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Jack Skellington was born a skeleton

  • Yes, biologically this doesn't make sense, but think about it:
    • Compare Jack to the skeletons on the Hanging Tree or the skeletal reindeer. Hell, compare him to the skeletons from Corpse Bride if you want. They look at least semi-realistic to real skeletons. Jack? A stick figure with a vaguely shaped ping pong ball with eyes, nostrils, and mouth for a head. A skull that can move like flesh. (Partly made out of cartilage, perhaps? Or maybe he's the son of Death and a Toon? Seriously, it just might work out!)
    • Jack has a need to eat, which, according to Tim Burton, it's a cause for concern. Doesn't sound like a self-denial thing.
    • In the game sequel (may or may not count, since it isn't Word of God), when you approach the guillotine, Jack says, "Exquisite! Just like the one I had when I was a boy!" WHAT HUMAN PARENTS LET THEIR KIDS PLAY WITH FUCKING GUILLOTINES?! (Barring the awesome Gomez and Morticia, of course.)
    • Well, in "Jack's Lament", Jack states that he is dead (and so, can recite Shakespeare).
  • Explanation for all this? Jack was born a grinning, scary skeleton baby! It would be an explanation on how Jack and Sally had their skeleton children .
    • Except that neither Jack nor Sally have the requisite parts for procreation, unless Jack keeps his baculum in a box somewhere and Finklestein was a pervert enough to make Sally that kind of doll.
    • Sally's a Frankenstein's Monster. It would require quite a lot of extra work to find the necessary parts to make her a non-A.C. Betsy Wetsy that wouldn't fall apart at the seam, unless Doctor Finkelstein grew a urethra in a jar. Although she does fall apart at the seams, so I wouldn't put it past him to leave a weak point (though I wouldn't think he would leave his masterpiece incomplete, if even Chii's parents wouldn't). As for Jack, he's more of a skeleton-person than a skeleton, so he could easily have the extra-soft bits that come with having flesh.
      • See, I don't think there's any reason to assume Dr. Finkelstein didn't make her that kind of doll. She wasn't just supposed to be like a daughter to him; the replacement he made for her certainly wasn't. In fact in the original script he was secretly Oogie Boogie in disguise, jealous that Sally had chosen Jack over him. Now I think his original plans for her went out the window once she was actually alive, but I think it's possible she's equipped for more than you'd expect.
        • In agreement with the troper above, there is nothing in the movie itself to suggest a father-daughter relationship between Sally and the doctor. The scene in his lab where he yells: "You're mine, you know!" doesn't quite fit a simple overprotective parent vs. child dichotomy. Also, notice that Sally's reply to this is: "You can make other creations!" That again doesn't sound like a daughter speaking to a father figure. What is interesting is that when the movie was fairly new (prior to its popularity explosion some years later) most discussions referred to Sally as the doctor's "companion", or on occasion, his servant. The 1998 edition of the book "Disney's Encyclopedia of Animated Characters" by John Grant even went so far as to say something to the effect of: "Sally must be his companion, and who knows what else, because she owes him her existence." And that was an official Disney book! It could be argued that in the years since the film's release, as it has become more popular as a family film, one of the things that has become played down is the questionable nature of Sally and the doctor's relationship.
    • Small problem with the logic here, even for WMG. Sally isn't a Frankenstein-type reanimated corpse, she's an animated ragdoll/scarecrow hybrid. Just look at all the times where she takes off limbs, any exposed ends are VISIBLY stuffed with leaves. Thus she would have her own unique biology at play rather than being forced to have organs implanted.
      • Then again, similar to the Jack example, we never see what's inside her torso, though this example is a lot more substancial. But Sally's definately got to have some sort of digestive system, as the soup trick would not have worked if she didn't need to eat. And technically that doesn't ruin the original point, since if Sally has her own unique biology, then she might not need the same equipment as humans for reproduction.

Jack Skellington is a child of Death and a Toon.

Jack Skellington is a spirit of a Toon

  • A Toon was killed somehow, and its spirit possessed a real skeleton, turning it into Jack's toony-look in the movie. After all, when he fell from the sleigh, his jaw fell off and it certainly didn't look like the rest of him till he pushed it in...on...his face.

In Halloweentown, stalking really is love.

  • The citizens of Halloweentown love to scare, right? So something as creepy as a Stalker with a Crush would literally be endearing, which is probably why Jack fell in love with Sally despite the fact she stalked him.
    • Jack doesn't actually realize she's stalking him though, so should this really count? He fell in love with her when he realized just how much she was willing to sacrifice to help him.
    • Actually, some of the dialogue (such as when he asks her to sew him the Santa suit) imply that they know each other pretty well and are close friends, and the end is a Relationship Upgrade.

In Halloweentown, stalking usually means you want to slaughter someone with a knife or chainsaw.

But Jack thinks Sally's infatuation and shyness is cute anyway.

    • You forget the line from "This Is Halloween":

That's our job! But we're not mean! In this town of Halloween!"

