One of our favorite times of the year is Fall, and with the cool, crisp season comes one of our favorite holidays: Halloween! Halloween has come a long way from its origins years and years ago, where it was celebrated in Christian festivals for the dead as well as during ancient festivals that marked the end of the summer.
Nowadays, the holiday is more about looking silly or scary – a custom that became popular in the United States in the early 1900s – and, of course, eating endless amounts of candy (we obviously love doing that here at Japan Crate!). Along with dressing up and eating candy, children and adults of all ages love trick-or-treating, decorating their homes, attending haunted houses and other festive, spooky events, and partaking in many other frightful, fun activities.
In Japan, too, it’s not about the gloom and doom, despite how eerie and fascinating Japanese horrors and folktales may be! This may have something to do with the fact that the celebration first made its appearance at Tokyo Disneyland!
Dating back to the 1970s, a toy store by the name of “Kiddy Land” in Harajuku, Tokyo began selling Halloween merchandise, and by the time the 1980s came around, Tokyo began celebrating Halloween with a parade. In 1997, the parade flourished and later, in 2000, Tokyo Disneyland held its first Halloween event, with Universal Studios Japan catching up in 2002. Both attractions have since become popular landmarks for annual Halloween fun in Japan.
In the past several years, Halloween has become more and more widely accepted and celebrated amongst Japanese people. Unlike in the United States where trick-or-treating dominates as an activity for all to look forward to, in Japan, it’s not very common for children to go from house to house demanding sweets. If this were to happen, it would be more organized with a small circle of people they already know. Instead, it is more-so about dressing up and having fun with friends.
Since Japanese culture is ruled by etiquette and strong social restrictions, Halloween is especially exciting in Japan, as many are able to combine their love for cosplay (costume play, or simply put, dressing up as a character you admire and love) with the holiday.
Aside from dressing up, eating candy, and attending fun events, there’s an increasing amount of Halloween merchandise popping up in various stores and towns in Japan, ranging from festive cakes, cookies, and soda to home decor and school supplies! It’s very common to spot Halloween decorations in food, stores, and even in anime and film – things that you wouldn’t otherwise see a decade ago in Japan!
Let’s explore the festive Halloween events – both spooky and sweet – happening in Japan this month!
In Tokyo Disneyland, roaming around the American Waterfront, are “recruiters” who work for the Disney Villains. The Villains sent these recruiters out to attempt to recruit guests to join them, offering fashion advice to look “cool”. Last year, DisneySea offered the “Skeleton Friends” who also interacted with guests!
If you’re up for some family-friendly Halloween fun, Yomiuri Land, a popular theme park in Japan, will be all decked out for the holiday, with friendly monsters, pumpkin-themed games, and spooky specials from restaurants!
What better than to satisfy your sweet-tooth with a Halloween Sweets Fair dedicated to special dessert creations?! Courtesy of the Tokyu Capital Hotel, the boutique will be selling jack-o-lantern cakes, pumpkin pies, and Halloween cookies! We are SO in!
Another popular and super fun theme park in Japan known as Sanrio Puroland loves going all out for Halloween! Take a look at these cute Halloween food items ^_^
Even more Halloween-themed goodies from Japan: Hello Kitty Chucky, Halloween Pepsi, Miku Vocaloid Figure!
There you have it, Halloween in Japan is definitely an exciting time of year with so many festivities happening around various towns! Be sure to enter our super fun Halloween Cosplay Contest (ending October 28th) and subscribe to Japan Crate for even more delicious Japanese goodies delivered to you every month!