Thursday, March 5, 2009

Costumes With a Twist

Apparently while I was busy doing something else a bit of life passed me by. I just ran across an advertisement for a Purim costume gemach. I was curious so I clicked on the link. What is charged for the costumes is not stated but they do charge or they could not have put on that "all proceeds go to Tzedaka." What really got to me was that they gave the sizes of the costumes available: 0-6 months through toddler 6.

Apparently it is more than age that separates the generations. I honestly cannot remember one single 3-month old who was dressed up in a purchased/rented costume back when my kids were young. Truthfully, I cannot remember any 3-month old that was dressed up period. In fact, few, if any, people purchased much more than a strange hat from a party store. Costumes were homemade and pretty much limited to those perfectly perambulatory.

I used to think that Gemachs were around to provide necessary items for people who don't have them. So now ready made Purim costumes for the leaky-diaper set are a necessity? I have a sneaking suspicion that competition has raised its head when it comes to Purim costumes, and it's beginning awfully young.


G6 said...

My daughter got a costume for my baby granddaughter at a gemach in the Five Towns, but they don't charge... only a refundable deposit.
Never underestimate the contributions to Simchas Purim made by tiny kids in cute costumes... :)

Anonymous said...

Don't be so grouchy. Just because it's not the way it used to be doesn't mean it's bad. The little ones all dressed up are yummy as long as they don't disturb the Megillah.

SephardiLady said...

I have always dressed up my kids from birth on up. At even a year old, they seem to find it fun to have a tail or ears. And the older one(s) enjoy their sibling taking on a new identity.

I'm curious how much the rentals cost. I've picked up a box full of costumes for very little money. The best time to pick up costumes is in November and December, when stuff gets knocked down to a few dollars and stores want it out.

Thrift stores are also a great place to find costumes for the future. We've also borrowed costumes for my older one who lately has been getting very specific about what he needs to be (wish I was better at sewing and crafts).

Wear the costumes. But don't spend a fortune.

ProfK said...

So who pays for the cleaning of the costume? Let's be plain speaking here--infants and young toddlers leak from every opening no matter how much care you take. You wouldn't put them into regular clothes you had gotten from someone else without washing those clothes first--are you really going to put them into a Purim costume outfit that some other youngster has spit up on or "ba'pisht"? So again, who is paying for the cleaning?

Anonymous and SephardiLady,
I also "dressed up" my kids for Purim and never bought a single costume, although SL if I could have found something for only a dollar or two I might have purchased instead of making. Perhaps what is nudging at me is that I did a little sleuthing around to see what some of those costumes are going for right now, not on sale--$25-50 each outfit, and more for the "special" ones. Multiply that times the number of children in the family and you are talking serious money for outfits that will be worn once. It's a sure bet that if your oldest loved a particular costume one year your next child is so NOT going to be loving wearing it in the future.

Okay, maybe what is really bothering me right now is that Purim is becoming more and more institutionalized, more about what everyone else is doing than about what you want to do. Where social/community pressure raises its head then homemade becomes devalued. Shalach monos purchased ready made, costumes purchased ready made, seudah food purchased ready made, not because you want to do it this way but because not doing it this way puts you on the social fringes.

leahle said...

I hadn't even thought of the cleaning of the costume but you're right. I checked the inside of the costume I borrowed for my youngest one and it says dry clean only on it. Does anyone really send these things to the cleaners?

KE said...

My 5, 3, and 2-year-olds (but not the 1-year-old) just got done making GREAT costumes out of paper bags (dresses) and newspaper (hats). We spraypainted them then decorated them with art scraps on hand. Total out-of-pocket: $0.00. And they're really EXCITED about the costumes. If we have time, we'll make silly monster feet from cardboard boxes. We'll see...

SephardiLady said...

ProfK-When you are a Bubby, tell me what you need and I'll send you a bill. Somehow deals fall into my lap. If I wrote about my latest finds, I'd be bragging.

Lion of Zion said...

the best costume jr ever had was his a superman outfit. we more than made our money back on it . . . because it doubled as pajamas for him. i think he was also able to wear for 2 years?

this year i got stuck buying him a costime for various reasons. he looks cute and he loves, but i hope never again.