How to Throw the Best Nightmare Before Christmas Party

So, my daughter Janelle was turning 4, and she wanted a Halloween-Christmas birthday party. She had been talking about the theme for over a month. Her birthday is at the beginning of December. After thinking about how to go about planning this Halloween-Christmas birthday party, I remembered her favorite movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and thought that it would be a great fit.  Now, The  Nightmare Before Christmas is not a popular birthday theme among toddlers. I didn’t want the other 3 and 4-year-olds to be frightened. That wouldn’t be fun anymore. To make it fun and not scary for anyone, we decided to decorate Halloween/Christmas gingerbread houses, have a nightmare before Christmas selfie station, paint faces, and play games.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to throw the ultimate Nightmare Before Christmas Party! This party was for 3 and 4-year-olds, but her 10-year-old cousin and two of her friends came to the party and had more fun than the little ones.

Make gingerbread houses

  • Treat or Treat ( I had to convince her that we could not walk around the block knocking on our neighbor’s doors for candy in December)
  • Have a photo booth with Jack and Sally
  • Have Zero
  • Play Games
  • Face Painting
  • Have Christmas and Halloween decorations
  • Play the song Thriller at the party
  • Goody Bags

She was very precise about what she wanted at her party.   Now that I had the list, I could start shopping.

Gingerbread Houses

OK, now time to get creative. Since we started talking about this in mid-October, the gingerbread houses would be the first thing to work on. We decided to make Halloween/Christmas-themed gingerbread houses. 

I waited until the day after Halloween and hit the store to purchase the leftover Halloween gingerbread houses. I saw them at Walmart, Michaels, and Party City. It turned out that they were the cheapest at Party City. They cost me only $2.75 each. I needed 12, they had 9 in the store, and I purchased the rest online. 

So, I had the Halloween houses and wanted the kids to decorate them with Christmas candies. I went to Walmart and picked gingerbread men, candy cane, mittens, Santa Claus little sugar cupcake toppers, and white cookie frosting. I also purchased Red and Green M&Ms, candy canes, and used leftover Smarties candies from Halloween.

Halloween Gingerbread House
Halloween gingerbread house party

Decorations and Favors

Shopping for a Halloween party right after Halloween is the best. Everything was up to 80% off. Even if you are not having a Halloween party, it is worth it to shop after Halloween and save everything for next year. I purchased some orange and black cookie icing and sugar black cat cupcake toppers for the gingerbread houses. I also bought some decorations, glow bracelets, and necklaces (they were .10 for 4). I was able to get face paint on clearance.

I did not see any Nightmare Before Christmas table cloth or plates, so I purchased black and white table cloth, black and white plates, napkins, and cups.


At Micheal’s, I purchased two cardboard pumpkins I painted as Jack and Sally. I used a black sharpie to draw Sally’s stitches and Jack’s face  They had. An opening in the middle, and I used this to place candy. I was going to use the pumpkins to hold candy for trick-or-treating at the party.

Jack and sally pumpkins
Jack and sally pumpkins

Photo Booth

Finding a backdrop for the photo booth would be a little tricky. After a Google search, I found many Nightmare Before Christmas-themed shower curtain’s on the market. I also found Nightmare Before Christmas fabric sold by Joann’s by the yard, but I wasn’t sure how much I would need. I decided to go with the shower curtain. 

I purchased a Nightmare Before Christmas shower curtain online at Target. I used the shower curtain hooks to attach to my curtain rod. I purchased a black tablecloth and placed it on the floor. I bought a Santa Claus Jack Skellington (Walgreens) and put him in a wrapped cardboard box. I also added some other Christmas decorations to place in the backdrop. I also used fake snow sheets I purchased from Michaels to make it look like it snowed in Halloween Town. The photo booth came out great and hugely successful with the kids.

Face Painting

We set up face painting in the corner of the room. The kids got to choose from Sally’s stitches, Jack’s face, a pumpkin, a Christmas tree, or a black cat.


We played Freeze dance and limbo (I purchased a limbo stick at Party City). We created a YouTube playlist that included songs from the movie, thriller (my daughter loves Michael Jackson’s Thriller), and some Christmas music. After each game, the kids got to trick-or-treat from the Jack and Sally pumpkins.


I served pizza, juice, and water to the kids for lunch. For dessert, I made Jack Skellington cookies. I made the cookies; then I made cookie icing to make them look like Jack (recipe listed at the end of this post).

I also made Jack and Sally cake pops (recipe listed at the end of this post). I painted two baby formula cans, one to look like Sally and the other to look like Jack. I purchased Styrofoam balls to stick in the cans to hold the cake pops. I also purchased Jack, Sally, and Zero cake toppers from Etsy. I used Jack and Sally as part of the decoration for the cake pops.

I ordered a Jack and Sally cake. I used the zero cake topper to put on the cake.


To make Zero the dog, I bought a large Styrofoam ball for his head and a cone-shaped piece for his nose. I glued them together using a hot glue gun. I bought 2 yards of white cloth, wrapped it around the head and nose, and secured it with a rubber band. I hot glued a large googly eye on his head and a red pom-pom ball on the tip of his nose. I used the extra cloth to make his ears. I cut long ear shape pieces and sewed them to his head. To hang Zero, I made slits on each end of the cloth where his legs would be and tied thread around it, I made more slits on the top of his head and on his ears. I taped the line to the ceiling to make him hang.

Goody Bags 

I purchased pumpkin goody bags, on clearance after Halloween. I filled the bags with a Jack and Sally cake pop and a Jack cookie. We also added Christmas-themed bubbles, a glow bracelet, and necklace

Jack Skellington Cookie Recipe


  • 1 cup sugar
  • One egg yolk
  • 3oz cream cheese
  • One tea spoon of vanilla
  • 1 cup butter
  • Two ¼ cups flour

Cream the sugar and butter, add the cream cheese mix well. Add the egg yolk, vanilla then slowly add the flour. Roll the dough into a ball. Add a small amount of flour onto some parchment paper. Roll dough out evenly, use circle cookie cutter. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is a light, golden brown. Let cookies cool

Icing Recipe

Place one cup of confectioners sugar into small mixing bowl. Add two tablespoons of milk, mix until you get a shiny smooth texture. If it’s too thick, add more milk; if it’s too runny, add more sugar. Make again the same way but add black food coloring to make Jack’s face. Coat all of the cookies with the white icing. When it is completely dry, place the black icing into a plastic piping bag, cut off the tip and use to draw on Jack’s face. Wait at least one hour before stacking the cookies.

Jack and Sally Cake Pops

  • One box of cake mix
  • one can icing
  • Melting chocolate ( I used white for Jack and  teal for Sally)

Make the boxed cake mix according to the package. Bake the cake. Once the cake has cooled crumple it up into tiny pieces, and place one cup of store bought caking icing into the crumbled up cake. Using your hands mix the icing and the cake together. Make tiny ½ -1 inch balls out of the mixture. Place them on a cookie try lined with parchment paper and add a lollipop stick to each ball, refrigerate for 1 hour. After an hour melt colored chocolate with a double broiler or a chocolate melter. Dip the balls into the chocolate and place back on cookie sheet place back into the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened. If you are in a warm humid climate, I would keep them in the fridge.