Are you a fan of all things spooky but generally like to keep things light and fun? If so, you should try getting a cute Halloween tattoo.
These tattoos don’t take up a lot of space at all so they’re easy to get and easy to hide. But the thing about Halloween characters is that they’re generally… pretty creepy. For some people, that isn’t really their cup of tea.
Halloween characters usually have rich backstories and deep symbolism which makes them pretty popular tattoo choices, but if the creepy vibe isn’t quite cutting it for you, these cute Halloween tattoo designs are guaranteed to do the trick.
In this article, I’ve compiled 35 of the cutest Halloween tattoos you can get in 2023. Each piece’s artist is credited so that you can check out more of their work or choose to message them directly. Towards the end, I’ll also answer some FAQs and talk about some of the greatest horror fiction icons that you can grab some inspiration from, so keep reading!
Cute Halloween Tattoos
This cute calf tattoo features a smiling jack-o-lantern. It glimmers with delight with its heart-shaped eyes and is adorned with iconic Halloween cobwebs to still give it that spooky feel, by Lauren Malefica. (@laurenmalefica on Instagram).
In this calf piece by The Red Fox Tattoo, four jack-o-lanterns with different expressions lay next to a glimmering crescent moon, by The Red Fox Tattoo. (@tanya_tattoo on Instagram).
This forearm piece features another depiction of the notorious Jack Skellington in his Pumpkin King form. A Halloween Town sign is shown over his head, by Angelo Parente. (@angeloparente on Instagram).
This adorable piece features three jack-o-lanterns stacked on top of each other with calm, oblivious expressions. By coloring them in with a candy corn theme, the artist further reinforces the Halloween theme and makes for a pleasant, cohesive piece, by pearl clapp. (@pearlclapp on Instagram).
In this funny piece, a jack-o-lantern winces in pain as a kitchen knife carves into his yet to be formed left eye. Clever use of highlights and shadows add depth to this piece to really make it pop, by Cam Lumsden. (@cam_lumsdenart on Instagram).
Another funny Halloween tattoo. In this piece, a jack-o-lantern in an astronaut suit flips someone off in the distance while uttering the words “Who said so?”, by HEIS Tattoo. (@heis_be_happy on Instagram).
In this piece, a jack-o-lantern is shown with a dispirited expression. Smoke fizzles out from its stalk as if emerging from a recently extinguished fire, by Galhane-La-Tannerie. (@la__tannerie on Instagram).
In this person’s awesome Halloween body suit lurk a great selection of Halloween objects and icons. Most noticeable are a group of jack-o-lanterns on the sleeves with inverted colors and designs. If you’re looking for a clever ideas for a body suit, it’s a good idea to use a similar theme to this design by mirroring elements from one side to the other, by Naoki. (@tns_naokidz on Instagram).
Simple Halloween Tattoos
In this adorable forearm piece, the artist makes use of simple line art to sketch out a classic bedsheet ghost, by Allie Doersch. (@doe.ink on Instagram).
This calf flash tattoo by the same artist features a similar looking spooky spirit, by Allie Doersch. (@doe.ink on Instagram).
In this ankle tattoo, a spirit floats aimlessly. By using thin wrinkle lines along the outline of the tattoo, the artist makes it so that the spirit emanates a feeling of restlessness. The artist also puts subtle splatters of ink along the tail of the spirit as a finishing touch, by Lauren Malefica. (@laurenmalefica on Instagram).
Black and Grey Halloween Tattoos
In this fun filled Halloween forearm piece, the iconic fictional character Jack Skellington from the film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Floating in the background is Scary Teddy and the Oogie Boogie Shadow as seen on the moon, by Angelo Parente. (@angeloparente on Instagram).
In this creative piece, a wooden coffin flat on the ground reveals a view into a Halloween world. Jack-o-lanterns are planted beside a trail leading to a (presumably) haunted house. A silhouette of a witch on her broom zooms across the light of the moon. Crystal formations and plants adorn the sides of the coffin, by Angelo Parente. (@angeloparente on Instagram).
In this inner forearm tattoo, a child in a creepy costume raises his Halloween lollipop under the light of the full moon. The artist uses dotwork to create a hazy, granular texture, by Justine Murasky. (@fannypakatta on Instagram).
Although this design might seem a bit silly, the background behind it is pretty interesting. The figure is Koko the Clown from Betty Boop: Snow White. In this scene, the Wicked Witch turns Koko the Clown into a ghost as he sings the eerie sounding St. James Infirmary Blues. Beside his legs is the number13 which is believed by some to bring bad luck, by Andie Baldrich. (@andiebaldrich on Instagram).
In this awesome black and grey back piece, a whimsical storybook scene plays out wherein a witch snags the face off of an unwitting trick or treater. His friends (in costume as well) stand frozen, shocked by the act, by Jarryd Tricklebank. (@jarrydt on Instagram).
