Halloween is my favorite holiday. And when I say favorite, I mean it. I spend the months before Halloween dreaming of costume possibilities. Then I spend the weeks after scouring the Internet for great ideas for the next year. However, as you might've guessed, Halloween isn't a big holiday in Korea. But, don't let yourself get discouraged -- you won't miss out on getting to celebrate! Here's a glimpse into what I got up to last year, as well as some events I'm eyeing for this year...
Last year's Halloween, like this year's, fell in the middle of the week. Luckily, everyone is completely into partying the weekend before the actual holiday, so there are always plenty of events to choose from.
Before hitting the town last All Hallow's Eve weekend, we attended an organized event called the Seoul Zombie Walk, which brought us to one of the popular party areas, Hongdae. The awesome part, however, was the fact that we started off at Seoul Forest, meaning we had to take the subway to get over to Hongdae. As zombies. Imagine a hundred or so zombies, stumbling around subway stations and cars, just... being zombies. For information about this year's event, click here. We had a lot of fun last year, so I highly recommend it!
Ready for some braaaaaiiiins!
Zombies as far as the eye can see...
Zombies take public transportation too, y'all. And other commuters don't care at all.
Many a zombie obliged humans who wanted to pose for a picture.
Then, on actual Halloween day, I was pleased to hear that the expat bars in my area of Incheon were having their own events. (Definitely something to remember for your respective areas!) And hey, even if there isn't something organized, if you and your friends want to dress up on the actual day of Halloween, just start your own party.
One spot was even having a costume contest, which my friend and I handily took first place in for our stellar Dia de los Muertos makeup. (We were celebrating that particular holiday a day early, technically, but it was still a lot of fun to do the makeup.) Our prize? A bottle of vodka, to be kept behind the bar for us. Not bad, eh?
The costume contest participants!
Finding an actual costume is definitely more difficult in Korea than it is back home, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. The Internet is always at your service, including Korea's Ebay/Amazon-type site, GMarket. In addition, there are a handful of Halloween supply stores scattered about, one of which got a great write up in Serg's recent blog entry -- I checked this same store out last year and it really is a good resource.
As for me, I'm going full DIY and taking inspiration from some pictures on Pinterest... Not going to give my costume away just yet, but keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram feeds for pictures of my Halloween celebrations this year. I'll do my best to document the madness.
This year, we're planning to head back to the Hongdae area. Last year it was packed full of people dressed up for the occasion, and I can only imagine that this year it will be even more popular. If you're looking for something to do, there seem to be plenty of events being advertised on Facebook all around Korea, such at this booze cruise and this dance party. Even better, most of the events I've come across seem to include a drink in the admission price, as well as some incentives for being in costume. (Read: free shots.)
Here are some super useful links with extensive lists of events this weekend for Korea's two biggest cities:
I was definitely concerned, upon moving to Korea, that my favorite holiday would be passed over with little to no fanfare. I can't explain why, but I just really, really love dressing up in costumes and doing crazy makeup. I quickly realized, though, that even though Halloween is still not nearly the huge holiday in Korea that is is elsewhere, you won't have any trouble finding a fun activity.
What are your Halloween plans this year? Do you know of anything awesome happening this weekend? Leave a comment below!
Between studying Japanese and Asian culture in university and setting her sights on a teaching career, it came as no surprise when Zannah Smreker announced that she was moving to South Korea to teach for Chungdahm Learning. In November 2011, Zannah accepted a position through Aclipse with the Yeonsu branch in Incheon, just southwest of Seoul. When she's not teaching, she keeps herself busy with exploring Korea, eating all the street food, and hunting down strange Engrish shirts. Check out her blog here for more of her adventures!