    • I highly doubt that slaughtering someone is "not mean".
      • It's Halloweentown. Maybe being slaughtered is like being tickled? Annoying if you just get tickled/stabbed for an instant, then becomes fun as the endorphins start rushing, and after crossing another line gets irritating again.

Major players in holiday towns are anthropomorphic concepts

Specifically, Oogie is decay. All the creepy crawlies in him, yeah. He is the stuff that comes after death. Jack himself, however, is death, which is why Oogie wants to supplant him, but it's also why Oogie cannot succeed. Decay and crawling creatures comes after death, but death comes for them too.

  • So, Finkelstein would represent the dark side of science, Lock, Shock and Barrel signify young cruelty, and the Mayor represents the dark things that lurk in a face. Not a bad concept.
  • Oogie's the former leader of an old holiday called Bug Day. Even if the theory's true he's not part of it.
    • Except that since none of the original creators of Nightmare was involved in the prequel, it's debatable if it's considered Canon or not.

Corpse Bride takes place in The Nightmare Before Christmas universe

It's set in Dia de los Muertos Town a couple of hundred years prior to Nightmare Before Christmas.

  • Victor would have died around the same time Halloween started to get popular, so he was turned into Jack Skellington for being great.
    • Christmas was a holiday during the Victorian era. Victor (Jack Skellington) would know of several holidays in fact.
    • This troper doubts that Victor is Jack Skellington. First off, their personalities are way different, and second, Victor seems to have a tear-shaped skull, while Jack has a round skull. Not to mention that Victor has five fingers while Jack has four (and it's obvious that Jack was born, dead or alive, with four fingers).
      • Also, to quote the first lines of TNBC:"Twas a long time ago longer now than it seems." If Victor died just when Halloween was started (which was around 2000 BC) then the whole thing falls apart.
  • Unless he wanted to forget his cruel, cruel life as Victor and the holidays associated with being Victor.
  • Maybe Victor died horribly. Or perhaps over the years his flesh and brains rotted out but his soul stayed with the body and thus THE PUMPKIN KING was born.
  • Reincarnation?

Oogie Boogie is the reincarnation of Dr. Facilier

Dr. Facilier has his friends from the other side take the form of shadows. Oogie seems to be able to control his shadow to sing in the beginning song in Nighmare, so this troper's idea is that Dr. Facilier's "friends" decided to give him A Fate Worse Than Death - being trapped in a gigiantic burlap sack with living bugs as guts. This drives Facilier mad, making him less Genre Savvy, more sadistic, and lowered the quality of his grammer. So now Dr. Facilier is double dead first killed when the tailsman was broken, then when he was torn apart.

The film is a satire of ethnocentrism and colonialism

Fairly obvious when you note how the citizens of Halloweentown are totally incapable of understanding a foreign culture unless they reinvent it in their own style. Because they cannot regard the people of Christmas Land on an equal level, they see no harm in appropriating their culture or even kidnapping them for their own purposes. They do not wish to exploit the other town, so much as shape it to their own image. In otherwords, they are trying to "civilise" Christmas town, albeit in their own perverse sense of what is civil.

  • Though the Halloween Town citizens misunderstanding the foreign culture is due to not getting proper information rather then thinking their culture is "better" then the Christmas culture (note the ending -- how many ethnocentrics suddenly "get it" at a drop of a pin?). Also, your "they-shape-the-other-town-in-their-own-image" doesn't quite make sense, as never do they make the Christmas Town citizens act like Halloween Town citizens, like white colonialists did with the Native Americans. Since Jack didn't know what the hell he was talking about when he was explaining Christmas to the Halloween town citizens -- which is all the information they got -- the film seems to be more a satire of cultural ignorance rather then straight out ethnocentrism and colonialism.
    • Funnily enough, this troper's sister gave a pretty good argument that Jack is an undead Adolph Hitler. Seriously.
  • Alternatively, Nightmare could be a fantasy-counterpart Deconstruction of the Mighty Whitey trope, since Jack tries to do Christmas and even thinks he could do it better ("I bet I could improve it too!"), but ends up screwing it up royally.
  • *cough*

The Nightmare Before Christmas is pro-secular

Not one reference to Christianity is made, despite featuring two Christian (post-pagan) festivals. The saints and Christ would be the natural "leaders" of these two towns, however the authorities are represented by non-religious characters like Santa-Claus. Conclusion? The writer's idealised versions of these holidays are purposely lacking in Christian iconography, suggesting they would prefer these festivals without religious elements.

  • Except Jack refers to God twice in "Poor Jack", so maybe the idea here is, since the king of the "pagan" holiday seems to be a bit more spiritual then the leaders of the "Christian" holidays, the film is a subtle Take That to Christians who think themselves more "moral" and "spiritual" then anyone else of any other religion or of non-religion.
  • Popping in to point out that both Easter and Christmas are of pagan roots as well, being absorbed by Christianity due to their popularity. Easter comes from Eostre, a fertility goddess.
    • Easter derives more from the Jewish Passover than any pagan celebration. Eostre's only real connection to Easter is that her name was used for the name of the holiday in the German and English languages. Most other European languages used some form of "Passover."
  • We have a trope for this.

