This is Halloween – or is it?


By Brianna Gracia

Movie Time//A bowl of popcorn sits in front of a computer, ready to be enjoyed. The Nightmare Before Christmas first aired October 13, 1993, and has been enjoyed during both the spooky and snowy season ever since. (Photo by Brianna Gracia)

Boys and girls of every age, wouldn’t you like to hear something strange? The Nightmare Before Christmas has been claimed to be both a Halloween and Winter movie. It might have the word Christmas in it, but I wouldn’t see it hanging out amongst Santa Claus, Rudolph, and The Grinch. The debate is a tale older than time, so let’s unwrap this bone-chilling present.

In short, the Nightmare Before Christmas is the story of Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween town, who wishes for something a little more than the spooks and scares of his “mundane” life. After taking a lovely stroll, he decides the next big thing is to “borrow” Christmas from Santa Claus – and he doesn’t even ask permission. Turns out, Jack and his Halloween friends know next to nothing about Christmas, and things take a chaotic turn for the worst. 

Let’s get the skeletons out of the closet. The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t your average Christmas film. Children are given shrunken heads, Santa Clause is kidnapped, and reindeer are replaced by skeleton look-alikes. That’s hardly holly or jolly. The least they could do is pop a few chestnuts or mistletoe here and there, sheesh. In the end, the twisted residents of Halloween Town seem to find Christmas cheer in their strange world, and that’s what a holiday film is all about.

With that on the table, some argue the movie is strictly in the Halloween category. There are pumpkins, gravestones, gnarly trees, and frights all over the place. The town is called Halloween Town, which really shows Tim Burton’s creativity. I wouldn’t say Oogy Boogy is among the legends such as Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, or the Candyman. “Oh no, he’s going to gamble me to my death,” – I’m shaking in my boots. All I’d have to do is bring some scissors and that man is practically a loose thread. If the Nightmare Before Christmas could be considered a Halloween movie, it definitely wouldn’t live up to the scare factor.

Now, the main thing that sticks out for me is this – the main theme of most holiday movies is to spread happiness and Christmas cheer. Jack Skellington and his gang find joy in spreading holiday cheer… and by that, I mean terrorizing many children all over the world. Hope those kids have sweet dreams. But the end is tied up in a pretty Christmas bow when Jack realizes what really was the missing gap in his undead heart – Sally, his close friend and not to mention, the smartest one in the entire movie. Santa Claus himself says this; gotta love celebrity endorsement.

The Nightmare Before Christmas simply isn’t spooky enough to be considered a Halloween movie. There’s just too much holly and jolly. Besides, the only time “Halloween” is mentioned is at the very beginning, and the rest of the movie is just spent preparing for the widely anticipated Christmas day. Sue me, but The Nightmare Before Christmas is in fact a Christmas classic.


  1. Very nice info and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is really the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thanks 🙂

Comments are closed.