Photos from 2012! http://photos.sfstation.com/City-Events/SantaCon-2012/27107727_zHxsg3
Unless explicitly stated you must assume that every SantaCon event is for adults - where guys & girls of legal age dress up like Santa and go cavorting around town for no better reason than that it's huge fun.
That having been said, some SantaCons are family friendly, some cater to children, some raise money for good causes and some will even let you bring your dog (dressed as Santa of course)!
Santa does not make children cry. Really, if you see kids, don't do anything to freak them out. Give them a nice smile and possibly a gift of some kind (toys, candy etc). Parents and tourists are a different matter altogether - adjust your behavior based on their attitude.
Santa dresses for all occasions. It's December. Smart santas wear multiple costume layers. Dress to maximize merriment whether singing Christmas carols in the snow, or swinging from a stripper pole in a hot nightclub.
Santa doesn't whine! We will be outside a lot and commuting mainly on foot - bring enough "snacks" to keep your pie-hole filled until we get indoors.
Bring gifts: NAUGHTY gifts to give grown ups; NICE stuff to give kids. Throwing coal at people is discouraged no matter who they are. YES THAT INCLUDES POLITICIANS. But giving out coal might actually be appreciated.
Watching santa get drunk and rowdy is fun. Babysitting santa while he vomits in an alley is not. Don't be that santa.
Make sure you always pay for your beer and tip the bar staff. We want to be able to do this again so be polite and cultivate the goodwill of the local community.
Please pay for your drinks as soon as you get them. Santas get tired of waiting on other santas to clear their tab before being able to move on. This entire adventure should be cash only.
"No santa's left behind!" Don't think only of yourself - Santa is not inconsiderate of his fellow santas like that. Pick a few people you know and keep an eye out for them when it's time to move to the next location. If you don't see them, speak up so other santas know to wait a moment. Every santa should have at least 2-3 other santas they look out for and 2-3 that look out for them in turn.
Stay with the group. It's not just a case of "the more, the merrier" - Santa is safer with large numbers of fellow santas and what one santa can't achieve (or get away with) is a possibility for 50 or more!
Dress up! You don't have to dress exactly like Santa. In fact, unusual interpretations of Santa-ness are much appreciated, both by those we bring joy to - as well as your fellow santas: elves, reindeer themes etc. are fine as well!
Please remember that this is all about having fun. Most santas like to take their fun with a little alcohol which is fine. What is not fine, however, is getting completely sh#t-faced to the point that santas end up being abusive or violent. Remember that there is no "bail fund" for incarcerated santas and if you cross the line you'll be on your own.
Santa doesn't drink & drive and neither should you. If you're going to drink you must make sure that you can get safely home without driving yourself. Check public transport, carpool with a designated sober driver, make arrangements to sleep over at someone's place etc. Organizers sometimes try to coordinate transportation to get santas safely home. Check the message boards and groups for your local SantaCon to find out if this is being done in your area.
You MUST address everyone as "Santa."
You SHOULD "ho-ho-ho" like Santa.
You OUGHT to give out gifts like Santa.
You MIGHT want to drink like Santa
Read these guidelines one more time.
If you have reached this rule, it means you didn't get locked into a loop reading the guidelines over and over again as per the previous rule. You are therefore intelligent enough to take part in SantaCon!
Have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!