Krampus, St. Nick's demonic companion returns to Carytown for his third year of terror on 12/6

Posted by: Amy – Nov 23, 2015


Grab your horns and switches and get ready to hide your children, RVA... Krampus will soon be here to scoop up all the bad kids and carry them off with him as he clangs his bells and chains.

Well, the beast won't literally be here taking your bad children away, but the organizers behind Carytown's annual RVA Krampus celebration are bringing his beastly reincarnation back yet again on Dec 5.

A centuries old European yuletide meaning “Night of Krampus," Krampusnacht normally involves parades of people dressed in elaborate costumes in honor of this ancient Germanic folklore.

As the myth goes, Krampus gathers up the bad children every year and takes them away in his wicker basket, swatting anyone within reach with his bundle of switches.

Local artist and co-organizer Nicole Pisaniello, and Parker Galore, an artist and arts organizer who helps run Gallery5, have held the celebration in Richmond since 2013.

"Both Galore and myself were both very interested in this tradition, we saw videos of people doing this in Austria and parts of Germany and thought wouldn't it be cool if that could happen in the U.S.," said Pisaniello. "It turns out other cities have been doing it as well just within the same few year time frame the we started ours."

Every year it's been held in Richmond, participants dressed up in scary, intricate costumes saunter around Carytown terrorizing all. This year's walk will take place outside of Portrait House at 6 pm. There will be a costume contest and a full loop through Carytown which will end with an after party at back at Portrait House.

All the Saints Theater Company can also be seen at this year's walk with a giant Krampus puppet, flags, costumes and noisemakers. Check out the madness from the first Krampus in the video below:

Pisaniello said this year's RVA Krampus will also feature Yuletiide Monsters 2: A Krampus Art Show the night before on Friday at Gallery5. Krampus-themed paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, masks and puppets will grace the upstairs gallery in honor of the return of Krampus along with live music and a market.

"This year we're going to have over 40 local artists contributing," she said. "Most of the artists around already knew about it so they were ready to jump on board."

Pisaniello encourages those looking to get really into the celebration to dress up and create their own versions of Krampus.

"Really all you need is a pair of horns, a long red tongue and a cowbell," she said. "Grab something that makes noise a pot or a spoon and come walk with us."

There's also the role of the victims for those that are willing and aren't too afraid.

"If you're daring, you can dress up as a child or dress in pajamas and come out and allow us to switch you very lightly with our sticks and walk with the Krampus," said Pisaniello.

Besides the Carytown walk, RVA Krampus will also participate in a toy drive from November 30 to December 11 with Red Vein Army to benefit Scares That Care. A box will be set up at Portrait House the night of the walk and also at Strangeways Brewery on December 11th.

The day after the walk, Sun. Dec. 6, organizers will host a Krampus Movie Party along with RVA Book Club. RVA Horror Book Club will discuss the new book by Michael Dougherty, "Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas" at 5 pm at Fat Dragon Chinese Kitchen and Bar and then head over to the Bowtie Cinema to view the new Krampus movie.

With the Krampus event, Pisaniello said she hopes to change people's minds our changed a little about what Krampus actually is all about and "show people the different aspects of other cultures' Christmases.

The American Christmas has become so saccharin and over-commercialized that it's kind of nice to have this darker side," she said.

RVA Krampus kicks off with an art show at Gallery 5 Friday, Dec. 4 with the actual celebration and walk through Carytown Saturday, Dec. 5.

Words by Amy David. Interview by Brad Kutner.