Move over, Santa! The elves are taking over New York City.
Hundreds of New Yorkers in elf garb will be congregating at some of NYC's best hot chocolate purveyors for ElfCon, a brand-new, family-friendly hot cocoa crawl in the city.
ElfCon is an adventure without a particular route. Instead, elves are supposed stop at several Manhattan cocoa locations on a provided map and get their special Elf Passports stamped for a special prize at the end. And yes, participants are asked to wear elf garb. (Think: jingle bells, pointy shoes, striped stockings...)
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While imbibing on that sweet, sweet hot chocolate and getting a major sugar high, elf crawlers will also be raising money for two charities—The Trevor Project, an organization that helps protect LGBTQ youth, and Making Headway, a foundation dedicated to helping families with children with brain tumors.
The jolly jaunt around the city is one high schooler's answer to SantaCon, the infamous beer crawl that is either the best day of the year or the worst depending on who you are. (Yes, that's also still on this year.)
Sophie, a 15-year-old Brooklynite who goes by "Chief Elf," is putting ElfCon together in hopes of offering something fun to everyone. The 10th grader says she went to SantaCon with her family twice when she was growing up, but because she was just a kid, she wasn't able to go inside any of the bars to warm up. Despite that, she said she has fond memories.
"One time we handed out little Santa hats that we were given, at first to participants and then just to anyone," she recalls. "In my mind SantaCon will always be associated with happy memories."
After one particular dinner, Sophie and her dad, Steve, were reminiscing about SantaCon and she half-heartedly pitched a SantaCon for kids but with elves instead of Santas.
"As I was falling asleep that night, I was thinking that yeah, it actually would be pretty cool," she says. "I kept thinking about it, and eventually I came up with the cocoa crawl part. I shared this with my dad, and his response was very enthusiastic and he said again that I should create the event, so, well, I did!"
Sophie drew her inspiration from a tour of NYC hot chocolate she took in 2018 with Stacey Newman Weldon of Adventure Wednesdays, but also consulted online lists for good NYC hot chocolate places. The list of participating hot chocolate purveyors will be released closer to the event on December 12, taking a cue from how SantaCon does things.
In fact, the Chief Elf has gotten a bunch of advice from the folks behind SantaCon, she says.
"Mainly, we really hope that people have fun and understand the event," she adds. "Also, we hope people find that sometimes taking a chance on something you don’t see every day can be a rewarding experience. And we hope you like the hot cocoa!"
Make sure to keep up to date with ElfCon by visiting its website and Instagram page. It's just $10 to participate!