Halloween has become one of the three largest Western-influenced events celebrated in Japan following Christmas and Valentines’ Day. Though the spooky festival’s cultural origins are not the reason why the celebrations are observed, the Japanese do enjoy getting decked in themed costumes, thus making it a major commercial celebration for many.

The widespread popularity of the festival has resulted in confectionary makers rolling out Halloween-themed goodies, restaurants preparing Halloween-inspired menus, fashion outlets retailing Halloween-related costumes and accessories, and of course, entertainment facilities going all out with Halloween events.

We’ve put together a concise guide to some of the Halloween festivities taking place this year, so if you’re planning a trip to Japan during this season, here’s what you can expect!

  • Disney’s Halloween 2013

When it comes to having themed events, there’s no doubt that the most magical place on earth is one of the top attractions! The dream makers at both Disneyland and DisneySea (which is not, as the name might suggest, a water park) have blown up the festivities to magical proportions. Not only can you expect to see the theme parks decorated in Halloween colors, the wide range of limited edition goods and foods will definitely make your Halloween an enchanted one. Not to mention the spotlight shows and parades featuring the ever-popular Disney characters in full Halloween fashion!

Venue: Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea
Date: 9 September – 31 October 2013
Official Website: http://www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp/en/index.html

  • Halloween Horror Night at Universal Studios Japan

For those of you who like your Halloween with a good dose of terror, the Halloween Horror Night at Universal Studios Japan promises “infinite screaming with three times more zombies”. All the fun and laughter that fills the theme park in the day turns into terror and shrills that echo through the attractions that are haunted by spine-chilling visitors at night. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with Sadako, or Jason from Friday the 13th for whatever reasons, this could be the chance of your lifetime.

USJ day
For the more faint-hearted, the theme park still retains its wholesome family fun value in the day time with the “Parade de Carnival”, where up to 90 park visitors may be hand picked by the staff to be part of the parade.

Venue: Universal Studios Japan
Date: 13 September – 10 November 2013
(Halloween Horror Night takes place on Friday – Monday and on 31 October, from 6PM onwards during the event period.)
Official Website: http://www.usj.co.jp/e/

  • Tokyo Joypolis Halloween 2013

Joypolis is an indoor amusement park run by Sega, with arcade games and attractions that feature popular Sega characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog. Their Halloween lineup includes themed prizes you can win from the carnival games, a photo booth where you can dress up in one of the Halloween costumes provided and take a shot with one of their special themed frames, and stamp collection and bingo events where you may stand a chance to win premium prizes such as a Nintendo 3DS!

Venue: Tokyo Joypolis
Date: 1 October – 4 November 2013
Official Website: http://tokyo-joypolis.com/

  • Happy Halloween Festival 2013 at Sanrio Puroland

There’s no Halloween celebration cuter than this. The Halloween Marching Parade featuring the infamous Hello Kitty and her friends is bound to tickle the fancy of any little princess. Mostly targeting the little ones, the event includes a “Monster Grand Prix” costume contest on Sundays, so dress your tiny tot up so that they can join in the fun!

Venue: Sanrio Puroland
Date: 13 September – 31 October
Official Website: http://www.puroland.co.jp/english/

  • Kawasaki Halloween 2013

One of the few full-scale Halloween events in Japan that include parades for both adults and kids, a night-time monster party featuring hot lady DJs, costume contests, and even a Halloween movie fest. The Halloween parade that takes place in the vicinity of the JR Kawasaki station boasts a vivacious crowd of 3,000 attendees.

Venue: La Cittadella, East exit of JR Kawasaki station
Date: 19 October – 27 October (Dates differ for each program, please refer to the website for details.)
Official Website: http://lacittadella.co.jp/halloween_english/#stacktitle1

  • Hello Halloween Pumpkin Parade 2013

The heart of funky fashion in Japan lies in Harajuku, and the colorful dwellers of the town will not miss a festival that involves crazy costumes. The Harajuku-Omotesando Hello Halloween parade is in its 31st run this year, and there’s more than just parading to this event. Many shops along the street are also actively participating in the event by offering candy to the children, bringing the traditional “Trick or Treat” fun to the festival.

Venue: Harajuku Omotesando
Date: 27 October
Official Website: http://www.harajuku-halloween.com/ (Japanese)

  • Halloween Party hosted by Charlie Brown

Enough of the parades and parks, here’s one shopping party that is going on all over Japan, organized by PLAZA, a popular lifestyle goods store with over 70 branches nationwide. Halloween-themed products featuring the lovable PEANUTS gang ranging from party goods to T-shirts to snacks and candies will be available at any PLAZA outlet for a limited time only. “Trick or Treat” a member of staff at the outlet to receive candy too!

Venue: Any PLAZA retail outlet in Japan
Date: 11 September – 31 October
(Trick or Treat campaign available on Saturday and Sunday from 5 October to 27 October, and all day on 28 – 31 October.)
Official Website: http://www.plazastyle.com/hw/

Source: My Navi (Japanese)
Top image: People’s Daily Online
Inset images: TDR, USJ, Kawasaki Halloween, Joypolis, PLAZA, Hello Halloween, Sanrio Puroland