The latest American export to the Far East is Halloween, and it has really taken off in Tokyo. The Japanese have embraced this uniquely American holiday as their own — kids and adults alike. If you’re in town on October 31, you may as well go all out and impress the locals with a perfect costume and a Halloween agenda that suits this party town.
To find the perfect outfit, head to Don Quijote and Tokyu Hands, two stores with large outlets in central Shibuya. Getups from zombie nurses and Cheshire Cats to evil geishas and Japanese schoolgirls, you’ll find them at these costume meccas around town. Apart from pre-made costume sets, they also sell an array of pieces to perfect your own original look (false teeth, sumo wrestler wigs and fairy wings abound). Tokyo Hands also has a large craft section. It’s guaranteed to be a fun shopping spree.
For the entire month of October, Origami, The Capitol Hotel Tokyu’s signature pastry store, will be serving elegant Halloween-themed baked goods such as chocolate witch hats and pumpkin cakes. Elaborately decorated puddings, edible bats and spider webs are as delicious as they are ghoulish. Whether you eat the scary snacks in the shop or get them to go, you’ll find the attention to detail truly impressive.
For a joyous community event at the local international market, foreigners and Japanese alike flock to National Azabu Supermarket in Hiroo for imported sweets and candy-filled buckets. Over the Halloween weekend (October 29 to 30), embassies and businesses will showcase their fare. Naturally, the costume contest is geared towards children, but everyone can watch and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
Parties for grown-ups
If you want to compare costumes while knocking back some seasonal cocktails with the cool kids, then Mandarin Bar at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo is the place to go. With a view of the town over this busy party weekend, the chic lounge is the ideal setting for a soirée of ghosts and goblins. Try some of the original cocktails. The Apple Ginger Mule is a menu highlight, as is the in-season Yellow Island, a luminous concoction of tequila, ginger, lemon and honey.
Set to be the event of the year, Four-Star Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is hosting its first ever Halloween Masquerade Ball on October 31. This posh party will include dancing, a jazz band and an exclusive multi-course French menu in the elegant ballroom. Formal dress is required. The highlight of the event for many will be the ornate Venetian masks — made by Tragicomica, the famous Italian mask artisans — given to each guest.