Jewish Young Adults, like their non-Jew peers, enjoy letting loose and reveling disguised as other characters whenever it is permissible. Unfortunately, unless the JYA is an actor or actress, opportunities to don the mask of other personae are scant. Fortunately, the JYA has twice as many opportunities to do so compared to his Non-JYA counterparts. While Non-Jews play Dress Up only on the Halloween, the JYA is awarded the opportunity at Purim as well.
The JYA approach toward dressing up stands in counterdistinction to typical Non-JYA approaches. Usually, Non-JYAs lean toward more prurient costume choices, while the JYA does not. Non-JYA women overwhelming choose to abuse Halloween noting that it is one of the few times in a year when debauchery is socially acceptable. Therefore, Non-JYA women opt to don costumes of “sexy” versions of ordinarily lackluster figures from daily life. Fraternity Halloween parties are virtually overrun with “sexy” nurses, “sexy” girl-scouts, or vintage Britney Spears. Male Non-JYAs respond in similar fashion, becoming “pimps”, “gangster rappers”, or “gangster pimps”.
While Non-JYAs revel in Halloween’s decadence, depravity, and sexual license, JYAs are typically seen in costumes that tend toward the puritan. Specifically, JYAs, whether in the US, the UK, or Israel, will costume themselves for Halloween (or Purim) in the guise of popular figures from other major monotheistic religions. These costumes can be general, like “nun”, or “abbot”, but they can also be much more specific, like “Jesus” or “Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu”. Whether specific or general, JYAs will rarely be seen dressing up as figures from Judaism, neither from the Biblical nor Talmudic era, with the important exception of “Moses”.
(This female JYA chose to attend Purim festivities as a Breslov Hasid)
One convincing theory as to why JYAs like to dress up as famous Non Jews during Halloween or Purim is their general curiosity about the mentality of Non Jews. JYAs are frequently baffled by how Non Jews, particularly Protestants, function in day to day life, and stepping into their clothing for two days a year serves as an adequate substitute for deeper inquiry into the faiths of Non Jews. This is also a safe way for JYAs to explore the other side while not actually having to interact with Non JYAs.
If you want to meet a Nice Jewish Girl or Good Jewish Boy at the next Halloween parade in Manhattan, avoid the many alluring and scantily clad women and men dressed like Jezebels and Absaloms– these partygoers are not Jewish. If you are looking for a JYA, seek out a modestly dressed reveller, perhaps one who would fit in equally in the confessional.