October 31. Halloween. My favorite holiday. Filled with trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses, scary stories, and horror movies. Bring out your dead.
Watch out for the ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches, vampires, spiders, blood, candy, and my favorite: skulls. And zombies. And Vampires. And…. My Halloween decorations rival my Christmas decorations. When September started, I asked my husband when I could begin setting up for Halloween. He said he didn’t care.
It’s an excuse to dress up, have candy in the house, and beware of things that go bump in the night. Throw a party, scare off some spirits, and watch the Lost Boys.
In my pre-Seoul existence I would frequent Target, Marshalls, Ross and the temporary Halloween stores for my spooky holiday festooning needs. If you have base access, there is a limited supply of costumes and decorations – but if you just need more…. braaaaaains……
The Halloween store outside of Sadang Station.
One windy and rainy morning, a group of women braved the cold and wet to find a place that would make their Halloween Dreams come true. We arrived at our destination with a bright orange sign beckoning us downstairs. Slowly we descended the steep (über not-stroller-friendly) stairs.
And entered the Halloween Store.
Like other basement stores, this one is small, packed, and an adventure. Go with friends and an idea of what you want to find. Or, just go and enjoy the things you never guessed you’d see. The walls and shelves are packed from floor to ceiling. There are decorations, masks, costumes… everything from fun to funny, and spooky to weird.
Be prepared to climb over boxes on the floor, dig for what you want and ask questions. The women working there were very helpful, especially about showing us specific things and offering prices when we couldn’t locate them. Their English was very good and they were very helpful. Ask for a basket; put your archaeology hat on and get digging. [Insert witty pun about “being able to buy and archaeology costume if you don’t have one” here.] Look up, down, behind you, and underneath things you already looked at. Ask your friends to keep an eye out for things you want. The store is incredibly full of ghoulish goodness. I found two of my favorite things right as I was checking out because I had missed them the first time around. They have several items on display which are also for sale. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Walking in, there are aisles with decorations and costumes. On the far right is the kid’s costume area, and adult costumes were peppered throughout the aisles and along the ENTIRE back wall.
The store offers adult costumes, as well as decorations. Great for a classroom or a theme party. There was a small section of kid’s costumes, and even smaller for toddlers and below. Most of the kid’s costumes were based on super heroes and Disney movies although there were a few that were more generic like a fireman or fairy.
As for adult costume: there were traditional ones, doctor, sailor, vampire, witch, along with super heroes and fairy tale characters. Several versions of the Harry Potter costume were available including multiple robes, ties, wands, wizard house pins, and glasses. Costumes were packaged, usually with a picture listing the contents, a description, and a size. Most adult costumes came in sizes Small and Medium. A few I saw were labeled Large and XL. My friends were able to take the costumes out and try them on at the front of the store with the help of the saleswomen but there aren’t really dressing rooms available. Most of the costumes seemed to run on the small side, and I didn’t see a lot that would fit a plus sized girl like me. Try them on before just in case.
Turns out the costumes can be rented for much cheaper than purchased. From what I remember it was something like 70,000 for a costume to buy and 40,000 to rent. (Just an example not a specific number.) I think that’s a great option. Rent away!
My toddler loves decorative headbands which are rampant all over Seoul. This was the perfect place for them. They were reasonably priced (between 2, 000 and 5,000 won a piece) and a lot of fun. I bought several for her (and me).
In the end, it was a great experience. I got some scary decorations to add to my collection. Including the aforementioned headbands, crazy sunglasses, several battery operated glow sticks for lighting the way, a giant spider web, and a realistic looking human skull. The giant spider web stretches over my hallway from floor to ceiling and around the corner. It was 9,000 won and came in black or white. The skull was 20,000 won and is my absolutely favorite thing ever. It’s not particularly heavy but it is pretty close to actual size and looks quite eerie.
Last parting words:
Due to the small spaces and narrow steep stairwell, I wouldn’t suggest bringing small children. My toddler would have ran through pulling things off the shelves and getting lost in the shuffle. Bring your school age kids and let ‘em pick out their own costume. Just make sure you come out with as many people as you brought in.
Have patience, and get ready for the Great Pumpkin!
Subway Line 2, Line 4: Sadang Station Exit 14
Go out of exit 14 and continue forward several blocks until you see a large wall along your left side. Continue to the three-way intersection. Turn left and immediately cross over the crosswalk to the other side, turn left, and immediately turn right down the first alley/side street. You will see a large hospital called Yonsei Love Hospital 연세사랑병원 on the left.
Halloween (with an orange sign in Korean) and their website in English is about 20m down the side street on your right, in the basement.
Won or Credit Cards accepted.