Christmastime is all about poinsettias, Santa hats, Rudolph noses, and bedazzled gingerbread men plastered on fuzzy sweaters, right? Wrong. For those of us who find those dancing sugarplums lacking, this festive, candy-cane-centered holiday has always been in need of a little, well, nastiness. I, for one, prefer to think of this as the time of year when Krampus can roam the earth freely.
In Austria and Germany, Krampus is the opposite of Santa Claus — a hairy, black, demonic presence with cloven hooves and a Gene Simmons tongue. In fact, he looks suspiciously like a cross between Satan and the lead singer of Gwar.
To put it simply, Saint Nicholas and Krampus essentially play Christmas' good cop/bad cop. Nick rewards chubby-cheeked children for their angelic behavior by delivering them gifts. But, if you found yourself on the naughty list, Krampus would stuff you in a sack and drag you back to his dungeon lair to do God-knows-what.
Of course, many people find Krampus too disturbing for children, which would explain why I was raised to believe that I would get a lump of coal for Christmas if I was bad all year. What a joke. Clearly, the fear of a Satanic-beast kidnapper would have been a much more effective behavioral modifier than the idea of receiving a harmless chunk of carbon.
So, forget ugly Christmas sweaters. December should be the time when you ransack the thrift stores for hairy, black coats and cloven-toed boots. If your idea of holiday cheer is more black metal than jingle bells, steer clear of the red suit, and click ahead to create your own ultimate Krampus look. It's truly devilish.
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The key item for channeling your inner messenger of Christmas doom is monkey fur. The long, smooth, black hairs will transform you instantly from a lowly human into a horrifying hell-beast. The concept of actually wearing monkey fur is pretty disturbing, too, so maybe go for this Simone Rocha faux-fur top.
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Make sure your liquid-look leggings are fleece-lined — it gets awfully cold scaring the living daylights out of children for hours on end.
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The finishing footwear touch should be a pair of aggressive tabi boots by Maison Martin Margiela. Their clomping heels and cloven toes will be sure to have children screaming and running in the other direction when you're roaming the streets.
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The most important part of your Krampus-inspired look is a satchel (or backpack) to be used for stuffing naughty children into. We like this gold one from American Apparel because it adds a little extra dazzle into your scaremongering regime.
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Accessorizing is a major part of Krampus’ look. He is never seen without several chains, which he rattles around, terrifying children to no end. This chain necklace from Forever 21 is less than $5, and should it start to oxidize, it's even better for that scary, rusty effect. However, if subtlety isn’t your style, there are plenty of draping options at your local hardware store.
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The final topper is this set of demon horns from Party City, which “come on a dark headband that makes them easy to wear.” Oh, goody!