Review by Tom LeBlanc, CTC
Created by a true aficionado of the holiday, the
Halloween Tarot attempts to capture the energetic, festive feel of
Halloween in juxtaposition with the artistic symbolism of
the Rider-Waite-Smith format. In doing so, she has
created a seasonal deck that is remarkably easy to use for
someone who has at least some experience with the RWS
Of course, some changes were made to facilitate
this. For example, the Wands—the fiery RWS Tarot
represntations—have been replaced by Imps, the watery Cups are now
Ghosts, Air-associated Swords become the winged Bats, and
the Earthy Coins are transformed into Pumpkins.
While symbolic "themes" of the Halloween Tarot are
consistent with the RWS system (e.g., the Seven of Bats
features a ghoulish creature sneaking away with a bag of
seven stolen bats and the Six of Pumpkins are
characterized by a group of trick-or-treaters receiving goodies
from the hands of a philanthropic witch), other cards
have undertaken considerable transformations. The
Lovers, for example, seems to recall Count Dracula and
Mina Murray while the artist asks "Can a vampiric
visitor corrupt true love?" While some of the more subtle
symbols common to many decks seem to have been omitted,
still others have been provided (e.g., a death's head
moth makes a regular appearance throughout the deck and
the words "Nidhogg was here" are carved into what
appears to be the World Tree). Nonetheless, the themes
are well-conceived and lend themselves well to the
standard RWS meanings.
Partially owing to the fact that
they are printed on remarkably thin board, these cards
seem especially easy to shuffle. Perhaps, however, the
finest accomplishment of the artist is her ability to
capture the feeling and themes of Halloween night without
creating oppressively dark pictures. That is, she brings
the feeling of ghoulish nighttime frolicking into the
deck without sacrificing color or light.
included with the deck is easy-to-read, quite charming, and
gives a brief overview of the deck conceptualization.
It also provides quick-and-simple meanings for each
card and the typical suggested spread layouts of the
three-card spread and the Celtic Cross.
In sum, the
Halloween Tarot is a deck of great fun that is ideal for the
reader who is familiar with the RWS system and desires a
seasonal flair to his or her readings.
While learning to read Tarot as a young child, Tom LeBlanc had no idea what role Tarot would one day play in his life. Having grown up providing readings to family and friends, he took his trusty deck to college and discovered that he could partially support himself by reading for others. Now a Certified Tarot Consultant with over 25 years experience, a Ph.D. in Psychology, Tom enjoys providing occasional readings in addition to writing. Tom is currently involved in designing a Tarot Certification course for the College of the Sacred Mists.
Review by Sally
This is a deck of 78 cards that comes with a little white booklet. Kipling West has spooked up the traditional images of the Rider-Waite deck and created a freakish old time Halloween world, featuring the usual Halloween characters and symbols. Such a fun deck to use on Hallows Eve, as the main color themes are done in black and orange in the tradition of Halloween.
According to the author, the Halloween Tarot deck started with traditional images of the Rider-Waite deck designed by A.E. Waite, and then it was twisted and turned to create the Halloween world. Characters are based on old horror movies and with circus images. There are plenty of vampires, skeletons, bats, and jack-o-lanterns within this deck. The Major Arcana has the traditional names, but Frankenstein makes an interesting Emperor and the Empress is the Bride of Frankenstein. The Mummy is the Hierophant with interpretation of being bound by outer trapping of religion. The Hangman is the Scarecrow telling you to turn yourself upside down to effect change, and follow your own beliefs.
This is a great deck to use when you read for children or just for those of us who are still kids at heart and remember Trick or Treating! Even though it is a fun deck for Halloween, it also can give you the professional quality of a Tarot reading. Lighten up your day, you can use it just not on the holiday but anytime when you may need a little laughter. The characters are done in a cartoon images, the orange and black colors make this deck striking!
The Minor Arcana cards have a change in the suit names. Wands are Imps; Pentacles are Pumpkins; Cups are Ghosts and the Swords are Bats. The court cards are illustrated with enhanced elemental balances which makes it easier to interpret. I have that found some people who are starting to learn to read tarot have an easier time relating to the court cards.
There is also a companion book written by Karin Lee called The Halloween Tarot which offers Halloween history and all of its traditions, as well as more information about the deck and cards. It's available in the deck and book set.
I love this deck for Halloween or any time, when I want to laugh and brighten up my day. A good one for collectors and those who love the spirit of Hallows Eve.