Category Archive for Alternative Canada

Spellman House: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch! Tokyo Station Character Street cute stores guide.

sabrina teenage witch halloween costume

“Ooo I put a spell on you… Because you’re mine.”

This Halloween, I got witchy at Spellman House — a special popup event to celebrate the launch of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV series!

Read on for my haunted tour of Sabrina Spellman’s manor. At the end, I have a shopping guide to Tokyo Station Character Street — where you can buy kawaii goods featuring all your favorite mascots, from Miffy to Hello Kitty!

spellman house sabrina netflix cecil green ubc

We 90s girls grew up watching the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV sitcom. Rob and I also read the strips by the makers of Archie Comics, which debuted in 1962. The storylines follow the adventures of teen half-mortal Sabrina, who lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda and learns to use her powers of sorcery.

sabrina spellman baxter high school lockers

We wore witch outfits to pay tribute to Sabrina Spellman and her coven. Instead of black cat Salem, I have a google-eyed furry as my familiar!

I’m wearing a long black and purple witch dress with cape, buckles and pointed hat — similar to this Halloween costume.

See more witch and sorceress costumes below:

sabrina popup event launch party netflix

The Sabrina pop-up took place at Cecil Green Park House, an event space in UBC (University of British Columbia) Vancouver. The elegant Tudor mansion was Goth-ed up with skulls, candles, antlers and other spooky delights.

satan halloween costume chilling adventures sabrina

At #SpellmanHouse #CAOS, visitors can take part in various installations or activities. Before entering, we received a video greeting from Kiernan Shipka, the blonde leading actress of the new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina show. We then signed our names in blood red, in the Book of the Beast.

In the patio, we encountered the black-hooded Dark Lord, casting spells over his pentagram. This evil queen made him give up his throne chair for a photo.

netflix sabrina launch party popup spellman mortuary

One of the mansion rooms contained makeup stations, where guests could try Sephora makeup. Rob got a black lip stain, and red pentagram nail art.

sabrina netflix spellman house vancouver

The Cecil Green library contained a set-up of tarot cards. We picked one red card, marked with a pentacle, and found out which animal was our familiar (cat, owl, spider, etc). Then, you could get a temporary tattoo in the shape of the familiar – I got cat, and put it on my chest.

sabrina black cat salem netflix

I was psyched to attend the launch party, as I’ve been watching the new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. No animatronic kitties in this show: it’s a dark, adult, bloody take on the Sabrina tale, much like the recent revamp in the comic books.

sexy witch costume purple black hat dress

The organizers went all out to make the venue look like Spellman Mortuary, including hanging an identical sign outside the door. The Sabrina show is shot in Vancouver, so it’s fun to be part of the Greendale / Riverdale universe (Cheryl Blossom’s home in the Archie show is this Cecil Green manor.)

Everyone received a special-edition poster and drink ticket, which they could turn in for a themed cocktail at the bar. It was fun to sip a green or purple potion, surrounded by taxidermy critters, antique chairs and fireplaces.

witch costumes sabrina chilling adventures spellmanhouse

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble… In this room, guests could smell and try various essential oils.  There was also a display of poisonous ingredients to concoct a potion.

One of the best activities involved dramatically walking down the hallways of Baxter High (Sabrina, Harvey and Roz’s high school), while being filmed in slow-motion. The GIF is then emailed to you (see mine above and on Youtube). Alas, the wind blew my witch hat off my big head… but you just have to keep on werking that catwalk!

anpanman plush toys

As promised, we’ll finish off with a tour of Japan’s Character Street. Tokyo Station used to be a nothing-land, and my friends and I never hung out in this area. However, the station has been expanded and renovated. It now contains tons of exciting food, and dozens of shops dedicated to cute characters.

Now, Tokyo Station is the best place in the city to shop for kawaii character goods in one place! There is an entire level with stores for every mascot you can imagine (Anpanman, Hello Kitty, Pokemon, and some I’ve never heard of). The boutiques sell limited edition items as well, which can only be bought at Tokyo Station.

aggretsuko shop tokyo japan goods

To get First Avenue Tokyo Station, take the subway here and then look for Yaesu North exit. Go down the stairs, and you’ll be greeted by Kirby, Aggretsuko and other cuties. (The pink Nintendo star is wearing a conductor’s cap, as many of the special goods are train-themed).

