Why Not Both?

The Nightmare Before Christmas can be for both Halloween and Christmas

Benjamin Jacobs, Contributor

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton and Henry Selick is a modern classic Disney movie. However, discussion around the movie always begs the question: is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? Why can’t it be both at the same time?

After all, the animated film is a piece of art, and the meaning within artwork is subjective. One person can see a painting symbolize freedom and exploration while another can see it having a completely different meaning. So of course, the movie can be interpreted as a Christmas-themed movie to watch on Halloween, a Halloween-themed movie for Christmas or just something to watch on a November weekend when it feels like Halloween went by too soon.

From the perspective of a Christmas-themed movie for Halloween, it’s got the perfect setting for Halloween. Ranging from the surreal visuals, such as the crooked buildings and the jack-o’-lanterns scattered about, to the character designs of Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie. So of course, a movie taking place in a town as spooky as Halloweentown would be perfect to watch during October as an alternative to the average horror or slasher movie.

While the setting can be great for Halloween, the story can work for Christmas as well. The plot is very reminiscent of How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, since both stories are about a man trying to steal the spirit of Christmas. Both Jack Skellington and the Grinch learn a valuable lesson about the true meaning of Christmas in the end. The numerous musical numbers also make it qualify as one of those classic holiday movies people watch to get into the spirit of the season.

Just because it works for both holidays doesn’t mean it can’t be appropriate for the transition time between the two in November. After all, both Christmas and Halloween are represented in this film, and it takes place in the time when Halloween is already over, and people would be getting ready for Christmas. Not only that, but the movie shows and embraces representation of both Halloween and Christmas. Jack Skellington wanting to take over Christmas could just represent someone who thought Halloween went by too fast, and can’t let go of it yet.

Of course, as mentioned, the meaning or theme in film is subjective. So many people would see it as either a Christmas or Halloween film, and not the other. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed whenever.

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