The streets were full and the pubs and clubs packed Saturday night as central Tokyo welcomed Halloween revelers back in large numbers — but the celebrations remained muted in comparison to the pre-pandemic years, with memories of a costumed assailant's 2021 stabbing spree still fresh.

After midnight, news broke of the deadly crush during Halloween celebrations in Seoul, casting a pall over the rest of the Halloween weekend and raising key questions about safety.

Three years had passed since the area around Shibuya Ward's iconic scramble crossing last saw such an influx of Halloween partygoers, and local authorities responded by significantly beefing up their security presence.