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Jack Skellington is the pumpkin king of Halloween Town and the main protagonist of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.

His usual appearance is a skeleton dressed in a black pin-striped suit and a bow tie resembling a bat, but there are some points in which he dresses as a scarecrow with a pumpkin for a head. His last name is a play on skeleton.

He has a pet ghost dog named Zero, who has a small glowing nose that looks like a jack-o'-lantern. His love interest is Sally, a rag doll created by Dr. Finklestein.

Jack is voiced by Chris Sarandon and his singing voice is provided by Danny Elfman.

The Nightmare Before Christmas[]

Jack is the Pumpkin King and lives in Halloween Town where he travels to the real world to scare people on every Halloween. The film begins the citizens of Halloween Town celebrating Halloween and Jack appears after he does a fire trick, dressed up as a scarecrow. Jack is congratulated by everyone, but he sneaks away as the Mayor of Halloween Town gives out awards. Jack walks through the graveyard, meets with his ghost dog, Zero, and sings that he's tired of doing the same routine "every year." Unknown to him, Sally, a rag doll created by Dr. Finkelstein, listens to Jack's song and understands how he feels. Jack sleepwalks to the Hinterlands and discovers doors leading to other holiday worlds. He's drawn to the Christmas door and becomes fascinated with Christmas. When he returns to Halloween Town, he calls for a town meeting and tells the citizens his time in Christmas Town. They fail to understand his meaning in Christmas and compare everything to Halloween. Jack tries to understand the true meaning of Christmas and even tries doing experiments. As Jack continues his experiments, Sally who has fallen in love with Jack, gives a gift basket to Jack. When he receives the basket, he falls somewhat in love with her and is confused when she flees due to her bashfulness.

In the morning, Jack decides to celebrate Christmas, claiming it should belong to anyone. He gives every citizen a job, even a pair of mischievous trick-or-treaters, Lock, Shock and Barrel, to kidnap Santa Claus. As Jack continues giving out jobs, Sally tries to warn him of a premonition she saw of a burning Christmas tree, but he politely dismisses her fear and tells her to make the Santa suit. Lock, Shock, and Barrel arrive with the Easter Bunny and Jack orders them to take him home. As the citizens get ready for Christmas, Sally helps Jack with the suit, despite her trying to remind Jack that he's the Pumpkin King. The children arrive with Santa and Jack takes his hat after telling Santa that he'll be taking a break. As Jack prepares to aboard the sleigh, heavy fog pulls in due to Sally using fog juice. Jack loses hope until Zero reveals his glowing noise. With Zero on his team, Jack takes off. Jack delivers presents, but brings fear instead joy to children. Parents call the police who call the military forces to shoot down the "impostor." Jack doesn't realize he's being targeted until one of the skeleton reindeer is shot. Jack tries to get away, but the sleigh is shot and Jack crashes down to a cemetery. He's presumed dead by the citizens of Halloween Town, but he actually survived the fall. Jack feels bad for his mistake, but he regains his old spirit with new ideas for Halloween. Hoping that there's still time to set things right, Jack returns to Halloween Town and realizes that Santa was taken to Oogie Boogie. When Jack arrives at Lock, Shock, and Barrel's treehouse, he hears Sally's cries for help and is angered that Oogie also captured Sally. Jack rescues them before Oogie could dump them in a lava pit. Jack faces Oogie, avoiding all of his traps. Oogie tries to escape, but Jack angrily yanks off Oogie's thread, opening his sack body, revealing bugs. Sally watches in shock as Jack glares at the bugs who fall into the pit. The lead bug tries to escape, but is squashed by Santa who reprimands Jack before leaving to save Christmas. As Jack and Sally are left alone, Jack is surprised that Sally tried to risk her life to save Santa, in order to save Jack. Before Jack could say anything, they're rescued by the mayor and the three children. They return to town where all of the citizens welcome Jack home. Santa flies by, making it snow in Halloween Town as he wishes Jack a Happy Halloween. Jack waves and wishes Santa a Merry Christmas. The citizens are confused by snow at first, but soon play in it, finally understanding Christmas. As Jack happily looks around, he sees Doctor Finklestein with his new creation, a wife. Before Jack could say anything to the doctor, he sees Sally heading to the graveyard. Jack then realizes he deeply loves Sally and follows her. When Sally comes to a short stop on the hill, Jack sings to her, confessing his feelings for her. Sally joins him, singing that she feels the same way for him. They hold their hands, embrace, and kiss as Zero watches them and morphs into a star.

