‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, a story by Tim Burton, has been the topic of a popular debate: is it considered a Halloween or Christmas movie?

Written by: Anna Meyer – October 16th, 2021 10:09 am pst

Halloween or Christmas

Credit: The Nightmare Before Christmas/Tim Burton/TouchStone pictures/Skellington Production/Walt Disney Pictures

The Nightmare Before Christmas aired in 1993 and tells the story of Jack Skellington as he discovers Christmas town and all of the holiday spirit that comes with it. Even though the plot shows him discovering Christmas, he is the Pumpkin King and lives in Halloween Town.

Credit: The Nightmare Before Christmas/Tim Burton/TouchStone pictures/Skellington Production/Walt Disney Pictures

Halloween #1: He’s the “Pumpkin King” in Halloween Town

The main character, Jack Skellington, is the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. The character himself is a long, slender, Halloween skeleton. One of Jack’s favorite hobbies is scaring people. Because of this while, he tries to embrace the spirit of Christmas, he doesn’t understand it completely and ends up delivering frightening gifts to the kids in Christmas town.

Halloween #2: Singer for Skellington, Danny Elfman, says it’s Halloween

The voice singer for Jack Skellington, Danny Elfman, has stated that he believes this is not a Christmas film. According to an interview with USA today,  Elfman said that while there is Christmas in the movie, he translates the film as a Halloween one. It’s obviously about Christmas, but for me, it’s a Halloween movie. Growing up, Halloween was my favorite night of the year and Christmas was a troublesome time,” Elfman said.

Halloween #3: The main character and main scenes are in Halloween town

The location of The Nightmare Before Christmas is set primarily in Halloween town, with other locations being Finklestein’s lab, the graveyard, and Jack’s house. Not only are the main locations in the movie in a Halloween setting but all the main characters are “scary.” Besides Jack, the other main characters are Sally, a humanoid ragdoll created by doctor Finklestein, Oogie Boogie, a large scary bag of bugs, and Dr. Finklestein, a mad scientist.

Now for the Christmas side…

Credit: The Nightmare Before Christmas/Tim Burton/TouchStone pictures/Skellington Production/Walt Disney Pictures

Christmas #1: Jack Skellington is discovering Christmas

The main plot of the movie is Jack’s journey as he discovers what Christmas is and everything about Christmas Town. At the beginning of the movie, Jack discovers a door to another fantasy land, Christmas town. Upon crawling through that door he is faced with a surplus of holiday spirit, Christmas lights, elves, and Santa. He immediately rushes back to share with his people what he’s found.

Christmas #2: He takes on Santa’s role

When Jack returns to Christmas Town, he meets Santa Claus and kidnaps him. After kidnapping Santa, he takes on his role and delivers gifts to children.

Christmas #3: Characters are moved by the holiday spirit

At the very end of this film, when Jack returns to Halloween Town and gives back Santa’s role, Christmas is saved once again. Additionally, the characters of Halloween town are all moved by the holiday spirit and even wish Santa a Merry Christmas as he and his reindeer fly over their snowy town.

Whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is categorized as a film for Halloween or Christmas, we can all agree it is amazing! Its ability to bring two major holidays into one plotline is like no other.

About The Author:

Anna Meyer is a Broadcast Journalism major at Pennsylvania State University and an intern at the positive entertainment news site AfterBuzz TV. She is very passionate about anything entertainment, especially films,  and hopes to one day have a career in the entertainment industry.

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