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Get your (free) Purim on in NYC!

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What's Purim? Think of it as a Jewish Halloween, with costumes, revelry and tasty treats and, like so many Jewish holidays, a story of persecution and near-extermination. (Don't worry, the bad guy gets his at the end! And his name is ordered to be forgotten. By being repeated year after year in a ritualistic manner.)

Mommy Poppins has a round up of assorted Purim happenings in NYC (click here for the complete list).

But, you know the NY Frugal Family Examiner - we like our festivities as low-cost as possible.

Below are two Upper West Side Purim happenings that are FREE to enter - though you do have to buy activity and food tickets.

Or do you?

Unlike a pre-set cover charge at the door, with activity tickets, you can control exactly how much you spend - if anything at all. For some kids, just dressing up in costume and hanging out with other similarly bedecked tots, grooving to the music and watching the action is enough fun for one day.

And at least here, the ideal price point is up to you!

Check out:

Ansche Chesed Synagogue
251 West 100th Street
New York, NY 10025
Sunday, March 16
10 am to 2 pm
The Annual Purim Carnival will feature arts and crafts, games of skill, games of chance, gym play and food galore! Plus, just outside the kiddie area, a used book sale to help restore parental sanity!

Then head a couple dozen blocks south for:

The JCC in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Avenue @76th Street
Sunday, March 16th
2pm to 5pm
Your second annual Carnival of the day comes with a petting zoo, obstacle courses, face painting, live music, and - anyone detecting a theme, here? - food galore! What's particularly nice about this event is that families with special needs kids are invited to stop by between 1 pm and 2 pm for a more low-key, less over-stimulating experience.

But what if the Upper West Side of Manhattan is just too far to go for hamentashen and groggers? Have no fear, we've got the Upper East Side covered, too!

Temple Shaaray Tefila
250 E. 79th Street
Sunday, March 16
11 am to 2 pm
Yet another FREE carnival (though a donation to their soup kitchen is suggested) for children ages 5 and up with arts and crafts, games and pizza, followed by an all-congregation Purim spiel (that's when they'll keep repeating the name of the villain this holiday wants you to forget).

Want even more FREE fun for Purim? Check out this round up of DIY costumes so easy even a child can make them - because a child, in fact, did.

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And if Purim sets your sweet tooth and your craving for mayhem and music aflame, then celebrate the holiday with a reading of "The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition" by Dan Elish. It's the story of a man who makes all kinds of desserts - that, unfortunately, have a nasty tendency to turn into something else. It's got pancakes becoming trampolines, exploding candy apples and roller-skating apple pies! Plus, an original musical score by a Broadway vet included right alongside the story! Get a FREE preview, here!

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