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Oogie Boogie was never attempting murder, he was succeeding at convincing people he was going to kill them.
With all the residents of Halloweentown being based around scaring people in mostly harmless ways, Oogie's overt violence seems to stand out. But what if Oogie never planned to kill Santa? What if he only intended to THREATEN to kill them? Oogie doesn't really go about killing anybody particularly efficiently, drawing things out with style and musical numbers... Which makes perfect sense if he doesn't WANT to kill anybody. Instead, he's scaring people with The Threat of Death. If he's representing one of the most primal, ubiquitous fears his pride is understandable; and it would explain why he's a member of Halloweentown and why Tim Burton didn't consider him evil. Even his appearance makes sense for an Anthropomorphic Personification of the fear of death, mystery... gambling... and an empty shell with bugs as the only life inside.

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!)
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    • 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.)
    • Kids during the French Revolution would have toy guillotines that could be used to behead live mice. Perhaps Jack was somewhat careless and accidentally beheaded himself...
    • 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 .
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  • When he talks and sings, there are times where you see he has teeth under the ones in the outside. Which is either really strange biology, or what we think are his real teeth are just white lips with black stripes on them.

Jack, despite being a skeleton, does have some internal organs
I know this sounds crazy, but bare with me. Let's consider, for a moment, that some of the citizens of Halloween Town would, in fact, meet our definitions for being undead. Consider that there are citizens that look rather like corpses, such as the skeletons on the Hanging Tree and the family, along with Sally. I think that Halloween Town almost serves as a sort of Land of the Dead, even though there are living citizens. And dead bodies decompose. Now, let's take into account that some of the citizens, despite obviously being dead, can do things that we can do. Jack can sing, eat, and move around, and yet we are informed that he is a skeleton, who shouldn't be able to do any of these things. This troper's guess? Jack is not fully decomposed. Underneath that suit, he retains the bare necessities for a digestive system and still has his lungs.
  • This is very clever, but sadly pretty much Jossed by the fact that during Jack's Lament, Jack can "take of [his] head to recite shakespearian quotations".note  Also, the (clearly organs-less) skeletons in Oogie Boogie's lair can still sing, too.

Jack Skellington is a child of Death and a Toon.
  • Yes, same troper, but this kinda makes sense if you think about it: Jack, despite being a skeleton, can stretch his skull into a scary roar. It looks like the scary version of what Toons usually do. Also, when Jack is fighting Oogie, if you watch the part when Jack is avoiding the knives, you notice that he gets rather flexible for a skeleton. The story could go like this:
    • Jack Skellington was born in Toon Town, scaring the crap out of the doctors. His mother raised him in Toon Town, while his dad visited him often. When Jack was older, he tried to get a job in acting, but humans expected Toons to be funny, which when Jack tried to be funny, he always ends up scaring the shit out of everyone. His dad thought Jack's talents would be useful in scaring, so Jack moved to Halloween Town, where he became the Pumpkin King. He still visits his mother often, and his dad comes to Halloween Town to watch Jack's performances.
    • That has just fulfilled the "Aww" quota of my day. Thank you.
    • Another point: In addition to the flexibility of bus mouth, you can also see teeth under there during many closeups. It seems Jack does, in fact, have lips, but they have teeth-like markings on them.
  • Yes, but cartoons didn't exist before 1910, so Toontown didn't exist either (oh, that's different if you go by the original Who censored Roger Rabbit book, but all the rest of the toon mythology as developed more recently shows that Toons are created by animators using magic pain — see the opening of The Animaniacs). Now, where am I going with this date problem ? Jack O'Lantern is a far more ancient figure than 1910, so except if you argue that there have been many Jack O'Lanterns that replace each other regularly, which I don't (for me, Jack is THE Jack O'Lantern, the one that existed as long as Halloween ever existed), it's not possible. It's a nice theory, though.