Jack is the Avatar.

Taking into account Tim Burton's "No Magic" rule, Jack is able to bend the Spiral Hill, rise from water without getting wet, and breathe fire without the pre-drinking of flammable liquids, all under his own power! Not to mention Jack is one of the few characters in Kingdom Hearts who has dark versions of the normal spells available to Sora and Donald, as opposed to following an elemental theme such as Ariel or Mulan. The PlayStation 2 video game gave him direct control of fire and ice depending on the suit worn. As this troper sees it, Jack was born a Waterbender, learned Earth- and Fire-bending, and has only Air left to master! (Unless this troper has forgotten an example...)

  • Air is there too. He can cast Aero in Kingdom Hearts.
  • That would be fucking awesome.
    • Though the Avatar State would be freaking terrifying. It's scary enough with Aang, a twelve-year-old kid. Can you image that with a six foot tall skeleton?
  • This theory brings up a lot of questions, however. If Jack was alive once, then died, why didn't the Avatar reincarnate into the next person instead of sticking around with Jack? If Jack was born a skeleton, as with the first theory, why was the Avatar reincarnated into Halloweentown?
    • He was killed while in the avatar state!
    • Because something happened to the last one, I guess. The Avatar cycle would probably run its circuit through the holiday denizens just like it does on the show, and it's Halloween Town's turn. ... Following that logic, if Jack had to learn bending from bending masters, wouldn't it be AWESOME if Jack got to learn how to bend something from Sandy Claws?
      • Jack would probably learn Waterbending from Sandy (ya know, all the snow and ice). Continuing this idea, Jack would learn Airbending from someone in either Valentine's Day Town or St. Patrick's Day Town, learn Earthbending in Easter Town, Earthbending or Airbending in Thanksgiving Town, and Firebending in Fourth of July Town.
  • Wait, would this make Oogie Boogie an AIRBENDER?! Yikes . . .
    • Would that mean that Oogie as a whole was an Airbender, or that his main bug was the Airbender and the rest oh no I've gone cross-eyed...
  • Okay, I now have this mental picture of Toph using Spiral Hill as a giant whip, and it refuses to leave my mind because it's too awesome.
  • Not sure I'm buying this theory outright, but it's got serious cool points going for it! I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Each Holiday Tree is a TARDIS and Jack is a Time Lord.

Mandatory Time Lord theory. Prove it wrong.

Doctor Finkelstein was physically disabled by Sally, before she was completed.

He shouldn't have given her such strong thigh muscles.

  • That's just fucked up.
    • And that's my Ruined Childhood quota for this month.
      • Alternatively, she gave him a roundhouse kick in her first escape attempt? One powerful enough to make Chuck Norris feel frightfully inadequate, no doubt.

Jack is an undead Hitler

Think about it. Jack wants to take over neighboring holidays, gets an entire town to follow his lead, is EXTREMELY charismatic, and can give really good speeches (come on, he convinces a whole town of Halloween to convert to Christmas!). Yes, yes, Hitler Ate Sugar and all that, yet -- how come Jack would honestly trust Lock, Shock, and Barrel to "take care" of Sandy Santa? Perhaps he didn't want to get his hands dirty? How come we never see the elves and Mrs. Claus after "What's This" despite the fact that their leader and husband was kidnapped? Perhaps they were slaughtered and/or put into work camps to make scary presents? And he has a Mad Scientist who uses horrible experiments on people and things. Angel of Death, anyone? And we all know Sally is a stitched-up version of all his mistresses, because he felt bad about killing them. Also, doesn't Poor Jack sound like something Hitler would sing in the bunker? Though for the record, this troper thinks this is bullshit, but her sister came up with this theory and it makes a disturbing amount of sense.

  • He didn't so much convince them to "convert" as persuade them to change up the usual Christmas for something new. They only really got into it when he told them about how terrifying Santa was. Also, it might be that the elves and Mrs. Claus were looking for Santa, but they just thought he was lost in Christmas Town. Neither Jack nor anyone else seemed to know about the other holiday worlds, after all. They might not have known Halloween Town was there to look in.
    • Yeah, this theory was basically a crack theory made by my sister, and she asked that I post it.

Jack also had feelings for Sally, as she did for him

He's just better at hiding them. Consider how he says her name when they first interact in the movie. It sounds pretty fond for Just Friends. Also, for no reason Jack kept his tuxedo on underneath his Santa suit. There's two explanations for this: a) Sally's warning did penetrate that thick skull of his, and while he didn't give up on Christmas, he kept his old tuxedo on; or b) he didn't want to hurt Sally's feelings.

