Skip Santa and get a photo with Krampus at The Strange and Unusual in Kingston on Dec. 22
If you’ve been naughty this year, you can avoid those lines at the mall waiting for Santa Claus and go straight to The Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor in Kingston to meet Krampus instead on Sunday, Dec. 22.
A dark counterpart to ol’ Saint Nick and his rewards for good children, Krampus is a horned goat demon from Central European folklore who punishes the bad kids who misbehaved all year by taking them away in his sack or whipping them with birch branches. In recent years, the “Devil of Christmas” has seen a resurgence in popularity with costumes, movies, greeting cards, and events like Krampuslauf.
While you may not want to bring your little one to The Strange and Unusual and scar him or her for life, adults can take free photos with Krampus, who will also decide your discount of 10-60 percent off your entire purchase. The Harry Potter-themed Steamy Hallows coffee shop inside the store is also offering 15 perfect off its “potions” during this event, which runs from noon-5 p.m. Krampus doesn’t have his own crew of demonic helpers, so bring your own camera.
Every family has at least one person who is difficult to shop for in traditional stores, so The Strange and Unusual (467 Wyoming Ave., Kingston) is the perfect place to find “one-of-a-kind goods and unique collectible items for you, your home, and the strange and unusual people in your life,” including clothing, antiques, vintage items, jewelry, books, furniture, knick-knacks, novelties, and ethically-sourced, cruelty-free taxidermy, skulls, bones, and bugs pinned neatly behind frames.
After spending years collecting weird and creepy things as he toured the world as the keyboardist of Scranton metal band Motionless In White, owner Josh Balz founded the Kingston oddities shop in 2013 using pieces from his own collection before expanding into a bigger building and opening a second location in Philadelphia in 2015.
Balz played on the band’s first three albums on Fearless Records and their 2017 Roadrunner Records debut, “Graveyard Shift,” before leaving the group in early 2017. His continues to create music with his solo project, Strange Kids, but that’s not all the 30-year-old entrepreneur has been up to.
He also started Noir Nights, a mysterious and kinky pop-up bar series at Stage West in Scranton. From masquerade parties to a dark circus, these exclusive events require attendees to dress all in black and leave their cameras and inhibitions at the door as the “dark and sinful corners of the human psyche are on full display.” The first was held on Halloween in 2018, and he continued to sell out each event on Black Friday, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day and, most recently, Devil’s Night. A “Death of 2019” New Year’s Eve masquerade party is planned for Tuesday, Dec. 31.
See NEPA Scene’s photos of Balz performing with MIW at the 2016 Vans Warped Tour in Scranton here. Listen to him talk about The Strange and Unusual, Noir Nights, 10 years of playing all over the world with MIW, his private collection, Strange Kids, and more in Episode 81 of the NEPA Scene Podcast: