Text by: Amanda Hong
Do you celebrate Halloween? Or are we all just immune to the hype? Because if anything is scary — it’s real life. But we guess the general Halloween scene in our heads would mostly consist of movie scenes, feisty cat costumes, or that classic Jimmy Kimmel “I told my kids I ate all their Halloween candy” YouTube challenge. Today we’re featuring a not-so-typical take on the black and orange season — Halloween in Japan.
The Halloween tradition made its first debut in Japan back in 2000 when Tokyo Disneyland first held a celebration. Since then, it has only become better and better. Considering the fact that cosplay is already a huge thing in Japan, the Halloween dress-up scene definitely isn’t anything less than extraordinary.
You may have visited Japan during its ever famous cherry blossom season, but have you thought of what it might be like to experience Halloween in the streets of Tokyo? Well, here’s a low down on everything you need to know.
Let’s start with the no brainer — costumes
We all know that the Japanese are on top of the game when it comes to dressing up in costumes. Popular costumes like witches, vampires, cats, or characters from games and TV shows are indeed common — but they’re most known for dressing up colorfully as their favorite Manga or Anime character. If you’re up for joining the party, don’t hold back! Live your wildest costume fantasy in a foreign land. Explore the local ¥100 stores, Daiso, Tokyu Hands, or Don Quijote Akihabara to complete your look!
Where the party is at
Everywhere, really. The street is a great place to start, especially in public spaces like a park. The annual Halloween parade at Roppongi Hills always turns into a great street party, alongside the Scramble Crossing in Shibuya that will be closed off from traffic as the partying goes on till the late AM!
Even the trains transform into a party deck during Halloween! The daily commute has become one of the trendiest ways to celebrate, a tradition that began back in the day when expats partied on the train. Now that times have changed, the current Halloween trains are more organized, and you can even sign up online to join the fun — by fun we mean a train full of play pretend zombies, vampires, and more.
Theme parks are also one of the most exciting places to be at during Halloween! Universal Studios Japan is best known for their ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ event which includes classic haunted houses and haunting, scary versions of animated characters.
Trick or treat? No such thing
In Japan, it’s not a thing to go from house to house to collect a basket full of candy because in Japanese culture, that comes across as being an inconvenience to others. Taking that into consideration, it means that Halloween ends up being mainly for adults. All the Halloween parties serve alcohol too, so it isn’t that much of a kid-friendly event like it is in America.
Halloween in Japan is just as commercialized as Christmas anywhere else, so carving Jack-o-lanterns is definitely embraced. Native Japanese pumpkins are purple in colour, so don’t be surprised if you spot some purple pumpkins!
So as you can see, if you’re heading to Japan this time of the year, you’re definitely in for a treat. It’s best to bring a costume to blend in with the crowd and be part of the spook-tacular fun!