Halloween in Japan is kind of a big deal.
They don’t know why it’s a big deal, but they go with it.
Shops have been covered in halloween decorations since late August, but when I went to actually buy a costume, there were almost none to be had. It’s like Japan saw a picture of halloween but never read the accompanying explanation.
I was asked to run halloween lessons three weeks before the actual day, but when I asked my kids if they would dress up, go to a party or trick or treat, they just looked at me blankly.
Never mind, they enjoyed the halloween games and crafts we did.
The big foreigner halloween party, which is a huge deal in Tak, made up for my kids’ lack of comprehension. We went all out and rented a venue, and some of the costumes that showed up were amazing.
Some people had been planning theirs since last years’ party, and it really showed. I was particularly impressed with Nella, who was dressed like a game character and managed to act and talk like it all night. Leandi sewed her own demon Ronald McDonald costume and scared the living crap out of me. A few of the boys dressed up as school girls or maids, and Arran went as far as shaving his legs. Wow.
The big halloween highlight for me, however–and I’ll deny this if it’s ever mentioned again–was volunteering at the kids halloween party in the shotengai.
One of my third graders had been pestering me about going for ages but I always made non-committal noises because I knew it was the day after the big party. However, when I woke up on Sunday feeling perky, I called another friend I knew was going, costumed up, and headed along.
I met Erin and her coworkers from Merry go Lands in the shotengai and we spent a few hours handing out candy to the CUTEST Japanese kids I’ve ever seen.
Japanese kindergartners x tiny halloween costumes = face-melting cuteness.
The event is run by shopkeepers in the shotengai, so we just registered (well, the others were registered, I was just a foreigner in a costume so I was allowed) and were handed sacks of candy to give to kids who had purchased tickets.
After a few requisite hours of being nice to kids, I rebalanced my karma by working in the ghost house.
Yes, I made kids cry. Yes, I enjoyed it.
We had some lunch then did some more nice candy hand-outing.
By this point I was wrecked as I’d only had about four hours sleep, but I just couldn’t stop smiling.
This made me a terrible pirate, but pretty popular with the parents who kept asking for photos of me with their kids.
The organisers were nice enough to put on free dinner and drinks for the volunteers so I went along with Erin and had a really nice evening.
The Japanese may not really get Halloween, but they do a pretty good job of it!