Ho, Ho, Horrifying! The Most Terrifying Mall Santas And The Kids They Scared

For most people, Christmas is a time to be with families and share smiles and love with each other. For small children, it’s also about presents and Santa Claus. Not every Santa at every mall is the same though, and some are downright scary. These children didn’t want to be scarred for life, but after these ho ho horrifying encounters with Saint Nick, they’ll never look at Christmas the same way. Some might never look at it again.

The Masked Santa

Okay. This mask looks like it was made 30 years previous to the time this photo was taken. The hair is matted and unkempt. Santa’s creepy bald head is exposed by the lack of a hat… he should take it back from the baby. Stat. This little cutie doesn’t seem to mind too much though!

Maybe the rosy cheeks are what’s fooling this child into being happy. Once this youngster grows up, they’re destined to become a horror film director.

The Halloween Santa

This mask looks like it’s in the wrong holiday. The super white hair and tiny slits for eyes are disturbing. This photo seems like it was from forty years ago and it’s too bad that this costume didn’t remain back in that time. The little girl on the right is probably still scarred from this Santa encounter to this very day!

Whatever parent is inside this costume really wanted to send a message to their kids, “don’t try and wake up and catch Santa in the middle of the night!”

The Grinning Santa

Based on the little girl’s outfit, this photo isn’t too old. That doesn’t explain why this Santa looks straight out of the 1970s. Santa’s grin is a little bit too overzealous and makes him look like a deranged character who is merely posing as Santa. The little girl is also trying to hightail it out of there!

This girl doesn’t know it, but Santa is only giving out coal this year. That expression shows a version of Saint Nick that has lost his mind a little bit.

The “What In The World Santa”

Although this is an old photograph, at no time in history would a Santa like this ever be okay! Look at him! Those don’t even look like facial features, he looks like a melted Michael Meyers mask with painted rosy cheeks and dread-locked Santa hair. Definitely a shudder-worthy Santa!

Let’s hope this costume was put in storage and never brought out again. Better yet, let’s hope after this picture was taken the outfit was burned, never to scar another child again.

The Angry Santa

It’s okay little boy, it’s totally understandable for you to be crying. Why does this Santa look like an angry dad sitting in the corner waiting for you to come home after you missed your curfew? Perhaps he just gave this little boy a proper scolding. Real beard though, so he gets points for that.

Pictures like this have to be on purpose, right? There’s no way this was an accident. Even dad is one of those men that refuse to smile, he shouldn’t be allowed to dress up as Santa.

Cotton Face Santa

For this little cowboy, I’m surprised he isn’t more terrified than his little smile leads us to believe. As for the Santa, it looks like he glued cotton balls onto his entire face, which would probably also be a great disguise if you were trying to successfully rob a bank.

We’re betting someone pulled a prank on Santa while he was asleep and he didn’t have time to unglue the cotton from his face.

The Tight-Grip Santa

So there’s something about this Santa, probably the dark bags under his eyes that make him look creepy. Let’s be honest… Santa is probably moonlighting from some other job he works and he’s just exhausted. Who knows? But either way the poor little boy is not amused.

The sad thing, this Santa probably thinks the boy is laughing. He thought he was tickling the child, not terrifying him for the rest of his life.

The Over-the-Shoulder Santa

If it seemed like the previous Santa had a tight grip, he had nothing on this guy! This poor little girl has the best terrified expression, it’s definitely the expression of someone being touched by someone who comes up behind you and you don’t know who it is. Why are you touching me?!

Some photos just shouldn’t be taken, and this is one of them. The good news that’s probably her grandpa, so she won’t be scarred for too long.

The Terrifying Santa

Why are the Santas in old photos the most terrifying? Was Christmas a scary season back in the old days? This small child looks absolutely unsure of this strange man standing at their back. It’s hard to tell if that’s a mask or his face, and to be honest, it’s hard to tell which option is scarier.

The best part is the kid looks pretty over the situation. He’s unsure about what’s going on, and he’d prefer to just go home now. Thanks, mom!

The Please No Santa

Chalk another one up for the scary Santa masks. Was this a mask sold at the store, or was it do it yourself project? Even his gloves are dirty! I hope no one spent money for this atrocity! For being held by such a scary Santa, however, the little boy doesn’t seem to mind!

Then again, it’s probable this boy hasn’t looked up yet or is even trying to. The sooner this situation is over, the better it is for him.

The Rob Zombie Santa

This Santa literally looks like he stepped directly out of a Rob Zombie movie. Apparently Christmas and Halloween go hand in hand. The long, repulsive beard, and is that real hair glued on to a mask?! The little boy looks to be saying, “Why are you making me stand next to this guy, Mom?”

Sorry kid, this is your reality, now. Santa has you under his spell, and will be found in your nightmares for the rest of your life.

The Pleasure in Horror Santa

All of the children in this photo are reaching and screaming in a terrified manner. But the Santa, well he looks like he’s enjoying every moment of their screaming. Do all Santas rejoice in the cries of children? Sounds like an idea for another scary movie. Oh Santas, what a special breed of human.

