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Toys for Tats at Lake Villa tattoo parlor

Piercer Chloe Juckel McHenry shows tattoos you can receive during Toys for Tats Good Family Tattoo located 198 Grass Lake

Piercer Chloe Juckel of McHenry shows tattoos you can receive during the Toys for Tats at Good Family Tattoo located at 198 Grass Lake Road in Lake Villa. People can receive a free tattoo or piercing for donating an item for Toys for Tots between noon and 8 p.m. on Sunday. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Who tattoos?

A Harris Poll survey in 2008 indicated that 32 percent of people aged 25 to 29 had a tattoo; 25 percent of those aged 30 to 39 had tattoos; 12 percent of those aged 40 to 49; 8 percent of those aged 50 to 54; and 9 percent of those aged 65 and over.

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Updated: January 28, 2013 1:59AM



LAKE VILLA — The popular Toys for Tots holiday campaign is getting a boost from a businessman who is offering free tattoos in exchange for toys.

“It’s a little bit of a social experiment. We want to give toys to the kids and give back to the community,” said Joel Huff, 40, who runs Good Family Tattoo on Grass Lake Road, just east of Route 83, with his younger brother, Henry, 38.

The Huffs will have four other artists working with them, a piercing specialist and two apprentice piercers Sunday, Dec. 2, between noon and 8 p.m. Bring a toy and you can get a small tattoo or a simple body piercing for free.

“The cost of the tattoo is not the ink, it’s your time,” he said, which is why they will have three tiers of tattoos depending on the size of the gift. The shop minimum for any size tattoo is $50. For small symbols or names it will take about 30 minutes. Forget about going to the Dollar Store in the hopes of getting a full sleeve tattoo for a dollar gift.

“We just don’t want to spend a lot of time drawing that day,” he said. “More time drawing means less time tattooing.”

Huff said he hopes the tattoos or piercings “make people feel good. Sometimes these things get a bad rap. This is just a good little Christmas story,” he said. “People who get one, they’ll always remember they did something nice for a kid.”

Toys for Tots is an annual drive run by the Marine Corps Reserve to make sure kids in need have toys for Christmas.

And if you are 18 years old and figure this is a perfect time to get a tattoo or piercing without telling your parents, Huff is not afraid to ask if your parents know what you are up to and he will call them.

“When young people 18, 19, 22, come in for their first tattoo we usually tell them not to get it in an area that’s public. Move it up the arm or put it on your trunk until you figure out what you want to do with your life,” he said.

Good Family Tattoo has been in business for two years now and the community has been good enough to them that they had to double their staff.

“It’s been real good,” Huff said, noting customers have already have donated four large boxes of toys for the campaign with no tattoo or piercing incentive.

“But I think we’re going to get a real good response,” he said of Sunday’s event. The shop will be handing out certificates for a later date if they get swamped with people.



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