Five Terrifying Holiday Monsters to Give Krampus a Run for His Money

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Let’s face it, parents will do just about anything to get their children to behave, but few, especially this time of year, are as effective as the threat of no gifts from Santa. However, there have been cultures that took that threat one step further by creating holiday monsters that stalk the night ready to whip, kidnap, and devour naughty children.

Everyone’s heard of Krampus thanks to his resurgence in popularity following the film that was released just a few years ago, but the list below contains holiday monsters far worse than the old Christmas devil.


The Icelandic Yule cat, Jólakötturinn, is said to stalk the snowy countryside of the small island nation seeking out those who have not received new clothes as a gift by Christmas Eve night. The only way to receive new clothes was by finishing all of one’s chores!

How’s that for passive aggressive?

Get your work done, or the Yule cat will eat you! That’s right, Jólakötturinn won’t just scare you; he fully intends to eat the lazy kids who don’t obey their parents and do their chores.

#2 Hans Trapp

Leave it to the French to come up with a nightmarish scarecrow!

Legend says that Hans Trapp was a greedy, rich Devil-worshipper who was banished to the forests upon his excommunication from the Catholic Church. He disguised himself as a scarecrow and set about terrifying the local children.

He captured a young boy and was just about to eat him when he was struck by lightning and killed, but that didn’t stop Hans for long.

As Christmas approaches each year, Hans Trapp appears as a Scarecrow and stalks certain regions of France in order to frighten children into good behavior!

#3 Gryla

Gryla is an evil ogress said to live in the mountains of Iceland. She had three different husbands and bore 72 children in all.

Gryla’s legends are far older than modern celebrations of Christmas, and in fact, she only became associated with the holiday sometime in the 17th century. Before that time, she was more commonly associated with Yule, the celebration of the Winter Solstice and the longest night of the year.

Gryla, who by the way is the mistress of the Yule cat Jólakötturinn, has a bad habit of boiling and eating disobedient children, and her name definitely gets thrown around during the holidays to keep Icelandic children in line.

#4 Pere Fouettard

This guy’s name translates to “Father Whipper”. Need we say more?

Another French legend, Pere Fouettard was a butcher who developed a taste for the flesh of children. (What is it with all this cannibalism?!) He once captured three boys, and butchered and salted their flesh to preserve them for later.

When St. Nicholas discovered what he had done, he burst into Fouettard’s shop, resurrected the boys, and took the cannibal as his prisoner.

From that time on, Pere Fouettard worked for St. Nicholas punishing bad children.

Frau Perchta

Frau Perchta is the legendary witch of Germany and Austria who hands out both presents and punishment during the 12 Days of Christmas.

It’s her particular method of punishment that bought her place on this list, however. Upon finding a sinful, disobedient child, she’ll rip out their insides and fill them with garbage!

Gross, right?

You definitely do not want to be on Frau Perchta’s naughty list!

Have you heard of these fascinating holiday monsters before? Have one you think should be on the list? Tell us your stories in the comments below!

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Waylon Jordan is a lifelong fan of genre fiction and film especially those with a supernatural element. He firmly believes that horror reflects collective fears of society and can be used as a tool for social change.