My informant is Jewish on her father’s side of the family, and celebrated Jewish holidays for the majority of her childhood. She continues to do so now, just not as frequently. She told me about the Jewish holiday Purim, and recalled to the best of her ability its significance and customs.
The holiday Purim is based on the story of an evil man named Haman who wore a triangular hat. The traditional food at Purim, a triangular cookie called Hamantashen, is representative of his hat. People gather together, usually at their local temple, and tell the story of the evil Haman who was defeated at the hands of a brave hero. Whenever Haman’s name is mentioned during the story, the audience boos and spins noisemakers.
Another key element of Purim is that everyone dresses up in wild costumes, which is why some people refer to it as “Jewish Halloween”. However, there is less of a focus on monster-based costumes and more of a communal understanding that costumes are meant to be clever or amusing.
I find it interesting that Purim is such a fun and colorful holiday, yet it is so unappreciated and underrepresented in mainstream American (predominantly Christian) society.