Krampus, the Real-Life European Child-Snatching Christmas Demon

You know those things you hear that sound so crazy you can’t make them up? Yeah, this is one of those.

While Christmas has a pretty universally warm-and-fuzzy vibe to it, groups of people in European alpine countries inject a bit of Halloween terror into their Yuletide celebrations – a tradition that goes way, waaaay back.

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via Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Every year on December 5th’s Krampusnacht (“Krampus Night”), a bunch of men dress up in the meanest-looking horned demon costumes you can imagine and terrorize towns, looking to snatch misbehaving kids while leaving the good ones for Saint Nicholas.

Holy crap.

If you ask me, this is FAR more incentive to behave well than just a lump of coal. Check out this article on Krampusnacht from The Atlantic to see their ghoulishly-good gallery of images from the spooky December night.

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