The Plain Side To Halloween In Japan | CoolJapan

It’s October. It's the time of the year when the days begin getting shorter, the weather more unpredictable, and hyakkins (100 yen shops) start displaying a lot more orange and black items. Yup, October is also the month of Halloween.

When you see the photos of the throngs of crowds that threaten to overflow Shibuya each year, it’s hard to believe that the occasion only started getting more widely known in Japan about two decades ago, when Tokyo Disneyland first held its Halloween event in 1997. The way Halloween is celebrated in Japan differs from other countries, in that trick-or-treating isn’t commonplace. Instead, people dress up in all sorts of costumes and take it to the streets.

Seeing how Japan is where cosplay originated, it isn’t surprising that the costumes people dress up in for Halloween are generally of impressive standards.

The Halloween costumes each year also provide a peek into the trends in Japan for the year, like how more dressed up in Pokémon-related costumes in 2016, the year Pokémon GO swept the world.

But a different side of Halloween in Japan that began recently, and the side I secretly look forward to is #地味ハロウィン (jimi Halloween), which directly translates to “plain Halloween”. This refers to the group of people who still dress up in costumes, but in characters less obvious — mostly as slice-of-life characters that make you laugh when you finally figure out who they are (they usually need some explanation since they are so — for a lack of a better word — plain).

Jimi Halloween is said to have been started by Yuji Hayashi, the editor for Daily Portal Z in 2014. What started as a party for just about 30 friends grew into an event with over 800 participants last year.

What is it about Jimi Halloween that makes it so popular? It could be how easy it is to participate — no need for fancy costumes or elaborate makeup, just some creativity and a sense of humour. The best part? You could even just go in what you usually wear, as long as you can put a name or situation to your getup. Such as:

A leaked pen

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

So if you’re creative enough, no one will stop you from showing up in the exact same costume the following year, provided you put a different twist to it.

Here’re some of the participants from this year’s edition, for a taste of Jimi Halloween.

The left-hander who gets annoyed at soup bars at family restaurants 

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

Drinking a warm beverage

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

The person who took a shopping basket, but ended up buying less than expected

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

The person who got caught up in nostalgia while packing for a move and more

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

There's also the friend who was supposed to help but started reading a manga and another who started reading a manga instead of packing.

(Cover photo from: Daily Portal Z)

If you wanna go the more conventional route, try these Halloween costumes for your group.