Back When We Were Funny: 10 Religious Costumes for Kids

By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 28, 2013 | 12 comments

il_570xN.302185289When you’ve been blogging for a while, you run the risk of becoming lame. I might be there, I’m not sure. Would someone tell me if I were? The truth is, I don’t have the time I once did to dedicate to each and every blogpost, and sometimes in my quest to JUST GET IT DONE AND GET IT POSTED, certain things get sacrificed. One of those things? My sense of humor.

And it really is a damn shame. Because I have a glorious sense of humor! You should hear me be funny. I’m a riot.

The thing is: When I started out, I really believed that if one of you folks could get through my posts without laughing  — and by “laughing,” of course, I mean “thinking about smiling” — that was a failure. But so often these days I feel like my sense of humor gets left on the cutting-room floor — or doesn’t make it onto the reel at all. What has happened to me?

I notice it most when I re-read old stuff — like the one I wrote a couple years ago about Halloween costumes. That’s some good shit right there! Let’s take a look, shall we? Oh, and Happy Halloween!


Top 10 Religious Costumes for Kids
Originally appeared in October 2011.

I don’t blame the Jesus Ween people for declaring war on Halloween. Little kids dressing up in cute costumes, going door to door to get candy from their neighbors…well, it’s just so insidious. But you’ll be glad to know that where there’s conflict, there’s a potential for a happy medium. And clearly — CUH-LEAR-LEE — this year’s happy medium resides squarely in religious costuming for kids. Because the staff here at Relax, it’s Just God aim to be helpful, above all else, we have amassed the 10 best religious costumes based on factors much too complicated and nonexistent to enumerate here.

1. Jesus of Nazareth

Christianity still reigns supreme here in the United States. According to the Association for Religious Data Archives, 76 percent of the population ascribe to one of literally hundreds of Christian denominations — making Jesus the top choice in faithwear. Who needs Jesus Ween when you can dress as Jesus for Halloween? Oh, and also: How cute are those shoes? (Amazon, $22.67)

2. Nun

When asked “What Would Jesus Wear?” (for Halloween), nine out of 10 Catholics with a sense of humor said “Nun.” Also, there’s nothing risqué about this little number, making it a crowd favorite among dads. Get one while supplies last. (BrandsOnSale, $29.99)

3. Torah Boy

We were sorry not to see this guy rank higher on the list. I mean, it’s a kid dressed as a Torah, people. A Torah. There is literally nothing in the history of time cuter than this costume. Unfortunately, Judaism carries a much smaller percentage of the vote than Christians (1.7 percent), and Little Torah Boy’s ranking reflected that. (Amazon, $31.84)

4. Islamic Girl

Maybe it’s the hot weather in the Middle East, but Muslims have the comfort thing down pat. If you’ve got one of those kids who just wants to trick-or-treat in her pajamas, this costume may be the ticket. Check out the Islamic Boy outfit, too. Just as cute, and well-worth the extra shipping to have it sent from the UK. Happy Allaween! (Pretend to Bee, 12.95 British Pounds)

5. Buddha.

Technically, Buddhists are more prevalent than Muslims in the United States. But this Gold Buddha Costume got docked some points because it only comes in adult sizes. I know, we were shocked and outraged, as well. The CEO of Go4Costumes ought to know that when Gold Buddha isn’t offered in toddler sizes, children suffer. (Go4Costumes, $88)

6. Hindu Girl

Unfortunately, the controversy over supermodel Heidi Klum’s Shiva costume a couple years back has sent children’s shops retreating from Hindu god and goddess costumes. So this year we we’re limited to regular Hindu wear. Luckily for us, saris tend to be pretty spectacular, and this Bollywood Princess costume is no exception.(Amazon, $24.89)

7. Atheist

We’d hate to leave would-be atheists out in the cold on Halloween, so here’s the closest we could come to dressing as, well, Nothing. It’s not a bad likeness as likenesses go, really. And morphsuits have great reuse potential. Outline the whole thing with purple cord and you’ve got one half of a fantastic Harold and the Purple Crayon costume for next year. (Party City, $29.99)

8. Scientologist

Sure, most kids would rather go as Nothing, but we’re all about offering options. FYI, Scientologist costumes are best pulled off by strikingly handsome little boys with great hair and big teeth. Not saying it’s easy, but with the right look, it’s crazy cool. Don’t forget your Dianetics book and E-Meter!

