The Nightmare Before Christmas; Halloween Or Christmas?

Halloween tomorrow – so is it time to watch ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ or not? This dilemma has been long debated – over 20 years – with people baring teeth and taking sides, turning the question into a full on battle- Halloween vs Christmas.

Words: Tiasha Simon, Subeditor: Yasmin Harding

The cinematic controversy spurs twice a year, with fans of Tim Burton’s 1993 stop motion animated musical arguing over the most appropriate time to watch the movie, as it features conventions of both holidays.

There are Halloween costumes surrounding it, yet there are also Christmas decorations. So where does it stand?

[Source: Tumblr]

Let’s review the evidence:

Firstly, the title- The Nightmare before Christmas

The word ‘Christmas’ is directly in the title, while Halloween makes no appearance. Therefore, we can say it’s anticipating the festive season, holding the title of a Christmas movie.

Verdict: Christmas

The films original release date was 29th October 1993, this suggests that it was marketed as a Halloween movie.

Verdict: Halloween

The synopsis of the movie is ‘Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls and goblins of Halloween town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween – but alas, they can’t get it quite right.’

While the movie is set in ‘Halloween Town’ yet steps into Christmas Town, Santa’s Claus’ home, he main crux of the movie focuses on Jack stepping away from his roots and wanting to accept Christmas with open arms. So, it is fair to say it can be seen as a Christmas movie.

Verdict: Christmas

Looking at the characters it is easy to establish that this is a Halloween movie; the cast is an abundance of spooky characters ranging from ghouls, goblins, and pumpkins – with a skeleton taking centre stage. More so, they are all introduced in the opening track ‘This Is Halloween’.

[Source: Tumblr]

Verdict: Halloween

What better way to get into the mood for a holiday, than to sit in front of a television screen? Around Halloween horror movies plague the screen, and we all know it’s Christmas when we see Home Alone popping up on our TV guides. So the question at hand is; when is The Nightmare Before Christmas coming on?

[Source: TVguide

[Source: tvguide]

Searching TV guides this week may prove to us that maybe it is a Christmas film after all, as there are no viewings surrounding Halloween.

Verdict: Christmas

When released, Disney put it under their Touchstone Pictures banner, stating it was ‘too dark, and scary for kids”. The words ‘dark’ and ‘scary’ do not come to mind when thinking about the festive season.

Verdict: Halloween

Now it’s surfaced, the director Henry Selick put the debate to bed, admitting that Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is intended to be a Halloween film. In a Q&A, last week the filmmaker confirmed: “It’s a Halloween movie. This is a movie about Halloween, and the people of Halloween.”

So there you have it, our final verdict: Definitely Halloween.

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