This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Krampusnacht

Copyright-free PNG image of Krampus leading a group of naughty children to hell |


Over the past few years, Krampusnacht has become more acknowledged and celebrated in the United States. This celebration takes place on December 5, the day before Saint Nicholas (who approves of the Krampus’ work) rewards the good children on Nikolaustag. Read more about it here since I’d rather get to the storytime resources for planning an children’s library event around this holiday than break down the holiday and its history.


Here is a flyer template that I made for you to download and use. It includes the image at the top of this post which I wanted posted as a separate png in case you’d like to use it for anything else. I basically erased the bright red background from the original.

Blank flyer template for a children's Krampusnacht storytime at a library |

The free fonts that I used for this flyer and other literature for this program are graphik_text, st_nicholas, and gotenborgfraktur.

For a display, you could use the top image from this post and then print out the images below onto card stock, cut them out, punch a hole, and hang them from the ceiling using fishing wire. That would add some movement to the display and make it more eye catching.

The silhouette of three children praying and screaming in Krampus' bag | hafuboti.comThe silhouette of one child screaming in terror after being stuffed in Krampus' bag | hafuboti.comThe black silhouette of two terrified children in Krampus' sack |


This was one of the trickier aspects of creating this storytime. However, if you expand the theme of good vs. bad, antiheroes, or children behaving badly then your book options are much more varied. Here are just a few:

  • Matt Lake’s Night of the Krampus which includes some Krampusfied Christmas Carols (978-0692495223)
  • Bailey Quillen Cooper’s Kris & Krampus Kringle (978-1483585017)
  • The No, David! series by David Shannon (No, David! 978-0439129657)
  • Quite a few of Shel Silverstein’s poems such as Sick and Listen to the Mustn’ts (Where the Sidewalk Ends 978-0060256685)
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Bully by Stan & Jan Berenstain (978-0679848059). This one will need discussion such as “who in this story would the Krampus want to grab?”
  • Ellen Javernick & Colleen M. Madden’s What if Everybody Did That? (978-0761456865)
  • Lots of Eilleen Cook’s books such as But It’s Not My Fault! (978-1934490808) show kids behaving badly.


Here are several classic children’s songs that I’ve modified to be more festive. There are lots of opportunities for acting out the words. It would also be fun to get some cheap pillowcases and have each child stand inside one like it’s a potato sack race. Then they can jump to the rhythm while pretending that the pillowcase are Krampus’ bags.

Feel free to download and use:

Alternative lyrics for Baa Baa Black Sheep to make it Krampunacht-appropriate |

Alternate lyrics for London Bridge Is Falling Down to make the tune more appropriate for Krampusnacht celebrations |

A doom-filled Krampus-approved version of Zoom Zoom Zoom (wer're going to the moon) song for Krampusnacht storytimes |


Make Krampuskarten: Think “Christmas Cards,” but featuring Krampus.

Masks: Have the kids make scary Krampus masks to wear (or for their parents to wear). Bonus level – cutting out a slot for a tongue to stick through.

Stickers: Give these out for either attending the program, or for completing a passive program such as a scavenger hunt. Here’s one set and another.

Photos: Either create a face-cutout photo op stand where the child (or parent) can be the hapless victim in Krampus’ bag, or if your library has a green screen, add them to a vintage krampuskarten.

A Surprise Krampus visit: Purchase this mask and have a staff member come charging into the storytime yelling. Please keep safety in mind! You might want to advertise that Krampus will be visiting depending on the age group.

Download and print out this drawing/writing prompt:

My Krampus passive program worksheet or worksheet for a Krampusnacht storytime |

Now, I can imagine some knee-jerk reaction that this is all too scary for children. For sure it would be too intense for some, but others will revel in the scariness and monstrous aspect of this. You could do a version of Tickle Monster with flannel pieces and board where kids can see the monster changed into not being scary.

And there you have it: a good foundation to build a storytime around Krampusnacht and/or to add to your all-inclusive celebrations! As always, I’d love to hear what you think – especially if you have ideas and/or resources that I left out (or if I need to adjust anything here if I was unintentionally insensitive to those who celebrate this).

Find out why I’m doing this.

