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You’ll hear people say Japan has 4 unique seasons. It’s sorta true. Autumn starts September 1st. No ifs, no buts. Don’t care if it’s still summer weather outside. When September gets here, autumn does too.

That same day, shops cram their ‘seasonal’ shelves and aisles with as much Halloween stuff as they can fit. And the day after Halloween, it’ll be swapped out for Christmas stuff. (Repeat for every holiday, real or commercial.)

Halloween itself, in Japan, is so much fun. We’ve peeked into Osaka’s spooky party scene 2 years in a row, and loved how scary crazy it got.

This is what it’s like to celebrate Halloween in Osaka.

No autumn leaves in this park, just partygoers

The ‘main’ Halloween party night isn’t always the 31st. If that’s a weekday, we all dress up on the nearest weekend instead. So, because Halloween proper fell on a Tuesday for 2017, this report’s from the Saturday night before.

Partygoers meet up at Triangle Park early in the evening. It’s less of a real plan and more of a habit. A weird Halloween tradition that everyone somehow knows. Triangle Park is in the Amemura area of Osaka. Honestly, you can’t miss it. When we rocked up, it looked like this:

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There’s a Family Mart conbini right next to the park, for a quick cheeky drink. It’s okay to drink outside here! Chances are you’ll bump into someone else in costume while you’re there. Maybe you’ll take a selfie with the nearest Family Mart worker. This isn’t weird at all.

(Remember to be nice and ask people if they’re cool with pics. Anyone in costume should totally be down, but do the Japan thing and be polite about it.)

Take your drink, and your friends, back to the park. Do some more people-watching, take more photos. If it’s anything like 2016 went down, by now someone will be dancing in the middle.

After that, up to you.

Follow the crowd – they’ll take you to cool places

Osaka has loads of bars and clubs. Any of them that aren’t running some kind of Halloween event are either closed or empty. There are thousands of people wandering around outside on that night. Like zombies (not all of them dressed like zombies, but hey).

A big tradition in Osaka is the Halloween Rampage party, at Rooftop Bar OO. Pronounced ‘ooh’. It’s the main event everyone goes to. No idea where to hit up next? Head for Rampage. Split up with your mates earlier? They’ll be at Rampage. Didn’t bump into someone yet? Try checking at Rampage. You get the idea.

2017 was Rampage’s 10th anniversary! Most parties don’t last a whole decade. Everything felt bigger: the music, the dancefloors, the VIP spaces, the queues to get in… The summer outdoor pool got turned into a stage for fire dancers.

The rooftop’s another great place to see what people are wearing. We met a kawaii Baymax on our wander around! This was a real good outfit choice. Anonymous and lots of padding. Taking notes for 2018 ideas.

It’s been an epic year for Halloween in Osaka. We said that last year, and we’ll say it again next year. The 31st itself won’t be as intense as the weekend. We’ll see people in costume down by the Dotonbori for sure. Not in the kind of numbers that hit up the park, but enough to notice.

Once Halloween’s over, next is Christmas. Starbucks has the gingerbread lattes ready. It’s a shame we don’t do so much dressing up at Christmas… unless it’s for the Santa Run

 

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