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How to Celebrate Halloween in Tokyo: A Savvy Guide

Grab Your Broomstick And Take A Halloween Tour Of Tokyo!

By Ashley Tsuruoka
October 20, 2023
Art & Culture, In Season

With pumpkin decorations, sweet treats and whimsical installations popping up in a handful of Tokyo shops and train stations, the spooky season falls upon Japan.

Though not a traditional Japanese holiday, Halloween has found its place in the hearts of locals, who hunt for the perfect costumes, organize festivities and share the joy with friends and family. From large gatherings to small, family-friendly events, there are many ways to celebrate Halloween in the city. So, let’s grab our broomsticks and take a Halloween tour of Tokyo!

Do Tokyoites celebrate Halloween?

How to Celebrate Halloween in Tokyo: A Savvy Guide© Photo by iStock: winhorse
Halloween parades are held across the city!

Yes, many do! However, the holiday is not deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Unlike countries in the West, where Halloween is celebrated by decorating homes, carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, Tokyo celebrates with Halloween-themed foods, costumed events and parades. Children may also participate in Halloween events at their schools or local communities. Trick-or-treating in residential areas is less common, however, some shops will give candies to children wearing costumes on Halloween day.

One of the earliest Halloween events in Japan took place on October 31, 1997, when Tokyo Disneyland was filled with costumed guests, Mickey Mouse pumpkins and spooktacular fun. Over the years, the holiday’s popularity has grown, largely thanks to Western culture and media.

What’s the deal with Shibuya Halloween?

How to Celebrate Halloween in Tokyo: A Savvy Guide© Photo by iStock: CHENG FENG CHIANG

Well, Shibuya Halloween is arguably the most famous Halloween event in Tokyo. Every year, on the night of October 31, thousands of people gather in Shibuya Scramble Crossing to celebrate. The streets are filled with weird and wonderful costumes, especially cosplay, creating an exciting atmosphere that has garnered attention from around the world.

In recent years, there has been a rise in overcrowding, public disturbances and other safety concerns. Authorities have taken steps to keep festivities safe by closing off roads to pedestrians, banning street drinking and prohibiting convenience stores from selling alcoholic drinks. Despite these efforts, the allure of Shibuya Halloween has endured and the troubles persist.

How to Celebrate Halloween in Tokyo: A Savvy Guide© Photo by iStock: Nob1234

As of 2023, the mayor of Shibuya is discouraging large gatherings, urging people to celebrate elsewhere. But don’t worry, there are many other places to enjoy the holiday. If you must travel to Shibuya on Halloween, be sure to stay updated on local guidelines and restrictions.

How do adults celebrate Halloween in Tokyo?

How to Celebrate Halloween in Tokyo: A Savvy Guide© Photo by iStock: Satoshi-K

Throughout October, adults can gather with friends and unleash their creative spirits. Costumed pub crawls with live music, special drink menus, costume contests and Halloween-themed dinners provide a festive atmosphere for those looking to have ghoulish fun. In addition to bars and nightclubs, you can find haunted houses, scary movie screenings and other immersive experiences. For a more relaxed evening, enjoy Halloween afternoon tea, desserts and wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) with a spooky twist.

Dress up in ghostly garb and enjoy these Halloween events with fellow witches:

How do families celebrate Halloween in Tokyo?

How to Celebrate Halloween in Tokyo: A Savvy Guide© Photo by iStock: Aduldej

Families with children can have lots of fun during the Halloween season in Tokyo. Bring your little ones to local shops or supermarkets to find Halloween candies, decorations and adorable costumes. Many shopping malls, theme parks and venues organize events suitable for all ages. Activities may include arts and crafts, pumpkin decorating and DIY costume-making. If your family is looking to escape into a magical land where not-so-scary monsters roam, look no further than Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea.

All ages are welcome to costume up at the following events in and around Tokyo:

Where can I get a costume in Tokyo?

How to Celebrate Halloween in Tokyo: A Savvy Guide© Photo by iStock: Davide Zanin

Putting together the perfect Halloween outfit while in Tokyo can be a little tricky, but nonetheless exciting. Discover costumes, accessories, make-up and decoration options in person at Tokyu Hands, Daiso and Don Quijote or have your goodies delivered to your doorstep via Amazon Japan or Rakuten. If you’re feeling crafty, consider making your costume from scratch using materials from local art and craft stores, and thrift shops.

Are there any things to watch out for?

How to Celebrate Halloween in Tokyo: A Savvy Guide© Photo by iStock: Aduldej

As you prepare to celebrate Halloween in Tokyo, kindly ensure that you are respectful. Avoid being noisy in residential neighborhoods and help keep the streets clean. Be mindful of cultural sensitivities when choosing your costume and avoid outfits that may be considered offensive. Certain events have particular dress codes, so be sure to check the event page beforehand.

Though internationally inspired, Halloween in Tokyo is full of Japanese charm. If you’re wandering through the city during the spooky season, an abundance of fun awaits you. Don a creative costume and immerse yourself in one of the many festivities popping up all throughout October. Just remember to be considerate, stay safe and have a spine-tingling good time celebrating Halloween in Tokyo!

Have you ever visited Tokyo during the spooky season? How did you celebrate Halloween? Share the fun with us in a comment down below!

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