If you’re looking for something quick, try going for a Halloween flash tattoo instead of having your artist customize it for you. In this piece, two children are seen wearing creepy masks for Halloween, by Baba Vešterka Tattoos. (@babavesterkatattoos on Instagram).
Colored Halloween Tattoos
In this piece, the faces of two iconic characters from late 20th century horror fiction are shown in a cartoon-type split portrait. On the right is Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th (1980) and on the right is Michael Meyers from Halloween (1978), by Tori. (@thetoriwinkle on Instagram).
In this particularly creepy new school tattoo, a female ghoul with bright red hair feasts on some brains, by Kelly Doty. (@kellydotylovessoup on Instagram).
This colorful piece makes use of various iconic Halloween elements such as vampire teeth and a witch’s finger. Pieces of candy and stars surround the elements for a fun touch, by Christian. (@cohv_ink on Instagram).
In this piece, a green troll doll wears an adorable witch outfit. Its witch cap and robe are decorated with various shapes in playful colors, by Christian. (@cohv_ink on Instagram).
If you’re a fan of the trick or treating side of Halloween, you might enjoy this piece by Emily Tucker. In this piece, she draws two a jack-o-lantern lollipop on the left and a zombie swirl lollipop on the right. A classy green skull ribbon ties them together, by Emily Tucker. (@emilytuckertattoo on Instagram).
In this piece, a strong candlelight startles a ghost, drawn in vibrant colors and bold outlines. A spider on the right hangs on to its web and flowers and stars are used as aesthetic elements, by Nate Brinker. (@nate_brinker_tattoos on Instagram).
If you’re into getting a tattoo of something fun to look at, try this funny piece by Bernatattoo. A woman in the nude darts by in striped thigh high socks and a bedsheet ghost costume, by Bernatattoo. (@bernatattoo95 on Instagram).
In this definitely wholesome, satirical tattoo, a ghost drifts enthusiastically towards “the boos” while carrying a bottle of good beer with a “69” label on it, by Fallen Saints Tattoo. (@fallensaintstattoo on Instagram).
In this adorable piece by Keely Rutherford, a smiling Frankenstein’s monster jumps out from a fun-filled jack-in-the-box, by Keely Rutherford. (@glitteryflamingos on Instagram).
This illustrative piece features a resting Count Dracula in his bat form, wings closed and blood dripping from his lips. His eyes, sinister and empty, project a feeling of bloodlust, by Unknown Artist
Halloween Animal Tattoos
If you’re a fan of our feline overlords, you might like honoring them by dressing them up in a tattoo. In this piece, a sharp eyed kitty wears a witch cap, by Genevieve Matthews. (@vievetattoos on Instagram).
This adorable tattoo features three iconic Tim Burton dogs. On the left is Scraps from The Corpse Bride, Zero from The Nightmare Before Christmas in the middle, and Sparky from Frankenweenie on the right, by Angelo Parente. (@angeloparente on Instagram).
In this piece, a black cat (believed by some to be a symbol of bad luck) dresses up in a bedsheet ghost costume, by Mandi Johnson. (@necromand on Instagram).
This tattoo uses traditional tattoo techniques, identifiable by the bold black outlines and vintage color gradients, by Keely Rutherford. (@glitteryflamingos on Instagram).
In this traditional style piece, a vampire bat playfully hisses. Bold shades of blood red are seen in the background and in its eyes, by Kate Holt. (@holt_unicorn on Instagram).
If you’re an avid fan of all things doggo, perhaps you’ll enjoy getting a tattoo of your furry friend. In this piece, a fashionable Halloween pom wears a full body jack-o-lantern costume. Spooky bits of Halloween candy float in the background, by Emily. (@trashprincesstattoos on Instagram).
In this sick illustrative inner bicep tattoo, a raven caws while perching its talons on a white jack-o-lantern. Autumn leaves fall in the foreground to complement the Halloween theme, by Tondrik Tattoo. (@tondrik_tattoo on Instagram).
In this vibrant Halloween piece, a purple spider with small touches of gold crawls on its cobweb. Its abdomen is replaced with a jack-o-lantern glowing a haunting shade of green, by Alex Mazzoni. (@mazzzoni on Instagram).
Greatest Horror Icons of the 20th Century
There are so many spooky characters out there that you can use for your Halloween tattoo. But the greats of horror fiction were the ones that paved the way to modern horror as we know it today.
In this section, we’ll talk about some of the greatest horror icons of the 20th century and why they’ll make great tattoos.
Frankenstein’s monster is a beloved classic. It’s one of the most recognized icons of horror fiction. Making its debut in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, Frankenstein’s monster is Dr. Victor Frankenstein creation, a reanimated assemblage of old body parts and various chemicals.
