Dreck the halls with gobs of gory. If the Krampus has a Christmas carol, that could be his favorite. Krampus is a kind of really bad Santa, and he's gaining converts among those so sick of syrupy Christmas they'd rather scare people to death. Krampus is an import from Alpine Europe, a hoofed, horned St. Nick assistant—or perhaps Santa's dark dopplegänger—who carries a basket to haul off all you bad kids to gobble up for Christmas dinner. "If everything is sweet and beautiful and lovely and the most wonderful time of the year, some people, like me, start to get a little nauseated, want a little salt to go with the sugar," Philly resident Janet Finegar tells NPR.
She's decking her home with bleached rib bones instead of twinkly lights, and is helping to organize a traditional Krampuslauf, a parade of people dressed as Krampus. "Spooky and scary has had a place in Christmas historically—A Christmas Carol is a ghost story with scary things in it," says a local mom of two. "I hate to see everything get watered down because I remember how much fun those things are." Not everyone is so excited about the Krampus. The Travel Channel just yanked a piece on the monster with a taste for children from Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, Gawker discovered. (Read more Krampus stories.)