Lock up the Reindeer and Elves


Santacide Hits Toronto Big This Winter

By Stephen Weir for the Caribbean Camera

Toronto night Skulkers kill Santa Claus every night.  They also deflate Santa snowmen and crush festive penguins. Even Rudolf and all his darn reindeer aren’t safe this holiday season.  
It is a Toronto phenomenon that is rapidly growing by stabs and slashes.  Christmas inflatables left outside at night have suddenly become targets.  I call it Santacide, others might say I am just full of hot air!
Toronto Real Estate office jokes with  faux Santa killing
Last week I was visited by a CBC TV news videographer who followed me as I inspected the remains of blown up blow-up lawn ornaments that have fallen prey to knife, hatpin and a porto weed wacker attacks overnight. (CTV TV News did a story the same night about  teenagers caught on film stabbing a fully inflated lawn Santa in Etobicoke).
The newsman came out because of my on-line reputation as the Santacide detective. For the past two years I have been investigating, photographing and posting the gory details of Santa slashing on Facebook,  Instagram, Twitter, Flickr and my own website.


PHOTO AT RIGHT:  In the Beaches one homeowner 
didn’t want vandals getting at Santa so he installed him 
on his porch roof

With the help of volunteers, who send me their own pictures of downed Christmas lawn ornaments, I have managed to collect over 300 crime scene photographs.
As blow-up characters become more elaborate and less expensive than Christmas tree lights, people have become competitive in the size, diversity  and number that are being installed. Santa is a favourite for the front yard, but so too are Star War figures, snowmen, penguins and Disney characters.  The blow-ups are well lit, have blowers and many are over one-storey tall.
It most cases the Santacide attacks are best described as a nuisance crime.  Duct tape and a glue gun will usually get Santa back in his sleigh in no time. 
" The cost of most plastic figures is very low. Walmart is  currently selling an airblow inflatable Scooby Doo dog carrying a candy cane for $30.There are times the police do have to be called – the most expensive blow-ups sell for thousands of dollars.  For instance, an industrial strength inflatable 40 ft snowman  that is sold by Toronto’s Deluxe Canopy retails for $2,200. "
It is a rough life for a lawn Santa.  Not only does St Nick contend with knock-down strong winds, poorly trained dogs and the claws of wild raccoons  he has to face the new menace  - armed Santa haters.
Spot lit and fully inflated, a 10 ft tall Santa Snowman towers over a residential street. Robbed of its air by a knife that same Santa suddenly becomes a very small heap of white plastic.
The CBC asked the question that everyone wants to ask, Why?
My research has found four reasons why Santas are dying at such an alarming rate. 
Down but not out on Inglewood. George Socka
The first reason? Alcohol.  The closer Santa is to a bar or nightclub the more chance he will die a horrible death before Christmas.  The common weapon of choice are car keys. Nail files, knives and broken bottles have played a part in 2017 deflations.  The strangest I’ve seen? Teeth puncture marks on Santa’s hand.
Reason Two?  Theft.  Many of the large inflatables require  electric pumps to constantly push air into Santa to keep him erect.   Scrap metal thieves see Santa’s power pack left out-in-the-open as free money.
Reason Three? Inflatable Envy. Bragging rights to the tallest and best inflatable on the street may be driving competing neighbours to crime.
Reason Four?  No crime has taken place. Some of the Airblown Inflatables aren’t made well and leak air throughout the night. By morning they are a heap on the grass waiting to pumped up for another day.
I have talked to a few owners of downed Santas while I photograph the empty remains of their blowups. Last week a man said to me (as he duct taped Santa’s breached black boot that he had been expecting the attack. “It has been happening up and down the street.  I can fix Santa, I just hope I can get him back up before the kids come home!”


Picture at Left: Toronto Roadside Slashing
Lawrence Ave West. His body tossed onto a juniper bush to bleed his air out! 


SIDEBAR – MAYBE SANTA IS BUILT TO FAIL

12 Ft Airblown Santa Inflatables are garbage
Edited from a product review post
“ I had 6 defective Airblown inflatables this year that have been returned. I also own 8 inflatable products made by Gemmy, some as old as 6 years. I have only one Airblown that has lasted more than a season. This Santa ripped the first day. The rip went all the way down the side. He replaced a 16ft Santa that had the blower sewn on upside down and that replaced the Santa and reindeer set. I could not inflate the reindeer. My grandkids said Santa's reindeer were sick. I tried tying their heads to an overhead tree but when deflated, it looked like three dead reindeer carcasses hanging in my yard. Need I go on?"

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