You can currently see plenty of halloween displays, food and goods for sale all over Japan, often in the least expected places, but the peak of Halloween is almost over. Halloween goods are sold as early as the end of August in Japan, but they also come off the shelves earlier than expected. You can already see Halloween goods being discounted in some of the larger foreign stores, such as Babies-r-us, a sure indication that they will be removed shortly. Similarly, the 100 yen shops typically cease to restock their halloween wares from the middle of October.
Apart from the costumes and knick knacks that are sold during September in Japan, you can also buy seasonal halloween food.
Now is the time to get a snap of the various halloween displays as chances are they will be gone by Halloween day.
For more on Halloween in Japan
See how international families in Japan celebrate here:
My hits this week from the search terms “Hina Matsuri Crafts” has encouraged me to showcase some more of our Hina Matsuri activities. This activity can actually be used for any occasion and thanks to the Daiso 100 yen store (dollar / euro store), it is easy to prepare and the materials are quite cheap. I reinforced body parts and colours with my 3 year old and 1 year old while teaching them more about the hina matsuri display and it’s contents. For more information on Hina Matsuri, Japan’s Doll’s Festival celebrated March 3rd, please visit japanniversary.com
“Drawable puzzle” from Daiso (other 100 yen shops may carry them too). Or paper, cardboard and scissors if you want to make your own puzzle board.
A pencil, pen and colours. Washable markers – see explanation below.
On the drawable puzzle use a pencil to outline a picture representing Hina Matsuri. I copied an image from a colouring page on http://nurie.ciao.jp/ a website introduced on Hiragana Mama’s blog. It is quite difficult to draw accurately over the lines where the puzzle pieces meet, so I was glad that I outlined in pencil first. I then went over in a thin pen, so the girls could see the lines when they were colouring it in. It is useful to either draw on to the frame of the jigsaw or write which end is up.
They were sharing a puzzle, that is why I suggest washable markers. I used a wet wipe over 1 year olds colouring to fix it up after so 3 year old would be happy with the finished jigsaw. It doesn’t get rid of it completely, but it fades the colour and it also worked out as a nice touch for the platforms rather than having to colour them in perfectly. Upon completion, the kids can enjoy making the puzzle or it makes a nice homemade present for the grandparents!
Just on a side note, those 100 yen drawable puzzles are a handy souvenir from Japan for children. We don’t have them at home in Ireland, that my friends or I am aware of, and the younger kids in the family and among friends really love receiving them. You can buy them in a pack of two 25 piece puzzles or a pack of one 40 piece puzzle; each pack only costs 100 yen.
There’s a great selection of Halloween goods at Daiso, one of the better known 100 yen shops in Japan. A 100 yen shop is roughly equivalent to a one pound/ euro / dollar store. They carry a huge range of goods most of which are quite decent quality. I took these photos covertly with an old mobile phone so the quality isn’t great, but you get an idea of the range available. One thing to note about Halloween produce in Japan; its stocked early, but they also take it off the shelves early too. I’ve been caught out a couple of times by waiting to the week before Halloween to shop for these seasonal items. This particular Daiso is in Wakaba Walk in Sakado.
4-year-old really enjoyed this craft, 2-year-old and 1-year-old just enjoyed playing with the wool. Simply roll some wool into a ball. Cut out bat shape wings, with a little extra so that you can weave them into the ball of wool, and stick on some eyes. You can add an elastic band cut to hang it and make it bounce.
This one is time-consuming, but it was worth it for the reaction of my kids to the finished product. They were so excited and delighted that I couldn’t get a good photo as they wouldn’t let the wreath out of their hands. I had planned for us to make three, but one was enough as I ended up doing most of the work! They lost interest as it was time-consuming, but they came back to it when it was time to put the finishing touches to the wreath.
We made the mini spider wreath using brown and orange wool, pipe cleaners, goggly eyes and part of a paper plate. I recycled material used for a previous craft, paper plate spider webs and bought both wool and pipe cleaners at the 100 yen store.
I cut a rim out of the discs I had cut out of the paper plates for the spider web craft. I wanted the wreath to be small as I knew the larger size would be too much for my 2-year-old, and has it turns out for my 4-year-old too. Simply wind the wool around the circular ring. It takes longer than I anticipated, even working with a small frame. We used two colours for a bit of fun.
The kids then added pipe cleaners by wrapping them around the spider, two each side to make 4 legs each side. You could glue or stick them, but I find with young children the easier the better. We added two eyes from a pack of 30 I bought for 100 yen at Meets, a 100 yen shop. 4-year-old cut an elastic band and I weaved it into a piece of wool I had intentionally left hanging around the spider’s bum! The next step would be to stick it to the front door,but be warned your kids might not let you get your hands on it again. Tonight our spider wreath is sleeping with our wildlife pets at the kid’s request!