One of the benefits of living in Stamford Hill, amid one of the largest orthodox Jewish communities in the world, is that, once a year, we get to enjoy the spectacle of Purim. While the men are under orders to get stinking drunk over the course of the day, the children have to dress up in proper, full-on fancy dress, either hired from a specialist or home-made but to such a degree of creativity and professionalism that if we ever need fancy-dress costumes for the girls, we won’t have to look very far. So here’s my rundown of costumes spotted this year….
First, Napoleon at number 59,
Then clowns, kings, bakers and coppers;
Cats and bears and maybe a wolf
in thick woollen head-to-toe costumes.
Lions, and a big-headed dalmatian swapping hats with a musketeer;
A butcher with a string of pork sausages; an African prince with ill-judged black-face and a yellow and brown striped gown; a trio of sultans in powder-blue turbans and elaborate felt-tip mustaches.
A grey-haired ‘old woman’ in tartan, and a young man with his belongings tied up in a kerchief on the end of a stick on his shoulder, seeking his fortune.
More clowns, several pirates, girls in ‘English’ school uniforms;
boys with drawn-on glasses.
A ladybird toddler; a red-faced tomato in a pram;
Two ice cream cones and a choc-ice.
A Sainsbury’s shelf-stacker, a boy with a trilby and an inky five o’clock shadow, Royal Mail delivery personnel.
Princesses – less Disney, more Anne of Hanover – and queens and soldiers and paramedics and chefs;
A penguin, two Hello Kittys, and a panda toting his brother’s replica semi-automatic rifle;
A gaggle of 1950s midwives (or possibly Salvation Army troops).
Four gift-wrapped presents and a girl dressed as a packet of sweets.