The Alpine tradition of Krampus running goes back to the Christian mythological figures of Bishop Nicholas and his companion Krampus. During the Nicholas blessed the good children, the naughty be punished by Krampus. While Santa rewards good children by delivering gifts to them, Krampus threatens and punishes the bad ones, and is often depicted carrying unruly kiddies away in his basket ready to dump them into the fiery depths of hell.
Each year in November and January people in the western Austria regions dress-up in Krampus costumes and parade through the streets to perform a 1500 year-old pagan ritual to disperse the ghosts of winter. Each handmade traditional costume, consisting of up to 14 separate sheep or goat skins, takes three dress makers one day to produce, and costs between 500 – 600 euros. Some 15 hours are needed for a woodcarver to sculpt each demon mask which is made from stone pine wood with goat horns attached.