"Santa Claus"  

                                by Richard Nathan

The spotlight is up on our host, GUS THE GHOUL, while the set for the next story is prepared.  This set is the living room of the HOWARD family on Christmas Eve, although very little furniture is needed to tell this story.  There should be two chairs, one for MR. HOWARD and one for MRS. HOWARD, and a very large Christmas Tree (which can be a two-dimensional plywood representation). 

                                    Now for something really frightening!  
                                 Picture a strange old man with mystic powers 
                                    which enable him to spy on anyone, in any 
                                    hiding place, at any hour.... an old man who 
                                    breaks into houses in the dead of night, who 
                                    no lock can keep out.... picture an old man 
                                    named "Santa Claus."

Gus exits.  The spotlight goes out and during the blackout, MR. HOWARD, MRS. HOWARD, and their little daughter JANE enter.  As the lights go up, Jane is playing with a cloth doll.

                                    What's the matter, baby?  You look like you 
                                    don't feel so well.  Don't worry; I'll give you a 
                                    big hug and make you all better.

Jane gives the doll a hug so that the doll's head is beside Jane's neck.

                                    Ow!  You bad baby!  Why did you bite me? 
I'll bet you're a vampire!

Jane holds the doll at arm's length.  She has painted its face so that it is pale and sickly looking, and Jane has added clay fangs to the doll's mouth.

You've become an evil spawn of Satan, 
                                    haven't you?  Well, I'll just have to put a 
                                    wooden stake through your vile and 
                                    wicked heart.

 Jane takes a pencil and stabs the doll's chest with it.

                                    There!  Now she's at peace.

 Mrs. Howard puts down her needlepoint.  She doesn't approve of Jane's game.

                                                            MRS. HOWARD
                                    I think it's time you were in bed, Jane.  You
                                    know Santa won't come until you're sound asleep.

                                    Mommy, are you sure Santa can get in, even 
                                    though we don't have a chimney?

                                                            MRS. HOWARD
Santa is magic.  He can get into any house.

So if he runs out of presents before he gets here, 
                                    he can just break into a toy store and get some 

                                                            MR. HOWARD
                                    Santa doesn't need to rob stores.  He's got plenty 
                                    of presents in his sleigh.

                                    I hope he remembers everything.  I asked for a 
                                    Playhouse Of The Damned lunchbox, a Playhouse 
                                    Of The Damned comic book, a Playhouse Of The 
                                    Damned pop-up storybook, a Playhouse Of The 
                                    Damned computer game, and a Gus the Ghoul doll.

                                                            MRS. HOWARD
                                    A Gus the Ghoul doll?

For the Dollhouse of the Damned I got on my 
                                    last birthday.  Oh, I almost forgot!  Kitty wants a 
                                    Catbox of the Damned and some Gus the Ghoul 
                                    Gritty Kitty Litter.

                                                            MRS. HOWARD
                                    You'd better go to bed, dear, or Santa won't be 
                                    able to bring you any presents at all.

Okay.  Goodnight Mommy.  Goodnight Daddy.

She gives each of her parents a kiss, and then exits off to bed.

                                                            MRS. HOWARD
I hope you didn't buy her any of that horrible 
                                    trash.  She's too caught up in this horror business!

                                                            MR. HOWARD
Itís just a phase all kids go through.  You know, 
                                    I had quite a collection of horror comic books 
                                    when I was Jane's age.  I remember one story I 
                                    loved.  It was about a little boy whose mother 
                                    threw out his entire comics collection because he 
                                    wouldn't keep his room clean.

                                                            MRS. HOWARD
Good for her!

                                                            MR. HOWARD
Then one night a werewolf bit the boy.  So the 
                                    next time there was a full moon, he became a 
                                    werewolf, and when his mother entered his room 

                                                             MRS. HOWARD
                                    That's terrible.  Why do children have to dwell 
                                    on all that blood and violence?

                                                             MR. HOWARD
You like Jane to believe in the good side of 
                                    fantasy, like Santa Claus, right?

                                                             MRS. HOWARD

                                                            MR. HOWARD
Then you've got to also allow her to believe in 
                                    the evil side.  Good versus evil!  It's two sides 
                                    of the same coin.

There's a loud knock at the front door.

                                                            MR. HOWARD
Were you expecting company?

                                                            MRS. HOWARD

Mr. Howard goes to the door and shouts through it to whoever is on the other side, never dreaming that it is a VAMPIRE.

                                                            MR. HOWARD
Who is it?

                                    Could I please use your telephone?  My car 
                                    skidded into a snow bank and I can't seem to 
                                    get it out.

                                                            MR. HOWARD

                                    Please!  It's freezing out here!

                                                            MR. HOWARD
All right.  After all, it's Christmas Eve.  Come 

Mr. Howard opens the front door, and the Vampire enters.  The Vampire looks like an ordinary man, maybe a little paler.

Thank you.  I couldn't have come in until you 
                                    invited me.

                                                            MR. HOWARD

No vampire can enter a home until he's been 
                                    invited inside.  It's a strange rule.  There are 
                                    many strange things about the undead.

                                                            MR. HOWARD
I think you'd better make that call and go.

You weren't listening, were you?  I don't have 
                                    any call to make.  I don't even have a car. 
                                    lied so you would invite me into your home, 
                                    so that I can drink your blood.  I'm a vampire!!!!

                                                            MR. HOWARD
I'm calling the police!

The Vampire violently grabs Mr. Howard by the front of his shirt and glares into his eyes.

You're calling no one.

He hurls Mr. Howard aside.  Then the Vampire stares at Mrs. Howard and she's helpless with fear.  Jane enters in her bathrobe.

