GALLERY: Santa Claus Pub Crawl gets racy

Naughty may be gaining ground on nice at Wollongong's annual Santa Claus Pub Crawl, with thigh-skimming elf skirts, festive garters and Bavarian beer maids increasingly stealing the spotlight from those who still go dressed as jolly old Saint Nicholas.

More than 5500 people attended the annual fundraiser Saturday night, filling 16 Illawarra venues with festive crowds.

Organiser Neil Webster said he had noticed a growing trend for shorter and racier costumes since the event began 19 years ago.

He believes the outfits have shrunk as internet shopping and social media came increasingly into vogue, making a wider variety of outfits available and creating instant publishing channels for photographs taken on the night.

"When I first started the pub crawl the costumes weren't that short and there wasn't that much variation.

"Even the girls wore Santa Claus suits," he said.

"Now with social media, they get their photos everywhere and they want to look their best."

More than 5500 people took part in this year's event, which raises money for the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal. Organisers estimate they raised $40,000 from the sale of wristbands, stubby holders and from donations.

Wollongong Local Area Command reported no adverse incidents involving the pub crawl crowd, most of which began at North Wollongong Hotel.

Some of the night's most inventive costumes included a human snow globe, encased in plastic from the waist-up, a superhero-style Santa and a man dressed in a daring "mankini".

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