Sally isn't a stalker
Stalker is more about a person you don't even or barely know following you and trying to know personal information. It's about a person with a creepy obsession including harassment.Sally is more a "friend with a crush" than a stalker. From what we get when Sally and Jack talk, they know each other and seems to be friends. In the beginning, when she stayed hidden during "Jack's Lament" it was more out of surprise at seeing that Jack felt that way than being "stalker-ish".
  • It seems that nowadays no character can be in love in silence that everyone assumes they're stalking...

Fixing the "drunk some blood" Plot Hole
There are, in Halloweentown, some professional Red Shirts whose job are to get attacked by the monsters in front of humans, so that the humans may really be scared of them.

God Needs Prayer Badly is applying here
And it might just be true, it makes more sense than you'd think. The idea is that the holiday characters need to be believed in, and to fulfill their Holiday's goal, to exist. note  Santa Claus couldn't teleport outside of Oogie's lair during the song, because Oogie Boogie wouldn't take him seriously and refused to believe he was Santa: "You're joking ! This can't be the right guy !?!" Santa, however, can later magically transport outside of Halloweentown in a split second because Jack was beginning to talk to him seriously as the only Santa Claus who could save Christmas in time.It might also have happened many times in Halloweentown's history to various characters who stopped being scary to mortals, were forgotten, and withered away into nothingness. Today they fill the graveyard Jack visited during Jack's Lament; notice how at least two busts represent two famous historica- painting scary-looking fellows: Füssli's demonic horse and Munsch's Screamer. They were scary at first, but when people got used to seeing them everyday on television, in museums, in the newspapers, in parodies, they stopped giving goosebumps, and consequently they died. This is supported by this very simple question: why would anyone be buried in Halloweentown in the first place, since half of the citizens are members of The Undead ?

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.

  • The citizens of Halloween Town 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 Halloween Town, 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 Halloween Town. 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.

In holiday towns, G-Rated Sex is how people reproduce.
Since the Halloween and Christmas towns are each based on various myths and legends parents have built up in their children's minds about how the holidays operate, childbearing in those towns is likewise based on various myths and legends parents have told their children about how babies are made. One common idea children get right around the time before they reach full understanding is that "kissing brings babies" or that intimacy in general might get them pregnant. Combine this with the myth of the Delivery Stork some parents used to tell younger children, and suddenly we have an explanation for where Jack and Sally got their children. That little scene where Jack and Sally finally got together as a loving couple at the end? That's how the children were conceived: there's a little hugging and kissing, Zero goes zipping off into the sky and becomes a star to distract us from what Jack and Sally are doing... and about nine months later, a stork (probably skeletal, this being Halloween Town) brings in their first baby; and as long as the two lovebirds keep up the hugging and kissing, they can expect to have many more.

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.
    • Or the Mayor represents two-faced politicians.
  • 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.
      • just because he was the leader of a different town does not mean that he is not a anthropomorphic personification of a concept

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 grammar. 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 Halloween Town 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.
  • There's actually a fairly good argument to be made for TNBC as a brilliant satire, intentional or accidental, of well-meant cultural appropriation. It's pretty common for open-minded people encountering a fascinating new culture for the first time to want to "honor" it by playing with the superficial trappings of that culture, without bothering to really learn and understand the meaning behind them. This can have negative results ranging from embarrassment (the college student proudly showing her obscene/gibberish tattoo to a Chinese exchange student) to hurtfulness (the hideous caricature of a costume that ruins the Halloween party for a First Nations friend) to serious harm (the present fad for quinoa in high-end restaurants that has driven the price too high for those who ate it as a staple to afford it anymore). Jack and the Halloween Town folk cause problems all up and down that spectrum for themselves and the Christmas Town folk with their cheerfully ignorant imitating, despite the good intentions of the originators and the innocent wish for fun of their imitators.
  • 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."
      • What parts of Passover involve rabbits and eggs? These are two very prominent (possibly the most prominent, at least in the US) Easter symbols that have nothing to do with either Judaism or Christianity (though some Christians do try to make the egg into some kind of "rebirth" metaphor, I think). This is because they are pagan fertility symbols.
      • Also gonna add this, related to secular holiday stuff.
  • 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 Halloween Town?
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Except that's not always the case. People who have feelings for someone can be especially distrustful of any reciprocation hints. They might be read as wishful thinking or self-indulgent pattern recognition. In Jack's specific case, he a) is shown not to have such a high degree of emotional maturity, so I wouldn't count on him readily recognising his own feelings, let alone Sally's, and b) may or may not be going through depression, but sure as hell he's going through a period of crisis, self-doubt and confusion. That alone chunks anyone's inability to recognise other people's feelings for them up to eleven: Jack clearly has the love and respect of all the people in Halloween Town, but that doesn't reach him. He has zero self-worth, so is unreceptive to what positive feelings other people have for him. That would include Sally, until after he finds himself again and re-establishes his sense of self-worth.

