The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Boys and girls of every age, wouldn't you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see, this our town of Halloween!

Released to cinemas in 1993, this stop-motion animation film produced and conceived by Tim Burton, though actually scripted by Caroline Thompson and directed by Henry Selick (as Burton himself was busy with Batman Returns at the time), starts with the citizens of Halloween Town celebrating (you guessed it) Halloween in the grandest fashion possible, due to their love of (all right, unnerving obsession with) scaring everyone senseless. However, Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, has grown rather tired of the same old thing, and yearns for something new in his life.

After the current year's celebration of Halloween, the morose Jack goes for a long walk out of town, where he happens to walk into several portals that lead to all the other holiday towns. Immediately attracted by the Christmas tree shaped one, he ventures into Christmas Town. There he discovers the wonders of the bright and jolly, and becomes obsessed with understanding Christmas.

He returns to Halloween town and informs the townsfolk of Christmas, but both his and their understanding of the holiday is limited by their experience of Halloween. In a Perspective Flip of the typical Christmas Special plot of "monsters try to steal Christmas," Jack declares with perfectly good intentions that he will take over Christmas duties for the year, sending some somewhat homicidal children to kidnap "Sandy Claws" for an enforced vacation.

The whole town groups together to create Christmas but Sally the rag doll, who is secretly in love with Jack, has a vision that it will be a disaster. She's right, of course.

Throw all that in with a boogie man fashioned from a burlap sack filled with insects, rousing musical numbers, Nightmare Fuel abounds for the young ones and some truly brilliant imagery and directing, and you get the now classic film The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Starting in 2006, it's gotten a theatrical re-release once a year at Halloween time, with a somewhat disappointingly light-handed makeover into a 3D Movie. Compare Coraline, which is from the same director. The difference likely has to do with the fact that Coraline was intended to be a 3-D film from the time it began filming. The 3-D version of The Nightmare Before Christmas was retrofitted approximately thirteen years after its original release.

It has a ridiculously large and well-documented article on Wikipedia. Seriously, just look at it. It also has a fan website called the Pumpkin Patch.

The series would later gain a sequel in video game form on the PlayStation 2 titled Oogie's Revenge and a prequel, The Pumpkin King on the Game Boy Advance. Halloween Town and Jack alsos appear in almost every game in the Kingdom Hearts series. Disneyland has added movie-themed attractions in the Haunted Mansion just in time for Halloween in the past years.


