TOKYO, Oct 31 – Scores of Marios, zombies and witches roamed the streets of the Japanese capital Tokyo on Sunday, transforming several city blocks into a huge Halloween street party.
The scary holiday has grown in popularity over the past decade and Tokyo police have struggled to keep the crowds of costumed revelers from disrupting traffic.
This year, police halted traffic in parts of the trendy Shibuya shopping district on the weekend and might do the same on Monday’s Halloween night depending on the crowd size.
“I wanted my son to enjoy his first Halloween,” said Mikako Hashimoto, a 36-year old housewife who was pushing a stroller through the crowd on Sunday night.
“I spent 5,000 yen (about $50) on candy to pass out to people, because Halloween is a time for giving and receiving, and having fun,” she said.
In the country that delights in “costume play”, there were plenty of creative examples on display.
A Pac-Man character pretended to devour anyone who posed for a photo inside its mouth. Two strangers in nearly identical homemade zombie bride costumes met and laughed before taking a selfie together and moving on.
A pack of high school girls dressed as Pokemon’s Pikachu character competed for attention with a group of men wearing white tutus and long-necked swan heads that towered above the crowd.
Ryota Koyama, a 27 year-old IT worker, dressed up as Japanese social media star Pikotaro, complete with pen, pineapple and apple accessories.
“Since Piko-Taro has become quite famous, I decided to wear a costume of him this year,” he said.
Squads of costumed volunteers picked up litter after news reports noted complaints of trash left behind by partygoers.
“Seeing the news that tons of trash were left here yesterday, we decided to collect garbage to do something good to enjoy Halloween,” said 25-year-old Zak, who led a group of red-suited trash collectors dressed as Nintendo Pikmin characters.