|Krampus in Austria|
There are even parades.
The Krampus is meant to be a demonic looking being of central Europe. It acts to terrify children, as a lead up to St. Nicholas Day (No, it's not Christmas. It's December 5th). Sometimes he swats at kids with branches. Most of the times he's covered his chains and bells, tinkling away. You can hear him coming for you. And, as the story sometimes go, he'll carry off bad little kids to their doom.
The Krampus (adults eagerly dressed up in furs, horns, scary masks, bells, and chains) will travel around a town, welcomed into businesses and even homes, searching for bad children.
The character is an ancient one, going back to pre-Christian Europe. (In some cases it's seen as a child of the Scandanavian goddess Hel) He is a shaggy goat horned fellow, looking for the booze, and kids to punish. And as a figure it's spread through Central Europe, even in some spots in North America.
For a time, once Christianity arrived, the Krampus was pushed back against (like many pagan figures and celebrations). Through the Inquisition, it was suppressed. But, finally, it was embraced and made part of the festivities (like many pagan figures and celebrations).
It adds a nice texture to the Christmas season. Santa brings good kids gifts. Krampus goes out and brings bad kids punishment. A balance.
May the Krampus not come for you this cold night.
I changed the night in question to Thursday...It's late.