Santacon History

We are currently compiling a full history of Santacon Culture, inspired in part by John Law and company’s

If you have Santa stories or photos, please send an email and say hello.

While the idea of donning a Santa Suit around Christmas has been around for some time, it was the San Francisco Cacophony Society which started “Santa Rampages” aka “Santarchy” in 1994. The original idea was more or less to have as many as possible (when this meant a few dozen) people in matching “Cheap Suit Santa” outfits.

In 1996, the San Francisco Cacos came to visit their friends in the Portland Cacophony Society for the first event officially dubbed “Santacon”. After two years of “Santarchy” and “Rampage” it was time for a kinder-gentler Santa CONvention. This is documented in the seminal documentary, “You’d Better Watch Out” by Laughing Squid founder and all around awesome fellow, Scott Beale:

Since then, the Portland Cacophony has been organizing Santacon in what has become as much of a tradition as a spectacle. With pranks, games, performances and a variety of other activities, calling Santacon a “pub crawl” is like referring to Burning Man as “a camping trip” or your sister’s wedding as “dinner with the family”… not wrong, but a serious oversimplification.

In recent years, Portland has not only had “the” Santacon, but Summer Santacon, North Portland AntiCon (while formally a Santacon protest, unofficially is endorsed by the same Santas, and counter-protested by Bananas), mini Santacons in various neighborhoods, even rip-offs from corporate entities. Of course, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of Santa.