October is here, the leaves are starting to change color and there's a refreshing coolness in the air. That can only mean one thing - Halloween is just around the corner! The excitement around Halloween in Japan (as well as the number of events to attend) has been growing in recent years, and if you'll be in Japan in the coming weeks here are some great places to celebrate all things spooky and scary!
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea
Disneyland is always referred to as the happiest place on Earth, and when it comes to special events both Disneyland and DisneySea don't disappoint here in Japan. From impressive decorations to street parades, special merchandise and even a limited time food and drink menu at the park - you're bound to have a spooktastic time! You can find more information about what's on at Disneyland here, and DisneySea here. Events have been running since around the start of September, and go right through until Halloween itself on October 31st.
Universal Studios Japan
Not to be outdone, Universal Studios Japan also have a fantastic Halloween lineup planned. Daytime parades, decorations, and trick or treat for the kids - through to a decidedly more scary atmosphere when the sun goes down. Their Halloween Horror Night is the stuff that nightmares are made of - creepy clowns, zombies, and a horror maze are just the start. If you're brave enough I say go for it! You can find more about what's on at USJ for Halloween at the link here.
Since Sanrio Puroland has to be one of the cutest theme parks on the planet, it's only natural that they would embrace Halloween celebrations in an adorable way too. They have both day and night events planned, and all your favorite Sanrio characters dressed up in costumes - making for some awesome photo opportunities.
As well, they have a limited edition food range - including this cute yet creepy black curry! You can find more information about their Halloween events on their website here.
Fuji Q Highlands
Fuji Q Highlands have a full agenda of fun Halloween events going on - they're definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. Parades, clowns making balloon art, face painting for the kids - and loads of spooky stuff for the more grown up folks, too! Their food menu has also undergone a themed makeover, with offerings like an eyeball pumpkin pudding or the ghost curry rice. There is more information with dates and times on the Fuji Q Highlands website (in Japanese).
Shibuya and Roppongi street festivals
If you want a more open-area vibe than the grounds of a theme park can provide you, head to either Shibuya or Roppongi if you're in Tokyo. Those two parts of the city have become big in recent years for Halloween get-togethers. They're not specifically organized by anyone - it seems to just be more of a communal gathering place for anyone who wants to get dressed up in costume for Halloween and share that fun with other revellers in the streets.
Group costumes seem to be a popular thing you'll see in those areas - so if you're traveling to Japan with a group of friends, you might want to consider something like this group came up with!
Tokyo Tower have started their Halloween Night Fantasia events (they've been running since the end of September). There are themed photo location spots throughout the Tower, and purple and orange lights being projected to give you those Halloween vibes. Also, from the 6th of October there are going to be a range of Halloween props and costumes available for those fun photo opportunities. There is more information on their website here.
Tokyo Skytree are running their Halloween Magic theme this year - there are staff dressed up as "pumpkin fairies", jack o lantern decorations, the Skytree mascots in themed costumes and more. From the 5th of October through to the 31st, there are also special limited edition Tokyo Skytree Halloween stickers being given out - they're super cute and they're available on a first come, first served basis (so when they're gone, they're gone!). If you want to pick up extra souvenirs, the gift shops have a bunch of Halloween inspired Skytree goods as well. You can find out more about what's happening at Tokyo Skytree here (in Japanese).
How to celebrate
Get yourself a costume, naturally
"But where?", I hear you ask. Well, a great spot to stop is any Don Quixote store. They're scattered about in a number of tourist spots, and they literally stock just about anything you'd need to find for any occasion - costumes included. You can also find different bits and pieces at 100 yen stores that you could very likely make a costume out of, and 100 yen stores do tend to stock up on certain things for special events like Halloween - so double check those places as well.
One quick note - if you're dressing up for Halloween, just bear in mind that some theme parks won't allow particular costumes (for instance, Disneyland and DisneySea note on their website that they don't allow costumes other than Disney characters).
Grab an Ice Cream at Baskin Robbins
If you're a sucker for all things cute, absolutely check out Baskin Robbins in Japan if you're after a Halloween inspired sweet treat. These cute ice cream cups will get you in the spirit in no time. You can find a list of Baskin Robbins stores in Japan here.
Or maybe a Halloween Donut at Mister Donuts?
Mister Donut have a bunch of super cute Halloween inspired donuts out right now - there are jack o lantern styles, and other ones that look like little monsters, complete with little eyes and fangs!
Get yourself some Halloween nails
Japan is big on nail art and nail trends (check this great article by Odigoer Christie about some of the fun stuff you can get done if you get a manicure here!) and Halloween is no different. Maybe you'd like to treat yourself to some pampering while you're in Japan, and a lot of salons will have super fun seasonal offerings for you to choose from.
Try some seasonal candy
It wouldn't be Halloween without some Halloween candy, and there is plenty on offer - the best places to check are nearby convenience stores and supermarkets. You'll find loads of tasty limited edition treats, perfect for all the sweet tooths out there.
Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you to enjoy this time of year in Japan - go ahead and eat, drink, and be scary!