Ultimate Debate: Is ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ a Halloween Classic or Christmas Delight?

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Credit: Disney

The ultimate question, but does it have a clear answer? Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is a classic. Fans can argue it’s a Christmas movie or a Halloween film, but regardless, it’s an iconic one, to say the least. As the fall season is here, Disney fans are celebrating the autumn season at the Parks and at home. At Walt Disney World, Guests can indulge in the Mickey-shaped pumpkins, holiday treats, and limited-time events. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom puts on Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from August to November, celebrating all things Halloween.

Related: Is ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Disney’s Next Live Action?

Over at Disneyland, Guests can enjoy Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. No matter the Park, both Halloween celebrations commemorate all things Disney, spooky and festive for the holiday season. As a part of the spooky season, the Parks feature special characters that are not seen year-round. While character meet and greets are common for all Parks, including Parks outside of the United States like Disneyland Paris, not every character is available for one. Rightfully so, may we add, as there are countless Disney characters and many from classic films. As Disney100 celebrates 100 years of animation, we saw many of those characters featured in the newly released short. Now, that would be an ultimate bucket list of character meet and greets, taking up days of your time at the Parks!

Minnie Mouse Christmas

Credit: Disney

Though we’d love to have all of our favorite characters available for every trip to a Disney Park, it makes it extra special to see them once a year. Some Halloween characters are The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus (1993), Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and many Disney villains like Hades from Hercules (1997). More so, Disney’s most iconic characters like Mickey Mouse and Friends are around in their best Halloween fits to snap some photos with Guests.

At Disneyland, the Haunted Mansion gets reimagined to fit the holiday spirit. But this isn’t just the Halloween spirit. It’s also the Christmas spirit. Haunted Mansion gets a transformation with new characters like Jack Skellington out in front, wearing a Santa hat. The attraction stays in its new theme through the Halloween celebration as well as through the Christmas fun. Anyone who has watched the film knows that it features both holidays, making it the perfect film to watch through the fall and winter months. But the biggest question posed is, is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie?

Related: ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Comes to a Theater Near You

What is ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’?

So, the debate is clear, but what is the answer? I mean, Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King, which feels very Halloween. On the other hand, his mission is to Christmas town; there are plenty of nodes to the winter season. So which is it?

The nightmare before christmas

Credit: D23

According to PopSugar, there actually is a clear answer. Though us fans may want to argue, which we think it is. For starters, Disney has allowed us to believe that it can simply be both. Reimagining Haunted Mansion is the start, but keeping it as so through both holiday celebrations says a lot about the suggestion of the film. Cosmopolitan points out in favor of it being a Christmas movie that “The characters in The Nightmare Before Christmas are deeply affected and moved by the Christmas spirit…even if they don’t totally understand the traditional version of the Christmas spirit.” Though that is true, on the flip side, “The most common pieces of evidence given by members of #TeamHalloween are the physical setting and the characters who star in the film,” Cosmpolitian adds.

Related: Celebrate ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ 30th Anniversary

Both sides have valid points, but it seems that the director has given the answer. It’s a Halloween movie. Selick says,

“Although the story of The Nightmare Before Christmas involves quite a bit about Christmas and that he’s consistently told that people “love [the movie’s] Santa,” the core of the film is devoted to a love of Halloween and all the spooky inhabitants of Halloween Town. Not to mention, the movie never does that thing Christmas movies tend to do where the main character ultimately learns the “reason for the season” or the “meaning” of Christmas.”

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Credit: D23

Even though the debate was settled in 2015, the question arises each year as the holidays near. Do you agree that The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie? Let us know in the Facebook comments!

About Sarahfina LoFaso

Sarahfina is an author, and adjunct professor with a passion for writing and of course, all things Disney! Cinderella is her favorite princess and movie, both the animated and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1997 version. In close second place is Hercules, tied with Saving Mr. Banks. Sarahfina enjoys writing about the history of Walt Disney and all the parks, along with food, dining, and resorts. Her favorite ride is the Tower of Terror, and her favorite restaurant right now is the San Angel Inn, in EPCOT. Most importantly, her must-have snack every Disney trip is the controversial turkey leg, because it reminds her of her family trips as a kid with her grandparents.