A scary list indeed: 25 Terrifying Facts About Krampus To Give You Nightmares! If you thought your in-laws were the scariest part of the holiday season, think again. The Krampus is an icon of Germanic folklore whose origins are older than even Jesus Christ.
While American children are greeted with a lump of coal for being naughty through the year, German children are threatened with something a bit more corporal. If you’re lucky, Krampus will only whip you with his bundle of birch sticks. For the truly naughty, he takes you right back to his home of fiery Hell.
Today, he is still celebrated with parades and fun (albeit painful) traditions that have spread across the globe. In today’s list of 25 Terrifying Facts About Krampus to Give You Nightmares, we’ll see how the child-eating holiday hell beast stacks up against your mother-in-law.
Krampus costumes vary, but usually revolve around something like a devil, bats, or goats. The demon is said to have protruding horns and a long tongue. He also sports one human foot and one cloven foot, and no one is entirely sure why.
When Austria was under Fascist rule between 1934 and 1938, Krampus was banned. Seen as symbol of sin, anti-Christian ideals, and Social Democrats, the government forbade Krampus dances and pledged to arrest costumers if seen.
A lot of effort goes into the Krampus costumes each year, especially the masks. They are usually hand carved from wood by specialist artisans. Antique Krampus masks can even be found in museums across Europe.
For revelers who wish Halloween was celebrated longer, take heart—the U.S. and Canada have a burgeoning Krampus scene across its major cities. Los Angeles holds traditional Krampuslaufs, and the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn hosts a yearly Krampus themed costume party, just to name a few.