Every year it’s like this… As early as August I start to feel ready for Halloween, but I know that everyone around me would think that’s just plain weird, so I mostly keep it to myself. Besides, it isn’t really until August that we feel we are even definitely in summer here in northern Vermont. The warmer temps are established, it’s typically drier than July, and there’s virtually no chance of snow (I mean, I’m pretty sure? 😉). Come September and I’m starting to pull out my Halloween decorations, reassuring my husband that no, hahaha, I’m not actually decorating for Halloween this early, what am I, crazy or something? But I’m quietly going through the decorations by then, impatiently waiting to take it all out. Typically, I do get started decorating by mid to late September…
So this year I did get most of the decorations out in September, and set up, purple lights and all.
A favorite holiday
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I especially love that it’s one I can enjoy alone if I have to and simply have a blast with, and celebrate on a somewhat spiritual level as well. There’s a lot I can do in solitary practice to celebrate the spiritual aspects of this holiday. Although Christmas has a ton of nostalgia for me and is a light in a typically long dark winter, Halloween has always been fully celebrated in my family, usually being celebrated for the entire month of October. My dad always encouraged making our own costumes as well as our own home decorations, and we started pretty early. Such Halloween traditions continued with myself and my husband, and our daughter.
So now that we’re a few days into October I feel a rush to fully experience the Halloween season, as though the days are going by too fast. A lot has been going on in my life recently – including another trip to see my dad in the past week. I feel a strong need to kind of slow things down for a few. Some quiet, cozy mornings spent just relaxing into the day, enjoying the crispness of fall and the changing colors of the leaves, will help.
Halloween Themed Tarot Decks
One thing I’ve been wanting to do this season is share some Halloween tarot decks here. I enjoy using Halloween themed tarot decks year-round; they’re among my favorite decks. Please note, I use “darker” themed tarots all the time, and don’t feel the need to limit my discussion of them to Halloween time. The decks I’m highlighting here are specifically related to Halloween…
Trick or Tarot
I have to start with Trick or Tarot, by Douglas Thornsjo. This one is really fabulous, and I absolutely love it. Visually, it’s exactly what I love about Halloween, as the American cultural holiday. Artistically, it draws on this cultural history of the holiday, in collage art that relies greatly on Halloween ephemera of the early twentieth century. The art is not limited however by this vintage look or style, or even to the cultural history of the holiday, as I’ve put it. It’s actually quite clever, keenly suggesting familiar tarot illustrations and reflecting traditional tarot meaning and symbolism. There’s a super energy to the artwork as well – some of it is lighthearted and merry, but much of it has that bit of playful darkness or edge that the entire holiday embodies. The Trick or Tarot deck has been published in several editions, available through the artist’s website. I bought myself a larger format, but it does come in different versions. It includes a little white booklet, but the artist also offers an accompanying guidebook, The Bogie Book, that is quite well written, with an introduction to the tarot, to Halloween itself, its origins in Samhain, and it engages the reader with deeper insights about the cards and reading with them.
The Jack-O’-Lantern Tarot is a brand new addition to my collection, and one I would highly recommend this season. It was just published this year by Lo Scarabeo. The artwork is by Giuliano Costa, and the little white booklet by Rachel Paul. It has an almost vintage aesthetic, though it comes across more European in style and its colors tend toward more muted, rich shades. For many of us who grew up in the US there’s this kind of visceral connection to the holiday, and certain symbols elicit an immediate emotional or nostalgic response. Jack o’lanterns are, not surprisingly, one of those for me. I have an early memory from the first apartment I lived in, my first home, where my parents allowed me to keep a jack o’lantern probably well after I should have, sitting on a dresser in the bedroom I shared with my older brother. They would leave the candle lit at least until I’d fallen asleep each night. In this tarot, as might be expected, it’s all about the jack o’lantern! There are numerous depictions (and variations) of the jack o’lantern throughout the deck, creatively incorporated into traditional tarot scenes, as well as other symbolism connected to Halloween. Though not quite as exuberant as some others, it is a beautifully whimsical deck, and pretty cool as well.
