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Do you want a spooktacular Halloween? Halloween has transplanted well as a festival into Japan, probably extending Japan’s own summer’s customs of chilling Kwaidan spooks and all. Why Halloween has caught on perhaps is because … Halloween is more colourful and cuter.

Local Halloween festivities are BIGGEST in Kawasaki city, going on for days with the parade being THE thing to watch out for on the news if not in person. Tama Center’s festivities are a close second, with the Jack o’ Lantern showing worth taking a look. 

Tama Center's Halloween festivities

Halloween at Tama Center

This week, at home we read “Don’t Go Up Haunted Hill…Or Else!” which is a good read-on-your-own book or read a loud to your kids book for the kindy to early elementary set. A short non-scary, trick-or-treating story with humour and a twist at the end (only costs about 700 yen from Yurindo stores). Scroll down to the bottom of the page for recommended reads.

Now, here’s a rundown of festive Halloween events to catch in Japan: 

Disneyland’s probably a better place now to visit during Halloween with its new Haunted House attraction added to the theme park.

Halloween in Tama Center Location: Tama Center Station Area in Tama-city, Tokyo
Access: Keio Line Tama Center Station
Dates: October 23 – 26, 2008
Time: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. (23rd), 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (24th-26th)
Events include trick-or-treating, Halloween parade, Jack O’Lantern night, and more.

