Halloween is right around the corner. Have you already decided what costume to wear? If you’re in Japan, the tradition of the event lies in two things: commercialism and costume. Over the years, people have shown a gradual increase in Halloween interest which resulted in the rise of commercial hypes. Though going from house to house saying “trick or treat” is non-existent in the country, scenery, visuals, and scary costumes can be found in several theme parks and their stores. Added to this, Halloween events are going to be held this fall together with the sale of different merchandise from many retailers and yummy goods from confectionery makers.
Halloween is conducted differently in the country. Many people find it as a fun celebration full of amusement things to watch and great events to attend. It is also considered as a season to be spooky, thus many Japanese are actually putting on costumes and getting on the act. For some, it is a chance to show off their makeup skills. Not so long ago, hardly anyone knew that such a thing as Halloween existed. Now, it is firmly established in the annual celebration and festivities across the country.
What brought this on and why is it so big in Japan? It is believed that theme parks such as Tokyo Disneyland (東京ディズニーランド) began setting up the event in order for it to be noticed. It was in October 1997 when the first Disneyland visitors wore costumes to celebrate the season. People became enchanted with this new idea and a parade was also held thereby increasing public awareness. The event kicked off which was followed by Universal Studio Japan’s Hollywood Halloween.
These major theme parks were the primary reasons why the Halloween mindset increased among the Japanese public. The act of dressing up, whether cute or creepy, has caught on a big wave. Many of these have been attributed to the cosplay culture with some showing off their fancy dresses or transforming themselves into anime or video game characters. The quick adoption of Halloween costume parties doesn’t really come as a surprise.
The spread of this event is also said to have been brought by the English conversation classes attended by children where they pick up some interesting foreign culture information. And just like Christmas, Halloween is also seen as highly commercialized which may be related to the insatiable passion Japanese consumers have for interesting seasonal flavors. Many businesses tend to flourish by using the seasons as a marketing strategy. It has taken on a wider social meaning just like Valentine’s Day.
Along with the celebration is the offering of Halloween-themed items and opening of Halloween-themed events at different theme parks. Among these parks are Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka (大阪).
Around 45 different types of special merchandise will be designed with the Halloween Pop’n LIVE (ハロウィーン・ポップンライブ) Parade. Special menus will be served at Tokyo Disneyland incorporating motifs also inspired by the mentioned parade. This includes a pumpkin-themed special set from Huey, Dewey and Louie’s Good Time Cafe at the Toontown area of the park. These special merchandise and menus are available in the park from September 1, 2016.
— 東京ディズニーリゾートPR【公式】 (@TDR_PR) September 13, 2016
Around 50 different types of Tokyo DisneySea merchandise will be designed with Disney Villains and Disney Friends. There will also be colorful designs of ghosts and pumpkins on pen sets, hand cream sets, and other items that you can share with your family and friends. The Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta will also offer dishes inspired by Disney Villains in a “cool but spooky” Halloween theme.
Special menus will be served at Tokyo DisneySea incorporating motifs inspired by Disney Villains. This includes a special set of black curry and red naan from Casbah Food Court at the park’s Arabian Coast which is decorated with motifs inspired by Jafar, Saban, and his assistant Asim. These special merchandise and menus are available in the park from September 1, 2016.
Universal Studios Japan in Osaka has started holding its Halloween events last September 10 which will last until November 6, 2016. Horrifying attractions will be featured such as the J-Horror Area which will consist of interactive mazes full of spooky surprises for the lost wanderer. As part of its Halloween Horror Nights event, some parts of the park will also be converted to a zombie-infested area.
Other places which attract thousands of Halloween parade fans are Harajuku (原宿) – Omotesando (表参道) and Kawasaki (川崎). You’ll also experience an eye-opening parade on the streets of Tokyo’s Roppongi (六本木) and Shibuya Scramble Crossing (渋谷スクランブル交差点) on the night of October 31 which seems to have the vibe of a big cosplay festival. Other events welcome both adults and children to join costume parties wherein a grand prize is waiting for the “best in costume.” Most of the time, there is a panel of judges who chooses the winner. Some of these are paid while others are free contests for participants to join in which adds color to the spirit of Halloween.
There are many retailers such as Toys “R” Us (トイザらス), Tokyu Hands (東急ハンズ), and LOFT which already started selling Halloween merchandise. Halloween costumes suitable for infants, toddlers, teens, and even pets are also available in some stores whether they will be attending a party or a trick-or-treat event. Other goods being sold include gloves, tiara, accessories, and makeup to complete the Halloween look and to make the holiday especially memorable. Confectionery makers have also started rolling out impressive spooky desserts and Halloween-inspired menus.
For an entirely fun Halloween this fall in Japan, you better check out these theme parks and their stores. As several of the places will be located in cozy atmospheres and decorated with Halloween motifs, it is surely going to be interactive and entertaining for all guests. Expect different areas to be covered with pumpkins, cobwebs, ghosts, etc. This is going to be a warm welcome for guests and those who’d like to experience the season in the country. If you’d like to have more information on the Halloween events around Tokyo, check this website here (Japanese only).