Decor and program inspirations for a library's Krampusacht celebration |

Go for the Gold

Every-once-in-a-while my team gets stumped on decor for a theme. We throw out ideas and then we throw out those ideas. And nothing goes “ding” like you hope it will. It was like that for this past summer’s CSLP theme: On Your Mark, Get Set…Read!

We talked about book characters, giant foam hands, and lots of other random things. I love a good brainstorming session, but this one felt like a struggle.

Side Note: I don’t know that I ever have mentioned this before, but I made a promise to our Children’s Librarian that none of our displays would ever have the term “a good book” in it. Like our previous Get Caught Up in a Good Book theme. It’s just a pet peeve of hers (and once you notice it, you notice that it is EVERYWHERE in the library world – which isn’t a bad thing at all – it works and gets the job done. It’s just a pet peeve of hers and hey, I usually like being different so that all works out).


It was our Children’s Librarian who finally suggested the idea that sparked excitement for summer decorating: what about gold medals? After all, we had used gold reading medals to promote our Readathon event, as well as in promoting our summer programming.

Natasia took the idea and ran with it. She bought shiny gold poster board (I didn’t know that existed!!!), some bendy mesh red white and blue ribbon, and then cut out words and images using my Silhouette.

Behold Natasia Magic (we totally should trademark “Natasia Magic”):

Gretna Children's Library's 2016 Summer Reading gold medal front windows. On your mark, get! |

These were incredibly striking, and you could tell that the kids thought that they were awesome. Everything on them shimmered except for the black – and that made the black really pop.

The favorite part of this for quite a few kids (who seemed entranced by this) was how Natasia handled the medal on/above the door. It’s in three pieces so that the door can open freely. Therefore, when the kids came in, many of them would be looking up to see if the ribbon stretched – but it didn’t and it was like magic to them.

Here’s a close-up:

On your mark, get! medal at the Chldren's Library's front door |

::whispers:: Natasia Magiiiiic…

Oversized gold medals along GCL's long wall. #1 Reader. Speed Reader, and Marathon Reader |

She continued the theme inside on our long wall. These made me smile several times a day during the summer. Shiny or twirly – or even better shiny AND twirly – things tend to have a positive effect on me.

Ashlynn and Shelby (it was Shelby’s final display before heading off to college ::sniffle::) made the reading bench display. These are books that have recently been returned to our library – which saves us time on reshelving during the summer months. Woohoo! We also reused the inflatable baseballs that were the previous October’s baseball bats. We hung most of them using fishing line, but the ones in the top part of the windows were just thrown up there (which yes, that was fun):

"Books that Are a Hit" reading bench display along with inflatable baseballs |

Finally, I got in on more of the fun by making another passive name game on our whiteboard. I wanted it to be short ‘n sweet in terms of both creating it and playing it . I also wanted to surprise our boss with it since she’s a huge WWE fan:

Very simple "find your wrestler name" passive game at Gretna Public Library |

Fun Fact: We posted this picture on our Facebook page, and we counted those who replied with their wrestler names as participants in this passive program. Woot!

The summer’s scavenger hunt was created by several team members, and it involved finding several images of sports balls hidden throughout the library. If you look back at the reading bench display, then you can see the basketball “hidden” on our clock.

And this brings me to a slight change on my blog. It might not even be noticeable, but I’m aware of it. As my team has strengthened, and I now have a Marketing Minion (i.e. the magical Natasia), my focus at the library has shifted. Therefore, you won’t find as many passive program printables here.

I’ll write more about that later, but I wanted to say that if there’s something that I write about or picture on my blog and you’d like more information and/or anything I might be able to send your way – then please just ask! Post a comment here or send me an email at I seriously love to get reader emails and am ridonkulously excited to help fellow librarians out!

First Library Card Celebration

library card celebration


Over the past few months, my overall vision for our library has become about making good memories for everyone at our library. I have been working on a two-parter post to delve into this new managerial perspective, but I just had to share a new tradition that we started at our library.

Because IT. IS. AWESOME!!!!!!


One of the neatest experiences at our library is when a child finally turns six years old, and thus becomes old enough to get a library card. There are times that kids have come in still wearing their party hats and have proudly stated that they are now six and would like to get their first card.

