Is there a prohibition of dressing up as Santa Claus to make money Halachically speaking?
Rabbi David Samson (writing on yeshiva.co) writes:
Jewish law states that a person should not behave in the ways of idol worshipers1. Nor is one allowed to dress in a garment that is unique to them2. There is an opinion, however, that permits wearing their garments, as long as a part of the garb is missing. Therefore, if you were to wear the Santa Claus suit with a shtreimmel and not Santa’s funny red hat, that might be a way of taking the job and still remain within the parameters of Jewish law3.
Furthermore, it is forbidden for a Jew to say that he is a gentile, even if one’s life is endangered. To save one’s life, a Jew is allowed to wear the clothes of a gentile. However, to dress up as Santa for monetary reward, there doesn’t seem to be any permission for this4. In a similar vein, it is forbidden to wear a green hat, the type that the followers of Mohammed wear5.
Finally, fooling children into believing that there really is a Santa Claus is putting a stumbling block in front of the blind, and, by doing so, one adds credibility to the other legends of the holiday as well. This is a Chillul Hashem, a desecration of G-d's Name6.
1. Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, 178:1.
2. Rama, there.
3. Beit Shlomo, Yoreh Deah, Part One, 196.
4. Yoreh Deah, 157:2.
5. Responsa, Kehunat Olam, Vol. 1:74.
6. Responsa, B’Marei HaBazak, Vol. 3, Question 110.