Jack Skellington standing in front of a glowing moon in 'The Nightmare Before Christmas.'

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Has Been Turning Kids Goth for 30 Years

In our town of Halloween.

The Nightmare Before Christmas has become a mainstay of pop culture. Between Halloween and Christmas especially, Jack Skellington and crew are plastered on everything. But this movie began a trend that changed how things were created for kids. On October 13, 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas hit movie theaters. This story has haunted us all for 30 years. Even though so many years have passed, I still recall seeing the movie on opening night. My aunt took me to see it. Having already seen Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, I was familiar with Tim Burton’s work. I thought I knew what to expect. Right when the movie began, I knew this was going to be like nothing I’d ever watched before.

Recommended Videos

From the beautiful animated Halloween aesthetic to the wonderful songs, I was hooked. When the movie finished, I immediately asked my aunt to take me to a toy store so I could buy a Sally doll. I still have my Sally, who can remove her arms, legs, and head. Going back to school the next week, I was so excited to talk about this movie, but a lot of kids said it looked too creepy, and they didn’t watch it.

It wasn’t until I was in middle school that more peers had an interest in the movie. Slowly, I collected a group of friends that loved it. Coincidentally, we were all kind of goth/alternative kids. Then Hot Topic started selling Nightmare merch, and things went wild. It became an unspoken rule that if you liked Nightmare, you were one of the other kids we could relate to. Blink-182 even used the call sign in their song “Miss You.” Everyone loves that line, “We can live like Jack and Sally and have Halloween on Christmas.” It’s the romantic ideal for some of us.

This movie didn’t just cause the goth awakening of a generation. After Nightmare, more media meant for children embraced the macabre. Burton went on to create several more children’s movies that centered on life and death. More and more shows were about monsters and creatures that were once considered too creepy for kids. Before Nightmare, great shows like Over the Garden Wall or movies like Coraline couldn’t exist. It redefined what was suitable for children.

Even though it is now a whopping 30 years old, kids still love The Nightmare Before Christmas, showing that it never lost its appeal. My 5-year-old is dressing up as Sally this year for Halloween to continue the tradition of going completely overboard for this movie. It’s hard to believe one movie changed so many things for some of us, but we can proudly say that we are happy in our town of Halloween.

(featured image: Disney/Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Here’s What We Know About Furiosa’s Ally, Praetorian Jack
Praetorian Jack and Furiosa sit in the cab of the war rig.
Read Article Lock Your Doors: ‘The Strangers Chapter 2’ Is Coming Soon
Froy Gutierrez as “Ryan” and Madelaine Petsch as “Maya” in THE STRANGERS: Chapter One'.
Read Article With ‘Furiosa,’ George Miller Is Adding to ‘Mad Max’ Folklore
Furiosa and Max drive in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Read Article First Look at Dwayne Johnson as Mark Kerr for ‘The Smashing Machine’ Biopic
Dwayne Johnson as Mark Kerr in 'The Smashing Machine'
Read Article These Are the 10 Movies Enemies-to-Lovers Fans Can’t Miss
Pride and Prejudice 2005, Elixabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy face off in a ballroom. Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfayden
Related Content
Read Article Here’s What We Know About Furiosa’s Ally, Praetorian Jack
Praetorian Jack and Furiosa sit in the cab of the war rig.
Read Article Lock Your Doors: ‘The Strangers Chapter 2’ Is Coming Soon
Froy Gutierrez as “Ryan” and Madelaine Petsch as “Maya” in THE STRANGERS: Chapter One'.
Read Article With ‘Furiosa,’ George Miller Is Adding to ‘Mad Max’ Folklore
Furiosa and Max drive in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Read Article First Look at Dwayne Johnson as Mark Kerr for ‘The Smashing Machine’ Biopic
Dwayne Johnson as Mark Kerr in 'The Smashing Machine'
Read Article These Are the 10 Movies Enemies-to-Lovers Fans Can’t Miss
Pride and Prejudice 2005, Elixabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy face off in a ballroom. Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfayden
Author
D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.