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What Halloween is Like in Japan: From Geisha Costumes to Ghouly Bentos

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No trick or treating, but a bunch of eye candies and mind-boggling ideas! Halloween in Japan is now a thing—a huge thing. Watch pumpkins and ghosts fill up the stores and fully-dressed up crowds congest Shibuya in Tokyo on the week of Halloween. Just how is it celebrated in Japan? We think it’s fair to say you can expect cuteness, weirdness and over-the-topness as you’d expect from anything creative in Japan. Perhaps some of these are ways you prefer to party for Halloween, too!

 

1. Dressing all-out in group costumes in Harajuku and Shibuya


Source: People’s Daily Online

Traditional geisha costumes, Pixar characters, Nissin ramen bowls... Come one, come all! It’s the land of manga, lolita and cosplay. We don’t expect anything less.


Source: Japoland

 

2. Halloween Pepsi, Conan and Disneyland


Source: Business Insider

Of course it’s the big corporations that’s been planting the seeds for jack-o-lanterns and Halloween parties in Japan. Thanks to them, the Halloween spirit is everywhere, and you can see beloved anime characters in Halloween costumes!

 

Source: Japan Today

▲ Conan from “Case Closed” anime in Halloween mystery campaign at Shibuya.

 

3. Minimalistic, zakka style Halloween decorations

On the other side of the spectrum are low key, delicate decorations fitted for crafty or even minimalistic households that want to skip the party but say yes to the Halloween spirit.

▲ Black Cat and Henohenomoheji Pumpkin

 

▲ Halloween Wooden Mobile

 

▲ Strawberry Riding Jack-o-Lantern Decor

Everything from the “henohenomoheji” face made up with Japanese characters to handmade wooden crafts to adorable cat in costume gives a distinctive Japanese craft flavor. We love it!

 

4. Cuteness overload

Hello Kitty definitely celebrates Halloween. For some, the season is about sexy costumes; for many, it’s a creative outlet for all things cute, innocent, and extra kawaii.

▲ Ghost in the Forest Brooch

 

▲ Ghost Brooch

Just why a ghost would come swishing down from a green grassy mountain, we really don’t know, but it’s the perfect balance of weird and cute.

 


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5. Putting a costume on everything

Pusheen in unicorn costumes, shibas in cat costumes... you know everything cute from Japan gets to dress up in costumes pretending to be something else. It’s not a Japanese costume, but it’s very Japanese!

Cats dressed up as cats: this is a very philosophical costume.

▲ Cats in Cat Costumes (with limited time pumpkin add-ons)

 

Rabbit pretending to be sushi. Polar bear pretending to be the devil. What’s next?

 

6. Sweet, sincere holiday greetings with ghosts and witches

▲ Waiting for Halloween Postcard

Remember Miyazaki’s Kiki's Delivery Service? Ghouls and witches are supposed to be sweet and friendly and would greet you on a broom! At least, it’s often so in Japanese stationery which really are sincere season’s greetings.

 

▲ Happy Halloween Postcard

 

▲ Halloween Stamp Set

 

▲ Wandering Ghost Rubber Stamp

Don’t forget to add a touch of ninja and manga.

 

7. Halloween bento, Halloween phone case, Halloween tableware


Source: All About Japan

Seasonality is deeply ingrained in Japanese aesthetics. Cherry blossoms in spring, hydrangea in summer, maple leaves in autumn—Changing our everyday objects to fit with the season is a way to fully appreciate both nature and our mundane human lives. Well, seasonal seems to include the Halloween season now!

▲ Mummy Eye Masks

Pillow talk is not the same when you can be a lovely mummy couple.

 

▲ Phone Case

Such a ghastly interpretation of everyday objects like the phone case really make our hair stands on ends!

 

Like many other things in Japan, Halloween has taken on its own life, and we like it! What do you think?


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‘Tis the season to be wacky

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Text: Melissa

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