The Nightmare Before Christmas: Halloween or Christmas Movie?

For years the debate of whether the famous movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a Halloween or Christmas movie. Which is true?

For years the debate of whether the famous movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a Halloween or Christmas movie. Which is true?

Malieka Khan, Photojournalist

Since its release on October 13, 1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas has been a widely debated movie. This movie revolving around a skeleton named Jack Skellington who lives in a town called Halloweentown, where every year they plan for the one day of Halloween to come, then visits a far off land called Christmastown where every inch of the world is covered in snow and lights are strung up on trees in everyone’s house has become a classic among the world, however when to watch this movie has been debated as long as its creation.

Some students believe that this movie should be watched during Christmas time for several reasons. The first main argument made is that the plot revolves around the main character, Jack Skellington, discovering Christmastown, making the entire plot of the story dependent on Christmas and its effect on Jack. Also, not to mention several people believe that the conclusion of the movie was intended to come across as a message on how Christmas should be left alone with, keeping it its own separate holiday. The conclusion itself was based on the idea of Christmas and its necessity to be different and stand alone at the end of the plot. A major argument in the eyes of those who believe this is a Christmas movie is the title itself since, “The movie is called, The Nightmare Before Christmas meaning that its marketing as well as its brand is heavily influenced by Christmas, also the idea that, “…the main characters are focused on creating their own Christmas while putting their own spin on it” causes a majority of the movie to be Christmas based, said Sarah Frazier (10).

Others believe that this movie should be enjoyed during Halloween and the month of October for many of the same reasons, just in a different light. The title argument is the same, however many state that the if you read the title itself, it is calling the movie, The Nightmare BEFORE Christmas, not just Christmas or the night before Christmas, but the nightmare (mare meaning fright) before (not during) Christmas. Not to mention its, “main character,” Jack Skellington a skeleton, and that, “75% of the movie takes place in Halloweentown,” Nicole Stewart (10). The plot itself of the movie, true would not have happened without Christmastown, but these debaters argue that towards the end of the plot, the movie’s conclusion was that Christmastown was unnecessary and that Halloweentown was where Jack needed to be making Christmastown almost irrelevant in the end.

There are arguments to dispute both sides, such as the fact that those who say that it is a Christmas movie overlook all the time spent around Christmas and its customs throughout the movie. Most of the time Christmastown is also shown in bright colors and more often so that the viewers resonate with it more, yet the director himself saw this as an influence in the wrong direction of this debate. He himself, Henry Selick, does state that, “It’s a Halloween movie,” believing that the audience enjoys Christmas time more to Halloween, making them debate the former.

This topic is a split debate among the world still, proven by the fact that after a social media poll the debate on whether, The Nightmare Before Christmas, was a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie was exactly 50:50. Out of fourteen high school students exactly seven had stated and argued that the movie had been a Christmas movie as well as the other seven who stated that the movie was most definitely a Halloween movie making this a widely divided debate.

There are several arguments for both sides of the coin in this, causing it to be one of the many debates that people will not bend on, no matter how pointless it may seem. Though in doing so, this argument has spread so far and wide it is quite rare to find a person who does not have an opinion on the topic itself. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a movie that can be watched all year round, yet still is the boiling point for many’s opinions and thoughts, that will be debated about for years to come.