Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quick Guide to Halloween in Korea

I. Love. Halloween.

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/trolling the Internet for great ideas for the next year. Unfortunately, Halloween isn't a big holiday in Korea. Giant seasonal costume stores don't pop up in empty storefronts and the grocery stores have a pitifully small section of Halloween items. It's basically all witch hats and cat ears. 

But, don't let yourself get discouraged, fellow expats in Korea -- 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...

halloween hongdae seoul zombie walk
Comin' to getcha.
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 Hallows' Eve weekend, we attended an organized event called the Seoul Zombie Walk, which brought us to 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 undead. For information about this year's event, click here. We had a lot of fun last year, so I highly recommend it! 

halloween hongdae seoul zombie walk
Ready for some braaaaaiiiins!  
halloween hongdae seoul zombie walk
Zombies as far as the eye can see...
halloween hongdae seoul zombie walk
Zombies take public transportation too, y'all. And no one cares.
halloween hongdae seoul zombie walk
So many pictures were taken with strangers -- all zombies were wonderfully obliging, though.
Then, on actual Halloween day, I was pleased to hear that the expat bars in my area 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.

expat halloween korea

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 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?

expat halloween korea
We win!
expat halloween korea
The costume contest participants!
Finding an actual costume is definitely more difficult in Korea than it is back home, since there's a lack of proper costume stores, 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 on the Aclipse Blog -- I checked this same store out last year and it really is a good resource. I have also heard rumors of a pretty decent on in Bupyeong. The times they are a-changin.' 

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. There seem to be plenty of events being advertised on Facebook, 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.)

Also, here are some super useful links with extensive lists of events this weekend for Korea's two biggest cities:
So, it's time. Start planning your costume(s), watch "Hocus Pocus," eat a lot of candy since you're too old for trick-or-treating, and get excited. 

Let's get weird, y'all. Happy (Almost) Halloween!

What are your Halloween plans this year? Do you know of anything awesome happening this weekend? Leave a comment below! 


  1. Haha you are my opposite, I hate dressing up for Halloween. Thankfully I don't live near Seoul, so no one is dragging me out to parties in my annual "tree" costume of a green shirt!

    1. I don't know why I'm so obsessed with Halloween, but I just can't help it, haha.

  2. You and your friends got some pretty awesome halloween make-up. Looks like you have fun with that train ride.