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 Halloween Town, 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 Halloween Town. 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.
      • Yes, but just because he's well known doesn't mean they know all about him; as with monsters who would be depicted as scary actually being nice; besides, they probably made up their own mythology for him from the sightings and gave him a different name; so he would be well known, as they would have seen his face, but not have actually known about what he does and who he is; although its anyone's guess how he got out of halloweentown, went to those countries and was not infatauated with them as with Christmas, although perhaps he just is a well known boogeyman of dreams?

Lock, Shock, and Barrel were formerly alive
Compared to the other three children in Halloween Town (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.
  • "Formerly" alive? Why do you think they're undead? Unlike the Corpse Boy, who is, on the contrary, supposed to be an undead human being, Lock, Shock and Barrel are the local trick-or-treaters, who have no reason to be dead. They're just ugly because, you know, town of monsters.

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 does not have ADD/ADHD.
The theory that he does is just part of the recent trend of assigning disorders to everyone and their mother, fictional and non-fictional. Jack is excitable, eager, and switches topics quickly, but these are not signs of any sort of mental disorder so much as just being part of his personality.
  • Indeed, a point the original theory overlooks is that the movie implies it took years for Jack to become disenchanted with Halloween.
    James, the Saxophone player: Good Job, Bone Daddy.
    Jack: Yeah, I guess so. Just like Last Year. And the year before that, and the year before that.

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.
  • Completely agree. Also, Jack is having some sort of Mid-death Crisis, so his trying to take over Christmas could be equivalent to, you know, buying a convertible and dating younger girls you have nothing in common with. It's exhilarating, new and exciting, but it's not really compatible with whom you are. A much more healthy way is reviewing your goals in life and realizing what you really cherish: Sally.
  • This also works with Jack's worry that "something is missing" when Sally confronts him; Christmas does not have the right feel for him as he thought it would, it's not relieving his depression.

Jack would love Disneyworld/land.
Come on, it makes perfect sense.
  • That's just adorable.
  • I call canon.

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 PS2 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 PS2 sequel, so it's technically not Jossed.
    • Furthermore, it's not Oogie's Revenge that mentions Bug Day, it's the GBA prequel game, Pumpkin King.

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 Halloween Town. 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.
  • It sounded like it could be both, but the DVD subtitles say "friends". And that line isn't in the original draft of the script, so who can say? Besides, Jack is the type who probably considers anyone he meets a friend.

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 Halloween Town 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)
  • All that is interesting, but not everyone in Halloweentown is dead, fercrissake! Dr. Finkelstein, the werewolf, lake creature, witches, etc. have no reason to be dead. There are lots of dead people in Halloweentown because a lot of monsters are ghosts and other types of undeads, but it doesn't mean Halloweentown is the afterlife or something.

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.
      • Actually, LSB's fears may have held more merit than we thought. In the game, Jack really did get physically violent with them. Granted, they deserved it.
      • While neither games are official canon the prequel also has LSB mention to Jack that Oogie will "whomp" them if they tell him where Sally is, so this theory holds some weight if you want to factor the games in.

Slender Man is either Jack's father or uncle
. . . well, they look similar!

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?
  • I like this. That leads to the suggestion that Finklestein likes to literally put himself in his work, what with Jewel being made using half his brain.

