The Plain Side To Halloween In Japan | Clozette

It’s October. It's the time of the year when the days begin getting shorter, the weather more unpredictable, and hyakkins (100 yen shops) start displaying a lot more orange and black items. Yup, October is also the month of Halloween.

When you see the photos of the throngs of crowds that threaten to overflow Shibuya each year, it’s hard to believe that the occasion only started getting more widely known in Japan about two decades ago, when Tokyo Disneyland first held its Halloween event in 1997. The way Halloween is celebrated in Japan differs from other countries, in that trick-or-treating isn’t commonplace. Instead, people dress up in all sorts of costumes and take it to the streets.

Seeing how Japan is where cosplay originated, it isn’t surprising that the costumes people dress up in for Halloween are generally of impressive standards.

The Halloween costumes each year also provide a peek into the trends in Japan for the year, like how more dressed up in Pokémon-related costumes in 2016, the year Pokémon GO swept the world.

But a different side of Halloween in Japan that began recently, and the side I secretly look forward to is #地味ハロウィン (jimi Halloween), which directly translates to “plain Halloween”. This refers to the group of people who still dress up in costumes, but in characters less obvious — mostly as slice-of-life characters that make you laugh when you finally figure out who they are (they usually need some explanation since they are so — for a lack of a better word — plain).

Jimi Halloween is said to have been started by Yuji Hayashi, the editor for Daily Portal Z in 2014. What started as a party for just about 30 friends grew into an event with over 800 participants last year.

What is it about Jimi Halloween that makes it so popular? It could be how easy it is to participate — no need for fancy costumes or elaborate makeup, just some creativity and a sense of humour. The best part? You could even just go in what you usually wear, as long as you can put a name or situation to your getup. Such as:

A leaked pen

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

So if you’re creative enough, no one will stop you from showing up in the exact same costume the following year, provided you put a different twist to it.

Here’re some of the participants from this year’s edition, for a taste of Jimi Halloween.

The left-hander who gets annoyed at soup bars at family restaurants 

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

Drinking a warm beverage

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

The person who took a shopping basket, but ended up buying less than expected

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

The person who got caught up in nostalgia while packing for a move and more

(Photo from: Daily Portal Z)

There's also the friend who was supposed to help but started reading a manga and another who started reading a manga instead of packing.

(Cover photo from: Daily Portal Z)

If you wanna go the more conventional route, try these Halloween costumes for your group.



Our “I Am Her” series features the female movers and shakers of the industry to learn how femininity and power coincide beautifully and seamlessly together.

When it comes to fashion, most people tend to focus on the creative side of things that allow the artistic expression of both the designer and the wearer. True, the eye-catching creations and the trends they start are part of what breathes life into the industry, but it’s really much more than that. Behind the glitz and glam is a world of business and analytics that is equally filled with inspiring passion as much as its creative counterpart. To know more about the other side of the coin, we had a chat with XIXILI’s Chief Marketing Officer, Tara Tan, whose work gives us a glimpse of the side of fashion that’s barely given the spotlight.

Tara Tan, XIXILI's Chief Marketing Officer

A homegrown Malaysian brand, XIXILI is known to uplift women by providing innerwear that’s comfortable, functional, and fashionable for all shapes and sizes. Having a retail and e-commerce background in the cosmetics and fashion industry, Tara helps with the brand’s expansion by conveying a message of empowerment to all women. Read on and see how it really all is from the point of view of a woman working behind the scenes to create fashion that’s comfortable and inspiring.

Fill in the blank: I am a marketer and _____.

"A risk-taker and a nature lover."

What do you love most about working in fashion marketing and retail? 

"What interests me is that it’s quite an innovative industry. There are lots of disruptions and changes — the culture today is different, the way businesses are run is different, and, therefore, the way we communicate is very different. With that, you get to look into different ways of doing things, analyse systems and processes, and innovate them into new processes." 

On the business side of fashion, what's something most aren't aware of?

"It’s not as fun or trendy as it might come across as — a lot of it does come down to analytics and data. But more importantly, the marketing side is also a place where you can send an empowering message. At XIXILI, for one, we’re able to convey a message to the community, to help make the women around us claim their right to feel confident in their own skin no matter how they may choose to present or define themselves." 

What are the biggest challenges you've faced in your career?

"Having an idea is great but executing an idea is incredibly difficult. One of the biggest challenges I sometimes face is being able to properly translate my thoughts and ideas to someone else so we can execute it. In that level, communication is key, but communication is also very difficult. Working in XIXILI, communicating the brand’s message to others is also a task, given that Malaysia is a very conservative country. Aside from that, we have to consider that our local and international market is made up of people that have different languages and cultures. And speaking to women of different cultures is very difficult — different people will perceive things differently. There’s a lot of limitations on what we can do. But that actually turned out to be a great thing, because it pushed us to be creative with what we do."

