Purim time in Israel means candy, cookies – and costumes, with that latter item a NIS 250 million ($65 million) business for toy stores and professional costumers. Costumes can range from simple masks that cost just a few shekels to elaborate get-ups that cost thousands – and purchases of those costumes are not particularly rare, according to importers and retailers.
This year, the Israel Retailers' Union said, the most popular costumes are characters from the Disney movie Frozen, followed by UK cartoon character Fireman Sam. Popular also are characters from Star Wars, Hello Kitty, Power Rangers, Bob the Builder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and other kids' standards.
Importers said that kids weren't the only ones interested in dressing up; as in the previous several years, there was marked increase in demand among adults for appropriate costumes, among whom the popular characters are more generic figures from fantasy and fairy tales – fortune tellers, Robin Hood, pirates, knights, etc. Popular this year are also face masks, or full outfits, for political leaders like Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu.
The average price for kids' outfits ranges from NIS 50 through 200, while adults can expect to pay as much as NIS 300, retailers said. Prices, they said, were about 20% less than they were last year – the result of increased Internet purchasing by Israelis, who can now order up to $75 worth of goods from abroad without paying customs duty or 18% value added tax.
Purim begins Wednesday night, March 4, but most kids will have already gotten their costumes, as many schools begin holding Purim events – with costumes – this week.