Bring a bag, and no, not to put candy in.

It’s become a modern tradition that on the weekend before Halloween, people gather in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood to celebrate on the streets. If you’re planning to go, don’t forget your costume (Japan never misses a chance to cosplay, after all), and also your camera so you can snap pictures of the crowds and selfies with new friends.

Oh, and there’s one more thing that you absolutely should take with you.

No, that’s not a super-lazy ghost costume (even we put more effort into our costumes than that). It’s a plastic bag. They weigh practically nothing, so before you head out to Shibuya, fold one up and stick it in your pocket. Then, if/when you have some trash, whether it’s an empty beer can, food wrapper, or anything else, stick it in the bag. At the end of the night, if you find a trash can with space in it, you can throw the bag into the can, or, barring that, take it back to your hotel or home and get rid of the trash there.

Despite Tokyo’s status as one of the cleanest large cities in the world, Halloween partiers in Shibuya have been leaving increasingly large piles of trash in their wake over the past few years. It’s gotten to the point that Shibuya’s ward mayor Ken Hasebe is calling on convenience stores and liquor shops in the vicinity of Shibuya Station to voluntarily suspend sales of alcoholic beverages in glass containers during the Halloween street parties because of the large amount of broken glass found on the streets the next morning in previous years, and is also asking that revelers make sure to head home on the last train of the night, rather than noisily loiter around until sunup.

▼ Shibuya on the morning of November 1 last year.

“If an appeal to people’s manners and morals do not lead to improvements, we’ll have to start considering formal, legal regulations and restrictions,” Hasebe said at a press conference this week. “I hope that people will remember to be polite as they enjoy Halloween in Shibuya, so that we can continue to have the celebration as a new part of our local culture.”

Public trash cans are few and far between in Tokyo, and most Japanese cities, for that matter. This is largely a product of Japanese etiquette frowning on eating or drinking while walking. If shoppers buy some snacks at a convenience store, for instance, they’ll usually eat them at tables inside the store (where trash receptacles are provided) or take them back to their home or office, disposing of the subsequent trash there.

Some would argue that the city government should install extra trash cans in Shibuya during the Halloween season, and there’s definitely some logic to that stance. The Shibuya Halloween celebration, though, isn’t an officially sanctioned or organized event. It’s an organic gathering of partiers, and so the ultimate responsibility for taking care of trash lies with whoever consumed the item that was in the packaging. If Shibuya Ward hasn’t set up bins, it’s silly to get up on a twisted moral high horse and blame the city while littering and contributing to the dirty eyesore of after-party garbage heaps.

So please, if you’re headed out to Shibuya this weekend, or on Halloween night itself, take an empty trash bag or two along and help keep the neighborhood less disgusting than our reporters’ mankini costumes.

Reference: NHK News Web via Hachima Kiko
Photos ©SoraNews24

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s proud to be the first person in his apartment building to put up Halloween decorations.