How to Celebrate Halloween In Asia

Oct 28, 2021 | Adventure Travel, Backpacking, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Travel Tips

Have you chosen your Halloween outfit for this year yet? If not, you soon better get to the fancy dress shop! Halloween is an exciting time of year for everyone young and old to celebrate. Whether it’s trick or treating, watching scary movies or dressing up and going to the city’s best party, each person has their own traditions, and of course, each country has their own customs too. If you’ve ever found yourself abroad during halloween, it can be quite confusing on what to do and how to act. That is why, we’re giving you a guide on how to celebrate Halloween in Asia! If you’re travelling during the spooky season check out this list for some pointers. And if not, it is at least interesting to see how other countries celebrate this unique holiday.

 

THE PHILIPPINES:

Halloween traditions in the Philippines don’t quite copy Western Halloween. However, celebrations are quite similar and they are usually really big in this country. They usually start about a week before October 31 and continue all the way until November 2. Most people will first clean and then decorate their houses for the holiday. Since more than 85% of the Philippines population is Roman Catholic, this holiday is associated closely with Catholic holidays. All Saints’ Day marked on November 1 and All Souls Day marked on November 2. On these days, locals will visit cemeteries to commemorate their loved ones. Some even stay at the cemetery overnight, but that might be a little bit too scary for some!

Filipinos also have a similar tradition similar to western trick-or-treating called Pangangaluluwa. This is usually done on October 31, the day before the “Day of the Dead”. Children and teenagers will go door to door, sing a song for the dead, and get food, especially kakanin in return. This is even popular in rural areas of the Philippines.

In Manila, the weekend before and Halloween night is filled with parties at its clubs, bars, and hotels. Santelmo Halloween Music Party in Muntinlupa City is the largest Halloween bash in Manila. Costumes are a must at these parties as they have become quite westernized.

In Palawan, a lot of the bars will also have Halloween themed parties but finding a costume can be quite difficult. You will have to either be very creative or if you have extra space in your backpack, you could take a light costume from home.

Children trick-or-treating in a mall in the Philippines

INDIA:

Indians typically love the idea of western culture, especially in bigger cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Therefore, they celebrate Halloween with a lot of excitement. Just like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, Halloween is now also gaining a lot of traction in India. And it is only growing every year! In these cities, hotels and clubs offer special themed parties to attract customers, especially the younger generation of Indians and foreigners.

During the night of Halloween, or the weekend before, people in metro cities like dressing up with scary makeup, or other classic halloween costumes. Apart from that, family entertainment parks, kids’ play zones, and activity centers organize costume parties for children too. Restaurants in metro cities serve Halloween-themed dishes or cocktails.

Halloween party in India with people wearing simple halloween costumes, including face paint, animal ears and a halloween t-shirt

SRI LANKA:

Although Sri Lanka doesn’t celebrate Halloween as much as some of the other countries on our list, rest assured that there will be lots of places for you to celebrate at!

There are several Halloween nights at clubs and bars in the most populated areas of Sri Lanka, which are Colombo and Kandy. These parties include traditional Halloween games as well as fancy dress dance parties. And don’t be surprised if you see Halloween-themed menu items at some Sri Lankan restaurants!

Sri Lankans don’t really dress up and act too crazy for any local festival, but Halloween gives them the perfect excuse to wear a costume and have some fun for a night.

People dressed in spooky costumes at Playtrix Sports Bar in Colombo, Sri Lanka

INDONESIA:

Each year some of the international hotels, restaurants and clubs around Jakarta and Bali, will put on special promotional events for Halloween. The staff and other patrons will be wearing costumes and there may be special activities during the weekend before Halloween or on Halloween night. Sometimes, locals will not dress up and they will be there to view the foreigners that are participating. Be ready to have your photo taken!

Off-the-shelf costumes are often sold in the weeks prior to Halloween at local stores. Normally, sizes and selection is limited. There are also some costume rental shops you can go to but you should go at least one week before as they are likely to sell out quickly. Tailors can also make custom Halloween costumes in Indonesia. Rather than explaining what this strange outfit is going to be worn for, show them a photo. It may take them a few weeks or multiple adjustments but you will definitely be ready to party and you’ll be looking great!

It is usually worth investing in a good costume as some of the best dressed prizes are quite enticing! We have seen prizes go up to 5,000,000 IDR or about $470 AUD. The prizes are usually for best, scariest and sexiest costumes. And don’t worry lads, there are usually prizes for both male and female party goers!

We have a 12 day Indonesia tour starting on Halloween night in 2022. We start in Canggu, Bali so it will definitely be a great way to start the tour and meet your new One Life family!

Man dressed as a Zombie at a halloween themed party in Bali, Indonesia

JAPAN:

This might seem strange but Halloween has only become a huge thing in Japan in the last decade. As western influences have continued to grow, Halloween has turned into a holiday favourite by many, especially in Tokyo. Shibuya Halloween is an event that draws the largest crowds. Over the past years it has become somewhat of a tourist attraction. Loads of people gather at Shibuya crossing and cross together in their costumes and make a big street party until early hours of the morning. During our 10 day Japan tour and our 14 day Japan tour, we visit Shibuya crossing which is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world! There are many other street parades that take place in several locations around Tokyo, usually on or slightly before October 31st. Some crowds can even grow larger than 10,000 people!

Besides street parades, a lot of clubs and hotels will offer Halloween themed nights which are similar to the halloween events in the US or UK. Everyone will dress up in costumes and there is usually a prize for best dressed!

All in all, Tokyo during Halloween is an incredible experience! Make sure to join a party, event or parade! This will allow you to both enjoy a new culture and country while keeping some Halloween traditions from back in your home country.

Halloween parade in Japan with a person dressed as a teddy bear and 2 girls in spooky costumes

Celebrating Halloween develops a sense of imagination, especially amongst kids. Halloween can also help in breaking myths or superstitions about ghosts. Of course, like all holidays, Halloween should also be enjoyed without too much thought and stress. After all, it is just a holiday. It is a day to enjoy with friends and have a good time! So, whichever country you will be spending your spooky season in this year, just know to enjoy yourself. How do you celebrate Halloween in your country? Let us know in the comment section so we can all have a read of traditions or cool stories!

Feeling inspired about your next adventure? Check out our other trips here.

tour Experiences

Pin It on Pinterest