Everything You Need to Know About SantaCon Honolulu 2017
Here’s our guide for how to hit Waikīkī’s Santa-fied streets with style on Dec. 2.
Photos: Kelli Bullock
Oh, hi, December. Didn’t see ya standing there. Now that November’s just about over, we can focus on the most wonderful time of the year, which means, of course, kicking the Yule season off with a bar-hopping, party-hearty twist on Christmas cheer, the much-beloved SantaCon.
What it is
This ain’t your childhood holiday get-together. In fact, anyone underage is going to have to miss out on these particular festivities because SantaCon is a bar-hopping, libation-tasting bonanza that tends more toward naughty than nice, and has one special detail: All partygoers are clad in Santa-stic apparel. We’re talking holly-colored fur-lined caps of the Mr. and Mrs. Claus variety, but you can also expect tinsel trimmings, elves and all other Christmas-inspired suits.
When and where
This year, the Santas will be storming Waikīkī en masse, kicking things off at Tiki’s Bar and Grill at 5 p.m. on Dec. 2. At quarter to seven, the crowd (seriously, a crowd) will move down Kalākaua Avenue, with official stops at Maui Brewing Co. and Moose Mcgillycuddy’s, with overflow to Kelley O’Neil’s across the street. Join in at one or all! Plus, according to the organizers, there’s no cost if you show up in full costume (drinks not included).
What to wear
Don’t be a Scrooge and skirt the dress code. A parade of Santas strutting down Kalākaua is only as cheery as its stylish participants, so muster up your most festive feelings and channel them into an ensemble worthy of such a jolly gathering. Teeny red dresses, stripey red-and-white socks, knee-high boots and a sea of Santa hats have been spotted in previous years. Keep in mind, though, that Rudolph has the night off, so you’ll be schlepping yourself from spot to spot. Strap on some stiletto Santa boots at your own peril.
And remember to act the part! Singing is enthusiastically encouraged by organizers, along with an occasional and hearty ho! ho! ho!
What to bring and do
What’s a Santa without gifts? SantaCon attendees have been known to tote along little treats and trinkets in their sacks to hand out to non-Santas on the street, so feel free to make merry and join in. Just remember to keep the naughty gifts (ahem: those hilarious condom packs) for the grown-ups, and give kiddos you see nice gifts only (PG-rated toys and candy will do).
These St. Nicks are of the bar-loving, -respecting and -appreciating type, which means they like to be as courteous as can be to the staff of the establishments they park their reindeer in. That means: Don’t forget to tip—bring cash, please! When you and every dude and dudette in the joint are all in the same getup, splitting and keeping track of tabs is beyond hairy. Using cash helps.
Drive (or, better yet, don’t drive) safely
In the age of Uber, Lyft, cabs and sober loved ones who don’t want to see you in a wreck or with a DUI in your stocking, there’s no excuse to drink and drive. Have a plan before you trek to Waikīkī, whether that’s saving cab numbers in your phone, downloading the Lyft app, finagling a promise from your sister to come pick you up, or perhaps even enlisting a very selfless, sober friend who wants to come along for some booze-free fun. After all, this is the season for giving, right?