Tropes used in The Nightmare Before Christmas include:
  • 3D Movie: The theatrical re-release.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several, but one that takes the cake is Sally picking the flower which transforms into a tiny Christmas tree, and then tragically bursts into flames right before her eyes.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Nightmare was originally a poem by Burton, with the only named characters being Jack, Zero, and Santa.
  • An Aesop: Several, most of which are rather family-unfriendly.
    • The movie illustrates that good intentions pave the road to Hell...
    • "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence".
    • "Look before you leap" strained through a mesh made of "make sure you know what you're doing."
    • "Jack's Lament" has a coat of "fame is overrated" painted over it.
    • Be Yourself.
    • A change of scenery is a terrific cure for burnout. Or that being leader in one area doesn't mean you can take over anything that catches your eye.
    • A Deconstruction of the classic Disney Aesop "You can be whatever you dream to be".
    • Your best friend is the one who'll tell you the truth about yourself.
  • Affably Evil: Lock, Shock and Barrel.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The Mayor. He is voiced by Glenn Shadix, who was openly gay. Also, the vampires.
  • Animated Musical
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Jack could possibly be the Personification of Halloween.
  • Applied Mathematics: Jack puts a number of unconventional "equations" on a blackboard to try and understand Christmas.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Jack is the Pumpkin King not just because he's the scariest creature, but because he's also the toughest.
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: "What's this?!", is pretty much the unintentional embodiment of this trope.
    • Jack having ADD is actually a fairly popular fan theory.
  • Babies Ever After: Not in the film proper, but on the original film soundtrack released in 1993, as well as the subsequent re-release "Nightmare Revisited", there's a epilogue poem where Santa visits Jack and Jack has "four or five skeleton children at hand, playing strange tunes in their xylophone band." Of course, there is much debate on whether they are Jack and Sally's kids and how they could have them, since, you know, they're dead.
    • He's dead. She's a rag doll.
      • This still begs the question of how they made kids. Though "made" may be the right word, since they might have been constructed like Sally and the skeleton reindeer.
  • Bad Santa: Jack, albeit unwittingly.
  • Beneath the Mask: To the citizens of Halloweentown, Jack's the charismatic, self-confident, terrifying Pumpkin King. What they don't know is that Jack is very unhappy and bored about doing the same thing every year and longs for something different. Then he discovers Christmastown . . .
  • Big Damn Heroes: "Hello, Oogie!" Badass. Of course, it's unusual that you have a BDH moment where the bad situation is the hero's fault in the first place, but even so.
  • The Big Guy: Easy to overlook due to his bean-pole physique, but when one really sizes him up to his surroundings, Jack appears to be around 7-8 feet tall!
  • Bilingual Bonus: Jack's ghost-dog's name is Zero. In Japanese, Zero can be translated as "Rei", which can also mean "Ghost".
  • Black and Gray Morality: Jack apparently has no qualms about kidnapping, but he's still a much better person then Oogie, a sadistic torturer who likes to gamble with other people's lives (he even cheats in the gambling).
  • Blessed with Suck: Jack. He's the King of Halloween, yet it's always about Halloween, every single day, which is problematic when you want something different. Taking a break is not an option, as shown when Jack disappears for only two days, everyone is in a panic. Also, Jack seems to not be able to give the crown to anyone else if he wanted ("But who here would ever understand/That the Pumpkin King with the skeleton grin/Would tire of his crown, if they only understood/He'd give it all up if he only could . . . "), so he's stuck with the job. And if the scenes after "This Is Halloween" is any indication, due to being the biggest in-universe celebrity, Jack can't even having a decent conversation with anyone. And who knows how long Jack's been doing the Halloween job? He could be Really Seven Hundred Years Old for all we know. When you think about it, you can't blame the guy for desperately wanting to try out Christmas.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Jack: "At least they're excited but they don't understand this Christmas thing."
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The people of Halloweentown are macabre, disturbing, and scary, and enjoy things that are dangerous and unpleasant to regular people, but that's just because it's their nature. In their world, these things are all quite positive.
    • This, of course, is the primary source of conflict in the movie, because although the Halloween creatures think they understand Christmas, it's pretty much impossible for them to do so. Not even Jack really gets it.
  • A Skeleton and His Ghost Dog
  • BSOD Song: "Poor Jack" starts out this way.
  • Camp Straight: Jack. Hell, at the end of "Making Christmas", he even swings his hips.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Oh yes!
    • What makes this even more annoying is that some people buy the stuff to look Goth or Emo, not because they actually seen the movie.
    • Ironically, Tim Burton seemed to try to prevent this to an extent, by refusing to do sequels and ruin the integrity of the movie for fans.
  • Cassandra Truth: Sally tries to tell Jack that his Christmas will be a disaster. Guess what happens.
  • CCG Importance Dissonance
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Jack has this mixed with Slasher Smile as his default smile. Sally gets a good one when she tricks the doctor into eating the poisoned soup.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Christmas Town, Halloween Town, "The Normal World", and the Forest all have different color palettes, making them easier to distinguish from one another.
  • Comforting Comforter: Sally takes the time to tuck Dr Finklestein in after she drugs him unconscious so she can leave.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Things might have gone more smoothly if Jack and the Halloweentown citizens actually understood Christmas...
    • One could interpret Jack's "misunderstanding" as him continuing to "give the people what they want", as he stated at the end of the Town Meeting Song.
    • Some people feel that Goths wearing TNBC clothes are Comically Missing the Point. These people obviously have never encountered Perky Goths, who match Jack's personality and love of the macabre PERFECTLY.
  • Cover Version: As part of the 2006 re-release marketing thing, Nightmare Revisited was released. It is a full album's worth of covers of varying quality.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: Jack.
  • Crowd Song: "This Is Halloween", "The Town Meeting Song", "Making Christmas", and "Finale/Reprise".
  • Curiosity Causes Conversion: Deconstructed, as this didn't turn out so well.
  • Danny Elfman: Who else?
    • He's also the singing voice for Jack.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Although the denizens of Halloween Town are folks you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley (because they arose from the muck puddles at the bottom of said alley), they clearly aren't intending to be harmful, just scary (with the exception of Oogie Boogie and his posse.)
    • "It's our job but we're not mean/in this town of Halloween..."
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Jack even tells Sora that the citizens of Halloween Town enjoy scaring people, not hurting them.
    • Take a drink every time a Nightmare wick is on a trope that's normally for villains. Take two if it is mentioned that the example isn't evil.
  • The Dead Have Eyes: Jack has no problem seeing and hearing, though he obviously has no eyes or ears.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jack does this a couple times.