  • This theory is well supported by a single, often-missed moment in the film: Remember near the end when the Dr. appears in the square, accompanied for the first time by his new creation? Watch Jack's face. He sees the doctor with his new "wife", his jaw drops, then he suddenly looks toward Sally with one brow raised. It is after this that he slips out of the square himself, to join Sally in the cemetery. Based on this quick scene, it appears that Jack may indeed have been interested in Sally, but thought she was spoken for. Jack seeks her out only after realizing that she is no longer with the Doctor. Yes, it's a split second of footage; however, seeing as how nothing in animation (especially stop-mo) is an accident, it carries some weight.
    • . . . Holy shit. I never realized that.
    • THANK YOU. This troper thought she was the only one who figured that out!
    • So does this make Jack a Dogged Nice Guy?
  • Also, when Jack arrives at Oogie Boogie's place, he's pretty pissed already, but when Jack hears Sally scream (therefore finding out that she was down there), he gives a Death Glare that pretty much signed Oogie's death warrant. (Though he would probably still be angry if they were Just Friends.)
  • Note how Jack reacts when Sally tells him that she was trying to help him. After a whole movie of Oblivious to Love, Jack suddenly realizes that Sally, indeed, loves him. How would that happen? If Jack had feelings of his own, he would recognize the hidden crush behind Sally's motivation. "I never realized that you . . ." In that quote, there was no question of Jack loving Sally. None at all.

Jack's Pumpkin King title is both a nickname and a sign of royalty

The idea is that "Pumpkin King" was originally just the title of the scariest guy in Halloweentown, but since over the years scaring has become the point of Halloween, the Pumpkin King became more important and powerful. Now, the Pumpkin King is the leader of the town, either giving the crown to his children or training an apprentice to be the King when he retires.

  • And since Jack doesn't have a family at the start of the film, and feels completely alone, perhaps that adds to his personal exhaustion with the holiday. He has no children to whom he can bequeath the crown, doesn't think he's likely to have any in the near future, and doesn't know of any children he would be comfortable training as his apprentice. Yes, I can see this as being plausible.
  • Original troper here, to bring in another point. On the Yes, Virginia page, somebody pointed out that if the Real World knows about Santa, why didn't they know about Jack? Thinking about that, this troper had a Fridge Brilliance -- Jack is only refered as the Pumpkin King in Halloweentown. Nowhere is it indicated that the Real World knows about the Pumpkin King. Also, unlike the other holidays, Halloween has no "offical" mascot. This could be explained by the "Pumpkin King" title being held by different people throughout the years.
    • Who's to say that the real world doesn't know about Jack? In "Jack's Lament", Skellington sings, "To a guy in Kentucky I'm Mr. Unlucky, and I'm known throughout England and France." This line probably raises a few more questions than it answers, however.

Lock, Shock, and Barrel were formerly alive

Compared to the other three children in Halloweentown (Corpse Boy, Mummy, and Gargoyle Kid), Lock, Shock, and Barrel look very human, with only coloring issues and some features (Lock's tail, Shock's nose, and Barrel's feet) making them look monstrous.

The "Skeleton" children at the end of the poem are actually a mixture of skeleton and ragdoll children.

If the children were created by Finklestein, it seems unlikely that Jack and Sally would only want skeleton children and Finkelstein could no doubt create skeletal-looking ragdoll children for them. If the children were naturally born, it would be unlikely that all four/five children would be one species.

  • That would make sense, and the only reason "ragdoll" wasn't added is presumably because it would throw off the meter of the poem.

Jack has ADD/ADHD.

This troper personally doesn't believe it, but a lot of fans think it, so she thought she would add the theory here. The idea starts with the fact that Jack reaction to Christmas Town is quite over the top. Of course, this could be explained by Jack never seeing anything like that. Other arguments includes: ADD/ADHD can make you bored quickly which might be why he got bored of halloween and no one else did. Most people with ADD usually have a tendency to be able to stay on one subject (even with the short attention span) if it interests them. Plus people with ADD notice a lot more random things like "hey you moved the rug over about ten inches to the left..." but not the things that are normal like rocks and doors and poles (which would explain why Jack runs into the sign in Christmas Town).

  • The song "What's This?" kind of proves that Jack has ADD.
    • No it doesn't. He's just amazed and wants to see everything Christmas Town has to offer all at once. I get like that in, say, zoos or aquariums, but I don't have ADD.

Jack was either delusional/going insane or in self-denial.

Anyone else thought when Jack said to Sally "I feel so much better now!" that it sounded fake? This troper came up with this: that either Jack was going insane or that Sallly's warning had bugged him more then he let on, but he was so desperate to try Christmas that he kept telling himself that everything would be okay. You know the rest.

  • Also remember, Jack SAW Christmastown. He may somehow know that his Christmas is WRONG, he just can't tell that to himself.
  • "And for the first time since I don't remember when/I felt just like my old bony self again." This line in "Poor Jack" gives support to this idea. It sounds like Jack didn't feel like Christmas was actually helping all that much with his depression.
  • Also, when Sally was telling Jack about her vision, Jack spends barely anytime thinking about it, not even to convince Sally that the vision was wrong and/or won't come to pass. Jack could be delibrately changing the subject because deep down, he knows Sally is right but doesn't want to give up on Christmas.

