Purim in Israel - Price Check
Anglo-list's price checks and comparisons help our immigrant community make important financial decisions and build their Aliyah budget. Grocery and food items, holiday packages and cost of living are just some of the price checks we've done in the past. Purim gift giving (mishloach manot), fancy dress costumes and charitable contributions can add up to large sums of money. We hope this price comparison and tips will make for a pleasant, stress-free Purim this year.
Purim falls during the month of Adar in the Hebrew Calendar. As you amble along the streets, starting at least one month before the festival of Purim, you will see shops in Israel stocked up with fancy-dress costumes and accessories for adults and children, for both the religious and secular communities.
Creative parents have probably already come up with a unique and affordable Purim costume idea, but many Israeli children will want to dress up like their favorite superhero, a character from a movie or popular children's television program or perhaps something more traditional like Queen Esther or a High Priest.
Kindergartens and day care centers, in Israel, encourage the children to start playing dress-up games a few weeks before so that when the big day comes, they don't get stage fright and refuse to dress up at all.
One of the local Israeli suppliers we contacted, offers a selection of some 350 different ready-to-wear costumes but does not include all the accessories that go into making the perfect Purim outfit; wigs, masks, make-up, crowns, hats and other items. Purim is big business in Israel and competition is rife.
Toys-r-us have a small selection of Purim costumes for less than 50 shekels(probably last year's left overs). Their most expensive costume (from their on-line catalog) is 219 shekels for an adults Top-Gun Pilot outfit. You can purchase online or have it delivered directly to your home or collect it from a store near you.
The Stock chain, our favorite dollar shop, has a selection of Purim costumes for boys and girls of all ages as well as adults. Best of all, they have inexpensive Purim accessories. If you prefer ready-to-wear, Stock has toddler outfits for 50 shekels, children's costumes for around 150 shekels. Adult costumes start at 120 shekels.
If you can do-it-yourself you might consider making a cardboard hammentaschen (oznei hamman), Sponge-Bob, a remote control, colorful butterfly wings which would set you back less than 50 shekels. Make-up, face paints, colored hair spray can be bought cheaply and so can body accessories like Hamman's ears (or maybe they are Mr. Spock's), Pinocchio's nose or oversized rubber feet.
If you are an online shopping addict, we found a few websites to order from. Better hurry though!
Buycostumes.com has a range of approximately 4,000 costumes to choose from. The most expensive costume we found on this website was for a Darth Vader outfit at $708 (2,500 shekels). Accessories start at $5. The most expensive Darth Vader costume on Amazon is being sold for (hold your breath) $1,670 but you can get a girl's Minnie Mouse costume for between $12 - 100. Aliexpress is selling a simple Darth Vader outfit for $45 while the most expensive Minnie Mouse outfit was $75.
Chinabuy is a popular shopping site in Israel these days. They have a relatively small range of fancy dress costumes and accessories. In 2016 a child's Spiderman outfit was being sold for 40 shekels. This year it is selling for 95 shekels. The most expensive Purim costume we found was 220 shekels. Their website says 'free shipping'.
Make your own Purim Costume
Here are 4 great ideas:
- Collect leaves and branches from the garden and fashion them into a headgear (a hot glue gun will come in handy). A piece of brown fabric, tailored to resemble the bark and hey presto, you are now a 'tree'.
- The hat of the cat from The Cat in the Hat, is an easy one to make; all you need is some stiff, white cardboard, red paint and a few staples to put it together.
- Remember Love Hearts - those sherbet sweets you ate when you were a child? You can make your own. Cut a large circle from a piece or colored cardboard (Heb: bristol), draw a heart in the same color and print your special message. You can go with something traditional like "I'm Yours", "You're Cute", or something more modern like "YOLO" or "Text Me". Thread a ribbon in a matching color to go around your neck
- DIY Minions can be put together with an inexpensive, yellow T-Shirt, glue on some plastic eyes (bought at a craft or dollar shop) and draw in the facial expression of your choice with a colored marker. Emojis can be made in the same way.
One of our readers suggested shopping for Purim at second hand stores and she recommended Meshumashehu, in Misgav, near Karmiel (see below). If Karmiel is far or similar shops are not accessible, swap Purim outfits with friends. You might want to consider posting on one of the many Buy, Sell & Swap groups on Facebook. You will save you a bundle.
According to the European standard, children's fancy dress costumes fall under the category of toys and as there is a 'play hazard' whilst wearing them and they must conform to laid out standards. Before granting the local safety seal of approval (Hebrew: Tav Teken - תו תקן), the Standards Institution of Israel, tests toys for the following:
- Heavy metals
- Fire hazard (wigs, fabrics, colored hair sprays all present a safety hazard)
- Choking hazard
- Loose parts (eyes, buttons, badges that could fall off)
- Sharp edges
In 2011, 10 percent of toys imported into Israel, did not pass the Israel Standards Institution testing. Before you buy, check that the items carry an Israel or European safety seal of approval especially if you are buying a heavily discounted item.
Here are examples of a few safety seals, you might look out for on local or imported toys.
|Israel Safety Seal||European Union Safety Seal
||German Safety Seal||International Safety Seal - ISO
Not only should an item carry a recognized safety seal of approval, like the examples above, it should also be clearly labeled and any hazard warning should be listed. The importer's details should also be clearly marked.
Hammentaschen (Oznei Hamman)
What would Purim be without Oznei Hamman? Indulge yourself! Oznei Hamman with a selection of fillings like poppy seed, chocolate, halva and dates have been on supermarket shelves and in bakeries since Tu B'Shvat .
How much do they cost?
|Mega (online)||From 35 shekels/kg|
|Shufersal (online)||39 shekels/kg|
|Make your own||75 - 100 shekels for a large batch, depending on the fillings you choose. Our recipe, (from Bobba) yields about 50 pieces. You will need at least 4 hours of uninterrupted prep time. Flavor wise, Bobba's recipe is the best.|
Mishloach Manot (Purim Hampers)
Parents, if this is your first Purim in Israel, you will be expected to provide one small hamper for each of your children to take to school and to be swapped with classmates.
- Small hampers for children, can be bought from the supermarket from around 15 shekels.
- Ready-made family hampers can cost anywhere between 50 - 200 shekels each at the supermarket.
- You can buy online for family and friends abroad.
- Make your own. Supermarkets have stocks of 5 shekel items that you can use to fill your hamper. Buy hamper items in the shuk and save! Your local dollar shop has a selection of inexpensive baskets and gift bags for your Purim hampers.