Is Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween or Christmas Movie? +2023

The Nightmare Before Christmas is certainly an iconic Christmas movie, but one thing about the stop-motion fantasy was never quite clear: the is it really about vacation?

Yes, much of the film takes place in Halloween Town and the main character, Jack Skellington is the pumpkin king. Some would even argue that the title itself settles the debate (it’s supposedly called “The nightmare Before Christmas, not The Christmas on Halloween, for a reason). But there are also plenty of Christmas elements once Jack travels to Christmas Town. Is it a Christmas movie that happens to be set around Halloween, or is it a Halloween movie with strong Christmas themes?

The debate that has raged among fans since it was released in cinemas in 1993 (late October, by the way) is so fierce that director Henry Selick finally had to join the fray.

Selick, who went on to direct James and the Giant Peach and Coraline, starred a Q&A at the Telluride Horror Show in Colorado in 2015, where he was asked by a little girl in the audience to solve the ongoing mystery once and for all. Are you ready for his answer?

“Oh boy,” Selick said to the crowd. “It’s a Halloween movie.” Ding Ding ding! #TeamHalloween, let the justification wash over you.

The director went on to explain that while the story of The Nightmare Before Christmas involves quite a lot about Christmas, he has said over and over again that people “love [the movie’s] Santa, the core of the film, is dedicated to the love of Halloween and all of Halloween Town’s spooky denizens. Not to mention that the movie never does what Christmas movies do, where the main character ultimately learns the “reason for the season” or the “meaning” of Christmas.

Despite Selick’s response, the debate is still alive and well on Twitter, where many people continue to discuss it each year during the holiday season.

But as one Twitter user pointed out, there’s no rule that says The Nightmare Before Christmas can’t be a Halloween movie and a Christmas movie, right?

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