New Book: The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas

Coming October 11, 2016, the first English-language book-length exploration of Krampus folklore and history by Krampus Los Angeles director, Al Ridenour, The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas.

bookcoverThe Krampus, a folkloric devil associated with St. Nicholas in Alpine Austria and Germany, has been embraced by the American counterculture and is lately skewing mainstream. While shockingly out of place with the modern Christmas, the old world from which he comes feared this season and its nights haunted by ghosts, witches, devilish horsemen, and even murderous incarnations of Catholic saints. Central to this folklore are the Perchten, Alpine demons on which the Krampus is based. In Austria, these creatures were connected to Frau Perchta, a witch-like being who threatened naughty children with disemboweling. In Germany, her peer was Frau Holle, ruler of a fabulous realm hidden beneath a mountain deep within the Thuringian Forest. Even the Church once celebrated the season with plays depicting the Devil, Antichrist, and Herod’s gory Massacre of the Innocents. Together, these dark traditions gave birth to a figure now more popular than ever, the Krampus.

Krampus Mask-making Workshops for 2016

We’ve received many requests regarding availability of Krampus masks since we started back in 2013.  The few mass-produced rubber masks made in America are sadly lacking, and the cost of buying (and shipping!) an authentic mask from Europe can be prohibitive.

This year, Krampus LA co-director and author of the upcoming The Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas, Al Ridenour, will be conducting mask-making workshops in Los Angeles (with dates SF, NYC likely to be added).

Construction will not rely on sculpting skills but takes more of a kit-assembly approach,with all supplies (including luxuriant fur, teeth, and authentic horns) provided.

Workshops will consist of two approximately 3-hour sessions. Summer and Fall dates and prices, will be later announced. Enrollment will be limited.

Please email Al via Krampus Los Angeles if interested in further info as it becomes available.

Some of Ridenour’s creations for Krampus Los Angeles.

Austrian Suits and Masks for Sale in LA

Our visiting friends from the Moor Troupe from Maishofen, Austria, are interested in selling some of their masks and suits to avoid paying the costs of bringing them back.  If you have ever considered buying authentic costume elements from Europe, this would be an opportunity not only to purchase them without paying the exorbitant transatlantic shipping costs, but to see them in person before buying.  Come to the Krampuslauf, Thursday, December 10, if interested, and ask one of our Krampus wranglers to introduce you to Al or Mike.  As the troupe would like to sell them before returning, prices are lower than normal for authentic gear, even for used items.  Having the cash on hand at the event may get you an additional discount.  If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to mail us.

Animal hide suit — $370. Carved wooden mask with plastic horns — $580

Animal hide suit $370. Carved wooden mask with plastic horns  $580

Goat hide suit.  $380

Goat hide suit. $380

Wooden mask, real cow horns $550

Wooden mask, real cow horns $550

Rare aluminum mask with real goat horns $1000

Rare aluminum mask with real goat horns $1000

Wooden mask $530

Wooden mask $530

Other masks, suits, belts, or flails may also be available.  Here’s what the Moorpass will be wearing at the Krampuslauf, some of which may be able to talk them out of bringing back.

That “Krampus” Movie

For months, we have been getting questions about Universal’s horror-comedy Krampus that was finally released Thursday.  Though the production has helped raise a general awareness of the name, “Krampus,” American understanding of the figure will only be clouded by the muddled mythology it creates for the figure.

Eager for the public to understand how  the film diverges from the traditional folklore, I wrote an article for the website Boing Boing, where I summarize:

The simplest thing I can say about the film’s authenticity, is what I wrote post-screening to Universal publicists declining my intended involvement in their promotions. I wrote: “I thought there would be a Krampus in the movie.”

Reimagining the folklore does not in this case breathe exciting new life into the production.  For the full story, please see the original article on Boing Boing.

Krampus Ball Sold Out, More Events Coming

Thanks to everyone who purchased advance tickets, the Krampus Ball is now sold out.  Unfortunately, there will be no walk-up tickets available at the door.  However, there are three more Krampusfest events this year:  The Krampuslauf Thursday, December 10, Krampus at Alpine Village, Saturday, December 12, and the Traditional Krampus Play and Films, Sunday, December 13.  As all Krampusfest events traditionally sell out, some quite far in advance, we strongly recommend advance ticket purchase to avoid disappointment.  The Traditional Krampus Play and Films is exclusively advance tickets.  The Krampuslauf is free and unticketed.