James and the Giant Peach[]

Captain Jack.

In Henry Selick film James and the Giant Peach, Jack appears as the captain, in the pirate scene. Upon seeing him, the Centipede even says "A skellington?". An interesting factor is that in the scene Jack is with a dead skeletal version of Donald Duck wearing his hat and a band of skeletal pirates and that the scene itself is underwater deep in the arctic.

Cameos in others Burton's films[]

In Vincent, Jack appears as one of the phantasmic imaginisms of the titular character, during the final minutes of the short film.

Jack appears in Beetlejuice when Betelgeuse comes out of the city model with a carousel on his head. Jack's is at the top of the carousel.

During the opening scene of Sleepy Hollow, Jack's scarecrow outfit can be seen.

In Alice in Wonderland Jack's face can be found on the Mad Hatter's scarf.

The egg Beldam/Other Mother cracked open, the yoke formed Jack's face in Coraline.

Appearances in video games[]

The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King[]

Jack Skellington is shown to have had a rivalry with Oogie Boogie. Oogie makes plans to turn Halloween Town into a New Bug Day and kidnaps Sally, Dr. Finklestein's creation. After Jack learns of Sally's kidnapping, he takes it upon himself to save Sally (for the first time) and restore Halloween Town. Jack confronts Oogie and defeats him, after which he banishes Oogie to his underground lair. Having defeated Oogie Boogie and saved Sally (thus enticing her love interest in him), the town declares Jack "Pumpkin King"—the king of Halloween and all things scary.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge[]

Tired of using the same old themes over and over on Halloween, Jack Skellington goes to Doctor Finkelstein, who gives him the Soul Robber, an invention that changes shape. Jack decided to leave Halloween Town to get new ideas for Halloween frights. When Jack comes back to town, he finds that Oogie Boogie has been resurrected. Now Jack has to set things right again. Jack dances, fights, and sings in this game to attack Oogie Boogie's minions. Jack is portrayed as inept to some degree in this game.

It should be noted that Chris Sarandon did both the speaking and singing voice for Jack in this game. Elfman only provided the singing voice in the original film due to his personal request.

Disney Universe[]

Jack Skellington features in the Nightmare Before Christmas downloadable expansion pack which includes Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie-Boogie, Dr. Finklestein and the Mayor as in-game playable costumes. The downloadable content can be bought from console stores (e.g. the PlayStation Store). The package included the costumes of which some could be found in the downloaded level. Unlike the worlds originally in the game which all had 3 chapters, the Nightmare Before Christmas world only had 1 chapter called 'Halloween Graveyard'.

Kingdom Hearts series[]

Jack Skellington appears in four installments of the Kingdom Hearts video game series. He inhabits the world of Halloween Town, where the evil Heartless threatens its denizens. The games' main protagonists, Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy, befriend Jack and together they battle the Heartless and also Oogie Boogie. In combat, Jack uses some of his scary powers with demonstrations of some magic, making him a formidable sorcerer.

Chris Sarandon reprises his role for the English version, and Masachika Ichimura provides Jack's Japanese voice.

Kingdom Hearts[]

Jack Skellington introduces himself to Sora, Goofy, and Donald Duck as the ruler of Halloween Town. Jack plans to use the heart that Finklestein created to control the seemingly docile Heartless to make a festival called "Heartless Halloween" so that Halloween can be frightening, but the idea fails when not only the first experiment cause the Heartless to go berserk, but Oogie Boogie steals the finished heart, and plans to use it to take over Halloween Town. At Oogie's manor, Jack, Sora, and the gang confront him. After Oogie is defeated, Jack finds out that Oogie uses dark orbs as his source of life, which Oogie combines himself with his manor to become a giant boss. Once the gang defeats Oogie once again, and his manor crumbles, revealing Halloween Town's keyhole. Jack is considerably shorter in this game than as he appeared in the movie, though he is still rather tall when compared to the game's main protagonists.

