What's behind a costume?


For those who have been reading weekly, you’ve probably noticed that I post my blog weekly on Thursday evenings (p.s.t.). That is, until this past week, when Thursday night came and I realized the Jewish holiday of Purim had arrived, (which headed straight into the Sabbath), and I would have no time to write before it ended. Originally, I was frustrated – I hadn’t wanted to break a streak. But after seeing all of the festivities that had taken place over the one-day holiday. I actually have a lot to share.


Part of the excitement of Purim involves dressing up in costumes. Although some people reading this might assuming that Purim is just an imitation of Halloween, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The costumes are not scary or evil but often meant to invoke laughter. Families dress up together in theme and distribute (often) coordinating food packages to neighbors. As I walked around and saw the creative costumes that people conjured up, I knew I could find that all 5 S.I.T. templates of creativity were used. Here’s what I discovered:


Subtraction: Less is more. As we said previously, constraints make us more creative, not less. The families that spent little money, were often more creative than the ones that spent more. One such family dressed up as UPS workers, and cleverly took a picture of the food package they left at your door and then promptly sent it to you for confirmation. All that was needed were some brown clothing, hats and of course, creativity.


Division: Why can’t a family dress up as a deck of cards even though they aren’t 13 people? Proudly displaying random cards from the deck, the costumes looked great. Remember, stop going for all or nothing!


Multiplication: On Purim, we traditionally eat a triangle shaped cookie called a humantashen. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever received quite a variety of humantashen like I have this year. We received a variety of more classic fillings (jelly, chocolate) as well as less so (cookie dough, peanut butter). We also received large ones, small ones, savory ones, sweet ones, drizzled ones and plain ones. Definitely an eclectic bunch.


Task unification: Imagine if your car doubled as your costume? Or perhaps utilizing your baby stroller as part of it? What about if your food packages were part of your costume? Or if your costume represented your frustration with COVID or expressed another idea you wanted to share? Costumes can take on a life of their own if you let them.


Attribute Dependency: Costumes broke existing dependencies – why do families have to dress in theme? Does everyone in the family have to dress as a certain character or can individuals be an object or symbol? Does your costume have to exist in real time, or can it involve a scene that previously occurred.


So the next time you are invited to a costume party, start thinking inside the box for the most creative results!

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