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Seven years ago, I took a wrong turn on the Internet and stumbled upon the insane world of Japanese Halloween costumes. The next year, I went deep into the underbelly of the German costuming industry and barely escaped with my life, and also one column. Finally, in 2008, having taken a vow to leave no insane costume behind, I went back.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Which is just one of the ways my life has paralleled John Rambo's.

It's taken awhile for me to regroup mentally, and since then not a Halloween has passed that I haven't spent shouting out the window at costumed children passing by. But I'm better now and, would you believe it, the Japanese aren't. Indeed, they're crazier than ever, and below I've gathered some of the nuttiest examples of what Japanese costumers have been up to in the past few years.

(For some of you, allow me to head off your criticism right away: There are obvious and significant cultural differences between the Japanese and us, and even a small amount of research would illuminate and explain why these costumes are less insane than they first might seem.)

(For the rest of you: Don't worry. I haven't done any of that research.)

28
Egotistical Jester

Rakuten

Generations of artificial selection (via beheading) have resulted in only the sturdy-headest of Japanese jesters remaining.

27
Off-Brand Batman

Bonhoo

The Japanese version of Batman is not incredibly wealthy and only battles crime to win the approval of the pillows he's used to replace his dead parents.

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26
Reluctant Tiger Hat

Rakuten

This may not be a Halloween costume, instead just a piece of fan paraphernalia for a Japanese baseball team. (The Leopards, I'm guessing.) But I found it on a costume website, so here it is. What I really like about it is the look on the guy's face, like he's cheering under duress. Like the fact that he's wearing a severed head isn't filling him with as much sporting pride as he'd first hoped.

25
Happy Cake Hat Lady

Rakuten

That's not the problem here. This cake hat is the greatest thing to ever happen to this woman. If it were possible (and this is Japan, so yes), she would have this cake hat's babies.

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24
Kermit Must Scream

Rakuten

Eye holes are an easy thing to get wrong when making masks, and no one gets it wrong harder than the Japanese. This looks like beloved children's character Kermit the Frog can't stop screaming because he's swallowed someone whole. It really can't be done any worse than this.

23
Gonzo Can See You

Rakuten

AHHHH. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. WHY DID I TEMP FATE LIKE THAT?

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22
The Cow Sees Everything

Rakuten

Here at last we have the eye holes in the right place, the right place of course being where they'll incite the most terror in strangers when you approach them offering delicious milk.

21
Limp Wig

Happycostume

Japanese rockabilly culture is a real thing, so this is less out of place than it seems. If I read that Japanese correctly (I cannot read Japanese), the wig also includes a little inflatable bladder that causes the hair to spring up when a pretty lady walks by.

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20
Business Horse Means Business

Rakuten

Business Horse, reacting to a sudden dip in the market that's wiped out his latest position.

19
Speak No Evil

Rakuten

I don't know what he's saying, but I can't imagine it's too savory. If it were me in there, it'd be nothing but crude boasts, so just imagine that, but in Japanese. Still, what the hell, Japan? What excuse could you possibly have for making a costume that's just a creepy mouth?

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18
Radio Star

Joaf

Actually, if you're starting with this, a lips-only mask does start to make a lot of sense.

17
Seduction Lantern

Joaf

To me, this seems to be less of a costume and more of a way to harass women from a couple feet farther away than normal, and it is, thus far at least, my favorite.

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16
Rudolph, Devourer of Worlds

Joaf

The Japanese lyrics to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" don't translate very well and warn revelers of his voracious appetite for eating young women whole.

15
Parasite Claus

CDJapan

In Japanese culture, Santa Claus is actually a parasite that infects one unlucky citizen every year, dooming his victim to carry Santa about, spreading Christmas cheer.

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14
Oni Mask

Joaf

This isn't the poorly thought out Elmo costume you might first suspect, but rather an Oni costume. (OK, I lied a bit about doing research.) Oni are mythical demons who bring bad luck and misfortune to unfortunate villagers. This particular Oni looks like it brings misfortune mostly by concealing a pedophile's identity.

13
Fe-Male Hu-Mon

Rakuten

I don't know why this is happening. I found it, and I had to share it, and now you have to share in my misery, knowing that every woman you've ever loved may have been one of these.

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12
Part Time Power Rangers

Joaf

Obviously in Japan (probably here, too) you can get full-body Power Ranger-like costumes in any color you want, but I chose to share these costumes with you because they are a) just the masks and b) clearly being worn by two software developers. What menace could the Auxiliary Rangers be getting ready to face?

11
Dr. Poison and Hatchet Brow

Joaf

These two.

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10
Bath Time Sauron

Joaf

If you've ever wanted a costume of a being of pure evil that's also mostly nude, I have somehow, despite all odds, found the costume for you.

9
Yellow Zentai

Happycostume

I can't talk about Japanese costumes without discussing zentai, which means "full-body suits." These originated in Japan, but have since been found all over the world, because man-camel-toe knows no borders.

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8
Pumpkin Zentai

Zentaizone

This man-camel-toe is at least seasonal.

7
Cop Zentai

Rakuten

Sassy Cop Zentai wants to know if you know why he pulled you over. "Because I was running from you," albeit the correct answer, will only make things worse.

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6
Monkey Zentai

Zentaizone

OK, I'm not having fun with these anymore. I'm going to stop now.

5
Dead Eyes Zentai

Zentaizone

WHY DIDN'T I STOP.

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4
Smurf Zentai

Bonhoo

I CAN'T STOP. THEY KEEP COMING.

3
Body Bag Zentai

Bonhoo

THIS ONE'S IMMOBILIZED AND YET SOMEHOW MORE TERRIFYING THAN THE REST.

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2
Clown Zentai

Lightinthebox

IF YOU HAVE ANY PETS, BRING THEM INSIDE IMMEDIATELY, BECAUSE THIS COSTUME EXISTS. SOMEONE PLEASE DELIVER US FROM THESE TERRIFYING JAPANESE COSTUMES.

1
The Ugliest Duckling

CDjapan

Oh, thank goodness.


Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and standing right behind you in a clown bodysuit. Join him on Facebook or Twitter to beg for your life.

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