Tis the Season for SantaCon!

Yeah, sure, the stores were looking a lot like Christmas way back before Halloween but now that it’s almost Thanksgiving, it really is the season! One sure sign that “the goose is getting fat” is when you see that raucous roving band of red and white: SantaCon!

Perhaps you’ve run across them in years past, hundreds of ho-ho-ho’ers decked out as Santa — or the random reindeer, Chanukah Harry, blinking Christmas tree, etc. – on their day-long drunken ramble around Manhattan. Last year the event had five different starting points, “Con”-vening in Washington Square Park from Queens, Hoboken, Staten Island and two Brooklyn locations. Each year the route changes, incorporating outdoor photo ops, indoor drinking and at least one subway ride. I won’t give away any clues about where – or when – this year’s SantaCon will actually happen. That’s up to you to find out! But I can give you shopping tips for turning yourself into a festive variation on the jolly ol’ elf.

One of my favorite spots for quick costuming is KMart. This year they have the usual sexy Santa lingerie but you can also bundle up in holiday turtlenecks embroidered with snowflakes or pointsettias. In their accessories department, you’ll find fabulous holiday handbags with plenty of room to hide your “holiday cheer.” Some of them resemble shopping bags, perfect for Santas of both sexes. I was especially enchanted by their vast selection of Joe Boxer pajamas and found myself musing about dressing up as Cindy Lou Who…

If you’ve already got most of your Mrs. Claus ensemble together, you may need a pair of candy cane tights to finish off your look. I’m a huge fan of The Sock Man on St. Marks. In addition to his usual huge selection, he stocks seasonal socks. (Though, this being the East Village, you can probably find those stripey tights year-round!)

Another great destination for discount prices on fab fashion is Joyce Leslie. They’ve made a successful move from University Place to Broadway and Bond. You’ll find two floors of inexpensive fashions including fake fur neck wraps and hoodie hats, sequined leggings, holiday t-shirts, loads of red and white scarves and mittens, and an entire section devoted to sexy lingerie.

If you’d rather not spring for the full-on fake fur, you can always pick up a cheap pair of red sweats and be “Jogging Santa!” Red jeans, a ripped striped shirt and a motorcycle jacket would make a great “Punk Rock Santa.” Or wrap yourself up and be a present under the tree! Those are just a few ideas. My advice? Be creative!

For those sorely lacking in the imagination department, there’s always Halloween Adventure. They have an extensive selection of Santa attire, from expensive costumes suitable for Macy’s or just that one particular accessory you need to complement your creation. The whole “costume in a bag” approach is completely against my religion but I understand people have got to start somewhere. (I kinda can’t believe we haven’t already seen tees that say “I AM Santa!” like those “This IS my Halloween costume!” shirts.) Also for the unimaginative: the hot pink saucy Miss Santa you’ll find at Victoria’s Secret.

Whatever you wear, do NOT show up in just a Santa hat! You will be mercilessly ridiculed, universally shunned and possibly ejected from the reindeer games. For additional inspiration, you can Google SantaCon images.

The Sock Man
27 St. Marks Place between 2nd & 3rd Aves.

Halloween Adventure (two entrances)
808 Broadway
104 4th Ave. between 11th & 12th Sts.

Joyce Leslie
670 Broadway at Bond St.

KMart
Corner of St. Marks Place & 4th Ave.

Victoria’s Secret
565 Broadway between Spring & Prince Sts.

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