In Photos: A Japanese Halloween Parade

Photo of a Dracula father pushing a Snow White daughter in a stroller decked out to look like a pumpkin carriage. Mom is also dressed as a vampire.

Snow White in a pumpkin carriage, pushed by vampires

Friend of Thingamababy Buz Carter visited Tokyo last month and brought back some awesome photos of a Japanese Halloween celebration: the Harajuku Omotesando Halloween Pumpkin Parade.

Buz explains:

I believe it was a Sunday when we saw a kid with his mom, both in costumes walking on the sidewalk — so we followed them. Is that creepy?

We tend to travel like that. We hear a drum or singing, or see anything interesting — and follow it for a few blocks. That’s how we found the Zinneke Parade (in Brussels, Belgium) and a gazillion other festivals. We have good luck this way and prefer doing this over always following Lonely Planet or a highly itineraried approach to tourism.

Anyway, we saw kids streaming into this large building. We asked about it, liked the sound of a toddler and grade schoolers’ Halloween parade in Tokyo and so hung out waiting for the start.

Suddenly drums come out and the parade is off, five groups of several hundred kids looped this street.

It was held in the high-end shopping district of Harajuku Omotesando, complete with dancers, drummers, odd mascots and tons of well dressed toddlers and grade schoolers. The parade was begun 27 years ago by Harajuku’s amazing “all-things-kids-could-want” toy store Kiddy Land. Try walking into any of its six toy and game filled floors without dropping several thousand yen.  No, really — I dare you!

Afterward, we think maps being handed out listed stores that gave out gifts or treats to costumed kids, much like trick-or-treating (sadly) is for American kids now — a trip through retail land.

But it was a blast.

From the looks of it Disney, equals Halloween for a lot of these kids, but there were even more vampires and witches.

Halloween night was marked with lots of parties and American expats (hundreds) loitering in costumes around Shibuya, a major congregating point there in the city, but that was it.

While talking about Halloween — bless Japan, they’ve taken any pastry that would have held red bean paste and crammed it with lovely pumpkin puree, lightly sweet. If France and Japan had a pastry competition Japan just might win. Fantastic foods.

Seeing pumpkins and ghosts in store windows was very common, but in a Japanese spun way. I’m so glad they’ll run with it; it will be interesting to see what they do.”

Below is most of Buz’s Halloween photo set on Flickr, (used with permission), but he also has a splendid autumn in Japan set as well. You can also view the event organizer’s own photo set.

Peter Pan Mom, Captain Hook Dad, & Tinkerbelle by Buz Carter.

Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Tinkerbell

Spiderman, Policeman, Sorcerer's Apprentice, Omotesando Ave, Tokyo by Buz Carter.

Spiderman, Policeman, Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Totoro? Hell Kitty? A Good Mystery Halloween Costume by Buz Carter.

Totoro? Hell Kitty? A Good Mystery Halloween Costume

Mardi Gras/Pirate Kid at Halloween Parade by Buz Carter.

Mardi Gras/Pirate Kid

Duck Boy counting fingers by Buz Carter.

Duck Boy counting fingers

Mickey Mouse "sorcerer's apprentice" picking nose by Buz Carter.

Mickey Mouse “sorcerer’s apprentice” picking nose

Donald Duck takes a sucker break by Buz Carter.

Donald Duck takes a candy sucker break.

Tired (& drooling) Tinkerbell, Tokyo Halloween by Buz Carter.

Tired (and drooling) Tinkerbell

Sleeping koala bear, Halloween parade, by Buz Carter.

Sleeping koala bear

Scowling clown, Tokyo, Halloween by Buz Carter.

Scowling clown

"Will-Grow-Into-it-Next-Year" Spiderman Costume,-Halloween-Parade by Buz Carter.

Will-Grow-Into-it-Next-Year Spiderman Costume

witch, pooh, and pirate. Halloween parade by Buz Carter.

Witch, Pooh, and pirate

Tired Koalo Bear "No more walking", Omotesando Avenue Halloween Parade by Buz Carter.

Tired Koalo Bear — “No more walking”

Halloween Parade Character by Buz Carter.

A parade character

A most puzzling handkerchief & his (its) pal Dracula by Buz Carter.

A most puzzling handkerchief and its pal Dracula. What the heck is that costume?!?

dad and a tired vampire by Buz Carter.

Dad and a tired vampire

Toddler Dracula or "Vlad the Thumbsucker" by Buz Carter.

Vlad the Thumbsucker

costumed-kids-halloween-parade-8604 by Buz Carter.

Mugging for the camera.

Feather-haloed first-stepper teeters thru Omotesando Halloween Parade by Buz Carter.

Feather-haloed first-stepper teeters through the parade.

Omotesando-Avenue-Halloween-Parade-Drummers,-Tokyo-8681 by Buz Carter.

Samba band Amigo Calientes (Hot Friends) take to the streets. A Samba Halloween? Why not?!

Omotesando-Avenue-Halloween-Drummers-&-Dancers,-Tokyo-8678 by Buz Carter.

More Samba. Also view the full-size image, a little fuzzy due to a wanky lens Buz added to his camera before embarking on his trip. D’oh!

Harajuku Omotesando Halloween Pumpkin Parade, 2009 Flyer by Buz Carter.

The event poster. Can anyone translate it? [Full-size image]

Dog gets lift home after Tokyo Halloween Parade by Buz Carter.

Going home.

Again, view the whole photo set to see close-ups if you like. On a particular detail page, click the “All Sizes” icon to select a larger image.


2 Responses to “In Photos: A Japanese Halloween Parade”

  1. Kelley says:

    those pictures are awesome! The kids are so freaking adorable.

    November 10th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

  2. ararechan says:

    TRANSLATION of the poster:

    Hello Halloween
    Pumpkin Parade 2009

    Again this year on Omotesando the wonderful and happy Pumpkin Parade will take place.
    Look forward to the parade where children become adorable monsters!
    Sunday, October 25th
    (Will be canceled if rain)
    Location: Harajuku/Omotesando area
    On the left column: A list of the sponsors and local businesses involved in the event

    Right column: in RED:
    Pumpkin Parade from 1pm to 215pm
    Aoyama Dori area/ at intersection of Kamimiyamae dori
    “GEGEGE no KITARO” will also be there… come see me!

    (GEGEGE NO KITARO is a well loved Casper the friendly ghost-like character from the 60′s in Japan. )

    Participants: Under 12 years old, in costume

    in Orange:
    Halloween Plaza: Food and Performances
    Halloween Photo Gallery: Professional Photography available, first come, first served. Limited space.
    Halloween Costume contest.

    (Didn’t translate in full detail.. you get the jist!)

    December 6th, 2009 at 1:23 am

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