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Only in his "Krampus" costume with red glowing eyes and horns to frighten naughty children and "evil spirits". His troupe is one of an estimated 850, with 10,000 members around Austria marauding through towns and villages over the Christmas period in "Krampuslauf" parades.With heavy metal blaring, the several hundred spectators in the market town watch behind safety barriers as the demonic creatures prowl around menacingly, leering at the public.Head-to-hoof in dark fur with horns, a tail and a lolling red tongue, from the 16th century Krampus traditionally appeared on Dec. 5, the eve of Saint Nicholas Day."Perchten" meanwhile – figures of good and evil with possibly pagan origins – would emerge in early January or in the carnival season before Lent, the Christian period of fasting.Traditional Perchten processions still exist, such as in Gastein in western Austria where 140 creatures from mythology and legend "drive out winter" every four years.
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