Before you whip out your wallet, I recommend that you begin at the Tax Free booth on the level above. Bring your passport, as they’ll need to register you. Then, you can buy whatever your heart desires without sales tax!

miffy style shop tokyo station

As you might guess, my main goal was to visit the Miffy Style store. The X-mouthed rabbit is by far my favorite mascot. At Miffy’s Tokyo Station Character Street shop, you can find limited run items that aren’t available anywhere else or online.

miffy bunny japanese stuffed toys

Miffy is actually a Dutch bunny, designed by Dick Bruna. She’s arguably the first ‘kawaii-style’ character, arriving on the scene even before Hello Kitty. I’m obsessed with the minimalism of the design.

miffy home design tokyo store

Tokyo’s Miffy Style store is bursting with plush toys of the bunny in all her incarnations. There she is as a Hankyu Line train conductor, with a bent ear, and sleeping peacefully on her side!

In addition, you can find Miffy-themed cookies, fine jewelry, stationery, baby clothes, home decor… and even designer trash cans.

miffy style japan dick bruna rabbit

I couldn’t resist buying a few things here. I got a Miffy phone case, a daruma charm, and water bottle with her image.

Japan actually has a few Miffy Style locations, as the bunny has been more prominent here in recent years. However, the Tokyo Station one will have items that you can’t get anywhere else, so I encourage you to come here.

(You may remember I also visited Miffy Amsterdam shops and the Nijntnje / Miffy museum in Utrecht. Unfortunately, all the Hong Kong Miffy 2% stores have closed down, so Japan and Holland are the two best places to get souvenirs.)

tokyo station pokemon shop pikachu

One of the most popular boutiques is the Pokemon Store, which was packed with fans trying to “catch em all.” Train conductor Pikachu welcomes the crowds, while Mimikyu stuffed toys hide in the back.

hello kitty shop tokyo station

No “Character Street” would be complete without the Japanese queen herself. The Hello Kitty shop is easy to spot, with its all-pink color scheme and big bow logo.

Tokyo Station has tons of items for both adults and children, such as this Hello Kitty Furla purse and Sanrio clothing. Click below for more of my picks:

pom pom purin stuffed puppy sanrio

Too cute, too cute! The Sanrio store has plushies and character goods for Pompompurin, Bad Badz Maru, and other characters from the Hello Kitty multiverse over the years.

tokyo character street hello kitty store

You can’t find Hello Kitty in a Japanese train conductor suit or Japanese sailor schoolgirl (seifuku) uniform anywhere else.

bonobono nintendo splatoon sanrio character street

Tokyo Station’s Character Street shops are constantly changing, and there are always interesting temporary pop-ups. When I visited, there was a collaboration with Bonobono the mellow sea otter in the works. One stall sold mashup products between Sanrio’s mascots and Nintendo video game Splatoon. (Look at My Melody’s evil-looking mask, in the poster!)

san-x cute kawaii food desserts

The bakery Mimi et Bon in Marunouchi is famous for its creamy cheese tarts. They teamed up with Sumikko gurashi to produce these adorably decorated pastries, which can be purchased individually or in gift boxes.

yellow Sumikkogurashi prawn tempura

The Sumikko Gurashi shop also sells items featuring these squishy characters — like the yellow prawn tempura!

japan rilakkuma shop bear

As you can see, there are so many kawaii shops in Tokyo Station Character Street… My head began to spin at the overload. I ducked into this one to pursue a “Happy life with Rilakkuma.”

rilakkuma store tokyo station

Rilakkuma is loved around the world. It’s possible to fill your office, home and kitchen with goods entirely featuring the relaxed bear.

snoopy town tokyo station boutique

From Boobo Pig to Snoopy Town, there’s a character that appeals to everyone, no matter where or when they grew up. It’s easy to go broke here, as there is an outrageous amount of cute goods for sale in each shop.

snoopy peanuts olaf dog stuffed animal

I have nostalgia for the Peanuts cartoons and movies. I always cheered for Olaf, Snoopy’s plus-sized brother caught with cookies in his paws!