It’s most well-known for the iconic “lightning” scene wherein a bolt of lightning strikes the monster’s body and reanimates it. As it gains sentience, Dr. Frankenstein blurts out a euphoric “It’s alive!” as he slowly succumbs to the realization that he has, in his words, become a god.
Mary Shelley’s novel is a classic and has since left an impression on horror fiction and pop culture in general. The great thing about it is that, though the horrific creation is explicitly labeled as “the monster”, the novel makes it clear that it is otherwise—that Dr. Frankenstein is the true monster, and the creation is merely his victim.
Another horror fiction icon, Dracula made his debut in the 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula by Irish author Bram Stoker. Count Dracula’s character is seen as the archetypal vampire and is known to have laid the groundwork for modern depictions of vampires in pop culture.
Some believe that the main inspiration for Count Dracula was the 15th century Wallachian prince Vlad the Impaler (or Vlad Dracula), who was a man with quite a reputation for cruelty.
Since its debut, the character has made quite a few appearances in pop culture such as in the hit video game series Castlevania and the more recent animated fantasy comedy film series Hotel Transylvania. And probably the most striking one is Count Orlok from the 1922 silent horror film Nosferatu, which rattled a few bones and sparked a bit of controversy! You can read more about that here.
Overall, Dracula holds a pretty irreplaceable spot in classic horror fiction as the king of the vampires.
The Wolf Man
The Wolf Man is another legendary horror icon born in the early 20th century. The Wolf Man made its first (successful) entrance into the film world in 1941 in George Waggner’s The Wolf Man.
Since its debut, it has influenced a great deal of modern pop culture’s depictions of the legend of the werewolf. This 1941 film alone set the bar for every werewolf depiction thereafter. It inspired great werewolf movies like An American Werewolf in London (1981) and even familiar titles such as Teen Wolf (2011) and Twilight (2008).
So if you’re looking for your next Halloween tattoo, keep the Wolf Man in mind. Not only is it an everlasting horror icon in pop culture—it’s also super badass.
Halloween Tattoo FAQs
What is the history behind Halloween?
Most of us know Halloween as a fun holiday. It’s a day kids look forward to so they can dress up in cute costumes and grab as much candy as they can. Even adults have their fair share of fun. Some of them really make an effort to put together clever costumes to break the ice at parties.
I think the best one I’ve seen yet is this person’s “Amazon Prime” costume. It’s the perfect mix of clever and resourceful—there’s also people like Greg who dress up in a white sheet with three holes poked over the face. But hey, at least he’s having a good time.
Ultimately, pop culture has turned Halloween into an enjoyable time for everyone involved. But Halloween didn’t start out as fun-filled as it is today. In fact, the entire reason why Halloween (originally called All Hallows Eve) even existed was so the Celts could scare away ghosts.
During the festival of Samhain, the Celts would light huge sacred bonfires, over which they would burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. They believed the otherworldly spirits caused them trouble and damaged their crops, so they would wear costumes consisting of animal heads and skins to ward them off.
Eventually, Christianity would begin to spread their influence into Celtic lands, where they would adopt certain Celtic rites (such as Halloween) in the process. Over time, Halloween made its way to the Western world and emerged as the “Americanized” Halloween we know today. It’s an interesting topic that you can learn more about by reading this article.
Where should I put my cute Halloween tattoo?
Most of the Halloween tattoos you’ll see on this list are pretty small which means you can pretty much put them anywhere.
But as you might have seen in the list above, some of the most popular placements for these types of tattoos are on the forearm, upper arm, and calf, where they’re easily seen (and easily hidden).
Their generally less serious nature makes them great ice breakers, and they’re usually pleasant to look at. For these reasons, I recommend you get them somewhere visible enough like on the places I mentioned above.
Will it hurt?
Frankly, yes. All tattoos hurt to get. But it’s part of the experience—think of it as having to earn your tattoo. However, the intensity of the pain you’ll experience varies depending on the placement of your tattoo. If you’re getting your tattoo on the places I mentioned above, (forearm, upper arm, calf), then you won’t have much to worry about (assuming you have a normal pain tolerance).
The fat and muscle in those areas is usually pretty thick, so the pain isn’t as intense. However, as you go further down the limbs into the wrist or ankle areas, you’ll see that the fat and muscle becomes noticeably thinner. Because of the lack of a “protective layer” to lessen the impact of the needle, the pain in these areas becomes more intense.
If you’re not too fond of this, you can stick to tattooing the meatier body parts like the ones I mentioned above. But don’t let the pain scare you away. It’s more of a tolerable pain like being scratched or pricked. After the first few minutes, your body releases endorphins (stress- and pain-dulling hormones) to help it adjust to the pain. After that, you’ll be fine.
For a comprehensive discussion on which body parts hurt most when getting tattooed, check out this article by Healthline on tattoo pain.
Did you enjoy these cute Halloween tattoo designs or are you looking for more inspiration? Check out the following links to see more spooky designs from talented artists.