Doctor Finklestein: Curiosity killed the cat, you know.
Jack: I know.

    • This troper was under the impression that Jack, being dead already and thus not able to be hurt, and being a Nightmare Fetishist sounded and was actually excited about the prospect.
  • Death by Irony: Oogie planned to make Santa and later Sally into snake-and-spider stew and ends up having all his bugs fall into the concoction, becoming stew himself.
  • Death Glare: When Jack arrives at Oogie Boogie's place, he's pretty pissed already, but when Jack hears Sally scream (thus telling him that she was down there), he gives a Death Glare that pretty much signed Oogie's death warrant. A slightly scarier example is when Oogie's bugs are falling into the pit, Jack's facial expression quite clearly says, "You deserve this."
  • Defanged Horrors: Outright stated (in the first song) that the people of the town love to scare, but have no malicious feelings towards people. Of course, their creepy Boogieman (whom even the Halloween folks avoid!) and his rather cowardly cronies are quite the exception. Even though Lock, Shock, and Barrel claim to only work for Oogie out of fear, they sure do show pleasure at the thoughts of mauling 'Sandy Claws' in their star song...
  • Deliberately Monochrome: According to the special features of the DVD re-release, Halloweentown was made with this Trope in mind.
  • Dem Bones: Jack, aka Bone Daddy and the doctor's Undead Reindeer Fleet, not to mention the hangman skeletons in the tree during the opening song, and the tortured luminescent singing skeletons in Boogie's place.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Oogie and the gunmen. Note that when he hits the button for the saw, a thread gets caught...
    • Jack counts too. Let's have a town who has only known scares for their afterlife take over a cheerful holiday that you barely understand. Real brilliant idea, there.
  • Disney Death: Jack. Fortunately, he recovers, which makes Oogie ticked off.

Oogie: J-J-J-Jack! But they said you were dead. You must be double dead!

  • Disney Villain Death: Oogie Boogie ends up like this when his sack is torn.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Averted, It was originally planned that Dr. Finklestein was actually Oogie Boogie's true identity, leaving Jack Skellington confused, but it was cut because apparently Tim Burton acknowledged the reveal would have been too confusing.
  • Don't You Like It: Basically the reaction of Jack's Christmas.
  • Dressed in Layers: When Jack rips off his Santa costume, he has his normal tuxedo on underneath.
  • Dutch Angle: Several, from the subtle to the very obvious. Granted that it's a Tim Burton-produced film.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Jack appears in Tim Burton's 1982 short stop-motion film Vincent and as a skull on top of Beetlejuice's carnival hat.
    • Also in the skeleton pirate scene in James and the Giant Peach.
  • Efficient Displacement: When Jack hits the Christmas Town sign and falls into a foot of snow.
  • Enfant Terrible: A trio of them: Lock, Shock, and Barrel, three professional trick or treaters and kidnappers.
  • Eureka Moment: "Jack's Obsession" leads to one. Jack even shouts "EUREKA!"
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Subverted, since the people of Halloween Town are not actually evil; however, their innate inability to really understand the concept or point of Christmas is a big part of the reason that Jack's plans don't pan out.
  • Evil Laugh: Jack has a nice one--as his natural laugh. A reminder that he is a resident of Halloween Town.
    • Played straight with Oogie Boogie at the end of his Villain Song.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Oogie Boogie.
    • Jack plays with this trope, as when he's being extra creepy, his voice goes an octave lower. His regular voice is more or less normal, but there are also times when he gets really shrill.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Sally's (Or possibly Finklestein's) potions, and Jack's books take this to a ridiculous extreme.
  • Face Palm: Jack does this after Lock, Shock, and Barrel brings back the Easter Bunny instead of Santa and start fighting over it.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Again, Oogie Boogie.
  • Final Love Duet: Jack and Sally.
  • Foil: Some believe that Jack and Oogie are foils to each other, the former being thin, artistic, and thoughtful, the latter fat, rude, and sadistic.
    • Sally might also be a foil for Jack, since he's outgoing, energetic, loud, and usually enthusiastic while she's shy, reserved, quiet and usually sad.
    • Jack could also be a foil for The Grinch, the latter stealing Christmas to ruin it but ends up saving it via a Heel Face Turn and the former taking over Christmas with good intentions but screwing it up royally.
  • For the Evulz: Oogie Boogie's motivation. During his Villain Song he carefreely sing out that he does all the bad things because "It's much more fun" when "lives are on the line".
  • Foreshadowing: In-story, there's Sally's premonition with the burning Christmas tree. In cinematic technique, there's Jack's first visit to Christmastown in the song "What's This?" Among other things, we see him unintentionally smashing a snowflake, destroying a snowman and scaring a little sleeping elf - a taster of the unwitting destruction that Jack's curiosity in Christmas will bring.
    • When he's trying to understand Christmas scientifically, he attempts to cut a paper snowflake and finds that he's made a spider.
      • The rest of the same scene. His attempts to understand the paraphernalia of Christmas only results in the items of his experiments being destroyed. "Jack's Obsession" also ends with him smashing several Christmas ornaments, and causing a string of lights to explode.
    • During the Town Hall meeting in which Jack reveals the inhabitants of Halloweentown what Christmas is, the Mayor says. cheerfully, "This will be the most terrifying Christmas ever!", to which Jack automatically corrects him. Probably unintentional, but considering the events of the climax of the movie, probably not.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Oogie Boogie has the ability to suck in everything like a gigantic vacuum, which is how he recaptured Santa and Sally. He never thought to use this in his battle against Jack Skellington, though this is somewhat justified, as Oogie was trying to get away from Jack. Still could have eaten him, though.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Jack is the most notable since he's humanoid - avoided with Sally. All the others get away with it because they're not really humanoid. Except for the mayor *shudder*.
    • Some of the human children have four-fingered hands as well.
    • Also avoided on Jack's part in the animated short on the DVD of the Nightmare Before Christmas poem (narrated by Christopher Lee for extra awesome points).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Well, first there's the whole Show Some Leg thing, then after "This Is Halloween" when everyone is heaping praise on Jack, the short witch gets a little....affectionate....with Jack's leg (though that could be this troper's gutter-minded imagination).

