Halloween or Christmas: Which Fits Jack Skellington More?


Kimberly Buelna, Reporter

Jack Skellington is the main character in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, a movie that came out in 1993 and remains a fan favorite of many today. 

There’s much debate on whether this movie is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie. 

The Case for Halloween

The film begins in Halloweentown, where Jack comes into the town in his “Pumpkin King” outfit after “another successful Halloween” and is congratulated by all.

After Jack’s entrance, the mayor starts listing off awards for the night, like “The Most Blood Drawn In A Single Night” given to the vampires and an honorable mention to “the fabulous dark lagoon leeches.” Then, the townspeople start planning for the next Halloween. 

The movie’s name has the word “nightmare” in it—so it infers that something bad has happened or is going to happen about Christmas, a holiday that occurs nearly two months after Halloween. I also feel as if nightmare coincides most with the atmosphere that Halloween presents.

Sure, the name has Christmas in it too, but a nightmare and Christmas in the same sentence? It doesn’t mix too well. 

Most of the characters aren’t normal humans either, they’re more Halloween-related, like vampires, witches, ghouls, and even the protagonist of the movie is a skeleton, hence the name Jack Skellington.

They even nicknamed the main figure associated with Christmas, Santa Claus, to Sandy Claws. 

Near the end of the movie, Jack Skellington learns to accept himself as “Pumpkin King,” and returns to his Halloweentown. After being kidnapped by residents of Halloweentown, Sandy Claws, forgiving them, goes to Halloweentown and makes it snow. The movie ends with both holidays respecting the other– in Halloweentown.

The Case for Christmas

In the later part of the film, Jack finds himself in Christmas Town. The white snow piles up outside of all the bright Christmas houses, and the warm jolly environment is in direct contrast to that of Halloweentown. 

Even while the movie continues to transition into Christmas scenery, the theme of Halloween still sticks to it throughout most of the movie. The main focus of the scene is literally a skeleton wandering in a winter wonderland.

When Jack returns, he finds himself in utmost excitement to tell everyone about his experience, and starts scheming to take over Christmas. Everyone in Halloweentown starts working hard on making their version for this year’s Christmas and they even kidnap Santa to help Jack achieve his desire of becoming Santa.

With all of the help from everyone, Jack delivers rotten presents to children in the human world with his warped expressions. 

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a Christmas movie. 

The Verdict

Throughout the whole movie, the setting and theme of Halloween are recurring, however, Christmas only comes into play more towards the second half of the movie.

With all of the spooky vibes, the characters, and mainly the name, which already gives someone who reads it an eerie sense, the film is primarily a Halloween movie, despite some Christmas aspects. 


The Nightmare Before Christmas script