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.note 

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.)

This'll be fun, deciding who represents which.

  • Jack: Necrophobia (fear of death), because it seems appropriate that the King of Halloween would represent probably the most common, all-encompassing fear, and he's represented by a corpse.
  • Sally: Pediophobia (fear of dolls), or basically Uncanny Valley, due to her being an Artificial Human.
    • Alternately, she could be a fear of dismemberment, since she's always falling apart.
  • Oogie Boogie: Entomophobia (fear of bugs), since he's made out of bugs.
    • Or algophobia (fear of pain), because he's a Torture Technician.
    • Alternatively, he represents Adult Fear, since he gambles, kidnaps, and tortures, compared to the lighthearted other residents of the town.
  • Finklestein: Fear of science, or progression, or technology.
    • Or cripples.
  • The Mayor: Fear of authority, or possibly fear of deception (since he's literally "two-faced")
    • Or perhaps he's the fear of public speaking. It would fit with his Nervous Wreck status and since it's the other most common fear, it makes sense that he would be co-leader with Jack.
  • Lock, Shock, and Barrel: Pedophobia (fear of children). Yes, it exists. Either that or fear of neighborhood hooligans or the Enfant Terrible.
  • Zero: Cynophobia (fear of dogs).
  • The Band: ???
    • Jimmy, the accordion player: Fear of accordions, making him possibly the most evil one of all.
    • Jim, the bass player: ???
    • James, the saxophone player: ???
  • Behemoth: ???
  • Clown-With-The-Tear-Away-Face: Coulrophobia (fear of clowns). Self-explanatory.
  • Corpse Family: Fear of ugliness/deformity. The three are pretty standard representations of traditional circus freaks (the "living skeleton", the fat lady, the dwarf).
    • Ned (the dad): ???
    • Bertha (the mom): ???
    • Ethan (the kid): Fear of the loss of senses (his eyes are stitched shut).
  • Creature Under the Bed: Fear of things under the bed.
  • Creature Under the Stairs: Fear of things under the stairs.
  • Cyclops: Fear of Eye Scream
  • Devil: Fear of the devil.
  • Gate Keeper: Ornithophobia (fear of birds).
  • Ghostsnote : Fear of ghosts.
  • Grim Reaper: Necrophobia (fear of death), because he's the Grim Reaper.
  • Grim Reaper's Companion: ???
  • Hanging Tree And Hangmen: Hylophobia (fear of trees).
  • Harlequin Demon: Fear of the abstract or subconscious? His design is especially bizarre.
  • Igor: Fear of servitude or mental disability.
  • Jack-o'-lantern:
  • Jewel: Fear of loss of identity (since she looks identical to Finklestein)
  • Melting Man: Fear of melting
  • Mr. Hyde: ???
  • Mummy Boy: Claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces), because mummies are kept in coffins.
  • Rats: Fear of rats.
  • Shadows: Fear of the shapes caught out of the corner of your eye (e.g. shadows that seem to change shape)
  • Skeletal Reindeer: ???
  • Skeletal Rooster: ???
  • Undersea Gal: Fear of Drowning.
  • Vampire Brothers: Hemophobia (fear of blood), since they drink blood.
  • Witches: Fear of magic.
  • Apple Crone: Fear of poisoned foods (Halloween treats, especially), or fear of deception in general.
  • Withered Winged Demon: Fear of flying?
  • Wolfman: Cynophobia (fear of dogs).

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.
Santa's life was in danger, because teleportation only works if your not scared. I dont think personally I would be #TOTALLYBRAVE if I was being tortured by a fat glowing sack of bugs. And why is it that way? well, Christmas is about spreading joy and for some people, fear doesn't give them joy. Santa might be one of those people.
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?
  • Close. Lock is six, Shock is seven, and Barrel is five.

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 Fan Fic 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).
  • Confirmed in the closing narration on the official soundtrack. ""But after that, nothing was ever the same/ Each holiday now knew the other one's name"

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, while Oogie uses terror to control the people of Halloween.
  • Considering that The Casino is often associated with gangsters, this could be true on Oogie's part.

