A pirate, a cowboy, a mariachi and a rabbit walk into a bar... / by Susie Lubell

Last week it was Purim, a lesser known Jewish holiday where we read the Book of Esther, a story about a nutty Persian King who offs his first wife for not dancing naked for his buddies, then has a beauty contest where a local Jewish girl named Esther wins and is crowned queen. She ends up saving the day when the King's Minister of Sinister, Haman, wants to kill all of the Jews for not bowing to him. Oh no, King, these are my people! So he ends up killing Haman and his ten sons and half of Persia instead. It's actually a really happy drunken holiday minus the whole massacre bit at the end. Anyway, it has sort of turned into a Jewish Halloween so we went to a big costume party on Saturday with the kids and it was FABULOUS. 

And I for one have never been a fan of dressing up. I always hated Halloween. I don't know, back then we didn't have Old Navy so our parents ended up making us these cockamamie costumes. I had some zingers which I mostly made myself, since I'm a third child (can you hear the violins). When I was five I dressed up as a vampire which itself is a little bit ridiculous. Who let's their five year old dress up as vampire. I ended up scaring myself so much that I took off the costume and walked around the neighborhood in red tights and a red t-shirt with slicked back hair. A five year old Pat Benetar. 

And then having to dress up twice a year was an extra burden so I usually blew off Purim. My husband was the same. Hated Purim as a kid. We're cut from the same cloth - jeans and t-shirt cloth, not costume cloth. 

But now we have the kids and Purim is kind of a kids holiday replete with cookie making (lovely three corner filled cookies called Hamantaschen) and noise making and merry making (you're actually commanded by God to get fall-down drunk). So with great trepidation we took them to this party that some of our friends put together for like 15 families, hosted at one of the kids' daycare sites.

It was SPECTACULAR. First of all, I somehow threw together four costumes in half an hour. Mine was easy. I'm always a pirate. Puffy white shirt, flouncy black pants, black boots, red sash, eye patch. Voila. My husband, who has been mistaken as Turkish, Jordanian, Indian, Pakistani, Italian, Spanish, Argentinian, Brazilian and Lebanese, dressed up as a Mariachi singer and looked mucho authentico. He wore hisPuerto Rican guayavera shirt, black pants, a giant sombrero and my dad's old ukulele tied around his chest. Then he shaved himself a little mustache enhanced by some eye liner and presto - Senor Guapo. My son already had the beginnings of a cowboy outfit with his black boots from Grandma, plaid shirt, and a leather fringe vest that a colleague of mine passed down. So I got him a hat and a red bandanna and he was transformed into the Sundance Kid. And the baby, well she wore a pink onesie and bunny ears. She grows out of stuff so fast I couldn't be bothered finding her something cute. Anyway, she's plenty cute just wearing bunny ears. 

My husband and I both planned on staying no more than an hour because it was clear to us that with so many people in costume and so many people our son didn't know, he would have a major come-apart and we'd have to drag him home by the chaps. We braced ourselves and went inside. 

In fact, the kids did great. They played. They ate. The baby took first place in the falafel eating contest. Just kidding. She would have though, had there been one. My son and I made hamantaschen and noise makers. One of the father's did a toddler version of the book of Esther (minus the slaughter) and we played games and danced all afternoon. Probably one of the best family days we've had. No tantrums, no accidents, no biting, no whining. Just happy kids and relieved parents.