Click the images below for more Snoopy goodies:

moomin tokyo japan store

Walking around Character Street brought back memories of travels over the years, like visiting the Moomin stores in Finland. The Scandinavian creature is well-loved in Japan.

totoro shop tokyo character st

The Ghibli / Totoro shop looks fittingly like a forest, and sells enticing items like a No Face sushi set.

kawaii cute penguin koupen chan japan

There are dozens of shops in Tokyo Character Street, some featuring lesser-known mascots. The penguin Koupen Chan has an 1980s pastel vibe that drew my attention.

kapibarasan shop tokyo cute

How sweet is the smiling Kapibarasan, a capybara that lets a panda ride on his back.

nameko chiba tokyo mushroom mascot

I had never heard of Nameko Chiba, a dopey mushroom mascot, or the pink-haired magical girl on the right. There are some weird and obscure characters in the mix…

I couldn’t possibly photograph everything, so you’ll have to visit Tokyo Station First Ave Character Street to see the cuteness for yourself. Fair warning, you’ll experience agony at not being able to buy everything in sight!

tokyo sailor moon store harajuku laforet

The only character missing from Tokyo Station is Sailor Moon. However, she has a Sailor Moon store at Laforet Harajuku, where you can pick up a Luna hoodie or seifuku school uniform.

See below for more Sailor Moon items:

sailor moon nail art gel nails luna artemis scouts

I leave you with my Sailor Moon nail art by Glam Nail Studio! This Vancouver BC nail salon remains at the top of their game. They gave me gel nails with the school uniforms of Usagi and her Sailor Scouts, plus the cats Luna and Artemis, and crescent moon 3D gems. (My Sailor Moon ring is Sapphire Studios.)

For more Japanese cuteness and shopping guides, check out all my Tokyo travel articles.I hope you had a fun Halloween!

Hail Halloween! Stephen Einhorn bee pendant jewelry, Morph8ne Gothic fashion, Stanley Park Ghost Train.

gothic fall outfit spooky halloween clothing

“I always feel like somebody’s watching meeeee… Who’s playing tricks on me?”

Halloween is near, and I finally feel like I’m back in my element! The summer heatwave was too long and intense for this Goth. Big sigh of relief that sweater weather has arrived.

This is the time to gather up your friends, and enjoy Halloween festivities while they last! In this story, we’ll crunch through fiery autumn leaves, and ride the Stanley Park Ghost Train. At the end, I’ll show you pumpkins, ghosts and other creepy-cuties that I photographed while in Japan. 

morph8ne dolls kill bad mood collection

Nothing beats fall fashion, especially if you have Gothic inclinations. I’ve been layering with red to match the color of the changing leaves.

My “Bad Mood” top and skirt are by Morph8ne, one of my favorite designers. Based in Thailand, this dark fashion label draws influences from fairy tale villains, Gothic Lolita, punk, grunge and the 1990s (how can you go wrong with that)? I had the pleasure of visiting their design studio in Bangkok… Stay tuned for this inside look soon.

Shop Morph8ne – click below for more:

stephen einhorn bumblebee jewelry

This season, I’ve also been wearing my new gold bee pendant by Stephen Einhorn. The British fine jewelry designer is celebrated for his contemporary designs, which stand out for their edge and charm.

I was delighted to receive a package from his London studio, lovingly wrapped with ribbon and a wax seal. The box opens up… to reveal an intricately hand-crafted bumblebee!

gold bee necklace stephen einhorn

Perched on manuka honey beeswax, doesn’t it look like this cute creature is ready to take flight? Stephen Einhorn’s pendants can be purchased alone, or with a matching chain. (I put my bee on my mom’s gold necklace from the 1960s.)

