Most confident adults are far enough away from the experiences at the mall in their youth to admit that, yes, they were afraid of Santa.
"You're documenting I made it to first base, right?"
"These children are mine now! Bwa hahaha"
"Santa had such an impressive balloon!"
"Ah, that's not my face."
"You gave him to me. I am keeping him."
"Agh! Santa has me by the short handle!"
"Mommy, he smells like bad cheese!"
"Whaddafuck? He's reciting the periodic table."
"I thought you said Santa, not Satan."
"He said he wanted to eat my cookies!"
"Mommy, get your money back. This is not Santa, it's an actor in a James Wan movie!"
"Don't worry, lil children. I won't eat ya. Your bones are so small, I'd likely choke on `em."
"You wouldn't let me pose like this at 16 on spring break, ma, why are you letting me now?"
"Mask? This isn't a mask. What are you talking about?"
"Sorry, Mother, I do believe that they were a little upset when I mentioned Dancer made a fine jerky this past winter when times were lean at the North Pole."
"What? Oh, that! I got a great package for spray on tans. We get rather pale at the North Pole and I hoped to put my best face forward. What? This isn't my best face?
"Our Susie was the first to volunteer to hug a drunk Santa for the community outreach program."
"Timmy, you're very happy to see Santa!"
"Sis, shhh, that's not Santa! It's Uncle Ozzie in a robe on a bender - hurry, let's escape!
Even dogs seem to know something ain't right.
Even horror movies, like "Santa's Slay" prey on our fears -
Belsnickel - a scary Santa version in European culture. - a crotchety, fur-clad Christmas gift-bringer figure in the folklore of the Palatinate region of southwestern Germany along the Rhine, the Saarland, and the Odenwald area of Baden-Württemberg. The figure is also preserved in Pennsylvania Dutch communities. The Belsnickel shows up at houses 1–2 weeks before Christmas and often created fright because he always knew exactly which of the children misbehaved.He is typically very ragged and mean looking. He wears torn, tattered, and dirty clothes, and he carries a switch in his hand with which to beat bad children. The children escape unharmed, but they are scared into being good so that Santa will bring them presents on Christmas.
And then there's Krampus -
Krampus, a beast-like creature invented in the Alpine region as the punisher for children who aren't good at Christmas time. He would capture them and carry them back to his lair. It's a wonder we aren't more uptight as a people, given the way legends and religions were put into place to scare the crap out of us and make us behave.
Now, come to think of it -
More info -
Creepy Santa Photos