If we can’t go to Shibuya on Halloween, then we’re going to be Shibuya on Halloween.

In years past, Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood was the place to be on Halloween night in Japan, with costumed partiers gathering around the Shibuya Scramble intersection and flooding the Shibuya Center-gai shopping street. As it’s just a short subway ride from SoraNews24 headquarters in the Shinjuku district, we made several Halloween trips to Shibuya ourselves over the years, with our ace reporter Mr. Sato usually taking charge of our group costume theme.

This year, though, Shibuya has made it clear that it doesn’t want people turning its streets into a mass Halloween party. After year of ugly, often alcohol-fueled Halloween incidents in the neighborhood, including vandalism and violence, this year signs went up commanding “No events for Halloween on Shibuya streets.”

It’s a complex issue. On the one hand, the troublemakers were clearly having a negative impact on the local community, and the unregulated, organic nature of the Shibuya Halloween gatherings made maintaining law and order difficult. On the other hand, it’s sad to see what was, for many people, a fun event that had become a symbol of the neighborhood get shut down even for those who did mind their manners while partying.

This left Mr. Sato in a tough spot while thinking of our team’s Halloween costumes for this year. We wouldn’t be going to Shibuya, but he still wanted to do his part to keep the Shibuya/Halloween connection from fading away.

That’s when yet another of his brilliant ideas came to him: If we couldn’t go to Shibuya on Halloween, we’d BE Shibuya!

“OK everybody, for Halloween, we’re dressing up like Shibuya this year!” he told everyone in the office, leaving it to each member of the project to sort out the exact details according to their own creative sensibilities. Since this was his idea, though, it’s only fair that he show his costume first.

OK, Mr. Sato, come on in!

Is that…?

Why yes! It’s…

…the statue of Hachiko the dog, symbol of loyalty and Shibuya’s most popular meeting spot!

Remember, if you’re dressing up as Hachiko, it’s important to get the details right. For example, since so many people like to pat Hachiko, the metal on the statue’s paws has become faded in color.

▼ Like this

Mr. Sato, consummate pro that he is, made sure to recreate this aspect in his costume.

Next up, SoraNews24 founder and owner Yoshio!

Huh, Yoshio’s costume includes a sign saying “Center-gai” across his face.

It makes sense, though, since he’s dressed as…

…a Center-gai streetlight, decked out in various “No Halloween parties” notices and other etiquette reminders, just like the ones put up in Shibuya a few days before Halloween.

▼ “At Halloween, Shibuya is not a garbage dump, pickup spot, or ash tray.”

▼ “Let’s all mind our manners!”

Yoshio really went all out with his streetlight costume, even rigging up functioning light bulbs.

To test the quality of Yoshio’s costume, we went outside to see how well he could blend in with the actual Tokyo streetlights. He passed the test with flying colors, integrating so seamlessly with the surrounding scenery that not a single person realized he was really a guy in a costume.

▼ Or maybe they did realize, but just figured they should give any dude dressed like this a wide berth.

For his Shibuya costume, our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma thought big, literally…

…dressing up as Shibuya’s most iconic architectural landmark, the 109 shopping skyscraper!

In terms of combined cleverness and convenience, we’ve gotta say, Masanuki really knocked it out of the park. It’s a costume anybody in Japan will instantly recognize, but that you can make in just a few minutes with a couple pieces of poster board, some markers, and something to poke a surreptitious eyehole for you to see out of.

Next, we’ve got reporter Go Hatori’s costume…

…which is the most terrifying of our group (yes, even more so than Mr. Sato’s Hachiko).

A lot of that fear factor will dissipate, though, if you know your Shibuya history. For decades, there was a branch of the Tokyu Department Store located right next to Shibuya Station, and its logo was easily visible from the plaza outside the station and the rest of the Shibuya Scramble vicinity.

The store is now closed, but in tribute Go’s taken its logo and turned it into a mask. However, his decision to go with larger, more contoured eye cutouts, plus an opening for his mouth, also produce some unsettling psychotic clown vibes.

▼ Especially when combined with some aggressive posing

We have three more members in our Shibuya Halloween costume group, so let’s see what they came up with. First, we have Seiji Nakazawa

…who interpreted “Dress up like Shibuya” to mean “Dress up like Japanese music critic Yoichi Shibuya.”

▼ Yoichi Shibuya, pictured center, has a thing for black turtlenecks.

OK, Seiji always has music on his mind, so maybe we should have expected something like this. Let’s see what P.K. Sanjun came up with.

Ah, that’s right. Yoichi Shibuya is also one of the main organizers of the annual Rock in Japan summer music festival, so P.K. is dressed as “Yoichi Shibuya (Rock in Japan Opening Ceremony Remarks Version).”

All right, one last chance to get things back on course. Come on in, Takashi Harada

…who’s…dressed like Kaiji, the titular star of the anime/manga franchise…?

This was even less expected than both Seiji and P.K. deciding to dress up as Yoichi Shibuya, so Mr. Sato asked Takashi what his logic was. Turns out he’d mentally rephrased “Dress up like Shibuya” to “Dress up like they do in Shibuya,” and figured any sort of Halloween costume was OK.

So in the end, only about half the people Mr. Sato had tried to recruit into his “Dress up like Shibuya” plan really understood his vision. That’s OK, though. True genius is always hard for some people to wrap their heads around initially.

And in any case, his main desire was to keep the idea that “Shibuya Halloween can be fun!” alive. Hopefully he’s not the only one that feels that way, and Halloween events can return to Shibuya in the future without the undesirable elements.

Hachiko photo: Pakutaso
All other photos ©SoraNews24
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