All of these creations are made by hand in his London workshop. As you can see from his site, Stephen Einhorn has designs that cater to every personality: dogs of all breeds, minimal disks, lockets, birds in flight, and even vampire fangs and skulls.

layering gold pendant necklaces the reformation nellie dress

I love how the design catches the eye, yet is subtle enough to wear with all types of outfits. Here’s one way to style the bumblebee: layered with other gold necklaces or chokers of different lengths.

(I styled mine with this Nellie dress by The Reformation. More from the sustainable designer below:)

stephen einhorn british designer jewellery

This charm is simply the bees’ knees. A close-up reveals the solid luxurious gold and fine etchings that give the insect character.

alternative goth jewelry bee necklaces

Perhaps you have seen Stephen Einhorn’s designs in your favorite movies. He made Lara Croft’s necklace in the latest Tomb Raider, a medieval necklace for the evil queen in Snow White and the Huntsman, and Johnny Depp’s vampire ring in Dark Shadows!

layered gold necklaces fashion blogger

I always prefer to support independent designers like Stephen Einhorn. He makes unique rings, bracelets, necklaces and charms for both men and women, in an impressive array of styles from heavy metal to Art Deco.

fall autumn leaves fashion instagram outfit

I took my bee pendant out to the forest, along with new clothes from my recent travels in Asia. My Miffy daruma dangle is from the Tokyo Station “Miffy Style” store (soon, I’ll give you a full tour of the cute “character street”).

The sweatshirt and miniskirt are from the new BadMood collection by Morph8ne — isn’t the emo-face adorable?

(For more designs by Morph8ne, click the below images:)

stanley park jack o'lantern's journey

My friends and I went to the Stanley Park Ghost Train in Vancouver, BC. Every October, the miniature rail takes visitors through the dark forest, where they encounter all sorts of supernatural beings.

The theme changes each time (once it was classic movie monsters, another time it was Day of the Dead). This year, the ride is about Jack O’Lantern’s Journey Through the Dark Forest: a mystical world encompassing the legends of Halloween and Harvest.

stanley park halloween ghost train

In addition to the Ghost Train, Stanley Park has a Halloween-themed event area. Although we all have a 😐 facial expression (including my shirt and the pumpkin-headed scarecrow!), these displays were not in the least bit disappointing.  There was a haunted maze, a pumpkin patch, taxidermy, face painting, and all types of festival food for sale including healthy options.

pumpkin lanterns emoji faces

Visitors can purchase tickets to the Stanley Park Ghost Train at the entrance, but I recommend booking a time slot online in advance, as the popular hours can sell out. The train runs throughout most of the day, but it’s better to go after sunset. From 6:30pm onward, the ride features live actors in the woods — something that should not be missed.

morph8ne gothic dolly clothing dollskill

We got there in the late afternoon so that we’d have time to walk around Stanley Park, and take photos.

I’m holding a vegan leather luxury bag by Erbert Chong. Love the faux fur accent, and the large carry-all size is perfect for holding a DSLR camera and winter accessories.

My dark red knee boots are these exact After Hour boots by Sorel.  The round metal sunglasses are Edwardson Eyewear.

Top and skirt by Morph8ne – see below for more from this designer.

bee pendant jewelry necklace

Here’s another way to wear Stephen Einhorn’s bee jewellery. The silhouette stands out against a black high neck or turtleneck top.

His bumblebee charm necklace can be ordered in a variety of solid precious metals at different karats — including sterling silver, rose gold, platinum, white gold. I chose yellow gold since it seemed most befitting for a bee. Stephens’s studio also makes custom, bespoke designs for clients.

morph8ne bangkok goth fashion clothes

If you come to Vancouver, you must see the beloved Stanley Park: a 405-hectare public space in city’s downtown, surrounded by the harbour and English Bay. You’ll feel as if you’re in a storybook forest as you wander amidst the towering trees. Some of Stanley Park’s attractions include native totem poles, Lost Lagoon, a tea house, rose garden and more.

vancouver halloween stanley park events

Around nightfall, the park feels especially “Halloween” — with dead leaves on the ground, and an eerie fog over the horizon.

stanley park fall leaves autumn trees

I felt like a kid, crunching through the layers of red and orange maple leaves. (We tried to take some photos tossing the leaves in the air, but they didn’t quite turn out right. At least we got some lens flare…)

At sunset, we headed back to the Ghost Train as it was time to board.