But what if we could make this experience even better? To really signify to the kids that this is an awesome thing happening (and hopefully an experience they will cherish for the rest of their lives).

How about make a special pledge for the kids to recite? Eh, too serious.

Have a monthly library party for kids who got their first card? Nah – too much work that would not equate directly to the moment the first card is given.

I also didn’t want it to be something to take away from the focus of what’s special: getting a library card for the first time.

To make a long story short: I believe the idea came to me while watching MLP: Friendship Is Magic. Pinkie Pie had hidden confetti cannons around Twilight’s castle. What about those little confetti poppers?  I loved those as a kid!  But they’d be WAY too loud (and slightly dangerous) in our small space. But what if there was a quieter/cheaper confetti shooter out there? Pinterest to the rescue!

After handing this project over to Natasia, she ran with it and made some really beautiful cannons. Feel free to ask in the comments (or via email: if you’d like details on what she did and I’ll happily share.

Here’s our first confetti cannon trial:

I wish that the video could show how amazing the confetti is – it goes up high and shimmers beautifully as it flutters down. It also doesn’t take a whole lot of confetti to be effective (about a teaspoon I’d guess).

And here’s our very first kid to get this special treatment:

I’ve lost count of how many kids we’ve given this special treatment to, but lemme tell ya what: this has been even better than I had hoped. A mothers shared with us that her (under six) daughter gathered up some of the confetti that we shot when her older brother got his first card. Now the little girl keeps it in her pocket because it’s special. Everyone who happens to be in the library at the time end up smiling and cheering with us for our newest patron. It’s simply joyful.

When I shared this in Storytime Underground’s Facebook group, the main comments were about the mess.

Now lemme tell you what’s what: I hate a messy/disorganized work space. I’ve banned glitter except for in rare cases. But to have the library look like a fun party went down? I can live with that. For a bit. And a suggestion from a Director at a nearby library turned out to be perfect: get a manual floor sweeper. I think her words were, “it’s a confetti beast.”  We purchased one of these and have been very happy with that purchase.

The confetti has been very impressive in terms of how far it can go. But you know what? I think that most people who see it will not think “messy,” but “I wonder what happened here? It looks like they had fun!” We also hand sweep-up confetti on our circ desk to reuse to cut down on waste.

And there you have it: one of the funnest passive things we’ve ever done. Do you do anything special for first library cards (regardless of age)? I’d love to know about it!

I Spy Ay Ay Ay!

Our theme for March was I Spy for no particular reason but that we wanted to have an I Spy themed month.

I Spy themed front windows featuring fish, toys, and a Highlights-style picture search. |

Yep! It’s as fun as it looks!

Natasia and Shelby worked together on making these windows both cute and playable. Big shout-out to Shelby’s Mom who found out what we were doing and got so excited that she volunteered to make the Highlight’s style art featuring our dragon mascot! See how many items that you can spot hidden in the picture:

Highlights style black and white drawing for our library's front window. Lots of hidden images for kids and parents to find! |

We gave the kids a worksheet so that they had an idea of what was hidden and needed finding such as a toothbrush, balloon, banana, and pizza (those are just a few).

We actually made worksheets for each window and released one every week of the month. It didn’t happen often, but when parents would work with their children to find the objects? Adorable.

Interior view of our I Spy library windows. These two games featured toys and fish. |

I’ve been handing off more and more of the decorating to my team which has freed me up for other areas on which to focus (like marketing/advocacy). I do miss the monthly creative project, but I think that we’re all ready to get a break with our summer decor being up for a few months.

One of the consequences of me not doing as much decorating is the I forget to get pictures – especially of our reading bench book displays. I’ll try and make this a higher priority in the future. For March I can tell you that our display theme was I Spy Spring. We featured books about springtime, baby animals, and gardening.

Finally, instead of a traditional scavenger hunt as a passive program, we made an I Spy table out of one of our two activity tables:

Gif of our I Spy sticker tabletop hunt as it was filled with extra stickers. |

I know that I saw this somewhere on Pinterest – so a big shout-out to the other libraries that have done this.

A benefit to this was that we used up some of the stickers that we don’t care to give out (like trademarked characters). It still took two of us working on this a good chunk of time to complete. One of the smartest things we did was once we were finished we covered the surface with contact paper. It made cleanups super easy when kiddos decided to color on the table.

