11 Purim Costumes To Impress and Confuse The Masses

From Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins to Troye Sivan's tiny little cute red undies.

A spring chill is in the air, Valentine’s Day cards sit collecting dust on your mantle, and the Ides of March have come and gone. It’s that time of year: Purim! A day where we Jews are commanded to celebrate and indulge to the point where we don’t know if our friends in costumes are our friends, or the characters they’re dressed up as. For me, a Jewish thespian, it’s an immersive contemporary theater dream come true. Spiels. Parties. Carnivals. Graggers. Hamentaschen — yes, even the ones with Nutella.

But amongst all this anticipatory excitement, perhaps a faint shiver still races down your spine. In the back of your head a pesky, nagging thought: How will I be the most mysterious, captivating and stunning attendee at my synagogue’s annual Purim festivities? We’ve all seen a handful of Esther costumes year after year, a court jester and even your Uncle’s take on Mordecai. But as I prepare for my favorite holiday of all time, I can’t help but feel that these tired and played out options no longer contain my multitudes. It’s 5784. I’m ready for something more nuanced, more questionable and at times, even more provocative. If you’re looking to center your avant-garde knowledge of Jewish pop culture, history and PJ Library Books this Purim, look no further.

1. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins from “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

This is a timeless classic. Go as Hershel, make it a group costume and add in your personal gobblin squad, or do what I’d do: Fly solo as the goblin who refused to take his hand out of the pickle jar. Endless opportunities.

Hershel Top

Hershel Vest

Hershel Hat

Hershel Cloak

Hershel Loafers

Goblin Cloak

Goblin Shawl

Goblin Bodysuit

Goblin Face Paint Kit

Goblin Wings

Goblin Claws

Jar of Pickles

2. Troye Sivan’s Tiny Little Cute Red Undies

This costume will be sure to get them started. An outfit for my fellow romantic, modern, musically inclined, cheeky Jews. This look calls for a fun red bodysuit, or shorts, a tank and an outlandish pair of heels. The complete costume will be just as eye-catching as it is utterly useless and confusing.

Full body red morphsuit

Red bodysuit

Red pants

Red shorts


Red sports bra

Red Jacket

3. Mandy Patinkin Honoring His Father’s Legs

No one else will know who you are dressed up as, but that doesn’t matter because I and your fellow Hey Alma readers will. Sky’s out thighs out with this one. Pull on those black UGGs and get your own legs out in honor of Patinkin’s father. Show Barbra exactly what she’s missing!

Black Uggs

Grey Cut off Shorts

Pink baseball cap

Make your own cut off tank out of any old graphic tee. I suggest this one.

BBQ tongs



4. The Afikomen

Especially ideal for the introverted Purim lover, dressing as an afikomen is sure to delight fellow party goers. Don your favorite Matzah colored sweater, wrap yourself in a warm blanket and hide somewhere until the end of the party at which point your friends will be forced to come find you. Bonus points if you have a couple crisp dollar bills or a yummy treat waiting for them, as reward for discovering your hiding place of course.

Beige Sweater

Beige Pants



5. A Question Mark

When someone asks you what you are for Purim you can respond by asking, “What do you think I am?” I’m not sure a more Jewish costume exists.

Question Mark Headband 

Question Mark Dress

6. Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein

Appealing to the provocateur and perspicacious critic of popular culture, this costume narrowly toes the line between cutting-edge social commentary and wildly offensive. Wear at your own risk!

Fake Nose



Hair Gel

Leonard Bernstein Sheet Music

7. Betty Friedan

No bra needed for this one! Put your feminine mystique on full display and party the night away as this prominent Jewish second-wave feminist.

The Feminine Mystique


Other Earrings

Pearl Earrings



Pearl Beads

8. A Jewish Mother and Her Child, a Doctor

This Purim we can be anything we want to be! And this includes pretending, for one glorious holiday, that we aren’t a disappointment to our Jewish Mothers. A great option if you and your friend are looking for a duo costume.

Skirt and Blazer Set

Chunky Earrings


Doctor Coat

Doctor Supply Kit

9. The Ever Changing Garment from the “Something From Nothing” Children’s Book

I’m not telling you to dress up as a sexy, strip-tease-esque version of a textile that plays a central role in one of my favorite PJ Library books from childhood, because that would be wrong. But I’m not… not telling you to do that. What happens when the last of Joseph’s blanket disappears? That’s for you to decide…

Blue Shawl with White Stars



Blue Tiny Shorts


10. Susie and Larry from “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

This couple’s costume is sure to meet the needs of any enthusiastic, “Curb” loving, Jewish partygoer (Susie) who needs an excuse to insult her date all day long (Larry). Now that’s some cathartic live-action-role-play!


Sport jacket navy



Bald cap w/ gray hair

Wire frame glasses

Gray crew neck sweatshirt


Yellow fedora

Snakeskin jacket

Yellow chunky necklace

Tortoise shell hoop earrings

Yellow loafers

Yellow snake skin turtleneck – find the closest replica in various sizes on various pre-owned sites – Linked at Grailed here

Yellow loose fitting slacks

Chunky silver ring

11. Pickle Princess

We hear a lot about Esther of course, but not enough about the princess that lives inside of us all. Honor your vinegar loving self this holiday season by dressing up as the princess to end all princesses:, the one who brings enough pickles for everyone!

Pickle Princess Tank  


Green long skirt

Green Short Skirt

Green Shoes

Nell Adkins

Nell Adkins (she/her) graduated from Smith College in 2023 where she studied government and the arts. In her spare time, Nell can be found eating kosher dill pickles and listening to Barbra Streisand’s entire discography.

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