Happy Halloween friends!
Did you know Halloween is celebrated in Japan? It started as one of Disneyland’s annual themes about 10 years ago, and has now become one of the biggest street parties in Tokyo!
Across Japan, you’ll see many shops and restaurants using Halloween for marketing campaigns, displaying carved pumpkins, witches hats and spiders webs in their shop windows. Some of the 100yen shops now sell Halloween decorations for people to hang up in their homes, though I’m not sure how many people actually do.
But what Japan has adopted the most from the American version of Halloween is the celebration aspect. Japan is the queen of cosplay. People LOVE to dress up. So it’s no wonder the Halloween party idea took off. Interestingly, rather than the kids, it’s the adults who have gotten more into it.
Shibuya’s Halloween street party started around 2011. At that time, about 100,000 people joined in the fun at the Shibuya scramble crossing. Each year, it’s gotten bigger and bigger, and since around 2015 there’s been an estimated attendance of well over 1 million people!
However, you could say Shibuya’s party is not so much about Halloween as it is just a dress up party. People go all out with their costumes. The most common characters tend to be Mario, zombies, cops, and black cats. Often a group of friends will coordinate to create something cool. I remember a couple of years ago, about 5 friends were each different life-size Tetris pieces and when they all stood side by side in a line, the pieces joined up to make a row, just like the game!
It’s interesting how Japan has adapted the various western holidays to their culture. Valentine’s Day is a day where girls give chocolates to boys. White Day was created as a day where the boys then return the favour to the girls they received something from. Christmas is a date day for couples. And Easter has yet to make it outside of Disneyland!
Carved pumpkins at Tokyo Skytree, looking out over Tokyo
Funny faces on mini pumpkins at a local supermarket
Little Red Riding Hood, and Captain Jack Sparrow
A Japanese “maid”
Have you ever been to a Halloween party? What do people do for Halloween where you are?