The Nightmare Before Christmas: Halloween or Christmas movie?



Main character, Jack Skellington, is seen standing next to a Christmas tree.

Ozzie Daubert, Editor

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 classic holiday season staple that has been held up in a hot holiday debate since its release. Around the later months of the year, this movie seems to always be on everyone’s watch list, but what holiday is this movie really for? 


Just from the title alone, viewers are already met with a conflicting narrative. The “Nightmare” in the title leans towards the more spooky aspects of the film, but at the end of the title viewers are met with the Christmas aspect of the movie. So is this movie a true Halloween classic or a unique Christmas film?


If someone is going to classify a movie as a Halloween movie, it is first necessary to figure out what makes a movie a Halloween movie. Maggie George, an Art teacher at OHS, explained, “I think a lot of different things can make up a Halloween movie. Some Halloween movies can be scary or can relate just to Halloween as a holiday.”


Sophomore at OHS, Trinity Swire also elaborated, “I think a Halloween movie has costumes, pumpkins, a bit scary and takes place in the fall.” 


Based on those requirements, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” would most definitely be categorized as a Halloween movie. It can be a bit scary at times and takes place in “Halloween Town”, which is a town where it is Halloween everyday.


But the same question applies to Christmas. What classifies a movie as a Christmas movie? George expressed, “I think that a Christmas movie is a movie that takes place during the winter, particularly snowy season, and/or during Christmas time. I think that Hallmark and Netflix have sort of set the standard for Christmas movies. Most of the time they are cheesy and always take place during the holiday of Christmas.” 


Hallmark has been known for their Christmas classics for the better part of two decades. They have also produced their fair share of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” ornaments, so could this really be a Christmas movie hidden in disguise with its spooky nature? 


When this debate is discussed, most of the public comes to an agreement that it is indeed a Halloween movie. George brought forward her thoughts, “The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie but so are horror movies such as Trick or Treat and Halloween,” expressing that even with the Christmas and other holiday elements in the movie, it still has the right to be put up with other spookier Halloween classics such as Scream or Beetlejuice. The Nightmare Before Christmas fits in a similar category with much less scary movies such as Hocus Pocus and Halloween Town.