Edmonton Krampus Lauf: March of Santa’s Sidekick

by | Dec 8, 2022 | News

On a chilly winter night under the glow of a waxing moon, in the shadow of the haunted Walterdale Theater, a group of demonic goats gathered around the gazebo for pictures, after a night of teasing, but never terrorizing, the patrons of Whyte Ave.

The 10th annual Krampuslauf happened this year in Edmonton on December 3rd. The event is held by one of the longest-running Krampus groups in North America, Krampusnacht Edmonton. This event occurs yearly in December around the 5th depending on the closest Saturday. People dress up as various versions of Krampus, Saint Nicholas or other winter solstice creatures and walk up and down Whyte Ave. 

The costumes were elaborate and detailed– not cheap Halloween quality, but professional cosplay worthy. A noteworthy costume was of two Krampuses leading a whiny, bratty child in pyjamas. The child hugged a teddy bear and was on a chain to represent what Krampus does to naughty children.

“It’s a fun event, we have gone every year for the last five years. The costumes get better each year. We just dress according to the weather, if it’s too cold,” said an attendee. 

Traditionally, Krampuslauf involves men dressing up, terrorizing children and drinking lots of alcohol. The Whyte Ave version was more family-friendly and allowed women to dress up and participate in the event.

According to the legend, Krampus is Santa’s evil sidekick, but you have nothing to fear if you are good. He is the executioner of Saint Nicholas’s judgement of naughty and nice. In German legend, Krampus was created by Saint Nicholas. Santa rewards children with sweets and presents, while the other hile the other swats misbehaving children with branches, shoves them into his sack to take to his lair.

A participant dressed as a crow poses in the gazebo. Photo by Fraser Sockett/ THE NUGGET

In Norse mythology, Krampus is the son of Hel, the grandson of Loki, but some of his origins have been altered throughout the centuries. The one continuous tidbit is he will punish naughty children, and leave the good ones alone.

According to an episode of “American Dad,” to defeat Krampus, someone needs to trap him in a copper pot. But traditional folklore has no way of defeating Krampus, so it is best to behave if you don’t want to end up in his sack. 

Next year, come down to Whyte Ave for the annual Krampuslauf and observe the festive activities. Or if you don’t want the hassle of filling out paperwork to get your naughty child adopted, get Krampus to kidnap them. 

Cover Photo via Krampusnacht Edmonton

Latest Issue