Mommy, who's that man?

The Vampire glances at Jane.

                                                            MRS. HOWARD
Don't touch her!

I never harm children.  Call it a sentimental 
                                    weakness.  Or call it practical.  Adults have 
                                    so much more blood in them.

The Vampire advances on Mrs. Howard.  He grabs her shoulders.

                                                            MR. HOWARD
Stop!  Please!  Don't hurt my wife!

The Vampire is about to bite Mrs. Howard's neck.  Suddenly, SANTA CLAUS bursts in through the door.  Santa looks like the traditional Santa Claus, and he carries a huge sack of presents.

Unhand that woman, fiend from hell!!!

                                    Santa Claus!

I said, "Unhand her!"

Mind your own business, Claus!

I warned you!

Santa reaches into his sack and takes out a wooden stake, which he plunges directly into the Vampire's heart.  The Vampire falls dead.  (The Vampire should fall on his side, facing upstage, so that the stake in his heart wonít distract the audienceís attention.)

Merry Christmas, Vampire!

                                    Oh Santa, you saved us!

                                    Merry Christmas, Jane!

                                                              MR. HOWARD
                                    I don't believe this.

                                                              MRS. HOWARD
                                    Santa!  You... and the vampire...  you're both 

                                    Of course I'm real!  So are my elves, and the 
                                    Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy....  

                                                            MRS. HOWARD
                                    Then why haven't I ever seen you before?  

                                    You never believed hard enough.  But Jane 
                                    believes!  Don't you, Jane?  

                                    Uh-huh.  I believe in all those things you said.  
And I believe in Frankenstein, and werewolves, 

                                    Werewolves!  Did you know a werewolf 
                                    attacked me just last month up at the North 
                                    Pole?  He even took a little bite out of me, 
                                    but fortunately I had a gun full of silver bullets 
                                    handy, so....

Santa mimes shooting a gun.  

                                    Did you kill him, Santa?

                                    No, I'm afraid I only winged him, and he got 
                                    away.  But if he ever shows his hairy face 
                                    around me again, he won't be so lucky!  Next 
                                    time it'll be BANG!!!  Right through the heart!

                                    Can I have my presents now?

                                    Of course you may.

Santa digs deep into his sack of toys, so that his head and hands disappear from view.  He keeps looking through the presents in his sack during the next few speeches.   

                                                            MR. HOWARD
                                    Wait a minute.  Did he say a werewolf bit him?


Mr. Howard turns to his wife, who is still in shock over meeting Santa Claus and a vampire.

                                                            MR. HOWARD
                                    Honey, do you happen to know what phase 
                                    the moon is in?  

                                                            MRS. HOWARD
                                    It must be full, right?  Don't people go crazy 
                                    when the moon is full?

                                    I'll go look!

Jane runs downstage and mimes looking out a window.

                                    You're right, Mommy.  There's a big full moon, 
                                    just coming up over the trees.  

                                                            MR. HOWARD
                                    Jane!  Please stop believing in werewolves!  

                                    Why, Daddy?

                                                            MR. HOWARD
                                    Just stop believing in werewolves before Santa 
                                    takes his head out of that sack!

 Jane realizes why her father is frightened.

                                    But you don't think Santa Claus could....  just 
                                    because he was bitten by one....  he couldn't 
                                    turn into a werewolf!  Could he?  

                                                            MRS. HOWARD

                                                            MR. HOWARD
                                    Of course not!  Don't believe it, Jane!

Jane walks over to the sack as her parents cower in fear.

                                    Santa?  Are you all right in there?

She timidly pokes at the sack.  At that instance, a WEREWOLF runs into the room and lunges at Jane, Santa emerges from the sack holding a pistol.


Santa fires the pistol, killing the werewolf.  The werewolf staggers across the room, clutching his wound.  He disappears from view for an instant as he steps behind the Christmas Tree, and when he steps out of the other side (still clutching his wound) he has been transformed into one of Santa's cute little elves.  The elf dies.  

                                    Why, it's little Elmo!  He must have stowed 
                                    away on my sleigh.  Fortunately, I always 
                                    carry a gun loaded with silver bullets.  

                                                            MR. HOWARD
                                    But I don't get it.  You said a werewolf bit 
                                    you.  Shouldn't you have been turned into...?

                                    Really, Mr. Howard, I'm surprised at you!  You 
                                    should know that not even "The Playhouse Of 
                                    The Damned" could turn Santa Claus into a 

Jane runs to Santa and hugs him.  Mr. and Mrs. Howard smile and put their arms around each other.


A spotlight comes up on GUS THE GHOUL.

                                    Give me a bucket!  Gag!  What kind of an ending 
                                    was that?  I was sure Santa Claus was going to 
                                    kill that little girl, and then I could have made a 
                                    joke about Santa Claus spelled C-L-A-W-S.  
Instead, no one gets killed but the poor little werewolf!  
                                    Oh, and ... that vampire.  He got killed too.  But
                                    none of the family! 
I think the author of that one
                                    better get a lump of coal in his stocking!  That
                                    was awful.  

Abruptly Gus notices that SANTA CLAUS is standing beside him.  Santa laughs merrily and hands Gus a brightly wrapped gift.

                                    Ho!  Ho!  Ho!  Here you are, Gus!

                                    For me?  Aw, Santa!  You shouldn't have!  

Gus tears off the wrapping, and discovers his present is a rusty old bucket.

                                    What the hell is this?

                                    Didn't you just say, "Somebody give me a 
                                    bucket!"  Ho!  Ho!  Ho!


Gus takes the can and puts it over Santa's head, and then drums on it.





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© 2000 by Richard Nathan.  All rights reserved

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