Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas or Halloween movie?

Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas or Halloween movie?

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is Burton’s most popular film. Originally released in 1993, fans still love to give it a watch to this day. Over the years, there has been a debate regarding the movie: is it better as a Halloween or Christmas movie? To find out what students of EPHS think, I released a survey.

Tim Burton has made a huge impact in the film industry. In recent interviews, he says that this movie will not have a sequel.

Tim Burton

Tim Burton, born August 15, 1958, is a fairly popular animator and filmmaker. Most commonly known for his horror and Gothic fantasy films, he has made movies such as Beetlejuice, Corpse Bride, and many more. He has also directed many movies including Batman, Planet of the Apes, Big Fish, Alice in Wonderland, and more. In 2008, he was nominated for a Golden Globe-Best Director-Motion Picture for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. His most recent work is Beetlejuice 2, which is expected to be released in 2024.

The movie’s main character, Jack Skellington, is pictured above as a 13 foot figure.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The 1 hour 15 minute film released in 1993 follows the main character, Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloweentown. He loses interest in Halloweentown and the annual frightening of people in the real-world. After discovering Christmastown accidentally, he’s in awe and plans to kidnap Santa Claus to take over Christmas.

Even now, The Nightmare Before Christmas phenomenon continues to grow. From clothing and accessories sold at Hot Topic, to a 13 foot Jack Skellington figure sold at hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, people still love Burton’s classic film.

The Survey

To see the students’ opinion about the ongoing debate, I sent out a Google Form which had one question. That one question allowed students to choose between three options, the movie was either Christmas, Halloween, or both.

Here’s what EPHS thought:

The pie chart above shows the results of the survey. Halloween is shown as blue, Christmas as red, and both as yellow.

The Results

Defeating the options of Halloween and Christmas, the option of both had the most votes. Christmas lost by 33 votes and Halloween lost by 23 votes.

To hear about people’s opinion and the reasoning behind it, I walked around my class to conduct an interview.

For my first interview, I interviewed Yeimi whose opinion is that The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas movie. Her reasoning is that the moral of the movie is being good and in the movie, Jack Skellington tries to be Santa. She also compared the movie to The Grinch which is a Christmas movie. She also said that in the end, Jack ends up being a good guy after witnessing Christmastown. She believed that Jack turning good was a result of being hit with the Christmas spirit.

For my second interview, I interviewed someone who requested to stay anonymous. Their opinion was that The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie. Their reason for that is the release date of the movie. The movie was released on October 29, 1993, which is right around Halloween. They believed that because of the release date, the movie is supposed to be interpreted as a movie perfect for Halloween.


With all the information given, I think the movie is best for Halloween. The movie immediately starts in Halloweentown and the main character is a skeleton. The release date was also just in time for Halloween, so I think the purpose of the movie was to be for Halloween. I still understand other opinions of it being both Christmas and Halloween or just Christmas, but I think Halloween is the best fit. What do you think?

Works Cited:

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