Oogie: And now with your permission, I'm going to do my stuff.
Santa: What are you going to do?
Oogie: I'm going to do the best I can...

    • And then there's the question of why Dr. Finklestein made Sally...
  • Girl Notices First
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Poor Jack, all he wanted was to try his hand at another holiday . . . .
  • Guile Heroine/The Smart Girl: Sally uses her brain most of all to get out of tight spots.
  • Halloweentown: The Trope Namer!
  • Heel Realization: In "Poor Jack".
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The faces of the adults in the human world are not shown.
    • Also Oogie Boogie, who appears as the shadow on the moon in This is Halloween and as a shadow on the wall in Kidnap the Sandy Claws, but he himself doesn't appear in the...uh...stitching...until his own song.
  • Heroes Love Dogs
  • Hero Antagonist: Sally.
  • Heroic BSOD: Jack undergoes two, once during "Jack's Lament" and again once he realizes that he was accidentally ruining Christmas for the entire human realm.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Jack and Sally, obviously.
  • Hive Mind: Oogie Boogie is made of insects and worms and yet he manages to move, speak and do all kinds of evil stuff. It's debatable if there is a Hive Queen (if there is, it's probably a little, white, earwig-like bug).
    • This is confirmed in Oogie's Revenge.
  • Homage: Halloweentown looks an awful lot like Holstenwall.
  • Hufflepuff House: The holiday dimensions besides Halloween Town and Christmas Town
  • I Am What I Am: After his disaster at being Santa Claus, Jack finally realizes what his true calling is, as he sums it up in five words: I AM THE PUMPKIN KING!
  • Idiot Hero: Jack is probably one of the more Justified Trope examples, as his idiotic moments come from not being an idiot, but from either not understanding concepts outside of Halloween (the whole Christmas fiasco, thinking the shells were fireworks, etc.) or being so excited for Christmas that he doesn't listen to reason (Sally and her prediction). The only thing he does that is just plain stupid is trusting Lock, Shock, and Barrel to take care of Santa Claus.
  • The Igor: Mad Scientist Doctor Finkelstein has one. He likes doggy treats.
  • Impairment Shot: Used after Jack runs face-first into a candy-cane-striped pole. And when Santa first sets eyes on Halloween Town, having been roughly hauled out of a sack previously.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Oh, it was Tim Burton by the way. (Conceived rather than written, to be exact; it was expanded by others.)
    • This trope combined with the advertising ("From the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas") inadvertently caused people who aren't aware of Henry Selick's involvement with Nightmare to think that Coraline was directed by Burton (it was Selick who directed that film too).
  • Incendiary Exponent: Jack sets himself on fire, while dressed as a scarecrow, at the end of "This Is Halloween". Naturally, it is one of the most awesome entrances in Disney history.
  • Incoming Ham: "Well, well, well! What have we here? Santa Claus?! Ha! Oooooh, I'm really scared!"
  • Ironic Echo: The first time Jack sings "And I, Jack, the Pumpkin King" (during Jack's Lament), he is angsting over how Halloween has stopped being special to him. The second time (during the second half of Poor Jack) he is getting over his angst about ruining Christmas and how Halloween isn't special to him anymore.
  • Irony: You know how loads of hateers contribute their dislike of this movie because of all the merchandise at Hot Topic? Considering Jack's reaction to the way the Halloweentown citizens ("Thank you. Thank you! Very much!!") it's highly likely that Jack would hate all the merchandise at Hot Topic too.
  • "I Want" Song: "Jack's Lament"
    • Also counts as an "I Am" Song, as he describes how he is the Master of Fright and a Demon of Light, amongst other things.
      • It can be divided verse-by-verse into each of those. The verses in common time are almost entirely self-description while the slower, 3/4 time verses are "I Want" verses.
    • "What's This" counts as well. It climaxes with the line "I want it! Oh I want it! Oh I want it for my own!"
  • Karma Houdini: Lock, Shock and Barrel
    • Well, there was a scene immediately before the final battle where Jack gives them exactly what's coming to them, but it was cut for timing reasons.
    • Also, keep in mind that they are, or at least appear to be, a bunch of small children.
    • In the movie, they leave and bring back help to rescue Jack and Sally, and their line refers back to that deleted scene.

