Scary sights, and not because of any ghosts or goblins.


While the streets of the Shibuya neighborhood remain the most energetic and exciting place to celebrate Halloween in Japan, this year the unofficial street parties had an ugly side to them as well. On the Saturday before Halloween, five people partying in the area around Shibuya Station were arrested, and the tally was even higher on the night of October 31.

The evening got off to a scary start. Shortly after 6 p.m., a fire broke out in a building just a block from Center-gai, Shibuya’s most crowded shopping street and primary Halloween gathering spot, with flames dancing on its roof and smoke billowing into the streets.

However, the fire wasn’t caused by vandals or arsonists. Instead, it began in the second-floor yakiniku restaurant of a seven-story building, with flames and smoke making their way up through a ventilation duct to the roof some 30 meters (98 feet) up.

Thankfully, no one was injured, and within 90 minutes the fire department had the blaze extinguished. The police department, on the other hand, was just getting started with its night’s work. Counting arrests made in the predawn hours of November 1, the Tokyo Metropolitan police arrested seven people celebrating Halloween in Shibuya, including:
● A man in his 20s who groped a woman’s chest as she attempted to walk past him.
● A male pickpocket in his 30s who stole another man’s wallet.
● A man in his 40s who punched a police officer.
● Multiple men who indecently exposed their lower bodies to the crowds.

▼ A low-speed, lethargic, and yet still violent fight in Shibuya in the early hours of November 1.

It’s not clear if the higher arrest total for October 31 was because of even more lawless behavior than on the previous weekend, or because of an increased police presence and stricter enforcement on Halloween night, as promised by Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasabe earlier in the week. A large number of officers remained on dispatch in the area through the night and until 8 a.m. the next morning.

▼ A shocking video of a woman dancing on a car hood in Shibuya on Saturday night, before being yanked off the vehicle and slammed into the pavement.

We should mention that despite the legitimate problems, the Shibuya Halloween parties can also be incredibly fun. We ourselves spent a couple hours on the street in costume on Halloween and didn’t run into anyone doing the sort of things police made arrests for during the night. However, we arrived early enough to have our fun and still make it back to Shibuya Station while the trains were still running. In Tokyo, the last trains of the night depart around midnight, after which there’s about a five-hour wait until they start running again. That’s a lot of time for an energizing buzz to turn into drunken belligerence, and also the sort of intoxicated inattentiveness that criminals and perverts love to prey on, so maybe the best strategy whether you’re dressed as Cinderella or not, is to head home before midnight.

Sources: NHK News Web (1, 2) via Hachima Kiko, TV Asa News/Livedoor News via Otakomu, NHK News Web (3) via Jin, YouTube/ANNnewsCH
Featured image: Twitter/@k_cubic