Happy Halloween

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!

Halloween Japan
Carved pumpkins at Tokyo Skytree, looking out over Tokyo
Halloween Japan
Funny faces on mini pumpkins at a local supermarket

Little Red Riding Hood, and Captain Jack Sparrow

Halloween Japan
A Japanese “maid”

Halloween Japan

Have you ever been to a Halloween party? What do people do for Halloween where you are?

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10 thoughts on “Happy Halloween

  1. Love this! So very interesting to see the western culture holidays in other parts of the world!

    We don’t celebrate Halloween in the sense that we don’t decorate our home nor give out candy. It’s not something I grew up doing. But I do allow my kids to dress up as long as it isn’t anything scary, and then we go to a local ‘trunk or treat.’ It’s a family friendly set up, where cars have decorated their trunks into different themes, say a ‘little mermaid’ trunk or ‘minions’ trunk, and so the children walk around from car to car getting candy from the people. Very safe and the kids enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! Wow, that’s so interesting, too. I’ve never heard of a Halloween celebration involving trunks! I wonder how that started. I love that there are so many different ways to celebrate the same holiday around the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So interesting how Halloween has taken off in Japan. Growing up it was fun to dress up and go from door to door trick-or-treating for candy. It happens to be my birthday, so it was always extra special. Adults have costume parties and the kids have parades and costume judging. Lately, it’s become a bit more ghoulish, but I guess it is all in good fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy birthday!! Dressing up and doing trick-or-treating as a kid sounds like so much fun. We don’t have that tradition in Australia, so I only knew about it through movies when I was younger. It’s definitely been interesting to see how it’s evolved here in Japan.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Halloween is something I miss so much (the costumes, the decorations, fall in general)! In Israel, there’s practically no hint of it – I tried looking for a pumpkin to carve last year and there was not one in sight 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest, I would have been surprised if you’d said people celebrated Halloween in the Middle East! For some reason, it seems out of place there. I can understand how much you’d miss the traditions if you grew up with them. It’s similar for me with New Year’s Eve in Japan, where rather than fireworks and loud parties, people have a quiet celebration at home with family.

      Liked by 1 person

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