We wrote the “What Do You Spy?” as a prompt for parents or kids to create their own I Spy game. We also had a different weekly search page that we had up at our circulation desk. Like, one week we had kids looking for a certain number of things that were red, blue, green, etc. Then another worksheet directed kids to find as many specific things as possible such as flowers, reading glasses, stars, etc.

If I could do anything differently, then it would be to make a BIGGER sign above the search pages stating that this is for the ACTIVITY TABLE, and not the library at large (like most of our scavenger hunts).  We had to track down both kids and parents who grabbed the sheet and started looking around the library  to let them know that the directions were to take it back to our activity table. Whoops.

And that about about covers our I Spy month at the Children’s Library!

Joyful January

The idea for Joyful January happened back in November, when I flipped out over the tissue paper window treatment that Natasia did. I had a vision of seeing whispy images through the tissue paper, and then I realized that we could sandwich a photo between tissue paper and it would look like the memory spheres from INside Out.

So, I asked our staff, members of both our Friends group and Library Board, and our patrons to submit pictures to me for a special secret window display. All I’d say was that I wanted a picture of them and/or members of their family.

I used a mixture of water and white glue to adhere the tissue paper and printed photos (using regular paper with the image mirrored on the back of the paper). It was a bit messy, and I learned to be extra careful with the tissue paper since it rips crazy-easy once it’s wet. Also, once the mixture dried, I would use a razor blade to scrape up the mess around the circles (you can see the residue around the circles on the left side of the above collage, and what it looks like after the cleanup on the right side).

I think that next time I’ll try Mod Podge since there were some odd blotches on the tissue paper (mainly on the figures) that I think were due to the white glue.

I also added a simplified version of Joy and Sadness on opposite ends of our front windows. Since I correctly guessed that the pictures submitted would be happy pictures, I had one of my childhood pictures where I was obviously crying at the ready.

I also bought giant balloons from ebay that matched the feelings’ colors from the movie. It was a bit of a splurge, but I had such a strong internal drive to make this happen that I made a deal with my Director that if the balloons didn’t remain inflated for the entire month, then I’d pay for them. However, if they remained full, then the library would reimburse me.
Spoiler alert: I’m totally getting reimbursed!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE those balloons. These balloons were worth every penny. And if you get large balloons like this, then please get a simple electric air pump to blow them up. I had one for an inflatable bed at home, so I brought it in and it was so fun to use to blow up these balloons.

I also have to give a HUGE shout-out to our Young Adult Librarian Dustan for doing all the hard work of moving around the large ladder and hanging every one of those balloons for me. And he wore disposable gloves the whole time because he’s allergic to latex!!! 

Oh, and I’m planning on giving away the balloons once we take them down. One per family. Probably through social media. UPDATE: What we actually ended up doing was announcing on Facebook that we were giving away one giant balloon per family that day. As far as I know, no one came in because of the post, but we gave away every balloon before noon. AND IT WAS BEYOND AMAZING TO SEE THE KIDS FACES AS WE HANDED THEM A BALLOON AS BIG AS THEY WERE! I think we totally rocked some kids’ lives that day. Also, we had several people come inside to ask what was up with the enormous balloons that kids were carrying as they left. YAY! Get yourself some giant balloons, enjoy them for a month, and then give them away – it is INCREDIBLE!!! END OF UPDATE

Eventually, I did have to share the idea with my team, and they all jumped on board with ideas to help round out this emotional theme:

Here’s our super-crazy-popular reading bench display that Jennifer, Natasia, and Shelby worked on together. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve had to add books to the faceouts since almost every single book (both fiction and non-fiction) and movie has checked out.

Shelby was in charge of the scavenger hunt, and she made a fun one where kids had to find different colored faces and identify what the faces were feeling (we changed the face colors every week). It’s been great hearing parents discuss what the faces are feeling – even asking why that particular face may be happy/sad/surprised. The prize for finding and identifying all of the feelings is a special silly-face stamp for their hand.

And there you have it: a theme that made me incredibly happy! And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about this if you feel confused, sad, angry, silly, etc.