Jack would love Disneyworld/land.

Come on, it makes perfect sense.

Zero is some sort of guardian angel/spirit

Zero turning into a star was him going home knowing that Jack was in good hands with Sally.

Oogie Boogie was the Halloween King many years before the movie begins.

Oogie is inexplicably not seen throughout the first half of the movie. We get two small glimpses of something sinister living beneath the Halloween Town, but we don't know quite what it is. When Jack speaks with "Ooogie's Boys" he tells them to leave the "no account Oogie Boogie out of [it]." This seems to indicate that the people of Halloween Town once knew Ooogie. Perhaps Oogie had the title that Jack now holds, only he perverted it, perhaps over a long period of years. Eventually, it wasn't just enough for Oogie to scare people once a year, but he wanted to torture and kill as well. Jack, maybe a teenage intern or just a concerned citizen, starts a coup, eventually banishing Ooogie from the town, with the mandatory "never show your face in this town again" speech. This might actually explain why Ooogie almost immediately tries to kill Jack when they meet toward the very end of the movie. Also, after Jack took over Ooogie's job, it took him several years (he mentions to the band "just like last year. and the year before that. And the year before that." So it's been maybe 10 years of Jack doing this. Long enough for him to grow weary of it.) to rehabilitate anyone in the town who might have subscribed to his way of thinking.

  • Jossed in the PlayStation 2 sequel. He's the former ruler of forgotten holiday Bug Day.
    • Like someone said above, none of the original creators were a part of the PlayStation 2 sequel, so it's technically not Jossed.

Dr. Finklestein created Sally mainly for conversations and basically love on an intellectual and emotional level -- but won't have minded sex as a perk

Just me taking a third option on the whole Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter vs. Sex Slave arguments for the motivation behind Dr. Finklestein's creation of Sally. Can't it be both? No, wait a minute . . .

Jack is an undead alien from outer space

Well, it would explain Jack's messed up biology.

Everyone in the Holiday Worlds are artificial androids.

Dr. Finklestein built everyone in Halloween Town. Santa used magic to make the elves. Everyone from Easter hatched from an egg, etc.

  • But where did Dr. Finklestein and Santa come from? Santa can possibly be from the real world, but there is no way Dr. Finklestein came from the real world. And which came first, the egg or the bunny?
    • Why couldn't Dr. Finklestein exist in a "real" world that Santa could? And the bunny came first. Pink bunnies lay giant eggs that hatch into treats.

Spiral Hill is a giant, touch-sensitive plant

It would explain its strange shape and why it unrolled when Jack started walking on it.

The movie takes place in the distant past of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

First: Spiral Hill. Second: How else could Jack survive a missile strike? Spiral Power would also explain how Sally and Jack had children, how Jack stretched his face, where his tuxedo came from near the climax and pretty much everything else!

  • Could you elaborate what Spiral Power is for those who have never watched TTGL and why it would explain everything? This troper looked on the page and couldn't find any explanation of Spiral Power (unless it's in the spoilers, which this troper doesn't want to uncover, as the show looks very interesting and she wants to watch it).

Jack was a 1930s gangster

His pinstripe suit is certainly indicative of this. Also, he keeps an electric chair, which is how many mobsters were put to death, perhaps how he himself died.

  • Seems plausible, considering Jack has a sort of Anti-Hero thing going on. Hell, Rocky certainly approves of pinstripes. "Pinstripes! There's hope yet!"

Jack's suit is made from a Special, Non-flammable, near Indestructible Material

The suit was completely Unscathed after Jack's little Incendiary Exponent show at the beginning AND after he was HIT BY A FRICKIN' MISSILE, so it's got to be made from something more then just cloth, that may be the reason he was wearing the suit under the Sandy Claws outfit, he wanted to be extra-sure in case some of the fireplaces will have...well, fire. Why he couldn't just make the Sandy Claws outfit from the same material? Maybe it can't be dyed, and one of the things Jack got RIGHT about Christmas is that Sandy Claws need to wear red.

Jack's Suit is a Part of Him

  • He wears it under the Santa outfit, under the scarecrow outfit, and there's nothing to indicate he's changed out of it when he's wearing his pajamas.
  • It's pretty obvious that he's not an actual skeleton, but the idea of a skeleton, so why can't he be the idea a Skeleton-in-a-suit?
  • Since he doesn't appear to have any ligaments, this would explain why he doesn't fall apart - the suit acts as a binding agent and epidermis.
  • It also explains why the suit isn't reduced to shreds after the missile strike, because Jack has a Toon Physics exemption which would be passed on to the suit.
  • The theory is, of course, borne out by the actual models of Jack, which do not have bones underneath a suit because they didn't need to have swishy cloth movement on him.
  • The main problem with this theory is that it means Jack is naked for nearly the entire movie.

