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My Experience with Shibuya Halloween

Tokyo is a city with enough hustle and bustle to rival New York City’s nickname, “The City That Never Sleeps.” There’s always an interesting concert, exhibition, or festival going on somewhere, and the bright neon lights alone make the cityscape something worth staying up to appreciate in person. Last Wednesday was Halloween, and while there were street parties of some sort in every neighborhood, the defining celebration was undeniably the one in Shibuya — because after all, Halloween isn’t really Halloween until you experience the annual madness in this famous Tokyo hotspot. 

My first experience with Shibuya Halloween was last year. Being a total novice, I made two critical mistakes that I learned a lot from:

  1. I wore a skirt. You might be thinking, “A skirt? What’s wrong with a skirt?”, but hear me out. I made a last-minute decision to go as Velma from Scooby-Doo because I had the right clothes for a lazy-but-passable attempt at her look. While my pleated skirt was cute in theory, I had to learn the hard way that skirts + big crowds isn’t the greatest combination. The spike in the number of creepy people trying to cop a feel on Halloween night is definitely not to be underestimated. What you choose to wear to Shibuya is completely up to you, but I can’t emphasize this enough: remember to keep yourself comfortable and safe! It’s awful that I had to be wary of strangers simply because of what I was wearing, but there you go.
  2. I naively told my friend that we should meet up at Shibuya, instead of going together as most groups do. I have no idea why I thought we’d be able to find each other on time because leaving the JR Shibuya Station was a total obstacle course on its own. Once I managed to leave the station — or to be exact, once I was forcefully pushed out of the station — I was completely taken aback by the scale of Shibuya Halloween. If you’re planning on attending next year, make sure to stick close to your friends! Finding someone among the throng of party-goers is close to impossible, especially because of all the overlapping costumes and overall chaos.

My Shibuya Halloween this year saw a slight improvement because I knew what to do, where to go, and how to handle the crowds — better than last year, at the very least. I decided to go a bit earlier so I could enjoy myself without experiencing the sardines-in-a-can situation that starts building up around 6:00 pm. Anyone interested in checking out the Halloween festivities before it starts getting too wild should plan on getting to Shibuya Station somewhere between 5:00 and 5:30 pm. There were a couple of violent fights and even a fire this year, so I’d recommend watching your surroundings and leaving as soon as you’re done checking things out! 

Halloween 2018 is over, and most shops are already gearing up for Christmas celebrations…but Halloween 2019 is only eleven-ish months away, so why not start preparing for next year’s Shibuya Halloween? It can be overwhelming at times, but Halloween at Shibuya is a Tokyo event that is most definitely worth experiencing.

Third culture kid at Waseda who loves disposable cameras, movies, hanami season, and collecting postcards.
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