Purim is almost here, and that means its time to start planning your kids costumes and your mishloach manos ideas. Now, I know the whole idea of doing themed costumes and mishloach manos is a bit controversial- some people go all out and start planning elaborate ideas starting from Chanuka time, and others feel that doing so is totally unnecessary and not in the spirit of Purim. My opinion is that if you’re the creative type and you truly enjoy thinking of themes and ways to tie it all together and the whole process makes you happy, then great- go all out! But if thinking of themes and costumes and food ideas that relate to it just stress you out and cause pressure and anxiety, then skip the theme and just put together a nice, classy mishloach manos that completely fulfills the mitzva without any unnecessary pressure.
As for me, I do enjoy thinking of themes- sometimes I’ll start by seeing what my kids want to dress up as and figuring out how I can tie everything together, and other years I plan it all from the costumes and on. BUT- and thats a big BUT- I do try very hard to keep it simple, easy to put together, and cost effective. If you need some ideas for a theme of your own, I’ve put together six super easy and really cute purim theme ideas that I have done over the last couple of years. (I apologize for the non professional quality of some of the early year photos). You’ll have to stay tuned to see what I have planned for this year! 🙂
1) Burglar Theme
This is a very simple theme and the costumes are DIY and so cute. My husband and I wore striped black and white t-shirts, black berets, and burglar masks that I made with black felt and elastic.
My two girls just wore black from head to toe, black ski hats, and the felt burglar masks. Our mishloach manos was a plain canvas bag on which I drew a money sign with a sharpie. You can fill it with candy jewelry, chocolate coins, etc or you can just put in food items with green wrappers (for money). Easy, cute, and not expensive.
2) Fabulous 50’s Theme
The year we did this theme, my girls were a little bigger and I wanted to do something a little more elaborate. They wore pink poodle skirts with white shirts, high ponies with ribbons in their hair, and white tights. My husband and I didn’t really dress up that year, so I just wore a pair of pink cat eye rhinestone glasses and put a bun in my wig. But if you and your spouse wanted to dress up, you can wear a poodle skirt, a fitted cardigan, white or pink tights, saddle shoes, pearls etc. and your husband could wear a black leather jacket, with slicked back hair (sort of Elvis style). Our mishloach manos was a jar filled with candy items that were around in the 50’s, and the label (since its not so clear in the photo) said Fabulous 50’s and Have a fabulous Purim.
3) Garden Theme
When my oldest wanted to be a butterfly one year, I chose to have her little sister be a bumblebee, and my baby son was a flower. The girls’ costumes were easy- I just bought the wings and headbands and color coordinated the rest of their outfit. (Strips of yellow tape on a black t-shirt for my little bumblebee and lots of pink for the butterfly). For our mishloach manos, I found these pretty glass cutting boards that had a garden motif and the rest was easy- bottle of water, peas and carrots candies, veggie straws, and a small packet of flower seeds (for planting, not eating). A little pretty ribbon tied it all together, and I created a label on the computer and just strung it on a small piece of ribbon.
4) Royalty Theme
The year my girls were deep into princess stage, they were thrilled to be real princesses for Purim. So it only made sense for my son to be a king and to do a Royalty theme. I guess I was a bit lazy that year, because our Mishloach manos was simply food items with red wrappers placed on a pretty mirror and wrapped in cellophane, instead of being tied into the theme. If you wanted royalty themed food ideas, you could do candy jewelry, ring pops, and royal crown liquor.
5) Zoo Theme
This one is also so so easy, and so cute. The kids can be any wild animals they choose, and someone can be the zookeeper – or mom and dad can be the zookeepers. The Mishloach manos was a simple tin bucket with a label saying Animal Feed. I filled it with peanuts, animal crackers, water and chocolate bears.
6) Health Conscious Theme (aka my girls wanted to be ballerinas and my son wanted to be a doctor!)
I don’t like to force my kids to dress up as something they don’t want to just to fit the theme, so last year when my girls were adamant about being ballerinas, and my son wanted to be a doctor, I figured out a way to tie it together (although it is a little far fetched) by doing a health conscious theme. This can work with other costumes as well- gymnast, cheerleader, nurse, sports players, etc. The mishloach manos was baby carrots in a pretty glass stemmed cup, with hummus, melba toast and spring water. When you read the poem it sort of makes more sense :).