Lock, Shock and Barrel: Here he is! Alive! Just like we said!

    • Ironically, a line in "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" suggests that Lock, Shock, and Barrel didn't expect a Karma Houdini:

Shock: Think now/If we blow him up to smithereens/We may lose some pieces and then...
Shock & Lock: Jack will beat us black and green!

    • Subverted if you play Kingdom Hearts, you can kick their asses personally there.
  • Skeletons Prefer Boxes: Jack is obsessed with the concept of a "present" (particularly in Kingdom Hearts II), but doesn't understand that the present is what's INSIDE the pretty wrapped box with the bow.
  • The Kindnapper: Jack Skellington has part of his being a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant. His way of indulging himself in his new passion for Christmas not only involves planning to run the show himself, but kidnapping the one who already does to enable his doing so. And he sees it as a favor for Santa, too! Despite Jack's unquestionable status as The Hero, though, his kindnapping is clearly shown as not being a good thing, especially because of what it leads to...

Santa: (bursts out of the bag) Let me out! (the Halloween Town citizens gasp in awe)
Jack Skellington: Sandy Claws - in person. What a pleasure to meet you. (prepares to shake but then looks down when their HANDS touch)
Jack Skellington: Wh - ! Why, you have hands! You don't have claws at all!
'Santa: (dazed) Where am I?
'Jack Skellington: Surprised, are you? You don't have to worry about another Christmas this year.
Santa: Wh-what?
'Jack Skellington: Consider this a vacation, Sandy. A reward. It's your turn to take it easy.
Santa: B-But there must be some mistake!
Jack Skellington: See that he's comfortable... (the minions start to close up the bag, but then stop) Just a second, fellas! Of course! That's what I'm missing! (takes Santa's hat)
Santa: B-But...
Jack Skellington: (as he's putting on the hat) Thanks.
Santa: Hang on - you just can't - (has the bag thrown over him again) - Hold on! Where are we going now?

