Spectrum | Oct. 29 1:11 am EST
one eleven

Purim vs. Halloween

As Halloween is quickly approaching, I always like to compare Purim and Halloween. For those of you who don’t know, Purim is the Jewish Holiday where we Jews dress up and get wasted to celebrate yet another time when people wanted to destroy us and then didn’t.

So, let us analyze:

1. According to the Wikipedia definition “Purim (Hebrew: About this sound פּוּרִים (help·info) Pûrîm ”lots”, from the word pur, related to Akkadian pūru) is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from a plot to destroy them. The story is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther).”

According to the Wikipedia definition “Halloween or Hallowe’en (/ˌhæləˈwin, -oʊˈin, ˌhɒl-/; a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”),  also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It initiates the triduum of Hallowmas, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.

2. Halloween costumes search results:





Purim costumes search result:





3. Halloween Iconic Snack: Candy Corn

Purim Iconic Snack: Hamintashin (a triangular cookie filled with a yummy filling like jelly) to represent the Haman’s (the bad guy of the tale) hat.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.










4. The Halloween Loot: On Halloween children go to houses “trick or treating” by knocking on doors in costumes and asking for candy.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.














The Purim Loot: On Purim children (sometimes adults depending on if their children are out of the house) and their families deliver “Mishloach Manot”, gift baskets with candy and drinks, to their neighbors and relatives homes. Children are usually rewarded a dollar for each delivery.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.









5. On college campus Halloween and Purim are quite similar. Everyone goes hard in costume. In fact, the Talmud states that one is to drink to the point of not knowing the difference between “cursed is Haman” and “blessed is Mordechai.” Haman and Mordechai are the bad guy and the good guy of the Purim story respectively. Perhaps on Purim the costumes are less slutty, but that really depends on where you are celebrating. The only stark difference is that before the celebrations it is customary to read the story of Purim from the Megillah.

6. Halloween Alcohol of choice: Everything?

Purim Alcohol of choice: Wine….then everything else.

7. Symbols of Halloween: Ghosts, Goblins, Witches, Saints, Candy, Pumpkins, Slutty costumes.

Symbols of Purim: Mordechai, Queen Ester, Haman’s hat (see above), Wine, Candy, Noise makers.





  1. Yid • October 29, 2013 at 1:26 am • Reply

    Hamantaschen. It has a proper spelling because it’s a German word. Esther also has a proper spelling.

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  2. Anonymous • October 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm • Reply

    There are plenty of people for whom Purim is a meaningful holiday, not just another excuse to “get wasted.” It’s cute that you’re trying to be edgy, but mocking or minimizing other people’s observances is just uncool.

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  3. Anonymous • October 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm • Reply

    Shira, this is another example in your Spectrum posts where before pressing the “publish” button you should ask yourself: Does this belong on your personal blog of let’s say “MLISL” or does this have any place on a campus blog where your posts should show more texture about the subject that’s being discussed? I love reading Spectrum for its wit, randomness, and fluffy content, but this just completely misconstrues a religious holiday in a rather painful and unfunny fashion. Hope that for the rest of the semester you put more thought and effort into these posts, which I’m sure you’re capable of.

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  4. go shira go • October 29, 2013 at 11:18 pm • Reply

    i’m a fannnnn
    pumped for purim!

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  5. purim obsrvr • October 30, 2013 at 1:57 am • Reply

    what are you referring to in the “Purim Loot” section? every person is required to give mishloach manot, including adults, regardless of where their kids are. also, “children are usually given a dollar for every delivery”? i have never seen nor heard of this practice. maybe this is something unique to your family or community that should not be presented as a universal custom. i think this goes along with what anonymous said about drinking on purim. its dishonest to present your personal practices as universal.

    lastly, how about mentioning the practice of matanot l’evyonim, (gifts for the poor)? one of the main practices of purim is to give charity. its totally essential to the holiday and i think is a high point of the celebrations but is totally disregarded here.

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  6. AX456 • October 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm • Reply

    Shira always tells it straight to the point. You give such good insight into these holidays! Keep on writing!

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  7. Positive vibes • October 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm • Reply

    As another Purim (and all the other Jewish holidays) observer I’m not sure why people couldn’t fun anything nice to say about this article. I thought this was a great article both well constructed and fit if for its audience (this is no OU magazine people). Though the article’s representation of Purim practices might not fit each and every jew’s personal practices It did a great job at highlighting some of the holiday’s beautiful practices.
    ״שלא עשנו כגויי הארצות״

    Great job Shira!

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  8. anon • October 31, 2013 at 3:41 pm • Reply

    This article did nothing except to find in an extreme fashion how it could fit Purim into a Frat Party or Halloween format. Instead of celebrating the beauty of differences between various holidays and practices, the author misconstrued aspects of the holiday to make have it fit in with a certain model.

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