Four Horror and Halloween Themed Decks

Review by Lalia Wilson

For reasons that are obscure to me, Halloween or Samhain is the holiday most connected with the tarot. To the extent that tarot is about fortune telling, it would seem to be paired to New Year’s Eve… But no, Halloween it is. Thus, many decks have a Halloween, Samhain, or Horror Theme. Here’s a list, but not complete because this group of tarot decks grows regularly. For now, some of the most well-known decks (some available as apps!) are:

  • All Hallows Tarot  
  • Dark Grimoire Tarot  
  • Deck of the Dead  
  • Deviant Moon Tarot
  • Ghosts and Spirits Tarot  
  • Ghost Tarot
  • Halloween Lenormand  
  • Halloween Oracle  
  • Halloween Tarot
  • Midnight Madness Lenormand  
  • Movie Monster Tarot  
  • Necronomicon Tarot  
  • Strange Wonders Tarot  
  • Tarot Card Trick or Treat  
  • Tarot of Vampyres  
  • Twisted Tarot Tales
  • Vampire Tarot  
  • Vampire Tarot of the Eternal Night  
  • Wormweird Tarot  
  • Zombie Tarot  

I’m going to look at these four: the Twisted Tarot Tales, The Deviant Moon Tarot, The Halloween Tarot, and The Ghost Tarot. The one that would be most accessible to young tender readers and clients would be The Halloween Tarot. The one I find most difficult to bring positive meanings to is The Deviant Moon Tarot. The other two lie in between these in their accessibility and usefulness for reading to an average client.  

 The Halloween Tarot, created by Kipling West and published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., is closely modeled on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. There are four suits, Imps (Wands), Bats (Swords), Ghosts (Cups), and Pumpkins (Pentacles). The deck has the traditional 78 cards. Strength is Trump number VIII and Justice is number XI. My two favorite cards in the deck, and there are many you will like, are The Lovers card (VI) and The Moon (XVIII). You will find The Moon in this month’s Tarot Scopes, and The Lovers with this article. The only difficulty a novice reader will have with this deck is remembering which suit is which one from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, or which element. The cards are playful, friendly, and approachable. They would be easy to use with clients of almost any age or sophistication. The cards are full color, yet strongly emphasize the Halloween colors of orange and black.  

The Ghost Tarot is another 78 card tarot following the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition. It is created by David Corsi, illustrated by Pierluca Zizzi, and published by Lo Scarbeo. Strength is Trump number XVIII and Justice is number XI. The card scenes are on dark backgrounds, which enhance the spooky, other-worldly atmosphere. The labels, at the top and bottom of each card face, are difficult to read. Each card features one or more spirits, usually interacting with images of the living. Most of the spirits are outlined in blue-white light, except for the Wands and some Trumps, in which spirits are outlined in red-orange light. My favorite card in this deck is The Chariot. For the most part this deck is easy to read from and not too spooky for most clients.

Twisted Tarot Tales is an 83-card (or 107-card, for the full version) tarot deck inspired by vintage horror comic books. It is a joint effort of artist James Battersby and his partner Christine Aguilar, and available directly from them at With the full version you have several alternative cards for some of the cards in the deck, as they created several versions and liked them enough to send them along. Thus, for reading, you will need to pare the deck down to four suits of ten numbered cards, four court cards per suit, and 22 trump cards. There is humor in most of these cards, sometimes due to connections with popular culture. Most clients, except the very serious and young children, will be fine with this deck.  It’s hard to isolate a favorite card from this deck because I like so many. One of the things I most like is the underlying visual message, particularly clear in the Justice, Three of Swords, Ace of Wands (shown here), and Four of Pentacles cards.  

The Deviant Moon Tarot (2008) created by Patrick Valenza and published by U.S. Games System, Inc., is unique, with images and sometimes disturbing moonlit artwork. Here is a 78 card deck, with Strength as number XI and Justice as VIII. This deck I would use with only a few clients, those who would enjoy the macabre vibe. In many ways these cards might be an illustrated bad dream. Most of the people featured on the cards are two-faced, with one dark and one white face, like the ever-changing Moon. Among those I found most interesting are the Two of Swords, the Four of Pentacles (shown here), and the Eight of Cups. One attribute of this deck is a lack of “feel good” cards. Everything seems to have a negative meaning.

In addition to the illustrations here of example cards, see this month’s Tarot Scopes for six more cards from three decks and three from The Haunted House (2018) deck.

High Priestess Deviant Moon Oct 2020 20201006 0001

The High Priestess card from the Deviant Moon Tarot exemplifies the sometimes disturbing vibe of this deck. Like most cards in the deck you see two faces, one representing the full moon and one representing the dark moon. One can be philosophical about these cards as representing the world of the good and true versus the twisted and false. Or one can see each card as representing the full spectrum from absolute evil to absolute good. The images make me think of the Nine Princes in Amber, the first of the Chronicles of Amber series of fantasy novels by American writer Roger Zelazny. This series has been made into television shows, a movie, and a computer game. One of the plot elements in each book is the special family tarot cards.

The Fool Deviant Moon Oct 2020 20201006 0001

The Fool card from The Deviant Moon deck shows a being acting crazy and wearing a fool’s garment. This character’s face is all dark moon, perhaps suggesting the personal evolution through the major arcana.

Wheel of Fortune Twisted Tarot Tales  Oct 2020 20201006 0001

From the Twisted Tarot Tales we have the Wheel of Fortune. How apt to have a sinister-looking clown pointing to the Ferris wheel in a carnival of horrors. As you approach the event will your fortune be good or evil? Are you excited or fearful? What awaits?

Justice Twisted Tarot Tales  Oct 2020 20201006 0001

The second card from the Twisted Tarot Tales is probably my favorite card in the whole deck. What person who went through high school biology did not reflect on the justice of taking lives in order for students to dissect animals? Here we see the shoe on the other foot. For some, this is true Justice.

Let yourself truly enjoy the spookiness of this season. Check out these many decks and find one that suits you.

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