Krampus in America: 5 Places to Meet the Christmas Devil

By now if you are a grumpy American who hates happiness, joy, and Christmas, you’ve heard of Krampus.

Wait! I haven’t. But I do hate all those things. Tell me more.

Krampus is the shaggy-haired. horned sidekick of St. Nicholas, who whacks bad children with this bundle of sticks, throws them into a bucket and takes them to…I’m not sure where exactly Krampus takes them to, and as long as it’s not my house, I really don’t want to know.

When does Krampus come calling?

December 5th is Krampusnacht, the night St. Nicholas and his pal parade through town scaring the bejeezus out of children. While a tradition in the Alpine countries, Krampus is relatively new to the United States. But he’s gaining popularity, which cheers my black little heart.

I have some rotten kids I need to shuffle off on someone. Where can I meet Krampus?

Here’s a not-totally-comprehensive list of krampuslaufen in the United States:

The third annual Krampuslauf Philadelphia encourages revelers to dress up like other terrifying pagan figures such as the Yule Lads. Here’s a bit from last year’s lauf (although I don’t think any of these kids look properly terrorized):

There were a few more screamers at last year’s Krampus Night in Bloomington, Indiana:

Then again, I don’t see any children at The PDX Krampusnacht Ball. Maybe in Portland, Krampus throws hipsters in his basket and takes them back to their crappy Midwest hometowns.

Speaking of which: you can also eat Breakfast with Krampus in Rochester, New York. I’ve long suspected that Krampus takes all those rotten kids to the Rust Belt, so this doesn’t really surprise me. You’re invited to bring an unwrapped toy for needy children, but “if it’s crap, Krampus is going to harrass you and drag you straight to hell.”

Last but not least, Krampus Los Angeles goes large: there are multiple events throughout the city during the month of December. Also: don’t miss The Truth About Krampus by Krampusfest LA director Al Ridenour on Atlas Obscura.

Any Krampus events near you? Let us know in the comments!

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