Over the next few days, children, babies, couples, adults and families in colorful costumes evoking super heroes, princesses and movie characters will march in Jewish-friendly neighborhoods across the globe to celebrate the holiday of Purim. The day often called the Jewish Halloween is actually a celebration of the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia as recounted in the Book of Esther.

So what's the reason behind all the fanfare? In the Book of Esther, an evil prime minister convinces King Ahasuerus to kill all the Jews. But when Ahasuerus discovers that his wife Esther is Jewish, he decides to reverse Haman’s decree. To celebrate Purim, many communities hold parades and parties where people dress up to honor how God saved the Jews of Persia. 

Store-bought costumes are an easy way to dress up. But homemade costumes can be just as fun and quick with a little creativity. Below are some ideas for what to wear this Purim.

Queen Esther Spend the day as the beautiful Queen Esther with a dress with a large skirt, a crown and some jewelry from the dollar store. Try some face glitter for extra fun.

Clown Decorate old clothes with fabric paint or markers. Adorn with some pompoms, don an inexpensive wig or a colorful hat and paint your nose red with lipstick.

Hippie A tie-dyed shirt, flared jeans and a colorful headband complete the look. Try a vest with some fringe to really recall the 1960s. 

Robot Spray-paint  a cardboard box gray or silver. Decorate it with a mish-mash of nuts and bolts. You can use aluminum foil, dryer vents, duct tape or other household goods for extra details.

Tzedakah Box Cut holes in the box for arms and head. Wrap in silver wrapping paper and write "Tzedakah" on the front with a marker. Use gold paper to make coins and attach them for extra emphasis.


RTR3HCRH A child dressed as an astronaut stands on a street corner during the Jewish holiday of Purim in the South Williamsburg suburb of New York March 16, 2014. Photo: Reuters

RTR3HEU8 Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men wearing costumes celebrate the holiday of Purim in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood March 17, 2014. Photo: Reuters

RTR3HCRC A man with a painted beard stands on a street during the Jewish holiday of Purim in the South Williamsburg suburb of New York March 16, 2014. The carnival-like Purim holiday is celebrated with parades and costume parties. Photo: Reuters


RTR3HAQ4 sraelis dressed in costumes pose for a photo during the annual parade for the Jewish holiday of Purim in Holon, near Tel Aviv March 16, 2014. Photo: Reuters