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.

Jack's original form was of the Jack PumpkinHead scarecrow from the opening number.
Jack was already so bored with running Halloween year after year, that for this Halloween he actually set himself aflame, deforming himself into his current form.
  • Jossed by the lyrics of "This Is Halloween", which refer to him as "skeleton Jack". It's just a costume for his Big Entrance.

Sally is Lily Potter.
A kind-hearted, red-headed potions master can't be easy to find, and Lily was right up there with the best of them at Hogwarts. Of course, Dr. Finklestein would have absolutely no idea who she was while alive, as he would have simply reassembled her, given her 'life' after Voldemort killed her, and named her whatever he wanted, as he viewed her as solely his creation.
  • Unless Finklestein was Snape, buying into the Sex Slave theory. He looks nothing like Snape because the fandom hadn't established an appearance for him (look at the Grandpré illustration in Prisoner of Azkaban, he doesn't resemble Alan Rickman at all) Ironically, he looks a lot like how I imagined him before I'd seen the movies.

"Dead" does not mean to Halloween Town what it means to us
There's a lot of confusion arising from Jack's comment "Since I am dead/I can take off my head" from "Jack's Lament", which most take to mean that everyone in Halloween Town is undead. However, we're not considering that Halloween Town clearly has a very different culture, and to them, "dead" might not mean "has died" so much as "has corpse-like qualities". We see a handful of characters who have the qualities of being undead (Jack, the vampires, the zombie band, the zombie family, the zombie), but no-one talks about past lives or anything, so I think that when Jack says that he's dead, he means that he has no pulse/doesn't breathe/other signs of being dead, not that he actually had a life once and now it's over.

Everyone in all the holiday universes are dead.
When a person dies, they get sent to the universe of their favorite holiday. (And as for Thanksgiving, that's where people who would've gone to hell go.)
  • Interesting idea. But what would happen to someone who loves two holidays (say, Halloween and Christmas) equally?
    • Maybe they just have to pick one holiday town to live in, and their new form takes on qualities of both holidays? For example, someone who loves Halloween and Christmas may go to Christmas Town and become, say, a scary polar bear, or go to Halloween Town and become, say, a Bad Santa-esque monster.

The bug from Kidnap the Sandy Claws wasn't eaten.
It was assimilated into Oogie Boogie.
  • This is pretty much a given. It's not unlikely that Oogie would need to replenish his supplies occasionally.

Oogie Boogie was going to have sex with Sally.
Until he found out that it was only her leg.Well, until Jack came to rescue her and Santa, there was time enough for him to rape her...

Halloween Town is Halloweentown.
Both are owned by Disney.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is in the same universe as Monsters, Inc..
Both have monsters and doors that can take someone to another place.

The film is an allegory for Danny Elfman's music career.
Specifically: Halloween Town, and Jack's being the Pumpkin King, symbolize Elfman's time in Oingo Boingo, while Christmas Town (and being "Sandy Claws") represent doing film scores. More or less confirmed.
...not only has he gone on record as saying that it is his favourite of his works for Burton, but it's also the one with the deepest autobiographical roots. The friction between Halloween Town, ruled over by Jack Skellington, and the far cosier Christmas Town, which lies outside Jack's dominion and comprehension, is for Elfman symbolic on several levels. He equates Jack's struggle against the confines of the familiar with his own discomfort as a rock musician. (Even as he was scoring the movie, he was trying to extricate himself from Oingo Boingo: "I felt like I was writing about me and my band," he says.)

Jack's feelings about Christmas...
Jack gushes endlessly about Christmas and everything that comes with it, whilst also ranting on about how he feels so close to understanding it, that it's behind a locked door to which he doesn't have the key, and that the whole thing is 'like a memory long since past'. Perhaps he DID die to end up in Halloween Town, and his feelings about Christmas come from long buried memories of Christmas when he was alive in the 'real' world?

