While it’s easy enough to find adult-oriented Halloween parties, giving little ones the full experience can be a little harder in the land of namahage and kaiju.
With All Hallows’ Eve creeping toward commercial monsterdom in Japan, it’s easy enough to find theme park extravaganzas headlined by squeaky-voiced mice and bewhiskered non-feline kitties with parades, trick-or-treating, costume contests and more. But if you want something more personal and closer to home, you can also check out small shōtengai (shopping streets), department stores and kids’s eikaiwa schools for event posters to see what kinds of local Halloween-y events are in the works.
Speaking of Halloween-y, is there anything more so than an orange orb lit from within? Skip the green kabocha and seek out a proper carving pumpkin at farmers markets, florists, Costco or online at purveyors like The Flying Pig and Rakuten. For a trip to a real pumpkin patch, you can let your inner Linus out at Shin-Kiba’s Yumenoshima Park (http://meturl.com/pumpkinpatch), which brings in pumpkins from Ibaraki for frolicking fun (no taking them home, though).
Halloween isn’t Halloween without kids trick-or-treating, and hundreds of doorbell-ringers can be found at Yoyogi-Uehara station and the Shirokanedai, Moto-Azabu/Azabu Juban and Tokyo Midtown areas, with businesses and even private residences passing out the sweet stuff. Stick to houses with Halloween decorations, or just follow the crowds.
Trick-or-treating aficionados outside the metropolitan core have been known to set up their own routes, both solo and in cooperation with school and neighborhood friends. Simply make a list of interested families, draw up a basic map with participating houses marked (houses should be decorated or labeled with a Halloween decal) and get some parents to act as chaperones. Some trick-or-treating groups charge a fee that’s pooled to buy candy, which is then distributed to participating houses, while others put each house in charge of its own treats. Make sure Halloween newbies understand that each kid only needs a candy or two, not intricately packaged gift bags!
If you go it on your own, it means purchasing candy and asking various neighbors to hand it out to your little ones, who will come by at a predetermined time. While it’s not as much fun for the older crowd, for smaller kids (and elderly neighbors), candy and a cute, costumed munchkin are the only things needed for squeal-worthy satisfaction.
The Flying Pig (www.theflyingpig.com; search for “Halloween pumpkin”)
Rakuten (www.rakuten.co.jp/wf-cartgift; Japanese)