Kawasaki Halloween Parade
Don’t get the blues over drinking being banned in Shibuya, Kawasaki is where the real ghouls party.
- 2019 Dates: Main parade Oct. 27; Horror Movie Screenings Oct. 26
- Parade: 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. After party until 10 p.m.
Long before people started getting rowdy and flipping over cars in the streets of Shibuya for Halloween, Kawasaki was the place to party. This humble city in Kanagawa Prefecture has been hosting its annual Halloween parade since the late ‘90s and over 100,000 people gathered to watch in 2018.
From the creative to the absolutely terrifying, the costumes get better and better every year. Hop on the train for about 30 minutes from Shibuya, and you’re ready to get spooky.
Usually held on the last Sunday in October, the Kawasaki Halloween Parade takes place around Kawasaki Station and the La Cittadella shopping area. Participants go all out, and for good reason—the best costume gets a ¥500,000 prize!
The parade culminates in a free after party at La Cittadella where live DJs play tunes into the night amidst pole dancers and drag queens strutting their stuff on stage. The 2019 event also features a scary boat cruise from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Register in advance if you want to join the parade, or simply line up along the street to watch. There’s prime seating available for ¥3,000, but it’s not necessary to enjoy the spectacle. If you do decide to participate, note that registration is limited to only 2,000 people, so you’d better sign up fast.
Horror movies, face painting and more
If you’re not into parades and dance parties—though we’re not sure why you wouldn’t be—Kawasaki’s Halloween celebration includes horror movie screenings and family-friendly events too.
Catch the all-night horror movie marathon including classics like Hellraiser and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Oct. 26 from 7 p.m. until around 2 a.m. the next morning!
For old school horror enthusiasts, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin will be performing soundtracks of Dario Argento’s classics Suspiria and Tenebre synchronized to screenings of the films on Oct. 25 and 26 as well.
The kiddies can enjoy face painting, a bouncy house, and a family Halloween runway.
Since the semi-final match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will be taking place in nearby Yokohama on the same night of the parade, many bars and restaurants in the area will be showing the game on big-screen TVs. Check the Kawasaki Halloween official website for a full schedule of events, including a list of which establishments will be showing the RWC games!
See the parade in the afternoon and then dance the night away surrounded by creatures of the dark. We hope you’ve got the soul for getting down.
Looking for more places to party for Halloween? Check out our list of the best Halloween parties in Japan!