While Japan isn’t big on trick or treating for Halloween, you can still collect a bucketful’s worth of spooky treats on your own thanks to the national obsession with seasonal, limited-edition products, or “gentei” in Japanese.
As usual, the big convenience store chains—7-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson—are releasing a number of scary snacks to celebrate Halloween.
Also, as usual, they are mostly pumpkin-flavored.
Still, thankfully these nefarious nibbles are just decorated in cute bat or black cat packaging, and not actually scary like some nightmarish Japanese food we’d rather not mention.
Although there’s no shortage of Halloween parties in Japan for those who are ready to quit their day jobs and party instead, for the majority of us Halloween is just another workday. If you’re going to be busy this year but still want to get in the holiday spirit, here’s our pick of eight of the most interesting konbini Halloween treats for 2019.
1. Chocolate Cream Daifuku
There’s no tricks when it comes to this treat. Something sweet and chocolatey really is the best way to treat yo’ self. This powdery glutinous rice cake is filled with decadent chocolate-flavored cream fluff. That’s right—you won’t find any of that surprise red bean paste in here; it’s honest-to-goodness cacao all the way.
Ranking: 4/5 (This is a classic Japanese sweet filled with chocolatey goodness instead of beans. Hooray!)
2. Sausage and Black Bolognese Burrito
Black is the new orange? IMO Italy and Mexico should really only meet in sports tournaments that no one watches. Whoever gave birth to this culinary abomination please tell me what possible connection could exist between bolognese, burritos, and Halloween. If you couldn’t tell from the offending Insta pic, this strange burrito has two sausages, cheese and a black tomato-based bolognese meat sauce stuffed into an orange tortilla. But why tho?
Ranking: 1/5 (Nice try 7-Eleven, but that’s a big ‘ole NOPE from us)
3. Black Cat Sachertorte
Legends say the devil gifted black cats to witches to act as their servants. This adorable sachertorte is made with a moist chocolate sponge and apricot jam, then coated in crispy chocolate styled to look like the feline sidekick. Yes, that’s supposed to be a cat.
Even though it kind of looks more like a drunk rock with two balls of turd plopped on its head… I give it an A for effort.
Ranking: 3/5 (Nice for fans of apricot, cat lovers or drunken rocks)
4. Pumpkin Creme Brulee Rilakkuma Wagashi
Definitely the cutest item on the list! Get your hands on this adorable Rilakkuma wagashi (Japanese traditional confection) called nerikiri at Lawson. Nerikiri is typically made with an outer layer of white bean paste and mochi mixed together and filled with smooth red bean paste. Again the beans have been replaced with something infinitely better (if only for the fact that it is not anything to do with beans). This Halloween version is stuffed with a pumpkin creme brulee flavored filling and is shaped like the beloved lazy bear when he could finally be bothered to get his act together and put on a pumpkin costume. So meta.
Ranking: 5/5 (This pumpkin Rilakkuma is so cute who wouldn’t want to take him home and bite off his head?)
5. Pumpkin Pie
Not the well-known Thanksgiving dessert but instead a petrifying pastry! This delicious cream-filled pie from Family Mart is made with Hokkaido pumpkin (fancy!), pumpkin cream, and topped with a frugal amount of pumpkin seeds. It’s like the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte of convenience store treats. Also, it’s not really that petrifying, it’s quite homely actually. Put it in the microwave and it’s like eating an actual pie from the oven.
Store: Family Mart
Ranking: 3/5 (How much do you like pumpkin?)
6. Baked Cheese Tart
If you’re anti-pumpkin or are simply looking for an excuse to eat cheesecake, this baked tart is for you. Although this really is just a classic baked cheesecake tart packaged in a fun Halloween wrapper, it’s a great option for those who are really not interested in the weird “let’s make everything orange and black” konbini concoctions.
Store: Family Mart
Ranking: 4/5 (Come on, it’s cheesecake!)
7. Devil’s Chocolate Cake
The ultimate chocolate indulgence. Between the three layers of chocolate pudding is a rich chocolate mousse topped with chocolate cookies. A real devils treat because you’ll want to eat more and more (one isn’t nearly enough) until you’ve been diagnosed with type two diabetes and have had to sell your grandma to pay for the healthcare. It’s dangerously good. At least, for your grandma anyway.
Store: Family Mart
Ranking: 5/5 (Chocolate heaven… or in this case, hell.)
8. Pumpkin Danish
Are you tired of pumpkin-flavored sweets? Well too bad because there’s no shortage of them this time of year. This pumpkin danish is filled with smooth pumpkin cream and topped with sesame seeds. It’s super filling and makes for a fun Halloweeny breakfast on the go. Also, look at that pastry work. Bravo, Family Mart. Bravo.
Store: Family Mart
Ranking: 4/5 (Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. Goes well with morning coffee and a lack of sunshine.)
Trick or treat, (don’t) smell my feet, give me something good to eat!
Planning on going all out for Halloween this year? Enter GaijinPot’s Spooky Costume Contest through Instagram or Facebook for a chance to win a pair of tickets to Universal Studios Japan! Just tag us in your costume pics with the hashtag #GaijinPotHalloween