Chain of Memories[]

"Created" from Sora's memories of Halloween Town, when Jack Skellington wanted to ask Doctor Finkelstein what happened when he sniffs the potion that can bring "true memories", Heartless appeared. When Jack Skellington had found out that Oogie Boogie had stolen the Doc's potion, he must stop him before Oogie drinks the whole potion. They fail to reach him before he does, but they defeat him, as Oogie becomes overwhelmed with fear as a side effect of the potion. Sora becomes worried about what will happen when he discovers his true memories, but Jack reassures him that fear is a sign of a strong heart.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days[]

In this game, Roxas arrives at Halloween Town while Jack is in the middle of a brainstorming for Halloween. Jack is having trouble with thinking of things but gets inspiration when he sees Roxas leaving through a Dark Corridor. Time after time, Roxas' adventures through Halloween Town inspire Jack to create such things as balloons filled with spiders, exploding frost pumpkins, and Halloween lanterns. When Roxas is sent to find the source of a terrible drop in heartless population, he finds the town overrun with monsters called Tentaclaws. After seeing Roxas defeating the source of the Tentaclaws, the cannibalistic Leechgrave, Jack invents a terrifying scarecrowish version of Roxas as his centerpiece for that Halloween.

Kingdom Hearts II[]

Following the film loosely to some degree, out of reference, Jack tries to take Santa Claus's place again. To that end, Jack asks Sora and gang to help him be Santa's bodyguards. But after fighting the Heartless and Oogie Boogie, who has been resurrected by Maleficent, Santa explains to Jack that they each have a job to do with their respective holidays. Despite this, he begins to wear a Santa suit Sally sewed together for him. In the second trip to Halloween Town, Jack still wears the Santa suit, as he still longs to deliver Christmas presents and feels that it would be rude not to wear the suit Sally worked so hard on. Along with Sora and the gang, he helps defeat Doctor Finkelstein's experiment, who stole Christmas presents from Santa in search of a heart. As a reward for all his hard work and assistance, Santa brings Jack on a ride-along with him in his sleigh for a while. After Santa drops Jack off at Halloween Town, Jack learns the true meaning of Christmas by understanding the act of giving. He dances with Sally in the end, finally realizing all of the gifts she had given to him were all from the heart and wishes to give her something in return. She tells him that the nicest present she could ever ask for is just to be with Jack. Jack responds telling her that she does not even have to ask for that, meaning Jack feels the same way for her. During a cut scene in the end credits, he is shown to be wearing his original suit, suggesting he has taken Santa's previous advice to heart completely, and apparently begins presenting new ideas for next Halloween.

Disney Infinity[]

Disney Infinity

As far as gameplay, Jack has a "Scare" ability much like the Monsters University characters. He also comes with Halloween Town Jack O' Lanterns for long range attacks.

Jack's Toy Box Adventure is called Jack's Nightmare, where he has to survive enemy attacks for three rounds.

Jack has 4 Character Chests, which unlock his costume, the Halloween Town Jack-O-Lanterns, the Halloween Town Gate , and the Sally Costume.

Disney Infinity 2.0[]

He now has a Costume Change Power Disc, that gives him his Sandy Claws outfit.

Disney Infinity 3.0 []

Many Halloween town pieces where added so people could make better The Nightmare Before Christmas toy boxes. There is also a race track in Speedway called Halloween Town Highway.

Powers & Abilities[]




  • Soul robber
  • Booby-trapped presents


See also: Jack Skellington/Gallery


  • Jack Skellington made his first onscreen appearance in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice (1988, Warner Bros./The Geffen Co.). As Betelgeuse rises from the ground, a canopied miniature merry-go-round rests on his head; at the very top of the canopy is a comical white skull that would later become Jack Skellington's head.
  • His surname is a play on 'skeleton'.
  • Having his color palette consists only of black and white (literally, not counting when he's wearing Santa's outfit or when he's wearing the Pumpkin King outfit), Jack is so the first (and so far only) character in Disney history to be completely colorless despite coming from a technicolor film. All other black-and-white characters before and after him came from black-and-white films as well.
  • His puppet used for the film is made out of clay.
  • When Jack removes his head "to recite Shakespearian quotations" due to his dead status, he is referencing Hamlet, in particular a famous scene where the title character finds the skull belonging to a deceased Court Jester named Yorick that the title character was very familiar of.

External links[]