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Friday the 13th Tattoos in Salem, MA

Friday the 13ths are often associated with bad luck, horror movies, and superstitions.  Put that Friday in the month of October and you add a whole other layer of spookiness and general fear of the day.  Put yourself in Salem, MA on Friday, October 13, 2017 and you’ve pretty much hit the trifecta of the Halloween aesthetic.


Many places take advantage of Friday the 13ths with sales and offers. Urban Outfitters and Oculus both had sales commemorating the day.  Tattoo parlors will often take advantage of the date and offer a flash sheet tattoo rate.


Sacred Harp Tattoo in Salem, MA was one of the few places offering a Friday the 13th tattoo sale within the Boston and Salem areas.  The sale would begin at noon and would end when the shop closed.  The Facebook page for the event showed 90 people going, with 390 interested.


The sale is simple.  Interested parties can get one of three rates for a tattoo: $13 with a $7 tip, $31 with a $9 tip, or $130.  The size of the tattoo correlates with the price.  A tattoo about 2-inches in size will cost you the $13 and $7 combo, whereas a larger and more detailed piece will cost you more.  The tattoos available are hand drawn by each artist and placed on a piece of paper, called a Flash Sheet.

Here are the flash sheets available at Sacred Harp Tattoos:

$13 tattoos available

$31 tattoos available

$131 tattoos available

By noon, the line to receive a tattoo was out the door.  For the larger, $130 pieces, people were instructed to go inside and put their name down on a list in order to reserve a spot. Parties interested in the $40 or $20 tattoos were instructed to wait in line.


By 4pm, the receptionist began telling people waiting outside that they would not be getting tattooed until at least 10pm, and that at that point it wasn’t a guarantee that they would be getting a tattoo. At 6pm, the store was no longer accepting walk-ins.  The receptionist handed out a certain number of tickets to those waiting in line, and even then, those tickets didn’t guarantee that you would be tattooed.


At 7:30, the store had to begin turning people away who had been waiting in line for 6 and a half hours.  The phone was ringing off the hook, and was always answered with “We are no longer taking anymore walk-ins.” Employees there stated that they had not been expecting the turnout they had, as years past had always seen a steady but manageable flow of customers throughout the day.  Each price range had its own artist, but they could only tattoo so fast.


When I started my tattoo at 8:30, I had been waiting for eight hours, and despite the fact that he had been tattooing for pretty much that eight hours straight, Jesse “JRo” O’Neil was nothing but amazing.  He apologized for the wait time, was a great conversationalist, and made sure I was in love with the design before I left the store.


Here’s how my tattoo turned out:



All in all, although I did wait eight hours for a small 2-inch tattoo, the employees at Sacred Harp more than made up for it, between offering pizza to those who waited and apologizing profusely.

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