Lock, Shock, and Barrel work for Oogie Boogie as punishment.
I was wondering why three little children work for the very thing that frightens children. Then, when I thought about it, I realized that there are many versions of the Boogieman story where children will be eaten or spirited away by the Boogieman as punishment for being naughty. It would be easy enough to conclude that if (since it is never clarified) they ever lived, then they either died young and unrepentant, or they were "spirited away".

Either way, they were doomed to work for Oogie because of their antics in life, and with him being the way he is (sadistic and creepy and having three henchmen at his beck and call), it would explain why they never really learned their lesson: Oogie doesn't seem to care what they do so long as they bring him things (other than themselves) to eat. It would also explain why they showed no remorse for Oogie's death, and were even HAPPY to bring the Mayor to Jack: Jack essentially freed them from their punishment.

Same troper, editing to add: and why does Oogie never seem to have other children at his beck and call? We've seen the skeletons in his lair. If Lock, Shock, and Barrel ever dared to stop working for him, they could easily be replaced. And it's probably easier to control three kids over, say, a dozen.

The film actually tracks Christmas' take-over of Halloween, not the other way around.
This sounds crazy, but think about it. Just as Halloween ends, Christmas is thrust upon us. It's not the real Christmas though, it's a horrible, commercial version (represented by the macabre Halloweentown Christmas). Christmas is slowly creeping back and absorbing the other holidays, and losing its soul. It takes the real spirit of Christmas (Sandy Claws) to restore the balance, fix Christmas, and Jack can thus restore his own holiday to its former glory.
  • As a sidenote, this Troper's mother is the manager of the store. Come 2014, they were getting Christmas stuff in the middle of August.

Jack is a bone elemental like C.A. Cupid.
How else can he eat and feel pain? He also doesn't have the anatomy of a proper human skeleton.
  • As of her transfer to Ever After High, it's pretty clear that the "bone elemental" idea was purely a hypothesis on Ghoulia's part and that Cupid just changes appearances to match her surroundings. Jack is likely just the abstract idea of a skeleton or a monster rather than reanimated bones, so he doesn't have to obey the rules of biology.

Jack and Sally are Skelita Calavera's parents or god parents
Skelita is adopted with a couple other skeleton and ragdoll children for the godparents angle she is the Daughter of La Muerte and Xibalba and since Day of the Dead is the day after Halloween they felt Jack and Sally would be perfect since they know the two would make sure to let Skelita know about her heritage.
  • Additionally for the adoption angle they adopted Hoodude after Frankie Stein abandoned him since he is a living rag doll.
    • So far, the MH canon seems to deny the possibility. Hoodude lives with one of the teachers, and Skelita's parents are said to be Hexican, so Jack and Sally might have to be long-ago ancestors.

The Holiday Trees are located in the Wood Between the Worlds.
Self-explanatory - it stands to reason that the appearance of the woods would change to match the cartoony aesthetic of the worlds they linked, hence why the entrances are doors in the trees rather than pools next to them.

Jack is related to The Marionette.
Slender, black and white suits, eyeless white faces, and arguably the scariest of their respective worlds. And with the Slender Man theory listed way up above, it's one big creepy family.

Sally is a freak by Halloween Town standards.
Similar to a WMG about Jessica Rabbit being a freak by toon standards because she's not very funny, Sally is a freak in Halloween Town because while she looks human and pretty by our standards, everyone else is hideous and freakish-looking. This could be why she's so shy: she's not traditionally "scary" and has a hard time fitting in because of it.
  • Adding to this, the reason she loves Jack is because he was the first person who wasn't put off by the fact that she was different.

Jack and Sally adopted Lock, Shock, and Barrel.
The trio lost the only thing they could consider a father, and they're known for their trouble-making ways. The only other one they fear/respect is Jack, and it would make sense to adopt them/watch over them to both keep them under control and to give them stability. It's up in the air about whether Jack and Sally can have kids (as well as the soundtrack epilogue. It can go either way with them being Jack and Sally's kids, and it can also go either way with the "skeleton children" description being all the kids, or just the majority of them).