In what other ways does XIXILI help encourage women empowerment? 

"Aside from our extensive size range, we also offer other products like nursing undergarments and other accessories to help women be more comfortable with their body, health, and sexuality. This year, we’ve done fashion shows and it was the first time we included plus-size and pregnant models. We also organise drives to bring awareness to breast cancer." 

Let's talk about XIXILI's fashion show featuring women of all shapes and sizes. How does it feel to work behind the scenes of such an event?

"We had that idea for a couple of years now, we thought that maybe there’d be some kind of backlash, but we thought that conveying our message was more important. Still, it was hard for us to find people who’d be keen to walk the show. In Malaysia, we don’t have a lot of plus-size models who’d be willing to walk in lingerie — actually, for some models, it was the first time they’ve ever walked the catwalk so that terrified me before the show. But it actually went great. One of the models almost tripped and the crowd cheered for her. After the show, we heard positive comments. It was incredible to be part of it. It makes me so proud of the models, of the team who executed this, and of the audience as well who received it so well and showed so much support."

Work always comes with some challenges. How do you de-stress yourself from all that? 

"I actually turn off my phone for a few days and disconnect from technology for a bit. I’m a nature person so I love scuba diving, free-diving, sailing, hiking — I always go outdoors and return to nature." 

Can you share with us a tip on how ladies can boost their confidence?

"Know your strength and also know your weaknesses. If you have this level of self-awareness, you can go through life with confidence. You will be able to execute things. Knowing what you can do and can’t do, you’d know when to ask for help. And, of course, what you wear boosts your confidence. Wear the right clothes, wear the right lingerie, and wear the right fit."

Tara Tan

What are your Clozette essentials? 

"I actually always have a pair of t-shirts and shorts in my car. Some days in the office, we have to go to the warehouse to help out, and it’s hot so I have my t-shirt and shorts. Also, at night, when we go out because we live in a tropical country, t-shirt and shorts always help."

How would you describe your style?

"A little bit comfort, a little bit casual. I always wear blocks of colours and my outfits are very practical for what I do. I’m usually in a shift dress, but if I need to move from store to store for work, I’m in jeans, so I can move around and get things done." 

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Read more empowering stories of women here.



Each year, people get more and more creative with their Halloween looks. Our favourite celebrities are no exception. From pop culture moments and classic horror movie references to the most imaginative inspirations possible, here are our top picks from how the stars have dressed up for the occasion. 

Demi Lovato as Pennywise

The Sorry Not Sorry singer channelled two looks for Halloween. First, as Marie Antoinette. But her glammed up Pennywise is what really stole the show, in our opinion. Nailing the look from the hair to the makeup to the prop balloon, she's really putting the 'It' in lit for Halloween. 

Nina Dobrev and Lane Cheek as Chanel stage crasher escorted by Gigi Hadid

Talk about memorable celebrity moments parodied by other celebs. Nina Dobrev and her friend Lane Cheek decided to play it witty this year as comedian Marie S’Infiltre who crashed Paris Fashion Week's Chanel S/S 2020 runway and model Gigi Hadid who put a stop and escorted the stage crasher mid-walk respectively. 

Ashley Graham as Jessica Rabbit

The Who Framed Roger Rabbit character is an annual Halloween favourite among Hollywood celebs, and it's model Ashley Graham's turn this year. Ashley's resemblance to the animated bombshell is uncanny and we're totally loving how she's showing off her baby bump in Jessica's iconic body-hugging red dress. 

Stormi Webster as mum Kylie Jenner at the Met Gala

It seems like Kylie Jenner got a little more extra this year — just not with her own costume. Dressing her daughter Stormi Webster in a miniature version of her Met Gala dress from early this year — complete with a purple wig and a lot of fluff — the two-year-old looked exceptionally adorable. 

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler as Sally and Jack Skellington

Looks like the king and queen of stunning Coachella ensembles also know how to slay Halloween. Dressing up as Sally and Jack Skellington from Disney's The Nightmare Before Christmas, the lovebirds of seven years even referenced one of the most romantic lines in the film in their social posts. 

Heidi Klum as fireworks

What did the queen of jaw-dropping costumes, Heidi Klum, wear this year? Adding to her list of memorable looks for the occasion, she's clad in head-to-toe glitter this year, personifying fireworks. That's right! No character reference, no traditional Halloween inspiration, just straight-up glam in blinding glitter. We're already looking forward to how she's topping this off next year!

(Cover photo from: @ddlovato)

Looking for group costumes for you and your squad? We got you covered