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nightmare before christmas movie poster
Walt Disney Pictures

Why A Nightmare Before Christmas is for Halloween NOT Christmas

It is that time again, the cobwebs and jack-o-lanterns are adorning porches, you are stuck trying to figure out what to dress up as, and Hocus Pocus is playing on repeat. It is the Halloween season. Regardless of what your favorite holiday is, we can all agree the most iconic movie season behind Christmas is Halloween. However, there is a fine line where those two seasons intersect for a moment in time. The classic film, A Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton stands as one of the most contested seasonal movies of all time (next to Diehard of course!). For those who have not seen it, the movie follows the King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, who stumbles upon Christmas Town and becomes obsessed with celebrating the holiday. Unfortunately, as Jack becomes entranced with celebrating Christmas, he decides the best idea is to merge the two holidays. 

How is one supposed to decide if Nightmare Before Christmas is more of a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? The actual plot of the movie is based around the happenings of Halloween Town, but the plot is taking place during the lead-up to Christmas day. You might be ready to place this in your Christmas movie bin, but to fully determine which category it falls into we need to look at the characters. All the main plot points in the movie follow along with Halloween Town residents exclusively. The only Christmas-themed character to be a part of the main plot is Santa Claus, but even he is only part of the Halloween Town’s plan to take over Christmas. How could a movie be considered Christmas-themed when none of the main characters are actually focused around Christmas?  

Now, if you still are not fully convinced yet, let us talk about the music. Although it is safe to say the best-known song from the movie is “What’s This?” in which Jack first discovers Christmas Town. But how can that singular song be placed above the several other Halloween-themed songs including “Oogie Boogie’s Song” and “This Is Halloween” that are just as well known? Also, you cannot ignore the overall spooky nature of the film that plays along with the character designs and the music choices.  After everything, there is simply no excuse for categorizing The Nightmare Before Christmas as a Christmas movie. So next time you sit down to watch a movie this spooky season, turn it on and delve into the deep creepiness that enhances the great plot, characters, and music that much more. 

Hi! I am a junior at Emmanuel College in Boston. I love music and movie and all things media!
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