Elizabeth Depompei Indianapolis Star
Published 5:44 PM EDT Sep 13, 2019
Rayna Hany thought for years about getting a tattoo.
Friday the 13th was the perfect day for her to finally pull the trigger on the ink gun.
“I’m a very spooky person,” the Noblesville resident declared from a chair at Infamous Tattoo Studio on Southeastern Avenue.
Besides, she said, getting a tattoo on the ultimate spooky day was a bargain. For tattoo studios across the country, Friday the 13th has become a tradition of discounted tattoos and creepy designs.
Oliver Peck of Dallas’ Elm Street Tattoo gets the credit for the now-beloved tradition. Peck, a judge on “Ink Master,” came up with the idea of cheap tattoos to mark Friday the 13th after seeing so many other shops offering Halloween specials, according to tattoo.com.
Elm Street Tattoo has had Friday the 13th tattoo marathons since, charging $13 — plus a mandatory $7 tip for “good luck.” IndyStar could identify only one studio offering $13 tattoos, but plenty of others had generous discounts. At Infamous, black and grey tattoos were $31 (an inverted “13”) and color tattoos were $66 (so close to “666”).
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Rayna chose Infamous for her first tattoo — a creepy spider with the number “13” tucked into the design — but she wasn’t going to stop there. Like other tattoo-seekers on Friday the 13th, Rayna planned to go to another studio for yet another tattoo at a discount. Next up? A Jason mask.
Megan Alstott is an apprentice at Infamous and acted in part as wrangler of the chaos on Friday. Alstott and other staff carried around a clipboard to keep track of the dozen or so people waiting in line in the small studio. Some people waited in their car, others in a bar next door. They started at 11 a.m., and 41 people had gotten at least one tattoo by 4 p.m. Alstott said the actual number of tattoos was probably closer to 75.
While most of the designs offered by artists were macabre — like a piece of candy with a razor blade sticking out or a tombstone that read “I tried” — others were simply funny or optimistic.
Like the tattoo McCoy Miller got. He decided to get inked Friday because, “gotta start somewhere.” He chose the “GOOD VIBES” tattoo, for a pretty straightforward reason. Put out bad vibes, and you’ll get bad vibes in return. But put out good vibes …
… and they infect an entire tattoo studio. The three artists working Friday took the spirit of the day by the horns, painting their faces as if it were Halloween night and donning the number “13” on their foreheads.
As they inked clients, they periodically shouted out jokes and reassurances that customers — some who waited more than an hour — would get their Friday the 13th tattoo one way or another.
“Even though it’s kind of crazy, (we’re) making sure we’re laughing and having fun and yeah, getting some awesome tattoos done,” Alstott said.
Alstott said the crowd was a mix of local regulars, first-timers and travelers. Some people trekked a few hours just to get there, she said.
Owner Kym Tongate said it’s a good day to mingle with familiar faces and meet new ones who can potentially become regulars. For Carly Mcintosh, the day officially made her a regular.
Tongate did Mcintosh’s first tattoo, which she had touched up earlier in the week. Mcintosh came back Friday for not one, but two tattoos — both featuring pumpkins.
“I just really like pumpkins a lot,” the self-proclaimed horror fanatic said.
It’s that excitement and passion for the small things — and big discounts — that make the day worth it for the artists.
“It’s a stressful day, but it’s fun,” Tongate said. “We look forward to it.”
Contact IndyStar reporter Elizabeth DePompei at 317-444-6196 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @edepompei.
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