The Halloween Tarot
A Halloween tarot deck that’s been around a long time, is The Halloween Tarot by Karin Lee and Kipling West. You can’t go wrong at all with this one, if you’re looking for a deck that focuses entirely on Halloween imagery, and is also very family friendly and straightforward to use. All of the cards very clearly depict Halloween scenes of trick-or-treaters, or bats, cats, ghosts, jack o’lanterns, and other Halloween symbols. It’s very nicely done, quite comprehensive as far as themed tarots go, and remains a fun deck to use.
The Halloween Oracle
The Halloween Oracle, by Stacey Demarco and Jimmy Manton, is a beautiful little, non-tarot deck to consider if you are looking outside traditional tarot. This one focuses a bit more on the spirituality of the holiday, on festivals of the dead, and on the pagan origins and celebration of Halloween or Samhain. The deck has 36 cards, and is useful for very direct questions where a short, direct, but insightful answer is sought. Images include familiar Halloween symbols like jack o’lanterns and ghosts, but the deck also incorporates symbols that draw upon the more earth-based religious meanings of the holiday.
The Orphans of Dudleytown Major Arcana Tarot
The Orphans Major Arcana Tarot, featuring the Orphans of Dudleytown, by Yosiell Lorenzo, is a perfect little tarot deck for Halloween. The artwork of this deck provides a strong sense of the vintage, or nostalgic, while remaining wholly original. This majors-only tarot also presents the orphans themselves, who draw us in with their intriguing backstory and personality, and who express exceptionally well the Halloween spirit. The artist has a whole offering of Orphans and Halloween related products, in addition to the tarot deck, that would enrich any Halloween décor or celebration.
The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot
A deck I was waiting for a long time to be released, is The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot, by Minerva Siegel and Abigail Larson. I have loved the movie since it first came out – October 13, 1993 – and could watch and rewatch (or break out into song from) virtually any time of year. For fans of the Nightmare Before Christmas franchise, and for tarot enthusiasts, this set is very much a must-have. It is also entirely recommended for Halloween events, as well as year-round readings, of course.
Not to be missed
Not to be missed, are The Beauty of Horror Tarot by Alan Robert and Rachel Pollack that came out this year, and Madam Lydia Wilhelmina’s Tarot by Bethalynne Bajema, both of which are not Halloween themed but do have some Halloween imagery. They are also both certainly darker themed (and gorgeous!) decks, and some people would find them quite spooky or eerie, and thus, perfect for the season.
There are so many darker decks I adore. They include vampire tarots, gothic themes, Lovecraft oriented, Edgar Allan Poe inspired, horror art, ghosts, haunted houses, graveyards… all of these things for me, are year-round explorations, and I use such decks on a daily basis. And if we’re going to consider simply the practice of divination around Halloween, or Samhain, of course any format of deck will do, regardless of the imagery or artistic style. I hope some of the above Halloween themed decks will appeal to you, and bring you added enjoyment of this awesome holiday! 😊
Check out my full reviews on Illumination Tarot, of The Halloween Tarot, The Halloween Oracle, The Orphans Major Arcana Tarot, The Beauty of Horror Tarot, and Madam Lydia Wilhelmina’s Tarot of Monsters, the Macabre, and Autumn Scenes. Also look soon for full reviews of Trick or Tarot, the Jack-O-Lantern Tarot and the Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot, among others.
If you’re interested in reading user reviews or purchasing any of these Halloween tarot decks online, please check them out at Amazon, where you might also see more card images or excerpts, or look for them at the individual artist websites:
Trick or Tarot at the artist’s website
Jack-O’-Lantern Tarot at Amazon
The Halloween Tarot at Amazon
The Halloween Oracle at Amazon
Orphans of Dudleytown Major Arcana Tarot at the artist’s website
The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot at Amazon
The Beauty of Horror Tarot at Amazon
Madam Lydia Wilhelmina’s Tarot at Attic Cartomancy Shoppe