The back cover of the original VHS and the special edition DVD also show Jack and Sally dancing, with Lock, Shock and Barrel celebrating around them. It could mean nothing, and the threesome are merely celebrating, but also consider that the only time Jack and Sally are shown romantically is at the end. And all three of them are looking up at Jack and Sally, possibly because they became a family and all are better off now than they were in their old lives.

It does make even more sense when you think about Jack and Sally's personalities. Jack is stern, but fair, and Sally is compassionate and patient. They're exactly the kind of example and guidance the threesome needs to better adjust, even if they never quite unlearn their trouble-making ways.

The "Who" when you call "Who's there?" is a monster owl.
Obvious pun is obvious.

The angel statue that catches Jack is a Living Statue.
Anyone else think it's a little too much of a coincidence that Jack just happened to land in the arms of an angel, right next to a portal back to Halloween Town? Maybe the angel in question was actually alive, and when she saw Jack falling she flew up and snatched him out of the air. Then she brought him safely back down to Earth, right where he needed to be.
  • How did she know about Halloween Town? Well, considering what it's like, she might actually live there.

Oogie Boogie is a hold over from a forgotten holiday.
  • He's the patron of a much older, much dark holiday from a very primitive time. His violence and mild obsession with games of chance are just part of that holiday shining through. As for what he's doing in Halloween, more likely then not elements of this older festival of violence evolved into the modern version of Halloween which he wisely jumped ship to so he could avoid simply disappearing into obscurity. But he finds modern Halloween disgusting and pathetic compared to what he used to be in charge of which is why he has a problem with Jack who is the physical representation of this new holiday he can't stand.
    • Definitely true in the non-canon GBA game. He hails from Bug Day.

The fight between Oogie Boogie and Jack is symbolically a fight between old school and modern horror.
  • Jack represents psychological scares, but never hurts anybody other than Oogie, someone who has it coming — a staple of old school horror where even the antagonist often had sympathetic motives. Jack also has grandiose designs and plans. In contrast, Oogie Boogie is all about death and visceral reactions (he's essentially skinned alive), like modern horror films' reliance on gore and brutality.

Halloween Town is a kind of Limbo that exists between life and death.
This would explain things, such as how Jack is "dead so he can take off his head", but then later the townsfolk all believe that Jack is dead, like when Oogie says "Jack? But they said you were dead". It's not so much that Jack can die again; he's already dead. It's that the body he has in Limbo will perish, and he'll finally move towards real death.

Jack comes from a family of Pumpkin Kings, and has been raised to be king since he was a boy.
Which to me explains a lot. Especially since in the video game "Pumpkin King", Jack has his inauguration as it were into being a King. So it makes sense that he had been prepping to be king, and knew to expect it.

Jack's love for Sally is real, but he didn't always feel that way.
I think he really did fall in love with her, but I'm not sure I see the argument above as proof. I think when he saw Dr. F with his new girlfriend he was just surprised and a little weirded out that they looked the same. And Jack DIDN'T recognize Sally's feelings precisely because his own were not as strong as hers.

After Jack commands Lock, Shock, and Barrel to take the Easter Bunny back and get Santa Claus, we don't really find out whether they listened to him or not. But considering that they had every intention of handing Santa over to Oogie, it seems like they would do the same with the Easter Bunny. What happened next depends on where you fall on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. If you want a happy ending, maybe the Easter Bunny was tougher than he looks, and he managed to fight off the trio and make his way back home. Alternatively, they took the EB to Oogie, who also got mad, commanded them to bring him Santa instead, and let the EB go. Unfortunately, it's also possible that Oogie was more than happy to accept the trio's offering, and he made some rabbit stew...

Oogie Boogie isn't really the bogeyman.
As noted on the Characters page, he is a a self described boogieman", but doesn't show many typical traits of the bogeyman, such as haunting children's bedrooms - at least, not on screen. Maybe he's a completely different monster who suffers from A God Am I. Besides, Oogie looks very different from other depictions of the bogeyman - like the Characters page says, his appearance is more akin to a typical Bedsheet Ghost.

