Ending The Nightmare Before Christmas Debate


When the holidays come around, it becomes a tradition for many people to turn on a holiday-themed movie to enjoy. With hundreds of options to choose from, it’s easy to find a movie centered around whatever you may be celebrating. However, there is one movie in particular that tends to stump people. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas–is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? This debate has been ongoing since the movie was released back in 1993, but what is the true answer? 

Ending this argument is so difficult because the movie features a bit of both holidays. The Nightmare Before Christmas follows main character Jack Skellington, along with his other Halloween-themed friends and townspeople, who are in charge of putting on Halloween every year. When Jack learns about Christmas, he immediately loves it and wants to be in charge for a change. He’s able to convince the rest of the town to participate in putting on Christmas, though none of them fully understand the holiday. It’s not until things start going horribly wrong that Jack realizes he should stick to Halloween, putting Christmas back in the hands of the experts. 

Because the movie consists of both celebrations, people argue that it’s simply a holiday movie and can be put in both the Christmas and Halloween category.

“If you watch it in October or November it’s a Halloween movie. If you watch it in December or in the winter it’s Christmas,” sophomore Emily Blacker said. 

Even though both holidays are present during the film, people have strong opinions on which holiday gets to claim the movie as its own. 

The logic behind the argument that the film is a Christmas movie is that the main plot is Halloween characters obsessing over the Christmas holiday and spirit. With this way of thinking, the movie would thematically be more of a Christmas film. 

On the other hand, people that support the film as a Halloween movie argue that the movie came out in the fall season, therefore it was meant to be enjoyed during that time. They also point out that it is all centered around Halloween characters who just wanted a change. 

“It’s a Halloween movie,” sophomore Daniel Bui said. “It was released in October and the characters are Halloween.”

On top of that, the soundtrack gives a more mysterious and spooky vibe to the movie, rather than a joyful and merry Christmas feel. The setting is dark and eerie, both factors that make it hard to view as a Christmas film.

When asked about it in a Q&A at the 2015 Colorado Telluride Horror Show film festival, the director, Henry Selick, crushed the Christmas supporters with a quick answer that got straight to the point. 

“It’s a Halloween movie,” Selick answered. 

This comment can pretty much end the debate altogether. 

The film has a clear plot of Halloween taking over Christmas. Although it does have some Christmas elements in it, we know the director had a clear and direct mindset of it being a Halloween movie in the creation of it.