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Murray Journal

A very Krampus Christmas coming to Murray

Nov 25, 2020 01:46PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Halloween meets Christmas, as Dead City celebrates the Krampus tradition. (Photo courtesy Dead City)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

So, you made the naughty list this year, and you are expecting a skip-over from Santa this Christmas. Don’t worry; you won’t be alone because Krampus, the half-demon, half-goat, will be visiting lucky you. On Dec. 4 and 5, the yuletide terror will call Dead City Haunted House (5425 S. Vine St.) in Murray home.

With origins dating back as far as Christmas itself, “Krampus Night,” or “Krampusnacht,” is celebrated the night before “The Feast of St. Nicholas” across most of Central Europe. While Nicholas provides gifts to the good children, the horned, anthropomorphic figure, commonly known as Krampus, dispenses coal and other devious surprises to all the spoiled children. St. Nicholas Day this year falls on Dec. 6.

A representative from Dead City, wishing to be identified as “One of the Merry Minions,” describes the Krampus experience: “From entry to exit, the show has completely changed after Krampus and his minions have decked the halls with glimmering lights while wrecking walls with gruesome new frights.  Thousands of multi-colored bulbs will guide your way through the sights, smells, and screams of Christmas at Dead City Haunted House this Dec. 4 and 5. This year we also have our ‘Ugly X-Mask’ contest, encouraging everyone to show off their creativity in this crazy time; simply snap a selfie with your festive face covering at one of our stations inside.”

According to National Geographic, “Krampus’s name is derived from the German word ‘krampen,’ meaning claw, and is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. The legendary beast also shares characteristics with other scary, demonic creatures in Greek mythology, including satyrs and fauns.”

Germany and Austria have Krampus, and other Germanic regions have “Belsnickle” and “Knecht Ruprecht,” black-bearded men who carry switches to beat children. France has “Hans Trapp” and “Père Fouettard.”

“Halloween and Christmas have combined in this one-of-a-kind immersive theatrical experience mixed with an awe-inspiring visual display,” Mr. Minion said. “What started with a few old buckets of decorations quickly blew up into something worth noticing after just a single operating night in 2019.”

Whether it was a change of pace in December after hearing “Jingle Bells” for the millionth time or Utah’s continual fascination with all thrill rides, the Krampus event did attract national attention.

Dead City Haunted House was honored as one of the 2020 Haunters to Watch Winners for their Krampus Night by HAuNTcon and Haunted Attraction Network, receiving the award in New Orleans this past January. The committee cited: “Many haunts offer a Krampus event, but Dead City Haunted House impressed us with their video creation, narrative tie into their overall theme, social media contest, and overall use of a limited budget.”

Krampusnacht has been controversial in Europe, being banned by the Catholic Church and World War II-era fascists. Borrowing traditions of a visit by Saint Nick, Krampus would visit homes, clanking chains together and, if sympathetic, would present the ill-behaved with a twig.

In this year of the pandemic, Dead City is taking precautions to help patrons stay safe. 

“Pandemic safety measures matter for every business, so we are 100% dedicated to providing a safe form of entertainment via celebration,” Mr. Minion said. “Dead City Haunted House proudly displays the ‘Stay Safe to Stay Open’ seal of approval for our safety pledge to patrons and staff. We take all the necessary measures in cleaning surfaces, sanitizing show space, air filtration systems, and actor social distancing backstage. We understand this show may seem too naughty for some this year, so we are making sure the experience can be as nice as possible for those who attend. Additional dates may be added due to popular demand; check online for updates and to purchase tickets.”