’t good,” is a huge saying in the tattoo community. Although this day offers discounts, the quality doesn’t have to be poor. Familiarize yourself with what clean lines look like, and don’t get tattooed by random people.
Friday the 13th may be considered unlucky, but tattoo deals are rebranding that notion. Have fun!
- Melissa Breccia, YH Contributing Writer