  • Large Ham: Oogie Boogie. Jack is a bit more subtle, but still can be pretty hammy.
    • It's kind of par for the course when one lives in Halloween Town.
    • The mayor. "The king of Halloween has been blown to smitherEEEns!!! Skeleton Jack is now a PILE of Dust!"
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Jack and Sally.
  • Leitmotif: "This Is Halloween" for the citizens of Halloweentown and "Kidnap The Sandy Claws" for Lock, Shock, and Barrel.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Like bringing skeletal reindeer to life and in the prequel game heal Jack.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The only time Jack ever changed out of his tuxedo is, of course, when he imitates Santa Claus (well, and one scene when he's in bed and wearing off-white pajamas, but that's only for a couple of minutes). Possibly even taken Up to Eleven, since in "Poor Jack", when Jack declares that HE IS THE PUMPKIN KING!!!, he rips off the tatters of his Santa outfit to reveal that he's been wearing his tux underneath the suit all this time. Sally also wears the same dress throughout the film, though considering that either she's locked up by Dr. Finklestein or stalking Jack, this is more justified. Both cases are also justified with the fact that it would be needlessly complicated to have Stop Motion characters wear different clothes.
    • May double as My Suit Is Also Super, the Sandy Claws costume is tattered, but Jack's tux is fine under it.
  • The Lost Woods: the Hinterlands
  • A Love to Dismember: Perhaps the only unwitting example yet - see Show Some Leg below.
  • Made of Iron: Jack manages to get shot down by flak guns without being blown to pieces. This could be justified, however, by the coffin sleigh taking most of the blow. However, this does not explain how at least a mile-high fall onto a stone angel didn't break any of his bones (the impact from the fall did seem to be strong enough to knock off his jawbone, however). This all still could be justified by the fact that Jack's undead, so he would not feel pain, if it weren't for an earlier scene where Sally accidentally pokes Jack's finger with a needle, and he yelps in pain. It's a little confusing.
    • He was caught by an angel.
      • We also see Zero fly over and reattach his jaw, which seems to revive him. It's possible he reassembled him entirely, offscreen.
    • He's an Anthropomorphic Personification. He's probably very hard to kill, especially with mortal weapons. Doesn't mean it doesn't hurt like Hell.
  • Mad Scientist: Doctor Finkelstein.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: In the "artificial creation" sense of "daughter", with an Overprotective Dad. Or perhaps he created her with plans to woo her.
  • Magic Pants: Jack's outfit may count. Note when he rises out of the fountain and his collar visibly straightens. When Jack is shot down, the Sandy Claws outfit is shredded, but the tux is completely unscathed.
  • Magic Versus Science: Sort of. Note that Santa can do magic (flying reindeer, flying away at the end followed by a trail of sparkly magic stuff), while Jack's way of going at Christmas is more scientific (employing Dr. Finklestein, reading books on the Scientific Method).
    • However, Jack can and does do magic in his own realm. It's probably a question of spheres of influence: Jack has no power over Christmas, so he has to use different tools than Santa.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Subverted. As trick-or-treaters, Lock, Shock and Barrel wear costume masks all the time, but in their introductory scene they take them off, revealing faces that look exactly the same as (or worse than) their masks.
  • Meaningful Background Event: While Oogie Boogie is taunting Sally and Santa Claus, if you look behind him, you can see Jack Skellington sneaking into the lair all spider-like.
  • Meaningful Name: Most likely unintentional, but one of the meanings of "Jack"? Supplanter.
    • More likely a reference to jack o'lanterns.
  • Melancholy Moon
  • Memetic Outfit: Jack's pin-striped tuxedo and bat bow-tie; also Sally's dress. Both have even been made available as Halloween costumes for adults through the Disney company.
  • Memetic Sex God: Everyone's necrophiliac for Jack Skellington. All hail to the Pumpkin Pimp.
    • This may possibly even be an in-universe example, considering how the citizens act about Jack.[1]
  • Mind Screw: "This Is Halloween". It's so surreal that bats have strings attached to them.
  • Minion Shipping: Lock and Shock.
  • Modest Royalty: Jack, the Pumpkin King. He wears a snappy tuxedo, but no crown or other royal insignia.
  • Moment Killer: The Mayor near the end, with a spotlight.
  • Monster Clown: One of the recurring townsfolk. Subverted in that he is not actually evil
  • Mood Swinger: Jack Skellington. Until the third act, he is either depressed, extremely enthusiastic, or concentrating intensely on his obsession. He is at his calmest only at the end, during his and Sally's duet.
  • The Multiverse: There's apparently a dimension for every holiday celebrated in America (though it's not clear if any of these dimensions consist of much more than one town).
  • Must Make Amends: Basically, Jack and Oogie's fight is about Jack trying to fix things.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: At the start of the song "Poor Jack."
  • My Hero Zero
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Jack, and by extension everyone in Halloween Town, calls Santa Claus "Sandy Claws". In a deleted scene and in the dialogue when Jack first meets Santa, it's shown that Jack took the "Claws" part literally.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Santa Claus is in trouble and Christmas is ruined. Three guesses to who is responsible. First two don't count.
  • Nightmare Face: Expected from the King of Halloween.
    • Then there's that scary face Jack does to scare Lock, Shock and Barrel into doing their job right.
    • And "the clown with the tear-away face"...
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Jack. The entire town consists of Nightmare Fetishists, but even Jack's attempts at innocent merriment turn scary.
  • No Name Given: The Mayor (though some of the merch calls him Hizzonor). Most of the citizens also seem to not have names (The Clown With The-Tear-Away-Face, The Wolf Man, etc). Awesomely used with one off-screen horror who proclaims "I am the "who" when you call "Who's there?"".
  • No Peripheral Vision: After Oogie Boogie realizes that the knife-wielding king cards wasn't going to stop Jack from kicking his ass, Oogie pulls a rope that stops the murderous cards. Jack goes for Oogie, never noticing the gun-wielding gambling game cowboy skeletons approaching to his left and nearly getting shot. However, considering that Jack doesn't have proper eyeballs, it's entirely possible that Jack really doesn't have peripheral vision, therefore justifying him not seeing the weapons.
    • There's a less WMG-y reason he didn't see the gunmen: Jack was focused solely on whooping Oogie's stitched behind, so he just didn't notice the gunmen. It isn't the first time in the movie that Jack's tuned out everything other than his goal to the detriment of his own health.
  • Noodle Incident: In "Jack's Lament", some of the lyrics are thus: "To a guy in Kentucky, I'm Mister Unlucky! And I'm known throughout England and France!"
  • Noodle People
  • Oblivious to Love: Jack -- though to be fair, the only overt gesture Sally is seen to make is easily explained by the fact that they're friends (which they clearly are). And he does catch on eventually.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: When Jack goes to rescue Sally and Santa from Oogie Boogie. Last we see Jack before the Final Battle, he was sneaking in behind Oogie's back, quite a ways away from the platform where Santa and Sally were. With the way the scene is set up, it would have been impossible for Jack to get to the platform without Oogie seeing him, no matter what sneaking skills being the Pumpkin King would get you.
  • Oh Crap: Jack, when he realize that those shells are not fireworks. "They're trying to hit us!"
    • Oogie gets two big ones: 1) when he sees Jack on the platform instead of Sally and Santa and 2) when Jack pulls the thread that keeps him together. He has several smaller one as Jack passes each of his deathtraps, but these may be feigned, as he always has another trap ready.
  • Oh My Gods: Inverted, as during "Poor Jack", Jack refers to God twice ("And, by God, I really tasted something swell!" "And, by God, I'm really going to give it all my might!").
  • Only Sane Man: Sally seems to be the only denizen of Halloween Town who even approaches the realization that people don't want to be scared or attacked on Christmas.

