Winter Solstice Costumes

Consider your Halloween costume downgraded. Wired has an in depth look at crazy winter solstice costumes of Europe. Photographer Charles Fréger captures some of the odd and amazing getups of Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, and other Europeans countries. All photos courtesy of Charles Fréger.
Schnappviecher, Tramin, Italy. This costume, which Fréger says is around 40 pounds, is meant to be as scary as it looks. It’s the job of the butchers and drivers of the village to protect the public from the beasts. 

Strohbär, Germany. The Straw Bear costume is inspired by Germany’s rural past.

Babugeri and Chaushi, Bulgaria. The bizarre-looking costumes are made from goat skin. Traditionally, they carried a red-painted rod on their belt to represent a phallic object and would brush up against women to make them fertile. Now they just carry a stick. 

Zezengorri, Basque Country, Spain. The Zezengorri is the guardian of caves and chasms who comes out every second weekend of February for the region’s carnival. 

BurryMan, Scotland. Because the BurryMan’s costume is extremely limiting in its movements, two undisguised aids must guide him throughout the streets as he goes door to door frightening away evil spirits. If you give him whiskey and money, it will bring you good luck. 

Macinula, Poland. In Poland, these rag-covered creatures are meant to play the role of the village clown. 

Wilder, Austria. The Wild Man costume is made of a hood, jacket and trousers. Men also wear a wooden mask and lean on a big stick.

Boes, Sardinia, Italy. This animal-like creature promotes fertility in the land, cattle and women.