O! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why….
Because Krampus is coming to town.

The dark companion and counterpart to jolly St. Nicholas, parents relied on Krampus to monitor their children’s behaviour.  Krampus is responsible for punishing bad children by swatting them with switches and rusty chains before dragging them, in baskets, to a fiery place below.  Also known in other parts of the world as Knecht Ruprecht, Certa, Perchten, Black Peter, Schmutzli, Pelznickel, Klaubauf; Krampus is usually portrayed as a classic devil with horns, cloven hooves and monstrous tongue.  Krampus can also be spotted as a sinister gentleman dressed in black, or a hairy man-beast.

Traditional parades in which young men dress as Krampus, such as the Krampuslauf (German for ‘Krampus run’), occur annually in Alpine towns and Krampus is featured on holiday greeting cards called Krampuskarten.

Check out these resources for more information on Krampus.

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping, and Gives you Nightmares
NYTimes Article
Home of the Xmas Devil