Enjoy bar-hopping? Enjoy dressing up in ridiculous outfits for the holidays? With these enjoyments combined seek out your local drinking conventions: holiday-themed bar crawls that come once a year.
Pub crawls are one of the greatest inventions of alcohol ingestion, second only to the alcohol itself. It’s a great reason for fickle, A.D.D.-suffering men and women to move from bar to bar for a change of scenery and company, and not just because someone called the police. That is called “bar-running” and is an entirely different subject.
Eventually, this change of scenery wasn’t enough, so a few inebriated minds decided to pay tribute to the history of debauchery by wearing costumes. This is an old practice, dating back to 4500 BCE when men dressed in animal costumes to pretend they were the gods as they drunkenly seduced ancient Greek debutantes.
This practice of “carnival” was usually contained in Spring due to religious holidays, Spring Break, and anything else related to the Spring fever that affects people, animals, fish, and even plants. Now, with the evolution of holiday bar crawls (dubbed “Cons” for repetitive marketing), the aphrodisiac pairing of costumes and alcohol is celebrated all year long with the present and future holiday bar crawl themes.
History: For centuries, children have left milk and cookies out for Santa Claus to give him energy to continue his toy delivery service during Christmas Eve, when they should have been leaving him a nip of scotch to keep him going. This is because DWI laws are stringent, and the reindeer couldn’t possibly pull a fat man, all those toys, and a designated driver around the world in a sleigh. It wasn’t until the rise of the Mall Santa that we saw what is necessary for someone who deals with all of the worlds’ children sitting on his lap, yanking his beard and throwing up on his shoes: alcohol.
Of course, a solitary drunken Santa Claus at a bar looks pathetic, so the Mall Santas began going out in groups for protection. That protection became a great ice-breaker when meeting women, and led guys who really weren’t Mall Santas to put on variations of the red-and-white outfit. Pretty soon, everyone was dressing up as Santa on the same day before Christmas, and SantaCon was born.
Gear: A Santa costume only needs one thing: a Santa hat. It is a beacon on the top of your head that says, “Yes, I know it’s Christmas.” Santa costumes can be highly detailed, adding in beards, fuzzy red-and-white suits, belts, bells, and black boots, but be warned: something is going to get on your costume, whether it is alcohol, vomit, or (as in the case of Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa) pee. This makes the week after SantaCon one of the busiest seasons for dry cleaning services. Drink of choice should be egg-nog or one of those Christmas ales that Denis Leary hates.
History: For decades, Irish pride has led to the yearly takeover of cities by drunken green people on, or around, St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a celebration that lasts through every weekend of March, depending on how many cities or towns you want to visit throughout the month.
Of course, not everyone is Irish, and the idea that “Everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day” is slowly proving correct in only the most awful stereotypical ways. Luckily, the idea of LepreCon was devised to celebrate this cliche rather than fall prey to it. Not Irish? Fine, you’re a leprechaun. Pop culture has shown us that Dracula can come in many different ethnicities, so it’s not too crazy to think that leprechauns could be considered the same way. Well, it is, but it makes a lot more sense than Jet Li screaming, “Kiss me, I’m Irish!”
Gear: The only requirement to gain leprechaun status is to wear green, with a bit of orange if you want to get detailed. This is usually done with green plastic top-hats, green t-shirts with Irish-based slogans or pictures, orange beards, cross-colored socks, and anything else that can be easily thrown away or into the wash. LepreCon is based on a day that bars run “Kegs & Eggs” specials. Early drinking like that can only mean one thing: clothes that you don’t care about in case you find yourself drooling in a gutter while a homeless man relieves himself on your head. Drink of choice could be green beer or Guinness, depending on how full your stomach is.
History: This past decade has led to a zombie outbreak in entertainment. George A. Romero returned to his zombie-making roots by adding to the of the Dead franchise. Movies like Fido and Zombieland extended zombie movies into comedy. Zombie video games like Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising, and Dead Island helped put the word “dead” into more titles than ever before. Max Brooks launched zombie survivalist books like World War Z and The zombie Survival Guide. The Walking Dead went from comic book to television.
It makes sense that we should be prepared in the event of a zombie apocalypse. This preparation, among other things like foraging for food, weapons, and clean underwear, is to figure out how to get to the bar for a drink without being eaten by walking corpses. ZombieCon is the perfect way to practice this, because survivors must be ready to move to the next bar at a moment’s notice. You may even need to take your drink to go.
At the same time, we must also train ourselves to find alcohol if we ever succumb to a zombie virus, hence a “bar crawl.” The need to eat human flesh may be replaced with alcohol. ZombieCon is merely preliminary psychological research and training.
Gear: Zombie aficionados must always toe a fine line between the grotesque and the practical. Everyone wants to look like a bleeding, pulping mess as they order a drink, but most of the gunk you will be smearing on your body is not meant to be part of an alcoholic recipe. More latex, less ooze should be the rule for ZombieCon. Even if this were a zombie apocalypse, it’s a rule not to eat the flesh of the undead, so watch your drink accordingly. Drink of choice should be anything you can drink with a straw.
MexiCon (May? September?)
History: At the time of this article, there is no such thing as MexiCon, which is surprising. It fits into the festivities of Cinco de Mayo, it helps drunk people gather together with a sense of purpose, and it rolls off the tongue perfectly.
Every 5th of May, people with no relations to Mexico put on obnoxious sombreros, ponchos, and mustaches, eat burritos, and drink tequila and Corona. It’s like St. Patrick’s Day, but with less hype. This may be due to 95% of people celebrating Cinco de Mayo having no idea what happened on that date. (Note: May 5th was the day that the Mexican army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla. The French eventually took over, making Cinco de Mayo even more confusing.)
Gear: In the event that the above outfit of sombrero, poncho, and mustache is too obvious, any coordination of red, white, and green can work like green does for St. Patrick’s Day. If you are really self-conscious, find a place on your body to put the picture of a golden eagle so people don’t think you’re celebrating Italian heritage.
I joke. Everyone will be too inebriated to care, but not inebriated enough to offend. Drink of choice is tequila or any Mexican beer.
History: On the night before Thanksgiving, the streets and bars are packed with college people, revisiting their friends after the longest run of schooling in the collegiate career. It is a time to catch-up with as many people at as many bars as possible, which usually leads to people bumping into each other in the street. This is CollegeCon, the most confusing and disorienting of potential Cons. This insanity may be the reason that an official Con has not been created. To organize this madness would destroy the essence of the holiday.
Gear: To fully appreciate the vibe of CollegeCon, you will have to be in a Bill Cosby college sweater, but a sweatshirt will also do in a clinch. Be careful of wearing random fraternity or sorority gear, especially if you have no clue what the Greek letters mean. Eventually you’ll come across a member and end up in the college version of a beat-down for wearing gang colors.
Drink of choice should be anything cheap. While Meister Brau may not be available at many bars, bars usually have drink specials for the beer that is almost skunked.
Patrick is also a self-proclaimed toilet paper specialist, as he used his knowledge to introduce us to National Toilet Paper Day. Now all we need is a drunken convention celebrating World Cleavage Day.