Halloween obviously isn’t something that is widely celebrated in Japan. You might be fooled by the commercialization of Halloween here because of the stores that are decked out in full with Halloween decorations. Everything is cutely spooky. Japan really loves to commercialize any holiday they can! In actuality, that is all Halloween in Japan is.
In my school, celebrating different holidays is part of the diversity curriculum so we spent a whole day planning a huge Halloween party. I borrowed a Rilakkuma costume from the school while my co-workers went for a more scary look. We had set up a small room in the school with low lights, scary music and tons of candy. To enter, the kids had to say “Trick or Treat” and approach the piano to get their candy if they were brave enough. Needless to say, a teacher was ready to jump out each time. Halloween in Japan was coming to life.
A lot of the kids loved it while a few were just absolutely terrified! I felt a little bad seeing a few of them cry. The teachers were loving it though! My costume was a hit and I got to hang out with the babies a lot since my image was so friendly. I felt a little ridiculous but I have to admit I was enjoying it!
I think a lot of teachers that teach English abroad do many holiday parties like this. It does provide a nice break from the monotony of our ESL routine. I don’t personally celebrate Halloween at home (I’m too old to claim candy haha) but I saw a lot of foreigners here hitting up the bars at night in full costume to celebrate Halloween in Japan. Quite a few Japanese people were in on the fun too! Whether you celebrate it or not, it’s still a slice of home. 🙂