Jewish families in America have long struggled with an internal controversy: to Halloween or not to Halloween? Dressing up might feel like participating in an arcane, decidedly gentile ritual, but it can be painful to contemplate passing up the festivities.
So how can you square this autumnal bacchanal with your Jewish identity? Try these Jewish-themed Halloween costumes, tailored to fit the news cycle, your sensibilities, and last-minute costume necessities.
1. Disgraced Jewish politician (Anthony Weiner, Bob Filner, Eliot Spitzer)
This has been a banner year for Jewish politicians embroiled in sex scandals. To make this topical costume, wear a suit and a permanent leer. Optional accessories: camera-enabled smartphone, Twitter account, strangely loyal spouse.
2. Woman of the Wall
Wear a Tallit and tefillin (and drag, if you are a man). Spend the night sparking controversies. If arrested, take comfort in the fact that you are super photogenic.
3. The Future of American Jewry
After the Pew survey, this costume is pretty much your normal clothes, with an enormous question mark taped to the front.
Abstract costumes are a great resource for the last-minute Halloween enthusiast. To make this costume, dress as an ancient Persian king, such as Hammurabi or Nebuchadnezzar (accessories: robes made from a sheet, stone or cardboard tablets, double consonants) and wear a red “no” sign. Spend the party looking longingly at the food and drinks, but understand that you can’t have them until you engage your host in meaningful dialogue.
5. Eric Cantor
With the recent government shutdown, this House Republican macher is the ultimate topical Jewish costume. For maximum cleverness, dress as a hazzan, or cantor, in a prayer shawl (bonus points for playing recorded prayer services all night). Go to the White House and try to stop President Obama from passing out health care subsidies to masked trick-or-treaters until they verify their identities.