|By AL J. Vermette
It was the night before Christmas and all though the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a
mouse. …..well that’s not entirely true, one creature was stirring and as little Bobby lay in bed dreaming of
sugar plums dancing in his head……something of dread was soon to come.
From out of the dark and not just a lark, a beast of evil was soon to debark. His head adorned with
horns and his shaggy mane running along his hair covered body made young little Bobby sit up and
shutter. “Why are you here?” the boy uttered as he was sorry to see that it was not Santa. The beast said
within a harsh tone “That you have been dreadful and now your ass is mine!”
Okay, so I’m no poet and I know it but this little ditty was about a terrible little boy who unlike his sister
who will be greeted by Santa later that night, Bobby, the 10 year old immoral child, will meet Santa’s evil
half, a demonic figure known as Krampus. He comes from German Alpine Folklore where this demon first
originated from. Unlike Saint Nicholas or our version of Santa Claus, Krampus is Santa’s flip side or his
evil twin you could say. Where Saint Nicholas rewards good behaving children with gifts, bad children
receive a visit from the Christmas demon who invokes punishment upon them.
As the story goes, Krampus will come a calling for all the bad children Saint Nick bypasses and will
beat them with a handful of sticks bound together by rope. The weapon called a switch is use to hurt the
wicked child until he learns how to be good. Sometimes it’s said that Krampus will just kidnap the worst
children and carry them away in a Santa like sack to his lair and feed upon the child until only their bones
are left. You can see why children of ancient Europe behaved themselves for fear that Krampus will come
for them. He was their Boogie Man and fear of this beast was a damn good way to keep kids in line.
The description of this monster is almost always of that of a large hairy beast with the face of a devil
and horns atop his head. He can be described as being black, snow white or brown in color but is always
in a shaggy coat of fur. Some depictions have him dressed in a Santa suit as in the Universal Studios
movie “Krampus” that came out in on Krampus day December 5th 2015. It’s said that he has goat like
hoofs for feet and his hands end in long sharp claws. His teeth are sharp fangs and sometimes he uses
them to bite children who are really bad if not just devour the child altogether.
In truth, Krampus is just one of several demonic companions who travel with Saint Nicholas on his
nightly trip on Christmas Eve, but Krampus is the best known of these creatures and well, the most coolest
of them all I must say. Although this creature’s tradition are believed to date back before even Christian
beliefs, it is thought that Krampus is far older than Saint Nick himself. No one truly knows how this creature’
s origins got started. but over time his myth merged with that of Saint Nicholas giving a little darker tone to
the legends of both figures.
Krampus has only within the last few years caught on in the U.S., but this creature is somewhat of a
folk hero even today in the German Alpine region of Europe. In the month of December along with Saint
Nick, this beast can be seen not only adorning greeting cards dating back to the 1800’s along with whole
festivity social gathering’s centered on the celebration of Krampus. Called Krampuslauf, German for
Krampus night or Krampus run, is a great party that starts on December 5th and runs sometimes until
Christmas Eve itself. But most often this celebration for the Christmas Demon runs the first week or so in
Within such celebrations of drinking, songs and social gatherings are the Krampus Runs. Large
groups of young men run through the streets of their towns all dressed like Krampus in hand crafted
costumes of real shaggy goat fur with demon face masks of horns and teeth. Sometimes whole herds of
Krampus can be seen running along main roads as street parties celebrate the monster from town to town.
While such revelry has existed for 100’s of years in Europe, it has only slowly started to take root here
in the U.S. where Americans are starting to discover the creature and this darker side to the holiday.
Krampus Nights are starting to be celebrated all over the United States where in cities like New York, LA,
Philadelphia and Orlando, Krampus parties are kicking up a new surge of awareness for this creature and
giving him his own holiday on the 5th of December.
I myself attended one such Krampus gathering last year on Dec. 5th 2015 in Orlando, Florida, where I
and others dressed as Krampus. The celebration was held at a bar called The Hammered Lamb with a
costume contest, live entertainment and a Krampus gathering on the street where we whipped happy party
people with our home made switches. Oh by the way, in the photo of this event I’m the Krampus on the far
right in the shaggy brown fur holding the web bag with the skeletal remains of three naughty children.
Like any good monster, Krampus has made it into the movies with 3 films made in just in 2015 alone.
Since Krampus is still new to the U.S., the films have also brought a new awareness to this creature and
the darker side of Christmas. The Universal Studios horror movie simply titled “Krampus” was one of the
first out of the gate and this year in 2016 will be part of the Universal Halloween Horror Nights haunted
house attraction this October. This live show based on their movie will bring the film to life as people face
not only the demon himself, but killer gingerbread men, horned ghouls and other creatures part of the
The beast also is the star of the films “Krampus: The Reckoning, Krampus The Christmas Devil and
“Santa vs Krampus” where the jolly old elf battles to the death the evil one. It’s worth it just to watch Santa
kick ass! Unlike the creature celebrated in Europe, the Krampus of The Reckoning and vs Santa are
nearly hairless and not the long shaggy beasts of the Europe gatherings or myth. The monster in the
Universal film wares a sort of large Santa suit instead of long fur.
Yes Krampus seems to be making a splash here in the States and as more and more people grow to
love this creature, more events in his name will pop up around the country. Hell Krampus will even be
making a showing at our Blood Moon Rising Halloween show Blood Fest 13 this year where he will be
guest judge for our annual Blood Fest costume contest followed by a trick or treat parade. Yes this
creature, this dark figure of the Christmas season has taken root in the New World and remember boys
and girls. You better watch out…..you better not cry…..why? Because something other than Santa is
watching you…..and his name is Krampus.