The movie has a subtle "Humans Are the Real Monsters" message.
As in Tim Burton's later movie Corpse Bride, nearly all of the monsters are fun-loving and genial despite their scary looks, while the humans are more selfish and dull, if not outright evil. Although Lock, Shock, and Barrel are Ambiguously Human, they are perhaps the most humanlike residents of Halloween Town, and some of the cruelest. The humans in the "real world" are more justified examples, as they feel legitimately threatened by Jack's attempt at making Christmas, but perhaps they were too quick to panic. Most of the toys seemed like they genuinely wanted to play, but the humans didn't consider this at all, instead panicking, shooting down Jack's sleigh, and declaring Christmas to be Ruined Forever.

Christmas magic is what saved Jack's life.
The monsters' reaction to Jack's sleigh getting shot down indicates that, despite being a skeleton, he should have died. Maybe some outside force from Christmas Town (or maybe the night itself was magical) stepped in to keep the explosion and fall from killing Jack, so he could save Santa.

The monsters sing "This is Halloween" every year, but each time, different monsters sing different parts.
Maybe each monsternote  has their own "I am the" line, but which monsters sing theirs is rotated every year. This is probably one of the things that the Mayor likes to plan out. Let's guess what the other monsters' lines might be:
  • Dr. Finklestein: "I'm the evil genius with the monster wife! / Bringing your worst nightmares to life!"
    • Or, before he made his wife (assuming Sally wasn't one), "I'm the evil genius with a brilliant mind / Mad science only, that's my kind!"
  • Lock, Shock, and Barrel: "We are the kids, who, though no older than six / don't like treats, cause we'd rather play tricks!"
  • Undersea Gal: "I am the lady lurking under the lake / swimming with me is a big mistake!"
  • Harlequin Demon: "I am the creature who looks quite unique! / alien features to make you shriek!"
  • Mr. Hyde: "I am the man who holds in his hat / tinier men, that's where we are at!"
    • "I am Dr. Jekyll's insidious side! / All of London fears the cruel Mr. Hyde!"
  • Werewolf: "I am the werewolf, hear me growl! / Nobody's safe when I'm on the prowl!"
  • Devil: "I am the devil, making you feel unwell / Evil and frightening like I'm straight from hell!"

Sally was a doll given at Christmas
It's possible that at least some of the residents of Halloweentown, before they came there, had lives in our world. Sally's life is that she was a handmade doll given as a Christmas gift. She belonged to a girl or family for a while. Eventually someone thought she was too scary-looking, and she was thrown out, or maybe destroyed, and was "reborn" in Halloweentown. The fact that Christmas was so important in her previous life is why she has an intuitive understanding of it - of Christmas, and of love - which no one else in Halloweentown has.

Jack is the hero in the legend of the Jack-O-Lantern.
If you're not familiar with it, Jack was a drunkard who was once visited by the devil, who wanted to take him away. However, Jack tricked the devil by luring him up a tree, and drawing a cross on it, trapping the devil and not letting him come down unless he leaves him alone. After Jack died, he couldn't enter Heaven because he was a drunkard, and he couldn't enter Hell because the devil was still mad at him, altough he was given a little burning ember. So Jack carved a carrot/pumpkin, put the ember in it, and kept wandering the afterlife.It's one of the known legends about Halloweenand who would be a better leader for the holiday than the one who invented one of the main symbols?

Oogie will Return for a Sequel
Oogie Boogie is going to come back for a second (third if Oogie's Revenge is going to be canon) round and this time he is going to have help from other former hoilday rulers who are from other long forgotten pagan hoildays, as well as personifications of now obscure darker aspects of the current hoildays.
  • Expect either Krampus or the Frau Perchta as one Oogie's allies who want revenge on Santa Claus.
  • Jossed. The sequel comic shows Oogie has a tomb in the cemetery, Lock, Shock, and Barrel outright state he's been gone a while, and aside from a quick cameo painted on a wall in Issue 10, hasn't been referenced since.


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