Santa Claus: "The next time you get the urge to take over someone else's holiday, I'd listen to her. She's the only one who makes any sense in this insane asylum!"

We'll send a present to his door/Upon there'll be a note to read/Now, in the box we'll wait and hide/Until his curiosity/Entices him to look inside/And then we'll have him/One, two, three!

  • The Scientific Method: Jack has a book about the subject, apparently keeping it under his pillow.
  • Screw Yourself: Not only does the wife Dr. Finklestein made for himself look like a female version of himself, he gave her half of his own brain. Jack's shocked expression upon seeing them is pretty understandable, really.
  • Shout-Out: Oogie and Santa echo a line from the Betty Boop cartoon "The Old Man of the Mountain", which stars Cab Calloway, the inspiration for Oogie Boogie. Oogie's gyrating dance bears a strong resemblance to that of the Walrus rotoscoped over Calloway in the Betty cartoon "Minne the Moocher."

Santa: "What are you going to do?"
Oogie: "I'm going to do the best I can . . ."

  1. Anyone else thought that when Jack was trying to get away from the Halloweentown citizens, it sounded like Jack thought he was going to get raped? "Thank you. Thank you! Very much!"
  2. okay, they didn't say bastards, but the point is still there
  3. the latter not making any sense, as most of the songs are sung by Jack.
  4. life