Halloween is an incredibly fun family holiday — but it’s also one that can create conflict for some Jewish moms.
Although Halloween isn’t an outright Christian holiday — it originated as the pagan festival of Samhain but became Christianized in the 8th century as All Hallow’s Eve — some rabbis are against Jews celebrating it. Some say it’s because Halloween is about idolatry and evil spirits; I personally had one rabbi in high school who ingrained in me that Halloween is off limits because we should be giving candy (like we do on Purim), not taking like we do when we trick-or-treat.
I unabashedly celebrated Halloween for a few years as a kid, took a break, and then started up again in college. And now that I’m a mom, I feel conflicted about where I stand on the matter: Am I a bad mom if I don’t put my son in costume and take him trick-or-treating, or am I a bad Jew if I do?
If this concern sounds familiar, I have a solution: Ease the guilt and dress up as a famous Jew! I’m not talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Albert Einstein — as great as those costumes may be — rather, show how hip you are by dressing up as one of these current Jewish TV characters.
Plus, these pop culture costume ideas are way more unique than the Handmaid’s Tales and Elevens and Kylie Jenners you’ll see everywhere else. Read below for some fun selections and the general items you’ll need to pull each outfit off.
Rebecca Bunch, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Rachel Bloom’s Rebecca has a million different personalities, which makes for really fun costume options. There’s Harvard law school grad Rebecca, who wears blousy shirts and blazers; singer Rebecca, who wears over-the-top stage costumes and red lipstick; and — spoiler alert — psycho jailbird Rebecca, which would be a great costume if you can find an orange jumpsuit lying around somewhere. But you can’t go wrong by rocking the blue A-line dress like the one Rebecca wore in the opening sequence from Season 1, paired with a push-up bra. Whichever way you go, there’s a super easy DIY accessory: wear a sign across your body that reads “I Love Josh.”
Midge Maisel, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Like Rebecca, Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, has a lot of different facets to herself (and thus her wardrobe). But four things are musts in order to capture the quintessential 1950’s housewife Maisel look: a flippy ‘do you did yourself with curlers, an A-line red dress that cinches with a belt at the waist, a bottle of Manischewitz for when you just need a swig, and, finally, a vintage-looking microphone for when you want to crack dirty jokes and bash your husband.
Grace Adler, Will & Grace
Obviously a red curly wig is the first necessary component of a Grace Adler costume. But to make sure people know you’re dressing up as 2018 Grace and not 1998 Grace, pair the wig with a chunky statement necklace, a mid-length wrap dress in a bold print, and preferably a martini that you’re borrowing from your good friend Karen. And since Grace (Debra Messing) can throw back a meal like it’s nobody’s business, be sure to finish off that cake in the fridge before you head out for the Halloween festivities. You know. So you can really play the part.
Lauren Heller, Younger
The publicist’s Jewish claim to fame on Younger may be that she dated an Orthodox lesbian for a while — but really, she’s better known for throwing herself a “Hot Mitzvah” (a grown-up version of a bat mitzvah party). Wear a loose updo, a chunky necklace, and a corseted, shiny strapless dress like the one Lauren (Molly Bernard) wore to her hot mitzvah. If you have a Jewish med student that you met at camp with whom you can attend the party, all the better.
Ali Pfefferman, Transparent
Honestly, any one of Transparent’s Pfefferman ladies would make for a great costume — you could rock a short white wig to play Shelly or a floral maxi-dress, thin gray wig and some glasses and be Maura. But we think youngest daughter Ali (Gabi Hoffman), would be the most fun. Draw in your eyebrows, cut up some jeans, throw on a blazer over your favorite baggy button-down tee, and go around complaining about life. Pro tip: If you usually shave your armpits, be sure to not to until Halloween for the full effect.
Ruth Wilder, Glow
Or shall we call her Zoya the Destroya? Allison Brie’s alter-ego’s alter-ego just might be the most over-the-top costume on this list — probably because she’s a Russian wrestler from the ‘80s. You need a shiny burnt orange leotard, metallic lipstick, a furry Soviet army hat and a pair of long black gloves to truly nail this look. If you can fake a Russian accent, you’re golden.