As Laura S. mentioned the other day, Santacon is right around the corner. In fact, today is Santacon Eve. Tomorrow, New York with be full of 3,000+ Santas gallivanting around in giant packs. And there is no better way to appreciate a the city covered in Christmas decorations than when you’re one of a giant chorus of “ho, ho, hos.” While making pitstops for beer is a big part of Santacon, the most important thing is to wear a costume. Now, you’re probably thinking, “I don’t have a stupid Santa suit. I have 19 black tee shirts, but no Santa suit.” Don’t freak out! You can throw together a magical outfit in no time at all. All you need is a glue gun, some cotton balls, white tee shirts, and maybe a cheap hoodie.
Step 1: Hat and Beard
Hat: Pretty much every drug store has traditional Santa hats for about $3. You should leave right now and run to your nearest CVS, Walgreens or Duane Reade, because Santacon attracts about 3,000 people. There’s no way in hell you’re going to find a hat tomorrow. If the stores are out, buy a roll of solid red wrapping paper and follow these directions to fold yourself a hat. Glue white paper or cotton balls to the edges for trim.
Beard: There are several options for DIY beards. You can use felt in the craft section of an art store (like Pearl Paint or Utretch) or a fabric store for $3 at the most, glue some white paper over a cereal box or dig out an old white tee shirt. Pick your material and cut out a vague beard shape, here is a photo to use as a guideline. Then, attach a piece of string or elastic to either side of your beard so the string will hold it on your face like a nerd strap on glasses. For extra fuzziness, glue cotton balls all over your beard.
Step 2: Deck Yourself in Red
To be classic Santa, find a red long sleeve shirt and red sweatpants or leggings. Glue some white trim around the collar and the sleeve cuffs, down the shirt middle and along the hem. Cut thin strips of white tee shirts or use cotton balls for the trim. (I suggest tee shirts for fabric because cut tee shirts don’t fray like a bed sheet or regular fabric would).
If you can’t scrape together a costume to be classic Santa, don’t worry! There are lots of other Santas you can be:
Whatever-You-Were-For-Halloween Santa Dig you your Halloween costume. Add beard and hat. Then roam the streets as Zombie Santa, jellyfish Santa, Warrior Santa, James K. Polk Santa, etc.
1990s Cartoon Character Costume Santa Get a flat, cardboard picture of Santa, like the ones you’d see on an elementary bulletin board at any dollar store. Cut out holes for your eyes and mouth, and use a piece of string to attach it to your face. Make a poncho out of a white trash bag, and draw a picture and write “Santa Claus” on the front.
Santa penguin Cut an oval out of a white tee shirt or paper, and tape it or glue it to the front of a black hoodie. Wear black pants and throw on a Santa hat. If anyone reminds you that penguins don’t live at the north pole, threaten to cover them in the half digested fish that you were saving for your chick.
Pandemic Santa Instead of a beard, glue cotton balls to a surgical mask. You can be SARS, bird flu, or swine flu Santa!
Non Santa Costumes: Santa needs holiday friends as much as he needs other Santas!
Abominable Snowman Dress in a white hoodie and pants/leggings. Find a pair of novelty fangs. Wrap a pillow around your torso and tape it in place for extra bulk. After you’re dressed, growl incessantly and speak similar to a caveman all day, just remember to be nice to bartenders.
Reindeer Wear a brown shirt and brown pants/leggings. To make antlers, make this shape bigger and cut it out of cardboard. Then attach it to a headband with hot glue or duct tape. (Careful with the duct tape. You don’t want to be “premature bald patch Santa.”)
Christmas Decorations Drape yourself in tinsel garland and tape a star to your head, and you’re a Christmas tree. Find a cheap tacky wreath adorned with fake birds and wear it around your neck!
Step 3: Gather Supplies
If you can’t find enough red, green, and metallic clothes in your closet, New York City is full of stores. You can forage through the racks at any thrift store and find the sweaters covered in sequins and Santa holding hands with snowmen. But that’s a big time commitment if you’re searching for something specific. For a quick costume, hit up the nearest discount store in your neighborhood. Hidden among the racks of zebra print lingerie is the monochromatic sweatsuit of your dreams! They also have packs of thermal shirts, tee shirts, etc for next to nothing. For the ladies, Rainbow has a great selection of brightly colored solid leggings and shirts for about $7 each. For tinsel, wreaths, trees, headbands, surgical masks or other accessories, go to any 99 cent store that looks like it’s covered in glittery fairy vomit. And whatever Santa or Santa related costume you throw together, have a merry f***ing Santacon!