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[Well-curated weekend] Halloween Korean style comes to town

Flashcal (Halloween in Hongdae)
Flashcal (Halloween in Hongdae)

The main street in the Hongdae neighborhood in Seoul -- a street bustling with young people near Hongik University – will be full of Halloween vibes this weekend, complete with a zombie parade, Halloween busking, DJ party, street dance contest and costume contest. Free cocktails and Halloween makeup will be offered at booths set up near Hongik University Station Exit No. 8.

The Halloween event will be held from Friday to Sunday. Halloween art market booths will sell handmade craftworks, accessories and food. You can take pictures at the photo zone with a full moon installation.

A zombie parade by Flashcal will start at 8:35 p.m. on Friday and at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday. The parade will be followed by a DJ party adding to the festive mood. The DJ party will begin at 9:20 p.m. on Friday and at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Fifteen teams will take part in Halloween busking, which will start at 6:15 p.m. on Friday and at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The highlight of the event, of course, is the costume contest – a total of 10 teams each will be shown Friday and Saturday, and the winner will be awarded 200,000 won. The contest will be held at 8:55 p.m. on Friday and at 8:35 p.m. on Saturday.

The street dance contest with a Halloween theme on Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. is definitely worth a visit. The winner of the street dance contest will receive a cash prize of 1 million won.

Further details on the second edition of the Halloween event can be found on the Instagram account hih.festival.

Poster for “K-Ghost Feast” (National Museum of Korea)
Poster for “K-Ghost Feast” (National Museum of Korea)

Spooky night with Korean ghosts at National Museum of Korea

On Saturday evening, traditional Korean ghosts and monsters will take over the National Museum of Korea, located in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul.

You can grab a map at the welcome booth and enjoy a spooky night at the “K-Ghost Feast.”

After sunset, eight actors dressed as traditional Korean ghosts and spirits from the country’s many folktales and legends will wander around the areas of the Mirror Pond at the center of the museum park.

There will be “dokkaebi,” a Korean goblin-like creature; “guardian of the afterlife,” a Korean version of the Grim Reaper; “Grandpa Mangtae,” a wicked old goblin who is known for carrying haunted creatures in his mesh bag; “Darkness,” a monster who grows bigger and bigger if someone watches it; and other ghosts. Spot all eight ghosts lurking around the venue and find out their hidden stories!

Hanji lanterns will be lit around the outdoor garden, and several photo zones will be set up. You can get your face painted at a makeup booth if you would like to spice up the party mood. Live house music at the DJ booth will also add a spooky atmosphere for the night.

Drop by a food truck to pick up some late-night snacks to fill your stomach. It will serve hot dogs, churros and beverages.

At 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., the ghosts and a "pungmul (Korean folk)" band will perform a “jisinbapgi,” which means treading on the gods of earth. It is a communal ritual in which villagers go around houses in a village to pray for peace and good fortune. By treading on the earth gods, the rite hopes to keep the spirits in place.

Admission to the festival is free. The party runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A video presents movement director and choreographer Jeon Young's demonstration of the bone-breaking motions of Korean zombies in
A video presents movement director and choreographer Jeon Young's demonstration of the bone-breaking motions of Korean zombies in "Peninsula" (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Zombie exhibition at Korean Film Archive

If you have recently become interested in Korean zombies after watching hit films or TV series like “Train to Busan” (2016), “Kingdom” (2019) or “All of Us Are Dead,” learn more about those bloody, bone-breaking creatures at an exhibition titled “All of Us are (Not) Zombies: 21st Century K-Zombie Chronicle” this weekend.

The Korean Film Archive’s latest exhibition will not surprise you with virus-infected zombies, but it will share interesting stories about Korean-style zombies.

About a 10-minute walk from Digital Media City Station Exit No. 9 on the Gyeongui Jungang Line or Subway No. 6, turn left toward the MBC headquarters, and you will soon see the Korean Film Archive building.

The free exhibition is open to visitors of all ages.

“All of Us are (Not) Zombies: 21st Century K-Zombie Chronicle” introduces a wide variety of foreign zombie projects, ranging from “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) to “28 Days Later” (2002), “Dawn of the Dead” (2004), “World War Z” (2013) and more.

Costumes worn by the actors in
Costumes worn by the actors in "Train to Busan" are on display at "“All of Us are (Not) Zombies: 21st Century K-Zombie Chronicle." (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Visitors can see the real scenario- and storyboards that were used in shooting the 2020 thriller film “#Alive,” a story about two survivors (played by Yoo Ah-in and Park Shin-hye) trapped in an apartment complex during a zombie apocalypse.

The zombie exhibition also features video interviews with the staff of “Train to Busan,” including director Yeon Sang-ho, movement director and choreographer Jeon Young, art director Lee Mok-won and more.

And if you are a Korean film buff, visit the Korean Film Archive’s permanent exhibition “Scenes of Korea” to learn more about 100 years of Korean cinema.

The Korean Film Archive is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.

“All of Us are (Not) Zombies: 21st Century K-Zombie Chronicle,” which opened Oct. 21, is scheduled to run through March 26, 2023.

By Park Yuna (
Hwang Dong-hee (
Lee Si-jin (
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Korea Herald daum