Purim is one of my favorite holidays. (Okay, yes, I say that by every holiday. Sue me.) But in all seriousness, going all out on Purim is a way for me to exercise my creativity. What’s most important to me, however is keeping my Purim themes on a budget. Disclosure: this post contains commissioned links.
Crafting is in my bones, but I don’t get to enjoy it very often. I enjoy letting my creative juices flow, but I don’t make regular time for it. I should, but I don’t. Purim is my time, once a year, to have fun and get creative.
I love seeing my family all dressed up together, and I love coordinating the mishloach manos to our theme. Dressing up the whole family in matching costumes and giving out multiple mishloach manos can get pretty pricey. (Even though it is not a halachic requirement, many of us do so in the spirit of the day.) The good news is that there are ways to scale down and cut back on the expenses of the day.
If you plan well enough in advance, you can work your theme around what’s on sale in stores. Right after Halloween is a great time to get costumes deeply discounted. Members of stores like Costco or BJ’s can buy food in bulk and save. If you find a super cute container for cheap, work with it!
If you’re stumped for theme ideas, or can’t figure out how to do one within a reasonable budget, check out the lists below. I’ve included a section for Purim themes with costume ideas and matching mishloach manos. The second section is only themed mishloach manos, in case you’re not all that into dressing up. (I won’t judge.)
Purim themes on a budget: costumes + mishloach manos
Get creative and think out of the box. The most important part is to have fun with your theme and not to stress too much.
(This can work for any mail carrier.) For costumes, all you need are brown polo shirts and brown baseball caps. If you have them available, brown pants and skirts would complete the look, but they are not necessary, especially if you are trying not to overspend. Print a UPS logo to use as a template, and make badges out of brown and yellow felt. Safety pin the badges onto the hat and shirt, so that you can remove them after Purim and add the clothes to your wardrobe.
For the mishloach manos aspect, use bubble mailers (tie them up with twine if you’re feeling fancy.) Create shipping labels with a logo to personalize them! Inside, you can put things like candy stamps, ABC cookies, and packing peanuts. (Please note: do not give peanuts to families who may have allergic children in the family.)
(Again, you can adapt this for any sports theme.) All you need are some baseball jerseys and caps in your favorite team colors! And if you’re a baseball fan, you may already have them at home.
When my daughter was a baby, we did a Yankees theme. My husband and I wore Babe Ruth t-shirts and I made a baseball costume for my daughter out of a white onesie and some red yarn. I even autographed it down the middle.
Get inexpensive popcorn cups and hand out popcorn and beer, or peanuts and cracker jacks! It’s generally cheaper to get a large family bag of popcorn and divide it into smaller portions.
These costumes were pretty fun to make. I bought cheap white sweatshirts for all of us and splattered neon paint all over them. I got sweatpants for the kids as well, but jeans work just the same, with or without the paint.
The year we did this theme was the year a big snowstorm hit Brooklyn on Purim. My husband took the kids out on a sled to deliver mishloach manos, and the paint colors bled all over the snow! It was a sight to see.
I bought small white canvas bags and splattered paint over them as well. Mini jars filled with solid colored gumballs, a bottle of water and a chocolate molded paintbrush completed the theme.
4. Winnie the Pooh
Who doesn’t love Pooh? Make some teddy bear headbands with plain headbands and write “Pooh” on red t-shirts.
Upcycle some tins and jars and spray paint them blue for a “Hunny” jar. You can put small honey packets, honey sticks, honey candies and the like inside.
You can read more about making DIY Winnie the Pooh costumes here.
5. Cops & Robbers
This one is not as budget-friendly as the others, but I included it here because I was able to find very inexpensive police costumes for my children in local stores- and striped prisoner suits for my husband and myself online. (I only wore the shirt with a black skirt.)
Mishloach manos for this one is easy. Donuts and coffee in a canvas money bag (I colored a dollar sign on a simple bag) or evidence bags. I bought mini donuts and boxed ice cappucinos. This cost me a bit more than I wanted, but the cute factor definitely won!
This theme is especially great for a larger family. Costumes are easy because all you need to ensure is that every family member wears a different color! That’s all. You can stick to just solid t-shirts and black bottoms, or go full out. If you want to take it to the next level, dress up the youngest child as a cloud, with some oaktag from the dollar store and cotton balls.
Layer different colored candies in a mason jar for your mishloach manos and you’re all set!
7. Sesame Street
All ages will love this theme, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Learn how easy it is to make the costumes here. For the mishloach manos you can get blue containers or blue party bags and Cookie Monster eyes stickers; fill the containers with cookies and milk or Sesame Street juice boxes if you’re afraid of spoilage.
Purim themes on a budget: mishloach manos
These are not all my original ideas; I’ve seen them repeated over and over, but they’re all great ideas, and always appreciated!
1. Have a “Soup-er” Purim
Make a big pot of soup, and hand out thermoses (disposable soup cups work well!) and some breadsticks. That’s it!
2. Go classy
Make some delicious chocolate bark and hand out a simple container with a mini liquor bottle for an easy, inexpensive mishloach manos.
3. Make it about Purim
Go with a classic Purim theme and give out homemade hamantaschen and mini liquor bottles or small grape juices. It’s easy, delicious and no-fail.
With Purim on a Thursday this year, what could be better than giving food for Shabbos? Challah rolls, grape juice, and individual potato kugels make for a terrific mishloach manos.
5. Apples to Apples
Go apple crazy! Fresh apples, apple juice boxes, an apple muffin, and you’re done! Stores like Amazing Savings often have apple shaped containers for a great price.
If you can manage to make all your rounds in the morning, do a breakfast theme! It can be so hard to remember to grab a bite of “normal” food to eat on Purim, so real food is always appreciated. You can give out mini cereal boxes with a milk box (don’t forget a spoon!), or a bagel, cream cheese and butter packets and some orange juice.
7. On the Go
In the spirit of having people eat real food, give out something everyone wants to eat; some cut up veggies and hummus. On a day filled with junk food, everyone will love it, I guarantee it.