In some European countries, naughty kids face something a whole lot worse than a lump of coal in their stocking at Christmas.
Krampus is a counterpart to Santa Claus, and he’s the opposite of jolly and merry. According to tradition, the half-demon, half-goat creature punishes bad children by beating them with a bundle of birch sticks. Then, he hauls them off in a basket on his back.
Some communities celebrate with parades featuring costumed Krampuses dancing, marching and mockingly threatening the spectators. One such event was held in Munich over the weekend:
The costumes were elaborate. Some even featured hand-carved masks:
“Krampusnacht,” or Krampus night, is often held on Dec. 5, the night before the Dec. 6 feast day for St. Nicholas. But many communities schedule Krampus events at other times. Munich plans to hold another Krampus run on Dec. 23.
Some cities in the United States also hold Krampus events on various dates.
See more images from this year’s Krampus celebrations below: