How to Celebrate Halloween in Korea!

How to Celebrate Halloween in Korea!

HALLOWEEN IN KOREA

Are you in Korea for Halloween this year? Well, if you’re worried about what to do on this night of nights, you’ve come to the right place. We have a little list of events to check out, music to enjoy, and movies for a Halloween marathon.

Ready? Let’s go!

What Is Different about Halloween in Korea?

Halloween is celebrated almost everywhere in the world. Each country has its own traditions. South Korea is no exception. While some things are still the same, there are a few differences between Western and Korean Halloween Trick-or-treat isn’t a big deal for Koreans. You won’t see jack-o-lanterns or skeletons outside Korean houses. Of course, Western Halloween traditions are becoming more popular, but for the most part, trick-or-treating is more common at schools or expat houses.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

However, Koreans go wild in other ways. For example, they love costume parties and parades. And there are some creative costumes every year. Stores like Joy Party and Party n Deco sell fashion and craft supplies for everyone to enjoy.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Cafes and bakeries get in on the fun, too, with monster-themed cakes, cupcakes, and drinks. And if you’re looking for a fancy night out, Witch’s Kitchen has everything from a witch-themed interior design to a delightfully disturbing menu.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Fun and Frights!

Now that things are mostly back to pre-COVID, a lot of fun Halloween events are back. Here are some of the best ways to celebrate Halloween with family or friends this year. (We’ll exclude the popular Zombie Run Festival and Escape: Psycho Circus, since they’re still on hold.)

Everland

The biggest theme park in Korea with some of the grandest Halloween festivals. For kids, there’s Happy Halloween, running until November 20. Here, you can find beautiful gardens, a newly decorated Festival Train (renamed Spooky 199), and a “Wicked” costume parade.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

For older kids and adults, there’s “Bloody City 6 Express 199”. The theme park is transformed into an apocalyptic city designed by “Squid Game” artistic director Chae Kyung-sun. Visitors can ride (if they dare) Express 199, wander a Horror Maze, and fight against or as zombies. This event also runs until November 20.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Lotte World

Want your fix of zombies? Then head on over to Lotte World for the Halloween Horror Festival. You’ll watch zombie-themed performances, experience zombie-themed escape rooms and VR, and have plenty of opportunities for ghoulish photo ops. The Halloween Horror Festival is on until November 13, with both family-friendly and extra scary content.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Seoul Halloween Pub Crawl

Calling all foreigners: Hoping to celebrate Halloween with your fellow countrymen? Then head on over to Itaewon or Hongdae for some pub crawling. It’s a chance to take in some of the nightlife and get crazy with your costumes. Tickets sell out quickly, though, so hurry if you don’t want to miss out!

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

You might not be able to trick-or-treat, but you can still get some amazing Halloween snacks. Order your Seoulbox today for some scary good surprises!

Music of the Night

This next one's for you, K-pop lovers! We’ve assembled some of the spookiest hits from your favorite idols, showcasing haunting melodies, jaw-dropping visuals, and lyrics that will stick with you until next year. We’ve also included longer videos for a night of spine-tingling binge-watching.

VIXX: “Hyde” and “Voodoo Doll”

Let’s hear it for the Concept Kings of K-pop! With their third single “On and On,” this boy group started wearing impressive costumes and telling stories with their videos. Below are their more horror-related videos.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

VIXX released the music video for “Hyde” on their first anniversary, May 19, 2013. Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” VIXX gives us a sinister but catchy song. Both the lyrics and the video see the members wrestling with a dark version of themselves that wants to separate them from their lover.


VIXX followed “Hyde” up with “VOODOO DOLL” six months later, featuring a heavier rock sound and one of the scariest (and best) music videos in K-pop history. It’s something from a horror movie: needles, dolls, and a sinister love interest. The lyrics portray a toxic relationship, where the boy is willing to hurt himself to make the girl, he loves happy. It’s a memorable concept, and it won VIXX their first, and well-deserved, music show award.

Dreamcatcher: “Chase Me,” “Good Night,” and “BEcause”

From kings to queens. Nowadays, it’s not unusual for girl groups to debut with dark fantasy or horror concepts. But when Dreamcatcher debuted with “Chase Me” in 2017, it was a game-changer. Wearing Gothic-inspired outfits and incorporating rock into their music, the members presented a story in two parts. In “Chase Me,” a detective (played by Jo Dong-hyuk) enters a former academy to investigate paranormal goings-on.


In “Good Night,” the second single, he breaks into a mysterious room and thinks he’s discovered the girls’ secrets – until they turn the tables on him. This song opens with a music box-like melody and incorporates heavy guitars and distorted vocals. Dreamcatcher further explores this storyline in the videos for “Fly High” and “YOU AND I.”

Let’s skip ahead to 2021’s “BEcause.” In a video inspired by Jordan Peele’s 2019 film “Us,” the members play double versions of themselves and roam around an abandoned amusement park and house. The music is a mixture of head-banging and subdued, with haunting harmonies and another music box tune bringing the song to an unsettling end.

