Halloween is a holiday as loved as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even in places that didn’t originally celebrate it. Unlike our own Halloween with its scarier origins, countries like Japan were able to adapt it and make it their own.
With its many scary folk tales and ghost stories, one would think that Halloween in Japan would be downright horrifying. But in the land of Kawaii, that’s not always the case. And we have their theme parks to thank for that.
Sometime between the late 90s and early 2000s, Disney and Universal Studios Japan introduced Halloween events and parties with parades and light shows that allowed their guests to dress up and have fun while in costumes. So of course, everyone accepted it since Japan is also the birthplace of cosplay.
While a lot of our regular Halloween traditions are not practiced in Japan, everyone can still have just as much fun. Instead of trick-or-treat, lots of stores and businesses sell themed items like food, costumes and other accessories.
Bakeries are lined with pumpkins, black cats and spider sweets. Purple, black and orange are the main colors.
There are many fall flavored foods out with yams, pumpkin and apple as their main ingredient. There are some that are scary-looking and some that are very cute or spoopy.
Even Hello Kitty gets to have some cute Halloween fun in Japan’s Puroland.
Fast food restaurants like McDonalds have special items like these french fries that only come out for Halloween.
Decorations can be found in all kinds of stores, even in 100¥ shops. Of course, the traditional spiderwebs and zombie parts are available. But you can also use a cute bat garland or fun ghost-shaped lanterns.
Clothing brands for alternative fashion also bring out fun prints and styles during this time.
But what makes Japan stand out the most during Halloween is the crazy amount of people dressing up for the parades and parties. Hundreds of people dress up in all kinds of cosplay and costumes and even their favorite alternative fashion. The streets are filled with all sorts of characters.
For us, Halloween is mostly for the younger kids so they can dress up and trick-or-treat. But in Japan, it’s all about the older teens and adults having fun. And don’t forget the most famous Halloween parade in all of Japan – the Kawasaki Halloween Parade. This year’s parade will begin at 2:30pm and run until 4pm on the last Sunday of October. It will also be held with the Pride Parade, as an awesome new addition to this year. Participants will parade along the 1.5km course in the vicinity of JR Kawasaki Station and the nearby La Citadella shopping center.
So if you’re in Japan for Halloween, you can watch the parade for free, or you can join the parade with a fee. To join, you must be at least high-school age or above, and wear a costume. You can buy tickets online!