|Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween at Signature Hotel Seoul in 2017 / Korea Times file|
By Chantal Terblanche
You probably knew already that Halloween takes place on the last day of October, but here's something you might not know: The word itself literally means "hallowed evening," and was previously known to its early European celebrators as All Hallows' Eve ("hallows" meaning saints, those made holy or sacred). All Hallows' Eve (Oct. 31) and All Saints' Day (Nov. 1) both paid homage to saints. The name was eventually shortened to "Halloween."
Halloween in Korea is different from how it is known and celebrated in some European countries and North America, as there is not really a culture of trick-or-treating, outside of the occasional English academy party for kids. Adults do however enjoy dressing up and celebrating with their friends, often times spilling into the streets and walking around taking photos with everyone.
While Halloween will be a bit different this year with everything in Seoul still having to close at 10 p.m., here is a list of events suitable for foreign residents.
Halloween Burlesque Show: JJs Jazz and Funk Lounge in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, is hosting some spooky-but-sexy burlesque acts this Saturday. Doors open at 3 p.m. and the show starts at 4 p.m. Visit fb.com/ JJsJazzKorea for more information.
|An image promoting the Halloween burlesque show at JJ's Jazz & Funk Lounge in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonngi Province / Courtesy of Bryan Watkins|
The Studio HBC: "The Rocky Horror Show" is getting two screenings at this Haebangchon venue, first at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and again at 2 p.m. Sunday. Visit fb.com/thestudioHBC for more information.
Vineworks Book and Wine Club: The last Sunday of every month, this Sangsu-dong wine bar hosts a book and wine club meeting starting at 2 p.m. What you can expect: always a lot of food, good conversation and you get your own bottle of wine. That's right, there's no sharing of wine and you can take whatever's left home with you. Non-alcoholic options are available too, for those who like to discuss literature sober. This month's novel is "Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982" by Cho Nam-joo. Although the book isn't particularly Halloween-themed, the participants are planning to dress up to celebrate the day anyway. Visit fb.com/vineworkskorea for more information.
|A previous Vineworks Book and Wine Club Halloween meeting / Courtesy of Chantal Terblanche|
Halloween "Boo"rd Games! at The Dice Latte: It's that time of year again to dress up in costumes and play spooky games. Among the hundreds of games at The Dice Latte, a tabletop game cafe in northeastern Seoul, are dozens of horror-themed games. For those who choose to explore the Mountains of Madness or defend their small group of survivors from a zombie threat, tickets for raffle prizes within the game boxes can be found by playing. As an additional bonus, anyone coming in costume will get an additional ticket to win prizes. Visit fb.com/thedicelatte for more information.
Dark Side of Seoul Walking Tour: This is the side of Seoul that you won't find in the tourism brochures. Take a walking tour down the dark alleys of the city's mostly forgotten 600-year history of bloody massacres, seedy hideaways and mourning ghosts. Along the way they regale tales of Seoul's famous ghosts and murderers, weird and surprising landmarks and the ancient city's scandalous secrets. Some clairvoyants on the tour have even reported that they also have a few vaporous guests who join the tour. Visit darksideofseoul.com for more information.
Overnight Trip to PyeongChang with Adventure Korea: Adventure Korea is leading a fun-filled weekend excursion with a variety of activities out in PyeongChang County, Gangwon Province. Participants will go rafting on the Donggang River, crawl through caves and celebrate Halloween around the campfire. Guests are encouraged to dress up in costumes and be prepared to participate in games inspired by "Squid Game." Visit adventurekorea.com for more information.
Overnight tour to PyeongChang with G Shuttle: The G Shuttle Bus Tour also has its own overnight trip out to PyeongChang, headed for Yongpyeong Resort. Participants can choose between the mountain coaster and the luge, as well as visit an alpaca farm and ride the cable car up to the top of Mount Balwang. There will also be squid game-inspired games in the evening. Visit linktr.ee/gshuttle for more information.
Everland: Korea's largest theme park is holding its annual Halloween festival for the fourth year. Under the name "Blood City: Dark Xircus," it offers fun for everyone, including immersive games such as the Horror Amazon Express and Zombie Photo Spots.
Lotte World Adventure's Horror Halloween: This amusement park within Seoul will have a ton of horrifying Halloween festivities planned. Half of this theme park is indoors, so it's a good one to visit with kids. Events include a Halloween Party Parade (where candy is given out), zombie prison escape room, zombie theater and multiple Halloween-themed performances. Visit adventure.lotteworld.com for more information.
Seoul Land's Wicked Wonder Land: Out in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, Seoul Land invites you to enter the Wicked Witch's House, scan your QR code to find out if you're a witch or a wizard, get a cosmic consultation with Wizard Boy Mutterl, or dance the night away at the Luna Fiesta.
KOTESOL's Spooktacular Soiree: The REEL to REAL 2021 KOTESOL Filmmaking Festival & National Conference is hosting a Halloween-themed pre-party on Zoom, where every hour will be happy hour, from the comfort of your home. Visit kotesol.org for more information.
Halloween Special Rock 'n' Roll Party: A host of rock bands, including E'Sha, Error-B, Delrium and Mudeom, are playing a Halloween show at Rock 'n' Roll Wook's in southeastern Seoul's Jamsil area. Dressing up is encouraged. Visit fb.com/RnRwooks for more information.
Enjoy your Halloween weekend, prior to the easing of the limit on business operating hours that begins on Nov. 1. Stay safe and follow the required and recommended COVID-19 precautions.
|Large pumpkins are on display at Daegu Urban Agriculture Expo 2021, Oct. 7. / Yonhap News|
Chantal Terblanche, from South Africa, lives here with her dog, Samsung. She runs the blog ClumsyinKorea.com and the Korea Events group on Facebook.