Roppongi Hills Halloween Parade Location: Roppongi Hills Roppongi Minato-ku, Tokyo.
Access: Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Roppongi Station
Date: October 25, 2008
Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Enjoy the Halloween parade and performances.
Hello Halloween Pumpkin Parade in Harajuku Location: Omotesando Street Harajuku, Tokyo
Access: Tokyo Subway Meijijingu-mae Station / Omotesando Station
Date: October 26, 2008
Time: 11 a. m. – 6 p.m.
Lots of kids participate in this Halloween parade every year.
Kawasaki Halloween http://lacittadella.co.jp/halloween/ Location: Ogawa-cho Kawasaki-ku Kawasaki-city, Kanagawa
Access: JR Kawasaki Station
Date: October 18-26, 2008
The biggest event is the Halloween parade held on October 26.
Motomachi Halloween 2008 Location: Motomachi Naka-ku Yokohama-city
Date: October 31, 2008
Access: Minato Mirai Line Motomachi-chukagai Station/ JR Ishikawacho Station
People put on Halloween costume and gather in the shopping street.
Hakkeijima Paradise Halloween Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is filled with Halloween decorations and events from October 1 to 31. Don’t miss the Halloween special entertainment at the Dolphin Fantasy, one of the aquariums.
Halloween Festa in Misawa A U.S. Air Base is located in Misawa City, Aomori Prefecture, and there are about 5,200 U.S. military personnel assigned to the base. For the reason, a fun Halloween event is held every year in Misawa. Usually, it includes a Halloween custume contest and a Halloween parade. It takes on Oct. 18, 2008.
The Bluff Halloween Walkabout 2007
Come and enjoy this event featuring A “Halloween Costume Stamp Rally”, face painting and more!
Limit: 2,000 people
*First come, first served.
Eligibility: People who dress up in a Halloween costume or who have face painting.
Date & Time: Oct. 26 (Sun), 10:00-16:00
*Not cancelled in case of light rain.
Location: Yamate area
*Eight Western-Style Homes,
Iwasaki Museum and Yokohama Doll Museum (5-20 min walk from JR Ishikawacho Stn or Motomachi- Chukagai Stn of Minatomirai Line).
Fee: Free
”Halloween” at Sky Walk.
Those who say “Trick or Treat” will receive a treat.
Oct. 25(Sat) – Oct.31 (Fri) *Closed on Oct. 28 and 29
Location: Yokohama Bayside bridge Sky Walk (bus route #17 from Tsurumi Stn of JR/ Keikyu Line to “Sky Walk mae” stop)
Puto’s Halloween Party Various Halloween events are held from September 13 to November 3, 2008 at Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka-city, Mie. Also, similar events are held from Oct. 1 to 31 at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi-town, Tochigi.
Universal Wonder Halloween The event is held from September 9 to November 3, 2008 at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.
And of course, one of the best kiddy events has got to be Disney’s Halloween This special event is held from September 12 to October 31, 2008 at Tokyo Disneyland. Guests are allowed to enter the park, being dressed up as disney characters during this time.
Miscellaneous Units and Halloween Related Links:
Halloween units based on Corduroy’s Halloween, The Biggest Pumpkin Ever, Arthur’s Halloween from the Teacher’s Guide: http://www.theteachersguide.com/halloweenlessonplans.htm
K-12 Halloween units from The Canadian Teacher website: http://www.thecanadianteacher.com/archives/294
A to Z Teacher Stuff.com Halloween offerings include creating writing tips, printable e-books, wall dictionaries: http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Halloween/
Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/kwaidan/index.htm
A rundown on books for kids on Halloween:
Don't Go Up Haunted Hill or Else! (Super Shape Book)
Don’t Go Up Haunted Hill … Or Else!
Available from www.amazon.co.jp
The Best Halloween Hunt Ever (Read With Me Paperbacks)
The Best Halloween Hunt Ever By John Speirs
At school, in the pumpkin patch, and and all around the town are hidden pumpkins, spiders, and bats for the reader to find, as well as two mazes to go through.
For older readers
Here They Come!
Here They Come!
David Costello
Illustrated by David Costello
Bright, energetic illustrations of some of the friendliest monsters you’ll ever meet, along with amusing and descriptive rhyming text, make this one party you won’t want to miss. Mommy monster tells her little monsters about all the fun they will have and the great treat they can expect at the annual Halloween party. Everyone who is anyone will be there, from giant trolls and little woodland sprites to hopping hobgoblins and an ogre bearing a plate of cinnamon rolls. And the great, scary treat Mommy told them about, what could it be? Why children, of course, on their way to trick or treat!
(Ages: 4 – 7 years) Available from Chinaberry.com
For the even younger set
The Witches' Ball
The Witches’ Ball
David Steinberg
Illustrated by Liz Conrad
How can you not like a gaggle of witches who get together once a year and cast a spell with words like
”Oogily-boogily biffly-bell!
Trickety-treat! Black clouds, run away!
Fizzily-sparkle! Full moon, come and play!”
Their big, round (green, purple, and chartreuse) faces and toothy smiles are anything but scary, and their Halloween festivities involving pumpkin ice cream with slimy green cake, musical broomsticks, and pin-the-tail-on-the-newt make for a fun-to-read book that might just be read more than you’d think—to put it mildly (our Halloween books stay on the shelves all year ’round because the children love reading them!). This sturdy, colorful, and rambunctious book gets you in the Halloween spirit from the very first words and pictures.
(Ages: 3 – 5 years) Available from www.chinaberry.com
In the Haunted House
In The Haunted House by Eve Bunting
Review by School Library Journal:
Invitingly scary, this Halloween romp follows the sneaker-clad footsteps of two children as they make their way through a haunted house. Showing only their feet entering or leaving the rooms heightens the atmosphere of suspense. The horrors of each room are briefly but chillingly described, while the scratchy pencil and watercolor illustrations invite close scrutiny. Carefully placed clues belie the house’s sinister atmosphere, but not all of the creatures can be explained away, giving the story a pleasing ambiguity. The younger child appears less frightened than the older, who pleads: “I know you’re not frightened, but still . . . we could go. No one would notice. ‘No,’ you say? ‘No’?” Children will enjoy the upbeat ending, as little sister drags her reluctant brother back for another house tour. A spooky bit of fun for Halloween storytimes. –Ruth Smith, Chicago Public Library
(Ages 3- 6 years) Available from www.amazon.co.jp
For older readers
Customs, Recipes, Spells
Halloween, Customs and Spells by Silver Ravenwolf
This book will satisfy your curious ones on the origins of this harvest holiday. Did you know it was originally called Samhain? Samhain means “the end of summer”. The book reveals what the ancient people to celebrate this holiday and how the ideas about it have changed over the years and that Halloween has really become wildly popular in the U.S. only over the last 100 years. Find out in this book why ghosts and skeletons, jack-o’-lanterns and vampires are associated with October 31 of each year. Halloween shows you lots of neat stuff you can do, either by yourself or at a party…recipes and tricks and such.
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