Sally told the Mayor about her vision

After Jack was shot down, the Mayor mutters: "I knew this Christmas thing was a bad idea. I felt it in my gut!" Now, this could be a case of Obfuscating Stupidity, but my theory is that Sally, seeing that Jack won't listen to her, could have gone to somebody who may be able to reason with/stop Jack -- the Mayor of Halloweentown. However, the Mayor feels that he's just an elected offical and didn't want to do anything against Jack. Sally's warning bugged the Mayor until the military actually shot Jack down -- confirming Sally's prediction.

  • This troper assumed (and we are probably meant to assume) that it was a case of rewriting history to make it seem like he disapproved from the beginning. Your idea is exceedingly plausible, though, and could qualify for a bit of Fridge Brilliance.

Lock, Shock and Barrel have no understanding of morality at all.

They are amoral to such an extent that they are not even aware whether someone suffers because of their actions or not, even though it would be obvious to anyone else. "Kidnap The Sandy Claws" includes the lyrics "throw him in the ocean and then see if he is sad". They actually need proof that this would make someone sad, all they know is the personal consequences of their actions ("we may lose some pieces and then Jack will beat us black and green"). Regardless, they definitely look old enough that they should have developed a theory of mind at this point.

  • True. Also, shortly before they take Santa to Oogie's lair, Santa asks them something along the lines of "Haven't you heard of peace on Earth and goodwill to men?" The response? A sharp "NO!" from all three kids, without skipping a beat.

Jack went to rescue Santa because it was necessary to save Christmas, but he handed Oogie his ass because he dared to hurt Sally.

As noted above, we didn't see Jack become completely pissed off until he heard Sally screaming. This troper is watching the movie right now and just caught something very significant -- when he pulls the thread on Oogie's burlap, he does not (as she always thought) say "How dare you treat my friends so shamefully!" What he actually says is "How dare you treat my friend so shamefully!" Singular. He and Santa really aren't friends; his fury was all over Sally.

The denizens of Halloween Town are created by how they died in the Real World.

Look at them. The zombie with the axe in his skull is real sluggish, slow, and brain-dead, the mummy kid was probably some some Egyptian kid who got murdered, hell, maybe it's King Tut? The freaky white trash family possibly killed one another, either in a fit of strange mutual abuse, or just ignorance and neglect if the shape of them is any indication, the mayor, I dunno...maybe he was a liar and a cheat all his life? Little hazy on that one...but Jack. Jack Skellington?! Look at him, look at his violent, violent moodswings. Not once is he cool and level, he's either, leaping and cackling, locked in a depression spiral, devoting ALL his time to his obsession at the neglect of everything else, or violently, murderously crazy. You don't think he died in the midst of one of these insanely bipolar fits? You don't think he wasted away to just a skeleton after holing up in his room and laying on the floor in a catatonic state for days?

  • In fact, maybe it was him who did a lot of these people in, perhaps they worship the man who "lead them" to Halloween Town, perhaps that's his penance that none of them even remember because time's just warped on so long, right? Maybe, but maybe not.
  • And what about eating, and "feeling" that needle prick despite the bombs not doing anything? Easy. He never saw the bombs hit, so his brain never "told" him that he was feeling those bombs. Whereas he visibly saw the needle hitting his bone, so he was convinced that he felt the pain, because after all, the mind can only accept so much, right? And so, he eats and "feels" because he needs to, so subconsciously convinces himself that he does. What do you guys think, eh? Ehh?
    • First of all, Jack has mood swings, but he isn't as fucking insane as you protray him as! What about when he's with Sally at the end of the film? He looks pretty cool and fit to me. Hell, the entire Reprise/Finale, Jack's the most sane we've seen him. And two, there's Halloweentown citizens that are not The Undead. The Wolf Man and The Undersea Gal comes to mind.
  • Yeah, it's a little hazy, but bear with me, man. Ok, some of the denizens, the vampires, the monsters, etc, they're either actual monsters, or created by fear, fear of people in the Real World, or created by the restless spirits and souls who are trapped there by Jack himself. Who knows? That would explain why Satan himself is there, yet Oogie Boogie is the main baddie. And perhaps Jack's with Sally at the end, because, well...he's passed his penance. Or, y'know, discovering Christmas, even if he did fail in truly "getting" it, was enough to give him his reward.
    • But who's the one who put the penance on him in the first place? The Big Guy Himself?
  • Maybe himself, maybe the souls of Halloween Town who he had wronged, maybe higher powers, if they exist in this universe. Maybe Oogie Boogie did it long ago just to cruelly torture them, and now that he's gone, y'know...they can finally get on with the rest of their unnatural existence. Whatever happened, they are so far gone now, so maybe it doesn't matter anymore. But I hold that Jack is a goddamn lunatic. He's a skeleton. He's a corpse. He is decaying. Whatever unholy force keeps him together, doesn't keep his mind from aging, doesn't keep mental baggage from forming.
    • I still think you're flanderizing Jack, but I do agree that Jack probably has some serious mental baggage he needs to deal with. In fact . . . *goes add trope to main page*
  • I always thought the citizens of Halloween Town were people that had died in their Halloween costumes and whose spirits ended up in never-ending Halloween in a form similar to what they were dressed as (eg. Jack was dressed as a skeleton, so when he died he became a living skeleton) or, in the case of LS&B, they were lost Trick or Treaters that found their way to Halloween Town and are very slowly turned into what their costume represent (which is why Lock's tail moves and the three don't quite look like normal children)

Sally actually is terrifying, and not just a servant girl.

