Culture

5 Ways to have an Online Halloween in Japan This Year

2020 has been spooky enough, so here's how to have fun and stay safe!

By 5 min read

Halloween in Japan is a big deal. Over the past couple of decades, the holiday has slowly grown from a small event celebrated only by foreigners to one of the biggest party weekends in the country. That’s not to say children and families are left out. Beyond the clubs and the truck-tipping wild antics found in Shibuya, there are parades, costume contests and even trick-or-treating, although these are still mostly limited to shopping malls and shotengai (shopping streets).

Unfortunately, we are still in a horror movie come to life, thanks to COVID-19. While fears appear to be easing around the country, event organizers are being urged to help curb the virus. Many of the country’s most popular events, such as the Kawasaki Halloween Parade, have been canceled. Even Shibuya’s mayor is pleading with revelers to stay the heck out of Shibuya over the Halloween weekend.

Stay inside or brave the clubs?

Instead of just skipping the celebrations entirely, many organizers are taking the fun online or changing in such a way to maintain social distancing measures. Using social media, your phone, apps such as Cluster (a virtual online world-building application popular in Japan) and even VR headsets, you can participate from the comfort (and safety) of your very own home.

Here are five ways to enjoy Halloween in Japan online this year.

1.Virtual Shibuya AU 5G Halloween Fes

Tokyo is hoping partygoers stay out of Shibuya this year, but it remains to be seen whether anyone listens. For everyone that does, the city’s officially endorsed online option will feature live musical performances and interactive events using the social media app Cluster. You can even participate in a Halloween hunt—searching for hidden characters in a virtual recreation of Shibuya (and win a donut in real life).

You can also take a commemorative photo with popular NHK characters Chiko-chan and Domo-kun. This is especially cool for anyone using a VR headset such as Oculus or Vive.

This event is expected to be huge. As of Oct. 27, more than 70,000 people have already logged in to participate.

Date: Monday, Oct. 26 to Sunday, Oct. 31

Website: https://virtualhalloween.cluster.mu/en/index.html

How to participate: Download the Cluster app

2. Kawasaki Halloween

The largest Halloween event in Japan next to the unofficial party in Shibuya, the Kawasaki Halloween Parade sees more than 100,000 visitors each year. This time, the party is not only going digital but worldwide.

Using the hashtags #oneworldhalloween and #kawahallo2020, people from all over the world entered their costumes on social media apps such as TikTok and Instagram for a chance to win ¥500,000.

The results will be revealed live on Halloween, as well as a virtual parade that event organizers are hyping as being “better than the real thing.”

Date: Sunday, Oct. 31

Time: Live broadcast of costume contest and results from 6 p.m.

Website: https://kawasakihalloween.com.e.aan.hp.transer.com/

How to participate: The event will be streamed on the official Kawasaki Halloween site. You can also use the hashtags #oneworldhalloween and #kawahallo2020 on social media.

3. Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival

Photo:
Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival 2016

The Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fes will be held live on the NicoNico website in 2020. The regular event is wildly popular with Japan’s cosplayers, so if you’re a fan of anime and videogame costumes more than the spooky stuff, this is for you.

Planned events include a cosplay “runway,” panels with famous cosplayers and one special participant will be awarded  the title “Cosplayer of The Year 2021.”

If you can read and understand a bit of Japanese, you can even enter your own cosplay for the Nico Nico Home Cosplay Action event on Zoom. Can you think of anything scarier than having your costume judged by professional Japanese cosplayers?

Date: Sunday, Oct. 31

Time: 5 p.m.

Website: https://ikebukurocosplay.jp/

How to participate: The event will be live-streamed on NicoNico. You must fill out the form to enter your own cosplay for the Zoom event.

4. Halloween Mobile Walk Rally

Photo:
The spider sculpture at Roppongi Hills.

Roppongi Hills has canceled its annual parade and will instead have a stamp relay. The only “IRL” event on our list, the “Halloween mobile walk rally,” is open to children 12 years old or younger. Children and their parents use smartphones and the official app at six designated checkpoints in Roppongi Hills in a virtual stamp rally.

The first 1,000 participants to collect three or more stamps will receive sweets from stores around the Hills.

While not online, this event is a chance for your kids to have a bit of Halloween fun and learn more about social distancing at the same time.

Date: Sunday, Oct. 31

Time: 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Website: https://bit.ly/3mx9KAD

How to participate: Download the app and visit Roppongi Hills

5. Kichijoji Halloween Festa 2020

The annual Kichijoji Halloween parade is canceled this year, but your kids can still enjoy the fun online. For this digital event, you need to purchase a ¥500 ticket for each child to enter. Your kids will then receive a box of candy from local Kichijoji shops and a chance to participate in the virtual stamp rally and Zoom parade.

Parents will need to print out the stamp sheet and help their children search for hidden characters in videos from shops in Kichijoji. If they can collect all the characters, they can apply for a lottery gift. A photo contest and costume parade on Zoom is also planned. A special song and dance was also made just for the occasion

This event is more for expats with bilingual children, as a fair bit of Japanese will be needed to really take part.

Date: Sunday, Oct. 31

Website: http://kichijoji-halloween.net/index.html

How to participate: You can apply here. Tickets are ¥500 per child

Whether you’re staying inside watching scary movies or braving the clubs to dance until early morning, we hope you stay safe, have fun and have a great Halloween.

What are your Halloween plans during this scary pandemic year? Staying home or heading out? Let us know in the comments!

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