Scream Queen: Alexandra Fische Talks Spooky Tattoos, Horror Movies, and Witchcraft

Photo by Brad Kingett

If you trace the tattoo career of Alexandra Fische back to its beginnings, everything started on Halloween. 

After graduating from a creative and performing arts high school in Philadelphia, Fische was hired to perform at a Halloween party at Paul Booth’s Last Rites Tattoo Theater and Art Gallery in New York City. It was there that she met tattoo artist Xu Long Qi—known as Little Dragon—who relocated from Beijing to work in Booth’s shop.

“He barely spoke English. We exchanged numbers and talked all the time with the help of a digital translator,” says Fische. “He invited me to get tattooed, we drew together, and very quickly, he became my best friend.”

A year later, in 2009, Xu Long Qi was taking college courses to improve his English language skills. In exchange for her help with his classes, he taught Fische everything he knew about tattooing. “The rest is history,” she says. 

Halloween Tattoos All Year Long

It seems fitting that Fische, who works out of a privately owned studio in Philadelphia, met her mentor on All Hallows’ Eve. 

The 29-year-old tattoo artist is sought out for her colorful, New School tattoos that depict Halloween scenes. She regularly designs and inks witchy, cauldron cats, adorable fanged bats, and fiery-faced jack-o-lanterns on her clients—any time of year. 

Clients started requesting her delightfully spooky pieces after one of her tattoos “went viral.”

“I tattooed this pumpkin puking candy corn on one of my best clients. It got more likes than I had followers. It was all over Pinterest,” she says. “I started getting more and more requests for Halloween tattoos. It wasn’t until the last two years or so where I really started making them all the time.”

But while Fische enjoys working on pieces with exaggerated Halloween themes, she’s equally adept at executing a wide variety of tattoo styles.

Early in her career, she focused on realism and black and grey. It wasn’t until Instagram became popular that she dove into New School after being exposed to artists including Kelly Doty and Timmy B

“My color tattooing is self taught,” says Fische. “Sometimes people forget I’m well rounded and can tattoo anything.” 

A Practicing Witch

Not only does Fische imbue the supernatural into her artwork—she also identifies with the world of spirits and spells outside of her tattooing. 

“I’d be a liar if I told you I wasn’t OBSESSED with Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a 90s kid,” says Fische. “I got picked on so much back then, and I was always wishing I could snap my fingers and change things. I started checking out every book I could on witchcraft from the school library. My parents hated it.”

She started to learn about the different elements of Paganism and taught herself tarot reading and spell casting in high school. 

“I absolutely believe in witchcraft,” says Fische. “I practice regularly. Without getting too personal, I do a lot of candle magic. It’s also a daily practice of mine to burn herbs that promote creativity, prosperity, and protection when starting my day in the studio before tattooing or a day of sketching.”

Alexandra Fische Shares Her Top Terrifying Picks 

It should come as no surprise that Fische enjoys a good scare, so we asked her to break down some of her favorite spine-chilling movies and activities. 

Favorite Scary Movies

The Abominable Doctor Phibes – “I LOVE Vincent Price films, and this one particularly plucks my heart strings because it’s a fucked-up horrific love story,” says Fische. “Price avenges his beloved late wife by murdering her doctors using biblical plagues and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I can’t recommend it enough.”

The Halloween Series – “I also love the classics,” she says. “I love horror movies that really show the killer’s backstory.”

Horror movie tattoo by Alexandra Fische

Other scary movies that Fische recommends include:

  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Hellraiser (for the costuming and visuals)
  • The Craft
  • Evil Dead
  • All of Rob Zombie’s movies

Favorite Creepy Attractions

“I love a good haunted house,” says Fische. “I try to check out new places every year. I like multiple attractions (hayrides especially), attention to detail and concept, and anywhere that’ll make me jump out of my skin.” 

Alexandra Fische tattooing in a graveyard

She recommends the following attractions for a good scare:

Field of Screams in Lancaster, PA – A multi-attraction offering that gives visitors the chance to experience intense, interactive scares including two haunted houses, haunted hayride, and a walk through haunted woods. 

Bates Motel in Glen Mills, PA – Another seasonal attraction that allows visitors to take tour of a replica Bates Motel haunted house, ride on a haunted hayride, and walk along a haunted trail. The attraction also features escape rooms and axe throwing. 

Ghost tours of New Hope, PA – New Hope ghost tours take visitors on a lantern-lit walk to learn about the ghostly hauntings in this historic town. 

Favorite Costumes 

When it comes to costuming—for Halloween or cosplay—Fische never disappoints. 

“Long before tattooing, I modeled and dabbled in makeup,” she says. “Homemade costumes and DIY makeup hold a special place in my heart. I’m definitely drawn to the scary and surreal side of costuming and can’t stand sexy costumes.”

Every year, Fische works to transform herself into someone unrecognizable for Halloween in order to enjoy the frightful festivities. 

“Every year it’s ‘what am I going to glue to my face this time?’” she says. “My favorite looks almost always have prosthetics or pieces you can’t buy in stores. Pinhead and Baphomet are my all time favorite looks I’ve done.” 

Follow Alexandra Fische on Instagram to see more of her work. Photos published courtesy Alexandra Fische.

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