Not all mall Santas are created the same and some are downright terrifying. Knowing this, parents eagerly take their young, impressionable children to sit on a stranger’s lap and pose for a photo. We’re not sure how this tradition started, but we found disturbing photos from Christmases past that might make you want to rethink the practice. Now, we’re sure the people dressed as Santa Claus had the best of intentions their faces just had different plans.
If you vividly remember having a creepy Santa experience, you were probably not wrong in your fear. In fact, you very well could have sat on the lap of a man dressed and made up as nightmare Santa. We decided to take a look at the photos people shared of their evil Kris Kringle experiences. We are shook. Shook! Take a look at these 25 scary Santas and promise us you’ll never subject your children to the same.
How is this child so calm? Does he not realize that he’s sitting on a man with a blood-covered face? We said a prayer, now we’re moving on.
As we researched Santas for this post, it became immediately clear that all Santa masks are bad. This Santa looks like he wanted to get some color after spending so much time at the icy North Pole. A spray tan and a Santa do not mix. Also, the eyes! Ah!
Who let John Wayne Gacy dress up as Santa? We’d like a refund, some holy water, and a recommendation for a clinical psychologist for these poor children.
There’s nothing wrong with a short king, but there’s something deeply unsettling about the size of this Santa. Or, perhaps it’s this pose. There’s something off here and this little girl knows it.
He Sees You When You’re Sleeping
You might not know this, but people actually didn’t experience fear in the seventies and eighties. Here’s proof. There’s no excuse for this Santa.
It seems like the Summer and Fall really put this Santa through the wringer. These children do not seem phased, but this was a near-death experience.
“No kids were harmed in the making of this photo,” the parent who shared this photo wrote. We’re going to need a proof of life picture of these two with today’s newspaper clearly visible.
There’s an unwritten rule that all Santas must also look like serial killers. It’s part of the whole “naughty or nice” aesthetic. Would you hand your baby twins to this man?
Here, we find a child who’s suffering from Stockholm syndrome. It will take some deprogramming, but he’ll be fine. We’d like to rescue this child and get this Santa a glass of water and nap.
He’s Got a Secret
There are so many questions. How old is Santa Claus? We always imagined him as a senior and this dude looks far too young and far too menacing.
She Survived Christmas 1980
“I survived Christmas 1980,” the woman who shared this childhood photo wrote. We, however, did not survive this photo.
“Somewhere around 28 years ago, my immense trust, respect and admiration for him, Santa Claus, was almost completely destroyed!” the person who shared this photo wrote. Whoever created this mask committed a crime against humanity.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no…” Actually, these children were scarred for life. Do better, mall HR departments.
Scared a Baby Unconcious
This Santa was so creepy he scared the consciousness right out of that baby. The smallest one knew what had befallen him and let go and let God.
Over All Santas
A design feature of a Santa costume is that it’s deep red, we imagine to camouflage any blood. That was dark. We’re sorry. But, this is just plain terrifying.
So Be Good For Goodness Sake
This picture is somehow an entire horror movie. Please, for the love of the young, do a deeper background check and more thorough hiring process for these Santas. The people who hired this man could not have done worse.
This Santa looks three sheets to the wind, drunk on eggnog. Can we get this Santa a vacation?
Say “hello” to your nightmare tonight. If the Santa robe/dress didn’t throw you, the black gloves and grey mask should. “Shoutout to my psyche for not developing childhood trauma after this horrific encounter,” the grown version of the child in this picture shared.
He’ll Hold You Tight
This poor, precious angels. What did they do to deserve this?
The Eyes Behind the Spectacles
“When you dress up as Santa for your friends son but it doesn’t go well,” the person dressed as Santa here wrote. Please, leave it to the professionals, people! Not looking like a monster is apparently not easy.
An Off Day
This Santa is pictured here having the worst day of his entire life. Can someone get this man a plate of cookies and a glass of milk?
As you know by now, children of earlier years did not experience fear. How are these two girls not scared?
Take a Breath
This Satan Santa is pictured wearing leather gloved and a leather face. This is not okay and we’re not sure if we’ll ever recover.
Eyes of Santa Claus
Look at this child’s face. Does this child look like he’s enjoying being held captive by an eyeless Santa?
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Here, you’ll find a Santa mask designed by Stanley Kubrick for the 1980 horror film, The Shining. What adult looked at that mask and thought it would work out fine? We need new myths, people.
There you go! 25 scary Santas that make the holidays fright. Hang your stockings and say your prayers, because he’s coming for you tonight.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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