ATEEZ: “‘THE BLACK CAT NERO’ Halloween Performance Video”

Most of you probably know ATEEZ’s 2020 Halloween performance video for “Black Cat Nero.” But did you know that it’s a cover of a song by Turbo from 1995? ATEEZ’s version is part of the “Season Songs” project they did with Turbo member Kim Jong-kook in 2020-2021. Here, “Black Cat Nero” gets a heavy rock makeover, with chants, wolf howls, and smashing guitar riffs. Performing inside a church and cemetery while dressed as vampires, the group gave ATINYs a present they’re still remembering years later.


ONEUS: “‘Dance Monkey’ Stage Break”

ONEUS is an underrated boy group with amazing dance skills. We got a taste of it through their dance cover of Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey” in 2020. The video opens with the members wearing costumes reminiscent of Disney characters and a playful atmosphere. But after the first chorus, the lights go out, and it becomes less Disney and more “Five Nights at Freddy’s.” But don’t worry, things go back to normal at the end…or do they?


Going Seventeen 2020: Episodes 27 and 28 (“The Tag” #1 and #2)

Idols and haunted houses are nothing new. Throw Seventeen in, though, and you get a lot of chaos. These episodes feature many iconic moments, including DK’s meltdown, Hoshi spoiling the “Left & Right” choreo, and even a possibly real ghost sighting. There aren’t many scares, but there are plenty of laughs.

“The Tag #1” 

“The Tag #2”

SKZ CODE: Episodes 8 and 9

Stray Kids is another talented group that makes any situation more dramatic than it needs to be. Split into four groups of two, the boys go into different escape rooms, facing terrifying monsters to solve complicated riddles. Stay until the end as one unlucky member is forced to go back inside for a double dose of Halloween fright!

“Episode 8”

“Episode 9”

 

WANTEEZ 2022: Episodes 1-4

After their comeback “Guerilla,” ATEEZ delighted and confused fans with their newest WANTEEZ episodes. The teaser showed a zombie apocalypse, but the first three episodes featured a normal school with the members playing games. Then, in episode 4, they return to school at night, tasked with escaping the zombies – and finding the living dead hiding in ATEEZ. Will they succeed? There’s only one way to find out!

Episode 4 

Screams and Screens

Maybe you want a quiet night in. Or – gasp! – you’re sick and can’t go out. Don’t worry, you can still have fun with these Korean horror movies. Be warned: you might need to sleep with the lights on!

“The Wailing” (2016)

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

One of the most critically acclaimed Korean horror movies. Police officer Jong-goo goes to the village of Gokseong, where an infection is driving people mad and turning them against their families. Jong-goo’s involvement results in his daughter Hyo-jin becoming possessed. This is one film you don’t want to miss out on this Halloween.

“Train to Busan” (2016)

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about this movie. Seok-woo and his daughter are on a train to Busan to visit Seok-woo’s estranged wife. Their train gets overrun by zombies, and Seok-woo and the other passengers enter the fight of their lives. “Train to Busan” has an animated prequel (“Seoul Station”) and a sequel (“Peninsula”). It’s another film you need to add to your Halloween movie list.

“The Host” (2006)

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Before “Parasite,” director Bong Joon-ho made this hit. When the Han River is poisoned with formaldehyde, creatures appear and start kidnapping people. Park Gang-du’s daughter is one victim; he tries to rescue her and bring attention to the River’s dangers. But there are some people who want him silenced. Despite themes criticizing both the American and South Korean governments, “The Host” was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed films that year.

“Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum” (2018)

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

A found footage movie made in a real haunted location? Count us in. This film centers on a group of people live streaming inside the Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital. Unsurprisingly, they are picked off, one at a time. “Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum” was the third most-watched Korean horror film that year, but it had some unintended consequences. Lee Seung-wook, who debuted in the film, left the entertainment industry shortly after its release. Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital was demolished on May 28, 2018. Coincidences? Maybe, maybe not.

“A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003)

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Based on a Joseon-era story, “A Tale of Two Sisters” is the highest-grossing horror film from South Korea. It follows Su-mi, her little sister Su-yeon, their father, and their new stepmother Eun-joo, who live together in the countryside. This movie has some unexpected twists that will leave you stunned and unsettled long after the credits roll.

“Whispering Corridors” series (1999-2021)

We can’t forget the OG series that brought Korean horror to mainstream audiences. Inspired by urban myths, the harsh education system, and other taboo topics, the movies aren’t directly linked but have similar themes: students in an all-female school dealing with the supernatural. If you want to dip your toes into South Korean horror, these movies are a good start.

(“Wishing Stairs” (2003)/Credits to the rightful owner)

Looking for a k-drama to watch this Halloween? Check out this blog for some spooky picks.

What do you think of these Korean Halloween traditions? How do you celebrate in your home country? Tell us in the comments and have an awesome Halloween!

Author: SUJI SOHN

About the author: Suji was studying in London in the year 2019 and, although being separated from her family, her passion for Korea was growing. She noticed that a lot of her close friends loved Korean culture, food, music, and dramas and gradually started to fall in love with Korea, but there weren't many opportunities to actually "experience" this wonderful nation!

Suji was aware of what she needed to do to introduce Korea to her friends' lives and, conceivably, to those of everyone else who was curious about a piece of Daehan Min-guk.

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