9. Moses

You had me at the 10 Commandments. It’s all about the accoutrement, and Moses always did have the best stuff. In addition to the commandments, kids also might consider carrying a burning bush, a brass serpent or just a shitload of stone. (That guy loved him some stone.) If you’re looking for group-costumes, you might consider going as the 10 plagues. Incredibly, plague masks are easy to find. Just be sure that no matter who joins Little Moses in trick-or-treating, he gets to lead the way. Ha ha. (Costume Discounters, $16.97)

10. The Virgin Mary

Originally, the Confucius facial hair was on the list at No. 10, but we just couldn’t do it. It was so flippin’ lame. And there was something offensive about the whole thing, too. (Shut up. Don’t say it.) So we settled on Little Mary with her baby Jesus. Again, perfectly acceptable for Jesus Ween, and heart-meltingly sweet. I just want to scoop this little girl up in my arms right now and bring her home. It would totally be worth having Jesus call me Grandma.

So there you go. Hope you all have a swell holiday. Just remember, no matter what faith you’re representing, keep it clean out there, okay? Halloween is supposed to be scary, but not, like, religious-war scary. And if you live in my neighborhood, don’t forget to knock on my door. I’ll be the one dressed as the Irreverent Blogger in Danger of Being Shot By a Fundamentalist.


  1. Chris says:

    Don’t worry, you’re still funny! …and I mean that even when you don’t have comedy gold like “Jesus Ween” to work with.

    (Seriously, people? Jesus Ween?!? Really? That’s the best name they could come up with? Are none of them parents of fourth grade boys? Boys who would surely go around adding apostrophes to all their promotional materials?)

  2. Jamie says:

    First of all your “and by “laughing,” of course, I mean “thinking about smiling” — is genius. As someone who attempts to put humor in her writing I totally get that. In fact I might have to put it in my office and as a quote (of course attributing you). Then I saw the first comment on this post was Jamie. I thought that must be me — but then I read it and it sounded like a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT person. I had to reread it three times before I was like — okay. I think that was me. Because I do have a friend who was going to be a nun. That made me laugh even more. So thank you for that. I needed a laugh tonight.

  3. Jamie says:

    Number 8 gets my vote. I could never pull off a nun. Though I learned recently that one of my best adult friends had seriously considered becoming a nun in her early 20s. She hasn’t had much luck in the realm of secular marriage — at all. Poor girl. Really don’t understand her choice in men. Maybe she had an inkling she should have married Christ in the first place.

  4. Rich Wilson says:

    I think Mr. Scientologist should come with platform shoes.

  5. Theresa says:

    Love it! But that “Jesus” costume is just mislabeled. Why would he be old and holding the 10 Commandments? But a crucified-Jesus costume would have great crossover potential: religious *and* gory. Or maybe a post-resurrection Jesus with white facepaint and black eyeliner to tie into the whole zombie thing.

  6. Michael McQueen says:

    I like Moses and by the way, he is a Jewish hero. My favorite however is not here but his name was Melchizedek. The King of (Jeru)Salam priest of El Elyon. Also Joan of Arc rates high on my list but alas, it seems Superheros for boys, and Princesses hands down for girls for the last five years are number one, costumes. Adults are easy at least for women as Margret Sanger, Susan B. Anthony, and others looking for the advancement of women would be turning over in their graves to see all of the modern day scantly dressed “pick me please” costumes that are available. I know I like them. My mom had to tell me that my first costume she made for me was a Knight in shining armor out of an old silver rain coat. So my codependency it appears, was an issue that started long before I ever realized, much to my embarrassment. As far as best costume for men, my old neighbor dressed as a cholo with a can of spray paint who is a gringo, by the way, won in my book, even though I was greatly offended by it. After all what would my bato friends say?

  7. Karen says:

    Oh wow. This seriously takes me back to grade school. Over the years, the Catholic school I went to phased out non-Christian costumes because of the high number of scary costumes. Nightmare on Elm Street was a big deal then and everyone was going as Freddy or Jason. Eventually we were told only to go as our favorite saint or religious figure. No joke.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Torah boy is my hands down favorite–

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Due out March 31, Relax, It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You're Not Religious offers a well-researched look at a timely subject: secular parenting. With chapters on avoiding indoctrination, talking about death, vaccinating kids against intolerance, dealing with religious baggage, and getting along with religious relatives, the book offers a refreshingly compassionate approach to raising religiously literate, highly tolerant and critically thinking children capable of making up their own minds about what to believe. The book may be pre-ordered by visiting Brown Paper Press.

      Natural Wonderers is my new blog published by the Patheos faith network. An extension of my previous blog — Relax, It's Just God — Natural Wonderers offers stories and advice on raising curious, compassionate children in secular families.
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