Look, we all know you were bad. Very bad. You know what you did. And tonight is the night you pay for it.

Krampusnacht comes but once a year, and I'm here to celebrate.

Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night, is a celebration that dates back hundreds of years to Europe, where it was popular in Germany. It was suppressed for years, being forbidden at times by the Catholic Church, as well as by fascists in Europe during World War II. Interest in Krampusnacht, and in Krampus, the character it deals with, has grown over the past century. There has been a resurgence in Germany, particularly in the state of Bavaria, as well as in the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia. Popularity has also increased in the United States.

The day is based on Krampus, a mythical beast that is half-demon and half-goat. Characteristically similar to some creatures in Greek mythology, it has fangs, horns, cowbells on its waist, and a switch made of birch sticks meant for whipping or swatting naughty children. The harshness of its appearance is fitting, as Krampus comes from the German word "krampen," which means claw.

According to folklore, on the evening of December 5, Krampus punishes children who have been bad by whipping them with his switch. He then takes them to his lair. He is the counterpart to St. Nicholas, a European gift giver who arrives the following day. He is also contrasted with Santa, who rewards those who have been good and are on his "nice" list.

FYI: In my picture above with Krampus, I'm dressed as Frau Perchta, "The Belly-Slitter," a whole other bit of European Christmas weirdness.

Sleep tight, tonight! And if you'd like to beg for an easier time next year, Krampus will be at his house at Nightmare on 19th Street for My Bloody Valentine, coming February 14th & 15th, 2020.

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