October already? Time flies, and with Halloween just around the corner, it’s the perfect moment to brainstorm some funny Halloween costume ideas. Instead of the usual suspects, why now draw unique inspiration from Asian folklore and TV shows? We’ve compiled a list of mystical roles that would definitely stand out!
This page contains some horror images.
No-Face from "Spirited Away"
First, we want to introduce No-Face, an enigmatic figure from the award-winning film “Spirited Away,” directed by the acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki. At first glance, No-Face appears as a shadowy, transparent spirit, identifiable only by its mask and simplistic expressions. As the story unfolds, this character shows the longing for acceptance and the dangers of unchecked consumption.
What makes No-Face so appealing as a Halloween costume? For starters, its design is both minimalistic and impactful — a striking balance that captures attention without overwhelming the observer. Also, the character’s mysterious aura plays well with the spooky themes of Halloween, providing just the right amount of eeriness.
Japanese Priestess (Kikyo from "InuYasha")
Stepping away from the world of Studio Ghibli, let’s talk about the iconic figure of the Japanese priestess, or “miko.” These women, often seen at Shinto shrines, are instantly recognizable by their attire.
The quintessential miko garb is characterized by a white kimono-style top paired with a vibrant red hakama (a type of long, divided trousers). Often complemented by white or red hair ribbons and traditional footwear, the ensemble captures attention with its simplicity and elegance.
Kikyo in “InuYasha” stands out as one of the most renowned fictional miko. Originally a protector of the sacred Shikon Jewel, Kikyo is intertwined in a tragic tale of love and betrayal with the half-demon, InuYasha. She grapples with emotions we’ve all felt—love, jealousy, betrayal, and redemption. These layers to her character make her resonate with audiences. Beyond her story, Kikyo’s attire perfectly reflects traditional Japanese miko clothing.
If you’re seeking a costume that combines Japanese tradition, elegance, and a touch of mysticism, the priestess, depicted through Kikyo, is a captivating choice.
Kuchisake-onna or Slit-mouthed Woman
Thirdly, let’s dive into a more chilling legend from Japanese folklore: the Kuchisake-onna, or the Slit-mouthed Woman. In contrast to our priestess, this tale is less about ethereal beauty and more about the spine-tingling mysteries of the urban landscape.
The story usually starts on a quiet evening. An individual might be walking home when a woman wearing a surgical mask approaches. Given that wearing masks is common in Japan, especially during cold or flu seasons, one wouldn’t typically find this alarming.
She stops you and asks, “Am I pretty?” Should you answer “no,” her wrath is swift and deadly. She would kill the person with a pair of scissors, a tool she always carries.
If you respond with “yes,” she takes it further. Revealing her grotesquely slit mouth, she poses a second question: “How about now?” Answering “no” this time usually ends with the person being cut in half. However, saying “yes” isn’t a safe escape either. In her twisted sense of justice, she believes that if you find her beautiful, you should share in her appearance. She proceeds to slit the person’s mouth, mimicking her own disfigurement.
The Slit-mouthed Woman costume also offers an opportunity for creativity. With makeup and effects, one can recreate the chilling appearance of her infamous mouth.
Chinese Hopping Vampire from "Mr. Vampire"
In China, one of the unique supernatural beings is the Chinese Hopping Vampire, or “Jiangshi” in Mandarin. This creature is notably popularized by the film “Mr. Vampire.”
The Jiangshi is often described as a reanimated corpse that moves by hopping. Unlike the Western concept of a vampire, the Jiangshi cannot move or talk like a human. Its appearance is a fusion of horror and tradition: pale skin, huge dark circles under the eyes, rigid stretched arms, and often dressed in official garments from the Qing Dynasty.
Totally devoid of humanity and rationality, these creatures harbor resentment because they died with unresolved issues. They often possess supernatural strengths, like being super aggressive, incredibly strong, immune to weapons, and resistant to decay. It is also said that a human can become a Jiangshi by exposed to its poison.
The Jiangshi offers a unique blend of horror and comedy, making it a versatile choice for Halloween. You can hop into the party and give your friends a unique Jiangshi shock!
Monkey King from "Jurney to the West"
Monkey King, or “Sun Wukong,” originates from the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” a novel written in the Ming Dynasty. He was born from a mystical stone, possessing immense strength, speed, and the ability to transform into various forms. His mischievous nature led him to rebel against the celestial order, earning him a feared reputation among gods, humans, and demons.
The legend of Sun Wukong has also permeated modern culture, featured in the recent Disney+ TV series “American Born Chinese.” In this series, the character of Sun Wukong, portrayed by Daniel Wu, becomes intertwined with a regular American teenager, unfolding an adventure with many Chinese mythical figures.
For Halloween, the giant monkey outline of Sun Wukong offers a fresh, humorous take amid the usual spooky ambiance. You can also wear golden Chinese armor or hold a staff-like weapon to mimic the legendary battle image of Monkey King.
Chinese Ghost Bride
The Ghost Bride, known in Chinese culture as a part of the “Minghun” or “spirit marriage,” is a woman who is posthumously married to a deceased man. These marriages are often for various reasons, such as young couples separated by death, or familial obligations requiring heirs. The ceremonies are elaborate, mirroring that of the living.
According to stories, those ghost brides would visit their families, friends, or their still-living betrothed in dreams, expressing love, sorrow, or seeking justice for a wrongful death. It is also said if a family marries an unknown girl’s body with their deceased son, that girl may become a ghost bride to retrieve her freedom and seek chances for revenge.
The traditional Chinese wedding dress and hauntingly beautiful makeup make the Chinese Ghost Bride stand out in a sea of ghouls and witches. If you want to catch many eyes this Halloween, the Chinese Ghost Bride can be a good option.
The Doll from "Squid Game"
Finally, let’s pivot to the tension-filled world of the Korean drama “Squid Game.” The doll in this drama show is a towering figure with a childlike appearance. It plays a pivotal role in the first game of the series, “Red Light, Green Light.” Equipped with advanced motion detection technology, the doll can scan for players who move when they shouldn’t. Players caught moving during “Red Light” will meet a fatal end.
What amplifies the doll’s eerie presence is its juxtaposition: an innocent-looking child figure in a dangerous game of deadly stakes. Its cute robotic voice contrasts starkly with the chilling consequences for those who fail.
If you are a fan of South Korean culture, the doll from “Squid Game” is the showstopper for you on Halloween. Without much makeup, the cute costume with its horror background story will show a timeless theme of juxtaposing innocence with eeriness.