I woke up yesterday morning with a fireball tattoo on my wrist and red fuzz all over my pillow. I spent the next 30 minutes in a groggy stupor, picking the red chunks out of my hair scrubbing the temporary tattoo off of my body, glad I had opted for the wrist placement versus the tramp stamp.
All of this was the aftermath of Santacon, yet another of Seattle’s costume bashes in which thousands of Santas parade around the city for a bar crawl. My Achilles heel is a good story, so I donned a zebra print Santa hat and decided to meet some friends downtown so we could properly stalk some Santas.
I painted my nails green, and I figured if anyone questioned my hat as a valid costume I could flip them off with my fresh manicure and explain how I’m channeling my spirit animal, the Grinch. It was cold and rainy, so I rallied enough energy to get myself out of the apartment so I could creep on some Santas.
My friend, Rachael, came into town and we took a Lyft downtown, trying to beat the Santas to their next destination. When our car got into a fender bender (not a bad accident, no one was hurt), and we walked the last half mile to our first destination, I wondered if that was an ominous sign of what was to come that evening.
I watched in fascination as mass quantities of Claus marched through the streets, sprinkled with the occasional elf or Jesus costume for those branching out.
We headed to a bar that I would have easily avoided had it been filled with people not dressed as Santas. Something about making my way through a sea of red suits made it worth fighting the crowd. Once we secured a spot to stand, which was hard to come by, I was able to properly stalk everyone at the bar.
It was a weird phenomenon, being surrounded by everyone who is dressed exactly the same. It is like a real life version of Where’s Waldo, so I was not going to stray from my group or else I knew I would lose them for the night.
There were plenty of normal Santas, but then there was a man dressed as a sexy Santa in a corset that clearly had too much to drink (as had we all at this point). There was a man who clearly missed the memo and was in a Luigi costume. There was a man dressed as Krampus, the horned creature who punishes the bad children on Christmas day.
To his credit, Krampus went all out, and even had a wicker backpack with baby dolls chained up inside of it. As I struggled to take a picture, I heard a Santa behind me utter, “That’s a little too real.” I laughed to myself, thinking that at least I knew the line of “too far” in Seattle was abducted baby dolls.
The night quickly went downhill from there. Booze flowed freely in the spirit of St Nick, and somehow by the time I woke up, I had managed to finagle a temporary fireball tattoo, some random necklace, and a bottle opener. I opened my handbag to head to meet some friends for brunch and found a Lady of Guadalupe candle in my bag that I vaguely remember talking to a friend about earlier in the evening.
I gasped and figured having a religious candle that was clearly taken had to be a straight ticket to hell if I hadn’t already secured that on my own anyhow. Needless to say the night became a hazy one.
At one point, we lost someone on our team, and I was getting concerned that we were dropping like flies and that it would be nearly impossible to meet up with my group again if I lost track of them.
Then there was a menorah that was lit in the middle of a bar, which seemed like a dangerous idea, between the fire and the alcohol, but no one seemed to be bothered by it.
I was also randomly hugged by a homeless woman on the street (and I’m not a fan of a hug from a stranger, much less a homeless one).
And somehow I ended up in a karaoke bar with a stranger handing me his credit card in order to buy drinks for my friends and myself.
I can’t explain the events of the evening as well as I would like to, but honestly there’s something about Seattlites dressing up in costume that makes them open up. I don’t entirely understand it, but it’s a rare glimpse into life without the Seattle Freeze.
I arrived home to an apartment without power, threw off my Santa hat, and fumbled my way into bed, thankful I was able to watch Seattlites at their best. There was something palpable about the Seattle Christmas spirit when everyone was dressed in their Santa outfits.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand what goes on out here, but I figure while I’m here, I may as well drink the Kool-Aid and go along for the ride. Even if that means waking up with a religious candle in my bag and a temporary tattoo on my arm.