Halloween: JWA Style

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Feminist visionary Gloria Steinem, daughter of a Christian mother and a Jewish father, forged her first real connection to Judaism through her participation in an annual Feminist Seder, "the first spiritually-centered occasion in [her] feminist life."

Institution: Boise State University


We are well into October and it is time to talk Halloween. Knowing that it can be difficult to find a costume that accurately represents your feminism and your Jewish identity, we’ve put together our guide to a well-researched JWA Halloween costume.

Gloria Steinem: looking to crush some patriarchy this Halloween? (After all, what is scarier than a world without feminists?) How about going as the leader of the women’s liberation movement? Our costume recommendations: oversized aviator glasses, long, straight hair, and a raised fist. (Bra burning optional—and not recommended...for safety and historical accuracy.)

Bella Abzug: don’t just ring doorbells for candy this Halloween, go door to door to change the world. What you need for your Bella costume is a flair for justice, a successful career in congress, a curly wig, long gloves, and a colorful wide-brimmed hat. But, as Bella would tell you, “It’s what’s under the hat that counts!” So be prepared to dazzle with your wit and wisdom as well as your costume.

Batwoman: in the DC comic book world, this caped crusader was rebooted as a Jewish lesbian in 2011. Your local costume shop can probably help fill in the details of your costume (think cape and mask), but be sure to explain to your fellow trick-or-treaters that your costume stems from your queer, Jewish pride!

Molly Picon: if you’ve got more than one Halloween happening, switch up your Molly Picon style. The scamp version: newsboy cap, trousers, and a fiddle. The vaudeville version: glamorous 40's-style dress and pumps. Either way, be prepared to break out into Yiddish songs.

Dr. Ruth: For our short friends, here’s the costume you’ve been waiting for. Put on your thickest German accent and get ready to talk about sex. Don a powdered wig, a blazer with shoulder pads, plastic rimed glasses, and carry around your earmarked copy of Romance for Dummies.

The Ghost of Fruma Sarah from Fiddler on the Roof: if your goal is to go scary—really scary—turn to the classics of the stage. Take a page out of Tevye’s nightmare from Fiddler on the Roof and throw on some scary ghost garbs. Remember, we’re talking about Lazar Wolf’s departed wife—and she’s not pleased about her husband’s plans. Stretch your creativity with some glow-in-the-dark paint, tattered white sheets, and perhaps some pearls.

Madonna: why not go as the material girl—during her kabbalah stage!  Think new age meets ancient religion, with a bit of Hollywood flair thrown in for good measure. As long as you’ve got a few pieces of red string around your wrists, you should be on your way to costumed enlightenment.

Elena Kagan:  a Supreme Court justice needs a robe and a gavel. Grab another friend, lend them some large glasses, and cast them as Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Or, go for the groundbreaking—cast a friend as Sonia Maria Sotomayor and round out your first-ever women trio. (Group costumes always seem to impress—this could be your key to Halloween history.)

The Biblical Miriam: short on time? Just grab a tambourine—and lead the women in song.

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