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7 “Nightmare Before Christmas” Party Ideas

If you and your friends declare that spooky season starts in August, why not continue the fiendish fun throughout the winter? Halloween doesn’t have to end after October when you celebrate Christmas with a Nightmare Before Christmas party! Not all of Jack Skellington’s friends thought it was a good idea to mix Halloween and Christmas, but this ultimate holiday mashup is the perfect party for Halloween fans or grinches who grumble when “Jingle Bells” comes on the radio. Here are several Nightmare Before Christmas party ideas that will send a chill down your spine.

1. Cook like Dr. Finkelstein

Every party needs food, but at a Nightmare Before Christmas party, you can’t serve just any old dishes. You need some seriously eery eats. Channel your inner Dr. Finkelstein and whip up unsettling culinary creations resembling body parts, bugs, monsters, and slime (green Jell-O and lots of gummies will work great). Feeling lost? Here are recipes for gory but still edible appetizers. You can also serve classic pumpkin-based treats like pie and Halloween desserts (if you can find them in stores). When you’re mixing two holidays, there are no rules on what to serve!

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2. Decorate like it’s Halloween and Christmas 

Find a Charlie Brown tree and hang spooky ornaments on it like spiders, skulls, and eyeballs. Give wreaths a creepy makeover with teeth and googly eyes, hang spider webs and bats all over your space, plant some gravestones in your yard, and find props from the movie at party stores, Oriental Trading, and Hot Topic. You can also add to the scenery by gathering plenty of skeletons, witches, mummies, and, of course, pumpkins to honor the Pumpkin King. Invite guests to paint or carve mini pumpkins of their own with Christmas images and characters. If you’re feeling crafty, recreate the holiday doors and other landmarks from the movie like the hill and the creepy toys.

3. Concoct some cocktail potions

Raise a glass to the town of Halloween with some creepy cocktail potions straight out of Dr. Finkelstein’s lab. You can get creative and model your drinks after the potions seen on his shelves, like frog’s breath, worm’s wort, and deadly nightshade, then have your guests guess which potion each drink is inspired by. 

Here’s a list of some boo-zy drinks you can make at home if you are stuck on ideas. If mixology isn’t your forte, consider getting a mobile bar just for the party. Most services offer a custom cocktail option and can create something special for your event if you make the request well in advance. Make your guests feel like they’re having a night out from the comfort of your home, and impress them with some seriously creative cocktails.

4. Give creepy gag gifts

‘Tis the season of giving, but here’s an idea for a Nightmare Before Christmas-style gift exchange: ask guests to bring gag gifts of a spooky nature. Think of things you would find in a curiosity shop like dead things in jars, doll heads, taxidermy, skulls, strange photos, and bugs.

Make it even more fun by turning it into a White Elephant gift exchange. The game requires that everyone wrap the gift they are bringing, then players draw numbers to determine the order in which everyone will get to unwrap a gift. On each person’s turn, they can either choose to unwrap a new gift or steal an already opened gift from someone else. Once all of the gifts have been unwrapped, set a timer and let the gift-stealing commence. Once the timer runs out, everyone must keep the last gift they were holding, no matter how much it gives them the heebie-jeebies.

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5. Dress up like it’s Halloween again

The best part of Halloween is transforming into a character for the day. For your Nightmare Before Christmas party, go for spooky takes on Christmas characters like evil man-eating gingerbread man, a dead sugar plum fairy, Jack Frost, or a zombie nutcracker. Or, you can stick to already creepy Christmas characters like the rat from The Nutcracker, Scrooge, ghosts of Christmas past, Krampus, a jack in a box, and the Grinch.

Better yet, assign every guest a character from the movie, including Jack, Sally, Zero, Dr. Finkelstein, Oogie Boogie, Shock, Lock, Barrel, Sandy Claws, the Mayor of Halloween Town, Igor, Clown with the Tear-Away Face, Jewel Finkelstein, and other minor characters like corpse people, vampires, the devil, and skeletons.

6. Play the movie or soundtrack

This Nightmare Before Christmas party idea is a no-brainer! The celebration will have everyone in the mood to see the movie and other Tim Burton classics like Corpse Bride and Edward Scissorhands (which is definitely a Christmas movie).

Or, if you don’t want the entire movie playing, turn on the soundtrack to create a spooky ambiance. You can also keep new music going all night long by creating an entire playlist that switches off between Halloween and Christmas songs. (And don’t forget that Blink-182’s “I Miss You” references the movie and spiders, so it’s a perfect addition to the party playlist).

7. Complete the experience with a spooky venue

A festive haunt for your party will complete the experience. On Peerspace, you can rent a historic home (maybe something Gothic or Victorian), a bar or lounge with low lighting, a loft, an art gallery, a mansion, or even a garden. For example, in Los Angeles, CA, there’s an eerie abandoned house available for rent. This way, you don’t have to start from scratch when you decorate and can invite more people than your house might comfortably hold. 

With Peerspace, you can turn any venue into your very own Halloween town. Live like Jack and Sally this holiday season by marrying your love for Halloween and Christmas with a Nightmare Before Christmas-themed party. If you are the ultimate Halloween fan, you and this party are simply meant to be.

As a bonus, these Nightmare Before Christmas party ideas will let you use your Halloween decor twice in one year (so yes, you can justify those purchases). Get into Halloween mode and have a hauntingly good time!

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