Cute and Kiddy Treats - But No Big Scares!
Back in America, I was a huge fan of Halloween. My family always enjoyed Halloween too so it was a big deal in my house. We always decorated our house, carved jack-o-lanterns, handed out candy, chatted with the neighbors, had parties, we went the whole nine yards with it every year. We tried to embrace the spooky side of Halloween, decorating with skeletons, fake blood, bats, spiders, cauldrons, creepy eyes in the bushes, and even a motion sensing zombie that chased people who dared to approach our candy bowl. And yes, we even played those horrible Halloween cd’s. Our house was one of the major stops in the area.
Handing out candy was always a great experience. We got to meet the people of our neighborhood, spend time with family, chat, and sometimes even make new friends from it. Halloween was a very social time in America. That and many other aspects of Halloween seem to have been lost when Japan adopted the holiday. The scary part of Halloween is almost nonexistent here.
Here in Japan, Halloween has become a time of year that marks the beginning of fall. As the cooler air creeps in so do the cute pumpkin, ghost, and cat themed snacks, decorations, fall foods, baking, and the turning of the leaves. Of course, depending on where you go (namely big cities) there are also bars, clubs, and parties with Halloween themed events but for me, a wife and mother of a little one, these aren’t exactly the venues that draw my attention.
Here in Sendai, Halloween is literally everywhere. A majority of the shops and restaurants decorate and sell themed goods. Since the leaves are beginning to change and there is a distinct chill falling over the city, it really does feel like Halloween is coming. It’s a bit nostalgic really.
Unfortunately, a lot of the excitement ends there.
There are a lot of events for children scattered throughout the month of October but without a friend who has the lowdown on when and where these events are going on, it can be quite difficult to track them down. I’ve heard of small costume parties, baking parties, trick or treating events, cookie decorating, and even a haunted house or two, although the horror theme seems to be more popular in the summer. These elusive events tend to be small and lacking in a real Halloween feel since they tend to be held during early afternoon hours, but if you can make it to one, the little ones seem to have a great time.
A quick search for Halloween events in Sendai won’t give you too much information when you search in English. Even the Sendai City website doesn’t list these events on their event calendar.
Searching in Japanese will pull up a whole lot more information though.
One of the bigger events held in Sendai is the Sendai Halloween Festa. It includes a parade, trick or treating at shops, gifts and games at shops, and some small event booths. I’ve haven’t been able to go myself yet, but I’m looking forward to taking my little one to his first big Halloween event.
The event is on the 29th of October running from 10 am until 5 pm. Attending the event costs 1000 yen for children from 0 - 4 years old.
While it is all in Japanese, you can find more information about the event here: https://machi-kuru.com/halloween
There are a few other events in Sendai that you can read about at the following links: http://shireru.com/post-1076/
Some of these events include the following:
There is a parade in Clis Road for children from 5-8, also on the 29th.
There is also a cosplay festival on the 30th.
There are Halloween events in Beni Land and at the zoo.
The Anpanman Museum also has some Halloween themed performances.
While Halloween in Japan has really lost the essence of what it is to me, Japan has taken Halloween and made it its own. The parties and events really don’t capture the spooky, the creepy, or the scary, but they do make for great family outings. If you have the time, they are definitely worth checking out! I look forward to seeing some of you at them! Just don’t get too disappointed when no one jumps out trying to scare you or chase you down with a chainsaw.
On the other side of things, if you want to take Halloween into your own hands and embrace it at home, Hulu Japan has also taken to Halloween and has released quite a few classic horror films to be enjoyed with all of your awesome Halloween themed treats. Some of the titles include Child’s Play, Friday the 13th, The Silence of the Lambs, and Carrie.
While you’ll probably never get a real trick or treating experience, or find a haunted hayride in Japan, you can make your own Halloween fun with a combination of movies, friends, and local events.
I'm an aspiring writer/blogger and also into English teaching and Etsy. Also, ¥100 shops.