The plot concerns the misguided attempt by Jack Skellington, the well-meaning ruler of Halloween Town, to organize Christmas and temporarily replace Santa Claus.
Halloween Town is home to ghosts, witches, werewolves, vampires and many other kinds of scary monsters and things that go bump in the night. They are responsible for creating the holiday of Halloween and, in spite of their frightening appearance, they are generally well-meaning. It is their job to scare people but not to harm them. The most important character in Halloween Town is the skeletal Jack Skellington, also known as the Pumpkin King. At the beginning of the movie, the residents of the town celebrate the end of another successful Halloween but Jack is feeling down. He feels that he is repeating himself and wants to try something new.
Jack Skellington goes into a wood and finds trees with doors in them which lead to other holiday worlds. He enters Christmas Town and immediately falls in love with the place. He returns to Halloween Town and tells the other residents of his plan to organize Christmas that year. The other Halloween creatures do not really understand when Jack attempts to explain Christmas to them but they agree to help anyway.
Sally, a Frankenstein's monster-like living rag doll, created by mad scientist Dr. Finkelstein to be his assistant, has long admired Jack from afar. She has a premonition that Jack's attempts to take over Christmas will end in disaster. She tries to warn him but he is certain that his Christmas will be a success.
Shortly before Christmas, the three trick-or-treaters Lock, Shock and Barrel are sent to bring Santa Claus to Halloween Town. Jack tells Santa Claus that he is going to take over his role that year, allowing Santa Claus to take a break. Against Jack's wishes, Lock, Shock and Barrel take Santa Claus to the evil monster Oogie Boogie, a living sack full of bugs, who holds the old man captive.
On Christmas Eve, Jack flies into the air in a coffin shaped sleigh pulled by reindeer skeletons. He begins to deliver presents but, unfortunately, the presents that the other Halloween creatures have created are grotesque and even dangerous. The authorities soon discover that Santa Claus has been replaced by an impostor and he is shot down by the military. Jack falls to the ground in a cemetery. At first, he is upset but then feels proud for having tried and, feeling more like his old self again, begins looking forward to the following Halloween. He enters a portal in the cemetery and returns to his own world.
Back in Halloween Town, Sally tries to save Santa Claus but is captured by Oogie Boogie.Jack arrives, Oogie Boogie flees, becomes tangled in one of his own machines and with, Jack's help, gets split open, spilling out the insects that were inside him. Most of the insects fall into a boiling cauldron and some are squashed under Jack's foot.
Jack is briefly reprimanded by Santa Claus, who realises that he has to quickly leave and put right what Jack has made go wrong. It is revealed that Dr. Finkelstein has created a replacement for Sally, having placed half of his own brain inside his new creation's head. Sally is now free to begin a new life with Jack. The two stand alone together on top of a hill and kiss.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge
- Corpse Bride
- Frankenweenie (1984 movie)
- Frankenweenie (2012 movie)