No costume? No cash? No problem!

Last week on W.T.F. Japan we looked at the top 5 craziest Japanese certification exams. Unfortunately there’s no Halloween certification exam in Japan yet, but with the way things are going it may not be too much longer until we can all be tested on how well we give out candy.

However one aspect of Halloween that does resonate with the Land of Cosplay is dressing up. The custom of wearing Halloween costumes is becoming more widespread in Japan, and some unique Japanese outfits based on monsters and spooky things that only Japanese people would understand have started entering the market.

So that’s why today we’re going to count down the top five Japanese Halloween costumes… with a twist. Since you probably can’t buy these costumes at your local non-Japanese Halloween store, we’ve included quick instructions on how you can make your own cheap-tastic versions.

So let’s get to it! Starting off with…

#5. Red and Blue Oni (Ogre/Demon)

When you’re looking for a costume that’s both easy and Japanese-y, it’s hard to go wrong with the Red and Blue Oni. For those unfamiliar with the characters, they’re from a popular Japanese children’s tale that you can read about here. Long story short, they’re not nearly as ferocious as they look.

If you want the real deal, then you can order Red Oni and Blue Oni costumes online at Amazon Japan. But you don’t need to spend all that hard-earned yen just for some oni fun. You can have it all for just 500 yen (US$5).

▼ We bought the bat, green towel, and horns at the 100 yen store.
Any red shirt will do, and if you have tights then break ’em out!


▼ Put it all together to be one terrifyingly frugal Red Oni!


▼ And if you’re confident enough in your man/womanhood,
then you can save even more money by wearing less!

#4. Yurei (Spirit/Ghost)

Japanese ghosts have a bit more to them than Western ones… namely a piece of triangle cloth across their forehead.

But what a great conversation-starter! When you go to your costume party and people ask you what the triangle is all about, you can tell them that it’s called a tenkan (天冠 “heaven crown”) and used to be a component of traditional Japanese burial. You’ll be the life death of the party!

You can get an official yurei costume at Amazon Japan. But this one is so simple even a corpse could put it together for just 300 yen.

▼ Just a headband, some printing paper,
and the longest white raincoat you can find.


▼ Boom! A little tape and you can become
one heck of an economical apparition.


#3. Hitotsume-Kozo (One-Eyed Goblin)

Ah the hitotsume-kozo, possibly the least scary yokai (“Japanese monster/spirit”) in existence. Sure its appearance might be a little startling, but all these fellas have ever done is snuck into people’s houses and rolled up wall scrolls (and then promptly un-rolled them back into their proper positions – ooh spooky!).

When you add in the fact that they give people an occasional lick on their face after they faint when they see them, hitotsume-kozo are basically the one-eyed puppies of the yokai world.

While we don’t recommend licking anyone if you dress up as a hitostume-kozo, we do suggest checking out Amazon Japan if you want a real costume. But why bother with that when you can be a perfect hitotsume-kozo and pull some incredibly mild pranks on your friends for just 600 yen instead?

▼ There’s a lot of ways you could go about this one, but we went with
two white drawstring bags, a paper plate, a black cape, and a white raincoat.


▼ Whoa, is that a real hitotsume-kozo?! Nope, just really cheap!
Feel free to cut an eyehole, or just walk around bonking into people.


#2. Sadako (The Ring)

Now we’re getting to the real scary stuff. Sadako (Samara in English The Ring movies) is a monster that’s perfect in its simplicity: it’s just a girl with a white dress and long black hair covering her face.

Oh and the fact that she comes crawling out of your TV to kill you after you watched a cursed videotape.

▼ Simple, yet effective.

Personally I find it amazing that a movie that came out 18 years ago produced a monster that is just as – if not more – well-known than most Japanese monsters that have been around for hundreds of years. Way to go, Sadako!

If you want to possess some TVs this Halloween, then you can get a Sadako costume at Amazon Japan. Or if you’re a cheapo like us, you can become Sadako for 300 yen, less than the price of a renting the video that will kill you.

▼ Unless you already have Sadako hair, you’ll need to make some out of yarn.
And don’t forget another one of those super-useful long white raincoats!


▼Well I think I just crapped my reasonably-priced pants.


For Sadako’s hair, we tied the ends of the yarn to a pipe cleaner bent into a circle, and then just clipped that into our hair. It took about an hour to make, but it was worth it. There’s probably other, far easier ways to go about doing it, but exchanging time for money is one of the tenets of budget costume-building.

When you go around as Sadako though, just keep in mind her one weakness:

▼ TVs that are too small for her to get out of.

And the #1 most budget Japanese Halloween costume is…











1. Karakasa (Umbrella Monster)

The karakasa (also known as kasa-obake or karakasa-kozo) easily takes first place for its uniqueness, ridiculousness, and how Japanese it is. Could any other country in the world say with a straight face that a one-eyed umbrella that hops around on a single leg is actually a monster? I don’t think so.

And best of all, it’s super easy to make your own. Sure you can buy one at Amazon Japan, but come on. This is literally an umbrella-monster! You can make your own for just 500 yen.

▼ It’s basically what you’d expect: an umbrella,
a paper plate (one for the eye and one for the mouth), and some tape.


▼ And if you want to go the extra mile,  throw on a flip-flop/sandal
for extra accuracy and spookiness! Boing boing boing!


So there you have it, the top five budget Japanese Halloween costumes. Are you going as something Japanese-themed this year for Halloween? If so, did you make it yourself? Be sure to let us know in the comments and link some pics because we want some ideas for next year too!

References: Ponpare Mall, StackExchange
Featured/top image: GAHAG (1, 2) (Edited by RocketNews24)
Insert images: ©RocketNews24

We’ll be back Thursday to “count” off another reason Japanese is crazy. In the meantime, give me a follow on Twitter and let me know if there’s any topics you’d like to see covered on W.T.F. Japan. See you next week!