When October creeps in, it's all about Halloween in Japan! Everyone loves this season so much that shops and retail stores all over the country start putting up decorations as early as September. Lots and lots of Halloween treats, parties, and special events abound in every nook and cranny, all sure to spook not only the kids but also granny! Halloween may not be a Japanese tradition of the past but it sure is a tradition of fun for everyone today.
Sit back and relax on tatami as I tell you all about Halloween in Japan.
Japanese fascination with Halloween
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Since when did ghouls and candies become a thing in Japan?
Japanese people don't really have the historical tradition of Halloween. In fact, they didn't know anything about it until the introduction of the very first Halloween event in Japan at Tokyo Disneyland in late 1990s. This later laid the groundwork for other businesses to follow and has since caught on with everyone especially after the advent of social media networking. Now, there are almost always massive costume parties everywhere you go.
Cosplay capital of the world
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Normal days in Tokyo. Just normal. Já tinha ouvido falar do Halloween de Shibuya, mas é bem mais intenso e maneiro do que achava. As ruas se lotam de pessoas fantasiadas, todas felizes e muitas delas bem dedicadas com suas fantasias, geralmente em grupos, tipo esses destruidores de planetas aí. A chuva foi chata, cagou um pouco o role, mas foi interessante de se ver 🙂 #instagramjapan #tokyo #tokyohalloween #dragonballsuper
The most important part of Halloween for the Japanese is the costumes. Costumes are to Halloween as soy sauce is to sushi; you cannot separate the two! Every year, a good number of aficionados spend a hefty amount of money for high-end costumes that would put even Lady Gaga to shame. They get them on Amazon or Don Quijote (a very popular discount chain store in Japan) or have them custom-made at specialty shops to tailor to their unique and quirky personalities. Some of the most common ones include anime characters, ghosts, monsters, the risqué, and a couple of the outrageous! Handmade makeups are also all the rage nowadays. You can find plenty of makeup tutorials from fashion magazines to YouTube videos, where rotting zombie makeup is apparently trending among young women. Many Japanese say that the chance to bring out a new "you" that's different from your everyday self makes Halloween really fun—and double or triple the fun when you don matching costumes with your friends or beau.
Here Are 4 Different Ways to Celebrate Halloween
1) Shop for limited-time Halloween treats
Most department and retail stores get into the holiday spirit and bring out seasonal items starting in September. You can find and collect these holiday treats and share them with your classmates or co-workers.
2) Join a Halloween parade
Follow all the undead as they come back to life and mob the streets of Japan. Whether you’re into intimate or massive crowds, or want to dance to the groove, scream, or simply show off your best costume, there's always an event that's guaranteed to thrill your bones. And you will surely feel like a star as you’re greeted by flashing lights and rolling cameras. Don't miss two of the craziest Halloween parades this year:
■ KAWASAKI Halloween 2018
The most famous Halloween parade in all of Japan, La Cittadella's KAWASAKI Halloween is back for its 22nd edition. The main spectacle this year will be a performance by dancers with extravagant hairstyle designs, that is a part of the “Dance x Art Make x Kawasaki Halloween” project.
- When: October 1 - 31
- Where: Kawasaki City, Kanagawa
- More info: http://lacittadella.co.jp/halloween_about/
■ Shibuya Halloween 2018
Although not an official event, Shibuya Crossing has become the ground zero of costumed madness in Japan that seems to keep growing each year. Monstrous crowds of costume-wearing young people transform the area into the biggest open-air party in Japan.
- When: October 25 - 31
- Where: Shibuya, Tokyo
3) Check in at a theme park
Forget summer—September and October are when theme parks explode with festivities that are sure to scare you silly. Adults and children alike can walk in tandem dressed as their beloved characters in too-cute costumes, worthy of an Instagram shot. Trick-or-treat in the autumnal extravaganza at daytime and dine with the gourmet witches at night as you imbibe in the world of spooky fantasy! Get your tickets and broomsticks ready for the top 2 theme park destinations:
■ Puro Halloween Party
Join Hello Kitty and her friends at Sanrio Puroland as they celebrate Halloween to its fullest with over a month of parades, events, and Halloween-themed foods.
- When: Sep 14 - Oct 31
- Where: Sanrio Puroland, 1-31 Ochiai Tama-shi, Tokyo
- More Info: http://6hallo.com/
■ Disney Halloween
The most awaited period when all our favorite Disney characters and scary villains work together to deliver spooktacular floats and nightmarish attractions. Guests are allowed to wear costumes throughout the entire period.
- When: Sep 11 - Oct 31
- Where: Tokyo Disneyland, 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu-shi, Chiba
- More Info: https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/treasure/fantasy/halloween2018/tdl/
4) Hit the club for a Halloween party
If sipping cocktail concoctions is more your style, be sure to head to these clubs in Shibuya and Roppogi for some brain-freezing Bloody Sangria and Morgue-A-Rita.
Center of nightclub madness in Tokyo that's only a stone's throw away from Shibuya station, offering easy evacuation access in case of a real zombie apocalypse. There may be special treats (or tricks) when you come in costume.
- When: Oct 26 - 31
- Where: 21-7 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo
- More Info: http://gaspanic.co.jp/
The most notable nightclub in Tokyo that's featured in the film Babel. Arrive in a fashionable costume for a discount and indulge in the luxury of elegant drinks and good music until dawn.
- When: Oct 31
- Where: 2-16 Maruyamacho, Shibuya, Tokyo
- More Info: http://www.womb.co.jp/
Pick a different nightmare this Halloween and celebrate it with a Japanese twist! Japan truly never fails to bring holidays from abroad and make it its own, for as long as it's fun, it's down in the land of the rising sun. And as we always do each year, feel free to join us in our frightful party in Shinjuku this October… although we can't promise to protect you from bloodthirsty werewolves.
Happy Halloween! 🎃