Although Sally is stuffed with leaves, her skin isn't made of cloth. She's actually composed of putrified body parts (hence the blue-ish white color). Her dress could possibly be made of scraps of skin.

  • In the alternate ending where Dr. Finklestein was Oogie Boogie, the Doc did say Sally was made of "bits of flesh and scraps of cloth", so this is very plausible (though I'm skeptical of her dress being made of scraps of skin theory).
  • And since she needs to eat, she must have some sort of digestive tract (if she didn't need to eat, the soup trick wouldn't have worked). And since it's implied in the eplilogue poem that Jack has kids, since we can safely assume that Sally is Jack's wife at this time, it's possible that Sally has genitalia. So yeah, I can see this working.
    • Damn it, not everything is related to whether or not Sally has a vagina! GOSH!

Oogie lied to Lock, Shock, and Barrel about Jack

In LSB's starring song, they mention that if they blow up Santa, "Jack will beat us black and green!" At first this sounds like Jack is out-dated when it comes to disciplining children, but since LSB end up being Karma Houdinis, this is unlikely. So maybe to get LSB to be against Jack, Oogie told them that Jack is a real bastard to children?

  • I always figured it was more a case of children exaggerating. Like when kid's do something wrong and say "Mom/dad is gonna kill me!" Also, Jack could be the type to make empty threats, like many authority figures do.
    • I thought it was a sign that they don't know Jack well enough to know he wouldn't hit them and they have experienced beatings before, either at Oogie's appendages or at the hands of their parents if, as suggested above, they used to be normal humans.

Slender Man is either Jack's father or uncle

. . . well, they look similar!

  • Just found this. Told you they were related!
  • Wasn't aware fanart counts as proof. ...oh wait, it doesn't.

Jack IS the Slender Man.

According to the DVD commentary, Jack is the scariest person in Halloween Town, but he's only really scary when he wants to be. The "Slender Man" could either be some kind of alternate form of his, or just the result of years of stories about him mixing up some of the details.

Sally was literally created using Finkelstein's hands

"You're mine, you know! I made you! With my own hands..." Then he proceeds to look at his gloved hands and stroke one of them carefully. Both characters have fairly small hands. Perhaps this line could be interpreted more literally?

Jack's not the only one tired of the same holiday over and over again.

It seems like he hasn't always been the Pumpkin King, after all, and anyone who spent every year with the same thing would probably get sick of it too. Other holiday leaders are probably equally tired of identical holidays all the time, but take care of it(or not) in other ways, especially since they probably don't know the other holiday towns exist.

  • Not exactly canon to the film, but in Kingdom Hearts II, Santa does imply that he has grown tired of Christmas, but the smiles of the kids makes it all worthwhile. Of course, it's easy enough when you get smiles in return for your work. Not so much when your reward is screams.[1]

Jack was Victor's and Victoria's kid

This idea is used in this fanfic, and I think it's more plausible than Jack being Victor.

Lock, Shock, And Barrel are lost Children

Lock, shock, and Barrel were once normal kids and wonder around the woods one halloween night and stumble upon the holiday-door-trees and go into Halloween Town. Turns out that Halloween Town is a place where you go there or stay too long you become permanent residents, do we have a trope of that. In short they stayed too long.

This plot happened before with St. Patrick wandering into Easter

I mean, first off, it must've happened sometime, just by probability. Second off, the result might've been this.

Everyone in Halloween Town represents a fear of some sort.

And most are addressed in the intro song already (acrophobia, Uncanny Valley, paranoia, etc.)

Oogie Boogie is the future identity of Hexxus.

Humans returned to Ferngully and re-released Hexxus. Eventually, Hexxus made his way to Halloween Town. We've seen that Hexxus has the ability to shape-shift. He just shape-shifted into a bunch a bugs, and wrapped himself in a big burlap bag.

  • And the first time you see Oogie, all you see is a shadow with eyeholes. Just like Hexxus.

Jack is the Skeleton Who Popped Out.

Don't act like you don't know it.

Santa's life was never in danger.

For a guy who can basically teleport at will, he could've saved himself at the last second if he wanted/needed to, during the Oogie Boogie song sequence.

Sally is an alternate universe version of Fran Maderaki.

In the Franken Fran universe, her creator died shortly after she woke up, and, having not been raised with the mental abuse (and possibly other types as well), she decided to take up her creator's line of work because it looked like fun.

Lock, Shock, and Barrel are about eight years old.

"Shut up!" "Make me!", anyone?

