Purim Parties for NYC Kids: Put on Your Costumes and Make Some Noise in Honor of the Festive Jewish Holiday
You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy Purim. Often called the Jewish Halloween, Purim is a super-fun holiday when kids can do some of their favorite things, like dress up, play games, eat treats and make lots of noise.
Inspired by the great biblical tale of Queen Esther, who saved the Jews from annihilation by standing up to her husband's evil adviser Haman, Purim is celebrated by reading the Megillah (Esther's story), noshing on hamantaschen (triangular fruit-filled pastries meant to represent Haman's ears—gruesome but tasty) and rejoicing in a carnival-like atmosphere.
This year, Purim officially begins on the evening of Saturday, February 23 and ends at sundown the next day, and most Jewish cultural institutions are marking the holiday that weekend. We've rounded up the top 10 Purim celebrations in New York City, including colorful carnivals, holiday performances and even costume parades.
West End Synagogue – Upper West Side
190 Amsterdam Avenue near 64th Street
Saturday, February 23 at 4pm
Suggested donation of $5 per person, maximum of $18 per family
The main event here is a performance by the troupe Stories and Swords, who tell the story of Queen Esther with live sword fighting. Other attractions include table games, kosher hot dogs and hamantaschen.
Kids' Purim Extravaganza – Cobble Hill
Kane Street Synagogue, 236 Kane Street near Tompkins Place
Sunday, February 24: 10am-12:30pm for ages 1-5; 2-3:30pm for ages 5-12
$10 per child
The synagogue offers two separate parties for revelers of different ages. In the morning, tots can celebrate at a lively concert by Shira and Friends followed by crown making, games, face painting and hamantaschen. In the afternoon, school-age kids can enjoy a carnival with competitions and prizes.
Purim Masquerade Disco Ball – Windsor Terrace
Kings Bay Y at Windsor Terrace, 1224 Prospect Avenue near Vanderbilt Street
Sunday, February 24 10:30am-12:30pm
The preschool set can enjoy arts and crafts, face painting and storytelling, hang with costumed characters and get down on the dance floor. Every kid who dresses up snags a small prize. Although this event is free, the Y will be collecting nonperishable food for New Yorkers in need.
Purim Art Workshop and Gallery Tour & Dirty Sock Funtime Band – Upper East Side
The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street
Sunday, February 24: workshop is at 10:30am, concert is at 2pm
Workshop is $12 for adults, $10 for children; concert is $18 for adults, $13 for children. Both: $24 is for adults, $18 for children
Celebrate the holiday with art and music. In the morning, children ages 6 to 10 can make masks and wear them as they tour the galleries. At 2pm, young kids can dance to the groovy tunes of '70s-style rockers the Dirty Sock Funtime Band. The day ends with an indoor costume parade.
Purim Carnival – Park Slope
Park Slope Jewish Center, 1320 Eighth Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets
Sunday, February 24 noon-2pm
$10 for children 2 and up (includes 10 game tickets); $5-$10 suggested donation for adults; $40 for unlimited pass
This members-only organization opens its doors to the public in celebration of Purim. Costumed kids can celebrate with games, arts and crafts, prizes and food.
Purim Carnival – Upper East Side
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
Sunday, February 24 at 10:30am
$10 for adults, $15 for children
The Y's bash includes mask making, carnival games, an interactive rendition of the story of Esther and lots of hamantaschen.
A Superhero Purim – Tribeca
Chabad of Tribeca and Soho, 54 Reade Street near Broadway
Sunday, February 24 3:30-5pm
$36 per family
Party with your favorite superheroes at this Purim bash. Don your best cape and tights, hit the face painting and glitter tattoo stations, and then mug it up in the photo booth. There will also be arts and crafts, and hamantashen.
Grand Purim Party – Lower East Side
Grand Ballroom of Capitale, 130 Bowery between Grand and Broome Streets
Sunday, February 24 at 4pm
In advance: $15 for adults, $12 for children; at the door: $20 for adults, $15 for children
The Chabad of the Lower East Side's huge annual bash isn't expressly aimed at kids but there's lots for families to enjoy, including a generous buffet, live music and the 45-minute Twistin' Todd Balloon Show.
Purim Circus – Park Slope
Beth Elohim, 274 Garfield Place at Sixth Avenue
Sunday, February 24 10am-1pm
In advance: $5; at the door: $8
The fest kicks off with a Megillah reading featuring local kids' crooner Debbie Brukman followed by two circus-themed carnivals. The preschoolers can romp in the Early Childhood Center where there will be a bouncy house and other age appropriate amusements. School-age kids can clown around with teaching artists from the New Victory Theater, learn how to juggle and hula hoop, and hit the giant inflatable slide.
Purim Family Carnival at the JCC – Upper West Side
The JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street
Sunday, March 3 2-5pm
Free admission but there are fees for activities
Raven and her daughter (and seemingly every family on the Upper West Side) hit this fete every year. It's a ton of fun on multiple floors featuring carnival games with tchotchkes as prizes, holiday goodies to eat, multiple inflatable houses, face painting and an exotic animal petting zoo. All the kids (and some adults) come in costume. Although admission is free, you need to buy activity tickets, so it can be costly if you don't set a firm limit. And it's always pretty crowded, but there are so many things to do, the lines tend to move quickly.
Looking for more ways to celebrate? There are even more Purim parties in our Event Calendar.
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