The Halloween Tarot                                                                        Review by Michele Jackson

If you wish to purchase this deck, click here.

If you wish to purchase the deck/book set, click here.

This deck could aptly be called "Nightmare Before Christmas meets Waite-Smith", and indeed the artist admits to having seen the movie seven times. The art is good, and the colors tend to be somewhat muted, as is befitting the theme of the deck. Lots of black and orange. Thallo.jpg (14166 bytes)he suits have been renamed:

Aside from the suit names, the card names are identical to the Waite-Smith card names.

The scenes are clearly based on the Waite-Smith images, with the trappings of Halloween and various horror movies worked into the imagery. For example, the Emperor and Empress are Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein. Every card has a black cat in it. The cat is easy to find in most of the cards, but you may have to search a bit in the 8 of Imps. I assure you, he is there. Overall the deck is a fun, and somewhat tongue and cheek version of the Tarot. I am not sure just how familiar the artist is with the Tarot. Some card assignments are quite clever: The Mummy as the Hierophant with the interpretation " being bound by the outer trappings of religion and societal expectations", but others seem rather shallow: The Lovers shows a maiden being approached by a vampire with the interpretation " Can a vampiric visitor corrupt true love?".

The little booklet that comes with the deck is quite good as they go. The writer, Karin Lee, provides some background on the artist, the deck and a little Tarot history, though we are presented with the "Gypsy theory of Tarot origin" once again. In this iteration, the Gypsies were po ssibly in Europe in the 12th century. Hmmmm. The booklet provides clear, concise instructions for reading the cards, limited by the available space, of course, and two spreads. Short upright only, interpretations for the cards are provided as well. As previously mentioned, some of her interpretations are meant to incorporate the theme of the art, but on the whole they are pretty traditional. There is a separate book available for this deck, also written by Karin Lee, which is basically a larger, more detailed version of the little booklet that comes with the deck. It includes revered meanings and an interesting section on the history of Halloween and the Pagan origins of most Halloween traditions.

The deck and book are available separately. If you are looking for a "serious" deck based on traditional symbolism, or for something for your Samhain ritual, then this will probably not be your cup of tea, but if you are looking for a deck to read at your office Halloween party, this might be it. It is cute, funny and definitely in keeping with the spirit of the secular aspects of the holiday it celebrates. See the Halloween Tarot 9 of Ghosts and Devil

The Halloween Tarot Deck - ISBN 0-88079-965-X
The Halloween Tarot (book) by Karin Lee - ISBN: 0-88079-989-7

If you wish to purchase this deck, click here.

If you wish to purchase the deck/book set, click here.


Chapter Three The Halloween Tarot

The Halloween Tarot began as an impish gleam in Kipling West's eye. She started with the traditional images of the "Rider deck", designed by A.E. Waite in 1910., and then twisted, turned, and tweaked them to create a festive, if slightly freakish, old time Halloween World. Since Halloween archetypes are fairly limited, the characters on the cards also emerged from old horror movies and circus images, and from the German-made Vegetable people that were popular Halloween toys and decorations in 1920's America.

(from "The Halloween Tarot, pg. 19)

Nine of Bats

In a Hitchcockian nightmare, a woman finds herself swarmed by nine swooping, flapping bats in the dead of night. Horrified, she covers her face with her hands, as her cat peers at her with concern.

This terrifying image depicts an ugly situation which must be faced bravely. Rather than pulling the comforter over her head, the woman sits up, covering only her eyes. Sometimes it is painful to face the demons and battle them for clarity and understanding. As the rising sun on her bed indicates, tomorrow is another day.

Divinatory Meanings: Grief, despair, misery, loneliness. Unexpected disappointment in someone. Danger.

Reversed: Doubt or suspicion. Possible disappointment. Avoiding a painful situation.

(The Halloween Tarot, pg. 113)


This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson