By: Michelle Power
In the years prior to your arrival in Korea, you may well have thought that your days dressing up for Hallowe’en were numbered, but if you want to get the most out of your Korean experience and go make some new friends, dust off that Zorro mask, get ghoulish and make your way to one of the many Hallowe’en parties or festivities happening across the country.
Whilst Hallowe’en isn’t officially celebrated in Korea beyond foreigners and kids, it is becoming more popular. This might have something to do with the surge of foreign workers in the past few years. Just because it is still fairly low-key, is no reason to hold you back and there is plenty to do especially if you are based in Seoul. Bars and clubs all over the capital will be popping with various kinds of costume parties, Hallowe’en themes and ghoulish festivity so in lieu of trick-or-treating you can still go door-to-door (or bar-to-bar!) as the case may be.
Whilst there are plenty of Hallowe’en parties, ultimately it is the expat bars that make the most effort to capture the spirit. If you are in Seoul, Bar Rouge is always a good night. Check listings for Dillingers Bar & Grill and Hollywood Grill, Itaewon; both usually host great Hallowe’en parties. If you are looking for some action in Gangnam, try Club Mass, who host an annual Hallowe’en party.
Outside of the capital, all the popular ex-pat bars, clubs and pubs will be hopping. The streets of Busan and Daegu are usually peppered with all sorts of random sights and dressed-up ‘waeguks’ (Korean word for foreigners) enjoying Hallowe’en revelry. Thursday Party will have a festive party with drink specials and “best costume prizes” in Daegu. Over in Busan, The Wolfhound always throws a big bash and Hallowe’en sometimes coincides with the big fireworks festival in Gwangali, which is definitely worth checking out. You might have to dig deeper or make your own fun in smaller cities but a quick check of local listings will put you on the right track.
If hitting up bars and clubs is not to your taste, there are plenty of other ways to mark to occasion. If you teach the younger ones you really can have some fun! Most English Hagwons and private academies hold Hallowe’en parties.
Beyond the classroom, you can head to Children’s Grand Park in Seoul where most years you will find a rather impressive automated ghost house, filled with mechanical demons and monsters. The wax museum in the 63 Building houses the requisite Hall of Horrors, featuring awesome high-quality gore effects and live actors.
This year’s Everland Hallowe’en party promises to be a bloody affair with a Walking Dead themed event, whilst Safari World has been turned into Zombie World! Or check out the Lotte World Hallowe’en festival, which is on for a staggering 66 days- so you have no excuse for missing it!
If pumpkin-carving is your bag, finding traditional pumpkins here can be tricky and expensive, so why not try carving a traditional Korean cooking pumpkin instead?
And lastly, a final (and perhaps my favourite) option, is a night of horror movies, in particular the Korean variety! Round up your posse for a night of gore and fun at a DVD bang; most have massive selections of horror flicks so you can settle in for the night with your mates and frighten yourselves senseless!