Ghost Train in Stanley Park

The line leads to a miniature train (you really have to squish to sit in it!). Once you pass through the devilish ram’s mouth, the ride is about 15 minutes long, and winds through the deep woods. 

Along the way, you’ll see scenes featuring the undead Jack O’Lantern and other creatures. The train slows so that you can take in live performances set in this mysterious Celtic Hallowe’en world, where nothing is quite what it seems.

halloween vancouver bc haunted houses

This year, the lighting effects and art direction were impressive. The Ghost Train takes you through sinister vignettes that gets your imagination flowing —  such as floating druids over water, and these cult-like figures hovering over lit candles.  

vancouver halloween events train

Don’t expect jump scares, or monsters attacking you along the way. This isn’t a cheesy plastic haunted house.

Instead, you’re presented with dark, fantastical beings that transform in ways that will astonish you. As Rob put it, “It reminded me of Sleepy Hollow, mixed with The Witch and The Wicker Man.”

witches stanley park ghost train 2018

Someone’s about to pop out of the witch’s cauldron… but I won’t spoil the surprise.

(Funny story: there was a scene where a crowd was leading Pumpkinhead Jack up a staircase. This reminded me of the movie Apocalypto, so I wondered out loud: “Are they going to cut off his head and throw it down the stairs?” The kids on the ride heard me and screamed “Nooo, nooo! They’re crowning him as the king! He’s happy!” Sigh, leave it to me to traumatize the children wherever I go…)

stanley park pumpkins halloween

The Ghost Train in Stanley Park is running until November 1st. It’s the perfect way for people of all ages get into the Halloween spirit.

weird bizarre pumpkins gourds

Have any of you gotten pumpkins this year? Here are the bizarre pumpkins and gourds I picked up, next to my Miffy lamp.

tokyo halloween pastries desserts

I’ll leave you with photos of Japanese Halloween decorations, toys and treats. You may recall that I was in Tokyo this September, which gave me a chance to take these seasonal snaps.

japan halloween cookies yokumoku

Japan’s department stores always carry beautifully packaged sweets, which change depending on the time of year and occasion. Right now, you can choose: Trick or Yokumoku? (Inside the pumpkin and bat boxes are Yoku Moku’s all-natural butter cookies.)

cute kawaii halloween treats japan

Although the Jack-O-Lantern face is cute, a Tokyo Banana Raisin dessert doesn’t sound very appetizing to me…

daiso halloween decorations pumpkins

At Daiso, the 100 yen store, you can pick up tons of cute Halloween decorations for low prices. Many of my friends stock up on stickers and decor to use year-round.

rilakkuma halloween bears toys

I’ll soon do a full post about Tokyo Station Character Street, but here’s a preview. The Rilakkuma store had limited edition Halloween stuffed toys when I visited.

mimikyu pikachu pokemon stuffed toy

In the Pokemon shop, I came across Mimikyu — the ghost-like monster that hides under a Pikachu disguise!

tokyo japan halloween food

With packaging like this, it’s tempting to buy everything Halloween-themed in Japan…

cute japanese spooky souvenirs

At Don Quixote and grocery stores, you can find candy with happy ghosts, Jack Skellington, and other spooks.

Did you enjoy this look at Halloween in Japan? For more, see my previous stories about Tokyo Halloween-themed food and Tokyo costumes and makeup.

urban outfitters halloween clothing

This is the best time of the year to shop for Gothic fashion, as many designers release spooky designs for the season. Here are three of my favorites (click for details)

❤ Skeleton crop sweatshirt Smiling pumpkin top ❤ The Craft t-shirt dress

dolls kill sexy halloween group costumes

Or how about a group costume for trick-or-treating this year? Find tons of Goth / devilish Halloween costumes here, including the skeleton suits and Satanic cheer-leading outfits above!

morph8ne badmood heart face shirt skirt

Despite the neutral face, I’m smiling wide inside… so happy it’s Halloween! Do you have plans for celebrating this year?