Tim Burton and Disney’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Is Actually Based on This Poem

What happens when you mix Christmas and Halloween? That’s just the world that Tim Burton created with the animated Disney movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Here’s what we know about some of the inspiration behind this story, including the poem it is a parody of.

RELATED: From ‘Hocus Pocus’ to ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Here Are Some of Disney’s Spookiest Movies for Halloween

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ is a parody of a Christmas poem

Sure, there are Disney Halloween movies like Hocus Pocus and Christmas movies like The Santa Clause, but what happens when two holidays meet by mistake? According to Screenrant, Tim Burton’s animated movie is actually a parody of the iconic Christmas poem, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

The narrator makes these references even more apparent, introducing Halloweentown with a “’Twas a long time ago, longer now than it seems, in a place that perhaps, you’ve seen in your dreams…” 

This is similar to ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, which begins with “‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Of course, the poem tells the story of a peaceful winter night, but this film tells the story of a different night and a completely different holiday. 

Halloweentown is full of monsters, witches, and demons. It also has Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, who dreams of life before the thrills of Halloween. This movie contains a number of songs detailing Jack’s discovery of Christmastown, including “What’s This.”

What else inspired Tim Burton’s film, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas?’

After falling into Christmastown, Jack makes it his mission to recreate it back home. This doesn’t exactly go as planned, especially when that no-good Oogie Boogie almost kills Santa Claus. This meeting of the two holidays, though, was actually inspired by the writer’s own life. 

According to IMDb’s trivia, “Tim Burton has said the original poem was inspired after seeing Halloween merchandise display in a store being taken down and replaced by a Christmas display. The juxtaposition of ghouls and goblins with Santa and his reindeer sparked his imagination.”

Tim Burton's 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'
Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ | Joel Fletcher/Online USA

RELATED: These Classic 90s Halloween Movies Are Available for Streaming on Disney+ This October

This movie, featuring characters like Jack Skellington and Sally, is available on Disney+

Jack’s version of Christmas is somewhat tainted by the feeling in Halloweentown. Instead of visions of sugar plums, the kids have nightmares. Instead of Christmas caroling, the kids go trick or treating. Still, it manages to be a magical holiday for everyone.

Created in conjunction with Disney, this Halloween/Christmas flick is available on the company’s streaming platform. There’s also the original series, Prop Culture, which looks at the props behind this stop-motion animation, including where those props are located over 10 years later. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas is available on Disney+, where Halloween-inspired movies like Twitches, The Haunted Mansion, and Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge are also available. To learn more about Disney+ and to subscribe, visit their website.