They have contributed a lot to us, and we to them.
Halloween stirs imagination in costume-loving Japan
Sun Oct 28, 2007
By Sophie Hardach
TOKYO (Reuters) - A handful of giggling Japanese women wearing devil's horns and cat costumes gather under a giant neon-orange pumpkin outside a Tokyo shopping mall.
"Halloween is different," Saori says, giggling as she tugs at her hooded cape with cat ears.
The cult around fancy dress, and Japan's love of quirky festivals and eccentric trends in general, may go towards explaining why Halloween has turned from an obscure foreign celebration into a popular cultural event here.
"Japanese wear suits every day, so at the weekend they like to be different," says Saori's friend Akiko.
In fact, the street party in Kawasaki, on the outskirts of Tokyo, is just a warm-up to Halloween on October 31.
Shopping malls in other Asian countries, too, have picked up on this aspect of Halloween. Around this time of the year, cobwebs and jack-o-lanterns adorn shops and bars in Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore and Seoul, tapping into a deeper Asian interest in the otherworld that shows through in local festivals for the dead.
Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve, has its roots in Celtic tradition and marks the night before All Saints Day.
Ei, a father of two, has organized trick-and-treat evenings for children in his Tokyo neighborhood for the past four years together with other Japanese, American and European families.
Last year, Ei dressed up as a huge traffic cone to watch over little princesses and Spider-men trick-or-treating in his street. Some twenty-odd families in his neighborhood agreed to open their houses that year, and were swamped by more than 500 children. "I hope it doesn't grow more," he said.
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