What’s a Friday the 13th tattoo and how to do it right

Friday the 13th is a date famous for many things spooky, scary, superstitious and mysterious. It’s also a popular date for getting seriously discounted tattoos. 

You could describe the tattoo frenzied day as a Black Friday for tattoo parlors. Except, a Friday the 13th may occur up to three times a year. So, those can be busiest brand and artist awareness days for local tattoo parlors.

When the trend started, the “holiday” entailed a themed flash sheet (a group of designs to choose from but traditionally not open for modification), typically priced at $13 each, with a $7 tip thrown in for good luck. The event really took off with Oliver Peck of Elm St. Tattoo in Dallas around 1995.


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Related: Other things happening on Friday the 13th

Since then, the event has taken off in tattoo parlors around the country. Prices, sizes and themes vary from place to place. But, you can pick a pre-drawn tat option and sit under the needle for crazy low prices just about anywhere.

If that’s what you are looking for, I definitely recommend calling your favorite tattoo artist or local shop to see what their deals are. That way you know what you are paying and how much to tip before you walk in the door. 

Also, if you’re looking to get a cheap tattoo, you probably still want a safe experience. 

Here are a few pieces of advice for getting a Friday the 13th tattoo, according to Thrillist:

1. Be good to your artist if you’re going under the needle

These tattooing guys and gals might not be making a lot of money off of tattoos that day. The shop offers steep discounts on their design work, but they still put in the same amount of effort. So, be kind to your artist because they will likely be exhausted by the end of the day. Also, don’t forget the tip! 

2. Don’t forget your ID (and maybe bring cash)

That’s pretty self explanatory. Don’t expect to get tattooed after standing in line all day if you don’t have your identification with you. Also, bring cash. It makes transactions move just a little bit faster. 

3. Watch out for shortcuts

A lot of customers are probably walking in and out of shop doors that day. Be on the look out for accidentally skipped standard procedures to ensure you get a safe tattoo. Paul Collurafici of Chicago’s Tattoo Factory told Thrillist that counters and chairs should be wiped down with sani-wipes after every tattoo. He also said needles and tubes should be in sealed sterile packages and opened in front of you. And new ink should be poured out while you watch.


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None of this is to say your tattoo artist will do an unsafe or sloppy job! But, do what you can to have a good Friday the 13th tattoo experience. 

Again, call your selected tattoo shop ahead of time to hear if they are doing the special holiday deals and for how much. The Friday the 13th procedure vary at each business. 

By the end of the day, you can show off your new ink.