Needles under your skin? Strange people ready to brand you with spooky markings that you will carry for the rest of your life? What could more Halloween than a tattoo?
Calling all tattoo-loving ghosts and ghouls – the Tattoo Zoo’s Halloween Fundraiser returns on Oct. 31.
The Victoria tattoo shop opened in 1994 and has been hosting the Halloween event for six years. Owner Gerry Kramer, whose birthday is on Oct. 31, started the event in an effort to do something fun and spooky for his customers and to raise funds for charity.
Initially, all the money went to the Callanish Society – a non-profit based in Vancouver that supports folks with cancer – because it was important to Kramer and his wife to donate to breast cancer survivors. While the non-profit doesn’t just work with people recovering from breast cancer, Kramer’s family has used the non-profit’s services in the past so they wanted to give back.
This year will be a little bit different. Kramer explained that half the proceeds will go to the Callanish Society and the other half will go to Jordie Lunn’s page on the Road 2 Recovery website. Lunn, a cyclist from Vancouver Island, fell while riding in Mexico and was taken to hospital where he later died. The Road 2 Recovery page was set up by Lunn’s brothers – one of whom has tattooed at Tattoo Zoo in the past – to cover the cost of his medical bills, fees to transport his body back to Canada and funeral costs.
All five Tattoo Zoo artists, including Kramer, will be in the shop tattooing like mad on Halloween beginning at 11 a.m. Each artist has created one to three pages of little, spooky designs for people to choose from and they’ll be available for varying prices. The designs will be traditional Halloween designs such as skulls, ghosts and pumpkins, Kramer explained.
The other option is to go for a Get What You Get tattoo. This year, for $100, brave folks can put their hand in a bowl to choose a tattoo design without looking.
Tattoo Zoo tried the tattoo draw during the shop’s 10th anniversary party and “everyone loved it,” said Kramer. His wife suggested adding it to the 2019 Halloween fundraiser and everyone was on board. The designs will be similar to the ones artists compiled onto the flash pages – “small, spooky and kooky,” Kramer noted.
He feels people like the Get What You Get model because it takes the decision making out of getting a tattoo. However, Kramer doesn’t recommend it for first-timers as getting your first tattoo can be significant, but it’s “not that big a deal to get more.”
The artists will begin with the first five customers and everyone else will be given an approximate wait time – like at a walk-in clinic, said Kramer. The artists will continue to tattoo throughout the day until they can’t do it anymore. Typically, staff will tattoo between 30 and 50 people before running out of steam, he explained.
In an effort to keep things moving quickly, the rule is “no ribs, necks, butts or guts.” Those areas take too long to tattoo, Kramer explained.
There will also be raffle tickets for sale at $20 each and the prizes include store merchandise and a $250 tattoo gift card. Kramer is hoping to fundraise at least $5,000 for charity this year.
There will be no appointments during the fundraiser, and the shop will operate on a first-come, first-serve model. The artists may start before 11 a.m. and the line is often quite long when the event begins, Kramer noted. Things tend to slow down in the evening as people want to get out and party for Halloween, he said.
Customers must be 18 to get tattooed and the shop is located at 826 Fort St.