With Halloween coming right around the corner, it isn't any surprise that trendy places all around Tokyo are coming up with events asking people to come in costume. You might even be surprised with how many people are out in costume on the weekends! But if you're in the city on vacation and you've only recently heard about Japan's newfound love for the occasion and want to join in, you might be pressed for time on where to shop and how to put together an outfit that hopefully isn't tacky and should make you feel like a fashionable local.
Thankfully, it isn't too hard to find what you need. It's all just a matter of knowing your options well:
Photo: busy.pochi on Flickr
1. The Cheap and Easy - 100 Yen Shops
Daiso, Can-Do, and Seria: these three chains are probably the most commonly found across the country. Daiso and Can-Do probably win for the widest selection of goods, but Seria trumps them both for quality most of the time.
It's also a good idea to keep an eye out for different offerings in different stores. Smaller branches of ¥100 shops (for example, the Seria in Shinjuku Marui) are most likely to carry a very limited selection of goods. But bigger shops (like the Daiso on Takeshita Street in Harajuku) will definitely carry more options for you to browse through.
Photo: rc! on Flickr
2. Getting the Bang for Your Buck: Claire's, Tokyu Hands, Don Quixote and Village Vanguard
The stuff you'll find at the ¥100 shops are great as quick fixes for a Halloween pub night or just walking around without dressing up much. But if you're looking to blend in with the local population or want to look your best at a party, then you'll probably want to spend a little more.
For accessories for women and children, one of the best options is Claire's. Their well-made items aren't all that expensive and will definitely work well paired with an appropriate outfit. The only downside for Claire's is that they cater only to women, so guys will have to look elsewhere.
Tokyu Hands, which is a must-visit if you're in Shibuya, is another great place shop at. Of all the different shops around the city, this one probably has the most comprehensive selection of costumes for men, women, and children. They might be a bit pricey sometimes, but they're worth it if you need a complete Halloween look fast.
Looking to raise the shock factor? Ditch Tokyu Hands for the more adventurous selections at Don Quixote or Village Vanguard. Some items you can find from those shops include impressive-looking vampire fangs, fake blood, and a kit for creating the perfect zombie look.
Last minute Halloween shoppers might also be pleased to find many of these shops offering their goods on sale as the season comes to a close!
Photo: Miguel Bernas on Flickr
3. Going All-Out with Dress-up Services
Thinking about spending an hour out on the streets of Harajuku this Halloween season, rocking the eccentric fashion the district is known for ? Much like the kimono rental shops you'll find around Asakusa, there are dress-up services you can check out on the basement level of LaForet Harajuku. Each place features its own specialty fashion and offers souvenir photos for you to show off to friends and family back home.
One of these is Maison de Julietta, a dress-up service specializing in lolita fashion. Lolita fashion is characterized by a doll-like look with poofy bell-shaped skirts and romantic touches pulled from romantic periods. While it doesn't seem to offer a special Halloween course for the season on its website, it's still an interesting way to commemorate your visit to this colorful quarter of Tokyo.
Another service to check out is Tokyo Kawaii Musee. While Maison de Julietta offers customers a kawaii take on western period fashion, Tokyo Kawaii Musee dresses its customers up in a modern kimono set with eccentric touches such as sneakers, lace collars, curious obi accessories, and even interesting headgear. Currently, this dress-up service also offers a special Halloween course, incorporating spooky-sweet touches into its modern kimono sets.
Whichever option you decide to go with, it's important to simply have fun, bask in Tokyo's eccentricity, and make the most of your Halloween weekend in Tokyo! Happy haunting!