This movie will be released next Christmas to stellar reviews and break box office records. Seriously, though, these kids probably refused to celebrate Christmas again after this.

The What Even Santa

This is the “what even Santa,” as in what even is this? He has a terrifying metallic Santa mask with large painted eyeballs. He also didn’t have the stereotypical Santa hat but more of a David the Gnome-esque hat. Here’s hoping that kid had a Merry Christmas anyway.

This definitely isn’t Santa. This kid doesn’t look fooled either. He knows this was a set, and he’s not going to scream or anything. Just take the picture already!

Rasputin Santa

This Santa is totally reminiscent of Rasputin, as in the supposedly evil and strange faith healer to the Russian Romanov family. Perhaps it really is Rasputin, as he looks half-dead with his wispy whiskers and zombie eyes. That poor little girl looks slightly unsure of the whole situation, and so does the poor little donkey.

If this Santa showed up at a mall near you, would you let your kids take a picture with him? We’d never shop at that all again!

Definitely Dead Santa

This Santa looks like one of those old photographs that they took after a person passed away. In the 19th and early 20th century, this was often done because this would be the only photograph taken of the dead relative. This Santa looks to be beyond dead. And was it common for Santa pictures to be taken on a donkey?

The truth, there was no Santa around when this picture was taken. It was only after it was developed his Christmas spirit could be seen.

The Shushing Santa

What do you think the Santa was telling this little girl while this picture was being taken? It looks like he’s shushing these poor little kids to prevent them from screaming. The little girl has the most forlorn look of any kid sitting on a Santa lap that we’ve ever seen.

“Don’t cry, the picture will be taken soon.” The boy, of course, looks fine. He could sit there and tell Santa what he wants for Christmas for another hour.

The Park Santa

This poor baby’s mom was walking a long taking her kid for a walk in the park when lo and behold she stumbled upon Santa Claus! Only this Santa’s beard is black, he’s wearing really weird glasses, and he may or may not be imbibing in some kind of alcoholic beverage as seen behind him.

What more could you expect from a park Santa? Maybe don’t decide the best way to save money on Santa pictures is by taking them at the park.

The Ready To Pass Out Santa

What do you think this little girl was saying when this photo was snapped? This Santa definitely looks like had a few too many swigs of the whiskey stuck in his boot. His outfit is disheveled, his beard is falling off, his eyes are barely open. Yep, he’s looking like the original version of Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa.

This is not what this girl thought Santa was like. At least she’s learning about disappointment at a young age!

The Uni-brow Santa

Did this guy paint his uni-brow on or is that a natural look? His scraggly beard is also reminiscent of a used mop, but the most terrifying thing about this photo is the background. What is up with these other costumes? Is that the Easter Bunny come back from some kind of Easter not-so-wonderland to terrorize the children?

What is the guy with the red nose supposed to be? A clown? Jack Frost? A Russian?

The Modern Horror Movie Santa

This photo is particularly apt as the United States is currently experiencing a strange scary clown phenomenon. Why is this clown even in the photograph? The little girls don’t look to be bothered, but that Santa and the clown definitely look to be engaged in some kind of spooky holiday plan.

We get that spooky Santas are suddenly cool, but there is a point where it gets taken too far. This clown made on too many balloon animals and now he’s ready to pop.

The Costume Doesn’t Fit Santa

It’s a good thing that most kids are hopped up on candy during the holiday season, because it seems like these two little girls don’t even notice that Santa’s hat has slid down to his eyes and his beard seems to be slipping off his face.

He looks like he’s counting the minutes to his break! It’s been a long day already. Have you ever tried to smile and be jolly 24 hours a day?

The Pleather Santa

Yet another Santa that would fit right into a horror film. The terrifying mask, the hair, and what looks to be a leather suit? The suit is not so bad, but the mask looks like he’s one step away from saying “it puts the lotion on its skin.” Again, the kids don’t seem to mind much.

This shoot was definitely planned this way. Just know that when this family sends out Christmas cards, they aren’t full of warm and happy thoughts.

Uncanny Santa

It’s hard to tell if this Santa is wearing a mask or if that’s his face. His skin definitely possesses that shiny, plastic, doll-like quality. And are those fake eyebrows or is he giving the late Andy Rooney a run for his money?

Either way this Santa looks to have escaped from the uncanny valley. We’re pretty sure it’s a mask and a bad one at that. Other than this Santa’s face, however, he looks surprisingly normal.

Creepy Claus

Yes, little boy, hold in your screams by biting your finger. It’s the right thing to do. This Santa’s mask is one of the most terrifying of the list, and the eyes almost look to be cut too small to even see out of.

It could seriously be used as one of the masks in The Strangers and it would not look out of place in the least. Heck, maybe this picture inspired that movie!

The “Are You Okay” Santa

This photo of Santa makes you concerned for his well-being. He looks rather ill, or like he is right about to pass out. The little girl looks like she is on to him and is about to make a run for it. What’s up with the mall Santas being barely conscious?

Don’t worry little one, you won’t have to sit there much longer. And as a reward for your patience, you can drink all the Hot Chocolate you want.

