What do you get when you take hundreds of amped-up people dressed as Santa Claus and march them to every bar in the city? You get SantaCon — aka Santarchy — the sloppiest, rowdiest pub crawl of the holidays.
And it's coming to a city near you.
According to a hazy group of Santarchy archivists, the event started in 1994 when The Suicide Club — a secret gang of miscreants known for climbing suspension bridges, throwing costume parties in cemeteries and causing all kinds of general mischief — decided to "induce a psychedelic reaction from the public," by dressing up as a few dozen crazed Santas and mobbing department stories.
As it turns out, they all got really drunk, had a blast, and vowed to never do it again. They then proceeded to do it annually.
Today, SantaCon is a worldwide event drawing thousands of the least family-friendly Santas into a black hole of drunken chaos. The event has drawn criticism in recent years due to its official reminders that Santas shouldn't vomit or go to the bathroom in the street, scare children, harass police officers or sexually assault people. Yes, for real.
Some towns have even gone so far as to ban the event altogether. Last year, an op-ed piece in The New York Times called for the event to be banned in the Big Apple. The writer called it an "obnoxious event."
Also in 2013, at least one participant was hospitalized and 10 received summonses to appear in court.
To find out dates and locations of SantaCons across the country, check out this list. You know, in case you want to be prepared to avoid the madness...or join in.