Purim Costume Fail?

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I might have given the whole costume problem more thought had my husband not been working 13-hour days for the last two months. Or more likely not. I have a bag of costumes and accessories, and usually the kids can come up with something from there.

My 5yo needed a costume for the gan party (another reason I’m glad my 3yo isn’t in gan–she wore each of half a dozen costumes for 30 seconds each). My son’s ganenet, probably the most creative and organized ganenet you could ever meet and that’s saying a lot, has had the children coming home in costume every day for the last two weeks. One day they were all cats, the next day bakers, and the next “tigrisim.” (I learned that a namer is a leopard, not a tiger.) My son had suggested several different costume ideas for the party and finally settled on an Indian. We already had a feathered headband from gan (and a second one in my costume bag). The night before the party, I discussed with him what else he was going to wear. I suggested he wear one of his father’s undershirts with a belt or scarf, but he insisted that all he wanted was the headband and face paint. For him that meant a few stripes of different colors (I also keep face makeup on hand). I patiently explained (or rather warned) that the other children would be wearing more elaborate costumes. He decided on a regular pair of pants and a sweater with a colorful design. He did not look dressed up.

After I sent him off to gan Friday with his father, I wondered what “grade” I would give myself as a mother for that episode. A “C” for not preparing a costume with him that he would really love? Or an “A” for going with the flow and acknowledging that the costume he chose satisfied him? With bonus points for recognizing that expending unnecessary time and energy on a project that inspired neither of us, thereby neglecting the rest of the family (and myself) during a stressful period, was the unwise choice?

When I went to pick him up. I told the ganenet that he hadn’t wanted more of a costume than that (still needing to justify it), and asked whether he acted disappointed. She said he seemed fine and participated. “Hayiti hamumah,” she admitted, meaning she was jaw-droppingly amazed. She said that she has plenty of costumes in the gan (you don’t say) to offer him had he shown any signs of distress.

I’ll skip the rant about how gananot believe that children’s happiness revolves around Purim, birthday presents, and junk food. And about my belief that if he had cried or someone made fun of him, we could discuss it so he could grow from the experience.

If I really graded my parenting during recent weeks, I would accrue a few low marks during those long, hectic evenings. But I do get an A for Purim costumes. Well, maybe an A minus.


  1. jerusalem joe says

    I’m giving you an A++ for displaying restraint in the face of the temptation to be a perfect mother in the eyes of society, choosing instead to do just what is needed for your child – no more , no less.
    Really, most parents go completely overboard in these things.

  2. A+ from me. Your son was happy and you didn’t cause extra stress during a stressful time.
    Also, what is behind two weeks of dressing up? I’d think one day in class plus Purim would be sufficient. It isn’t an 8 day chag!

  3. mominisrael says

    Thanks both of you for the support.
    They take Adar seriously around here.

  4. Kudos to you for doing the right thing to meet your family’s needs. Those gananot can be tough to cross!
    Are the gananot in Israel as obsessed with handing out “prasim” to the kids? My daughter’s teachers give out a little plastic chachke every couple of weeks for the class doing something like singing nicely during music. I’m not that much of a prize-giving-mommy myself. But I haven’t complained, since I don’t think it’s a major issue, either.

  5. I had a similar situation in my house. I also have a bag of costumes made up of previous years Purim cosutmes and costumes I pick up throughout the year at thrift stores or post-Halloween sales.
    I felt sure that I had something for everyone, but when my kids went through the bag (erev Shabbos! Purim kind of snuck up this year!) my oldest son found that none of the costumes fit him.
    Quick as I could I had him find two boxes – one big, one small. We covered the boxes in tinfoil and used the large box for the body, the small box for a head (including two foil antennai) and he put on a pair of funky sunglasses to make a pretty cool robot.
    Needless to say, all the others were jealous of this last minute costume – so instead of one unhappy kid I had quite a few others to contend with (all of whom had costumes!).

  6. mominisrael says

    Good for you! It sounds like you were inspired.

  7. mama o' matrices says

    works for me! One year we spent time and money on a costume…only to have the kid revile it on the day of. Phooey.
    This year, a few pipecleaners, a notebook and backpack later, we had a costume. Why push the stress if the kid’s not feeling it?
    They’ll take point quite ably, if the issue’s important enough.

  8. mominisrael says

    Love the grapes idea–I never can think of such things when I need to.

  9. mominisrael says

    MoM–good point, they often change their minds. But I am just so uncreative esp. on the spur of the moment.

  10. Costumes don’t, and never have, done it for me. Maybe because my mother took it seriously, sewing up the perfect costumes etc. I just can’t match that. Thankfully, most of my kids are either too old to dress up, and one is too young. The 7 yo was happy with his BOUGHT (by Saba) SpiderMan costume. I did not feel guilty about this expenditure, same reason’s as blogger – more time for the family when Abba is out 13 hours/day. Baby 2 1/4 years old would not wear one even if I tried (he won’t keep a cap on, for goodness sakes.. so a costume???!!!!!). Our #1 prize winning costume was last year, one son went as a bunch of grapes which was eeeeeaaazy to make with purple balloons. I love no-stress Purims, don’t you????