The Why, Dad? Santa

So this is clearly someone’s hipster father dressed as a Santa. He placed cigarettes, a pine tree, and candy in his cotton ball beard. Clearly, she is not happy with her father’s choice but he looks rather smug about his version of Santa.

Surely, one day she will look back at this photo with laughter instead of fear. She might also be crying because her water bottle is upside down so she can’t drink from it. Little kid logic is a real thing.

Santa’s Sidekicks

This photo is equal parts heart-warming and terrifying. It’s nice to see they have always done hospital visits to brighten the spirits of sick children. The Santa in this photo isn’t even that bad, but seriously what are those masks on the other two? Huge clown heads?

This had to have been as scary then as it is now. How this young girl isn’t screaming in fear is shocking to us. Maybe the clowns don’t look so bad in color?

The Groucho Marx Santa

This guy took a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, painted the nose red, and tied what looks to be a mop end to his hat. The older girl is dressed in an outfit reminiscent of the character Barb from Stranger Things.

Both of the kids got some gifts in their pillowcases, but Barb looks totally over it. So does her sister, actually. This was not the Santa the deserved or needed.

Chimney Claus

This Santa Claus looks like Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live fame. It’s easy to imagine this as a skit from SNL with a deranged skinny Santa slithering down a chimney. However, it’s safe to assume this was supposed to be a serious photo… and that makes it all the creepier.

Again, maybe in color, this picture would look less threatening. It’s not a bad idea to take a shot of Santa going down the chimney, just bad execution.

The “Get Me Out of Here” Santa

Seriously, what is up with this Santa’s eyes?! As well as his super-duper pale skin. This Santa looks like he is borderline unhealthy or maybe just needs to lay down for a nap. This kid is one of the most aggressive screamers we’ve seen so far, and it’s hard to blame him.

More importantly, is it just us, or does this Santa look more surprised than the kid? It’s like he woke up from a nap with a kid on his knee and his reaction was to squeeze.

The Eyes Say It All Santa

The little boy in this photo looks like he is trying to communicate with his eyes, “Mom, get me out of here, now!” This is another Santa that looks like he’s been hitting the sauce hard and even forgot to button up his coat when he came back from his break.

Yeah, no kid should be forced to take a picture with this not so jolly Saint Nick. Are they even at the mall?

The Menacing Stare Santa

Why is this Santa glaring at the little boy on the left like that? He looks like he’s about to tell the kid that he’s been naughty all year and he’s going to be getting coal in his stocking. Also, those eyebrows look like they’re ready to take over the rest of his face!

This is what happens when your father is Martin Scorcese and he can’t do anything about his eyebrows as Santa except dye them white.

The “Needs to Retire” Santa

This Santa literally looks like he’s about to keel over. Poor guy is too old to be doing this anymore. He’s hunched over with no smile, and a look of disdain. Someone please call in the replacement! The little girl is probably a grandma herself by now. We wonder what she thinks of this photo.

At some, everyone deserves to retire. Give this man his pension and let him live out the rest of his days in peace.

The Hiding Santa

While this might be a good idea for those whose kids are completely terrified of the idea of Santa Claus, this photo is totally creepy. The way Santa is lurking in the background without them knowing he is there… so spooky.

The whole idea of Santa is pretty spooky in general, to be honest. The idea here must be that Santa is never supposed to be seen, so he has to photobomb pictures?

Cat Santa

Who knew there was a special Santa just for cats, Cat-a Claus if you will? This Santa looks like he came from his day job as computer repair guy and that is not really too creepy. This photo is just too good to be passed up, with the super angry cats ready to fight!

This is why you should never let cats who have not met before meet on Santa’s lap for the first time. This ends badly for everyone.

Redneck Santa

Is that Clark Griswold under that Santa costume? The dad in the denim tuxedo is also a fantastic touch, which is finished off perfectly by the screaming little human attempting to wiggle herself away from this strange situation.

It’s also particularly hilarious to see the expression Santa is giving the dad, like he’s saying, “Let’s go get a drink after this, bud!” What exactly did the dad ask for, anyway?

The Classic Terror Santa

There is something plastic-y about this Santa’s face that is certainly terrifying, although this seems to be his real face. Perhaps this guy is the real deal, the real Santa Claus! The little guy in this photo certainly doesn’t seem to be too sure, but the little girl looks to be just fine with him.

This Santa doesn’t seem to sure either. He looks like he’s been paused. Maybe that’s why this boy is so terrified.

Caterpillar Brow Santa


This Santa’s eyebrows are truly magnificent, but also truly terrifying! The little girl is vaguely reminiscent of the actress from Matilda. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was her. What happened to her after the movie came out? Does anyone know? Her facial expression says it all: not impressed, more candy please.

The random collection of dolls is also slightly scary… more than likely this photo was taken in “Santas Workshop.”

Baby Escape Santa


This Santa has quite the creepy expression on his face, like something sinister awaits. And the little girls know. They know. The baby on the left is attempting to break out of that as quickly as possible. The baby on the right looks like she has just encountered the most terrifying moment of her young life.

Someone bring their parents in stat! This mall needs to keep kids smiling. Any cryers will be removed and escorted back home for hot cocoa.