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The Student News Site of Lafayette High School

The Lafayette Times

The Student News Site of Lafayette High School

The Lafayette Times

Is the Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas or Halloween Movie?

Isaac Critchfield
Snapshot from the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas” taken and edited October 31, 2023

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a cult classic movie released in 1993. The movie was directed by upcoming director Henry Selick and was produced by famous stop motion artist, Tim Burton. The movie follows Jack Skellington, the king of Halloweentown, as he discovers the phenomenon that is Christmas. Having only experienced Halloween thus far, Jack decides he is going to take over Christmas. This movie is filled with twists and witty jokes but while watching the question is sure to arise, is this a Halloween or Christmas movie?

Well first, what makes a Christmas movie a Christmas movie? A Christmas movie is most prominently defined as a movie that takes place during the winter season or around Christmas. It often has themes of love and togetherness. Some movies, such as Die Hard, have challenged the idea of what makes a Christmas movie.

“Any element of Christmas qualifies, as long as it’s tied to the plot in some way. I think Die Hard is absolutely a Christmas movie because otherwise, John McClane would not be visiting his wife at her Christmas party” said Mr. Gross, an English teacher and head of the Film Club at Lafayette.

Unlike Christmas, Halloween doesn’t have very many movies that are specifically made based around it. Of course there are some movies such as Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown that are based around Halloween, but the selection is very limited. So that brings us back to the question, is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie?

We polled students on their opinion of the movie, and 50% believed it is a Halloween movie. Only 25% thought it was a Christmas movie, 5% thought it was neither, and 20% said it was both a Christmas and Halloween movie.

“I typically think of it [The Nightmare Before Christmas] as a Christmas movie first, though I do think it could work as both” says Mr. Gross, “I lean towards Christmas mainly because that’s around when it was released [on DVD], and also it’s kind of a ‘family tradition movie’ around that time of year”

“It’s a Halloween movie,” the director Henry Selick confirmed during a Q&A about the movie at Colorado’s Telluride Horror Show film festival in 2015.

Although there are mixed feelings for either holiday to claim the movie, it is considered a Halloween movie by the director. You can add The Nightmare Before Christmas in the queue after Friday the 13th, or after Elf, because it’s safe to say the movie is an option for both holidays.

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About the Contributors
Maggie Colthurst
Maggie Colthurst, Staff Writer
Maggie Colthurst is a freshman at Lafayette High School in the Pre-Engineering and SCAPA programs. She is excited to work for the Lafayette Times and find great stories to write about. She loves to swim, play guitar, and participate in theater and archery. She listens to lots of music and goes to concerts as much as she can.
Isaac Critchfield
Isaac Critchfield, Photography Editor
Isaac Critchfield is a sophomore at Lafayette High School enrolled in the SCAPA program, majoring in visual arts. This is Isaac’s second year in Journalism and he strives to contribute with his cartoons and photography. Isaac likes to dive and rock climb and frequently enjoys video games and doing art. Isaac is a part of the Lafayette swim and dive team and would like to join the volleyball team this spring. Isaac’s goals for this year are to continue his cartoon series “Get With The Times” and become a copy editor for the Journalism team.