There are other forests, for other holidays.

The only holidays shown in the tree circle are Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day and Independence Day, which are the major holiday's in the U.S. Thing is, the towns we see in the movie are just the representations of those holidays for that particular country. Other forests exist for other nations with different major holidays. There might even be repeat versions of the same holiday, but each individual country's spin on it influences the town (i.e. Christmas, which is celebrated differently all over the world). This also helps explain the bit on the Headscratchers page about how Jack didn't know what snow was, despite the fact that Halloween is celebrated in Canada and should, in theory, have encountered snow before.

  • It snows in parts of America on Halloween too. In New Hampshire this year we had so much snow (and power outages due to the snowstorm) this year that Trick'or'Treating was pushed back till November 6th.

Jack is older than most of the other residents of Halloween Town.

Maybe being the Pumpkin King gives you a special lifespan, or, more likely, just being a skeleton means he's naturally immortal/really really long-lived. It would also explain why Jack(and, to a lesser extent, Sally) is the only one who's completely tired of Halloween being the same year after year: everyone else hasn't had time to get sick of it, but Jack has lived through countless Halloweens and as such is completely bored of it.

Jack Skellington is Jack Pumpkinhead (From Return to Oz).

I'm not the first to find the simlarities between the two, in both look and sound. Also it would make sense of of the fact that Skellington's "skull" looks a lot like a jackolantern, and why he was called the Pumpkin King. Now remember Return to OZ was set in the last year of the nineteenth century while Nightmare before Christmas took place much later. So any differences in personalities can be attributed to Jack merely maturing. He was still pretty young in Return to Oz so he was mentally a child. Skellington is Pumpkinhead mentally "grown up". When Jack was in Oz, he probably got tired of being a simpleton and problably getting in the way of his "Mom" who had to manage being a queen at her young age. So he probably decides to get some self worth by finding his purpose in life. And what was Jack initially created for? To scare someone. This and the fact that his head is a symbol for Halloween probably inspired Jack to be the Halloween figurehead. Now Oz is a fairy land so its not farfetched that in there you can find pathways to other lands that comprise childrens imaginations, like Santas village and the other holiday worlds. Jack either founded Halloween town or went there and became leader. In the beginning of Nightmare Skellington is a pumpkinhead scarecrow...maybe THAT was really his true form and the skeleton was the magically induced second "fake" form. As to why he's a skeleton...well in Return to Oz Jack did say "I was afraid of spoiling before I've seen anything in the world." Jack knew his body was fragile and probably wanted to be made of sturdier stuff. he already knew two metal guys and wanted to be something different, something befitting of the Halloween king. So why not bone? All his time in Halloweentown probably made him forget his earlier years, so when he sings about "somehwhere out there far from my home" he's really subconciously homesick for his childhood home. Which is why he liked the sparkly happy Christmas town. It probably reminded him of the Emerald city (when it wasnt taken over by the villians in Return to Oz that is)

Jack Skellington is the actual spirit of Halloween, given life.

That's the reason he didn't get blown to smithereens when he was hit by the guns. As the actual spirit of Halloween, he will not die until Halloween itself dies.

The other holidays will start meeting together and getting to know each other after the events of the movie

They will also begin to learn different facts about how they came to be, and what the holiday stands for. There is also potential for Fanfic where either A) Halloween is seen as the most useless of holidays that doesn't add anything and begins to be boycotted by the other holidays or B) Jack discovers parts about Halloween that he didn't realize before (like how it is the oldest American holiday).

Jack Skellington is Skulduggery.

Skulduggery Pleasant is a sharply-dressed skeleton in a suit. Sound familiar? Note how Jack can breathe fire and rise from water without getting wet... and Skulduggery is an elemental.

He is Skulduggery after Skulduggery's family was killed, but before he returned and helped to win the war. Eventually Jack will become, once again, disillusioned with Halloween and leave permanently this time. He will come to our world, make friends with Stephanie Edgely, become a private detective, and... well, you know the rest.

Jack Skellington and oogie boogie are rival gangsters.

jack was possibly a violent gangster but one that looked out for his community, like the black panther movement in the 60's and watches out for Halloween town, well Oogie uses terror to control the peopleof halloween

Jack is an otaku.

Consider this: a guy becomes bored with the culture he was born and raised in, only to discover a foreign culture that is completely different from his own. This alien culture is both baffling and exciting to him, and in his excitement he becomes obsessed with it, sharing his new-found obsession with others to win them over (developing a fanbase in the process). After spending several days engrossing himself in the foreign culture, he attempts to copy it in his own way, but only succeeds in just barely re-creating its most outward surface appeal (such as its art and fashion), failing to grasp the underlying social nuances that go with it. In the end, despite his enthusiasm and genuine love for this newfound culture, his attempts to share it within his own culture result in a mutated hodgepodge of both cultures that ends up disturbing and angering others.

Back to The Nightmare Before Christmas
  1. Of course, Jack enjoys screams, but still, bad comparision.