The Nightmare Before Christmas dessert bar

Guest post by Taryn Williford
The Nightmare Before Christmas birthday dessert bar

It’s easy for the little ones’ big days to get dwarfed when their birthdays fall on top of another big family holiday. If you and your winter kid celebrate Christmas, try working their birthday in to your holiday celebration with an offbeat table full of delicious sweets, all inspired by Tim Burton’s epic Halloween-slash-Christmas claymation flick, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of those movies that—despite being creepy and haunting—just warms your heart. In the movie buff words of Mr. Roger Ebert,

One of the many pleasures of “Tim Burton’s the Nightmare Before Christmas” is that there is not a single recognizable landscape within it. Everything looks strange and haunting. Even Santa Claus would be difficult to recognize without his red-and-white uniform. It it has the kind of offbeat, subversive energy that tells [kids] wonderful things are likely to happen.

If that doesn’t scream for an awesomely offbeat birthday adaptation, we don’t know what does.

So here it is: A diy Christmas nightmare dessert table, with five different treats inspired by the characters and stories in the movie.

Jack Skellington Cupcakes



  • Swirly-frosted cupcakes
  • White fondant
  • Circle cookie cutter
  • Edible ink marker

These are super easy to create with either home-baked or store-bought cupcakes.

All you need to do is roll out your fondant (again, the store-bought stuff works just as well) until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Then, cut small circles with the cookie cutter to create the tops for your cupcakes.

With a little practice, doodle the face of our skeleton movie hero onto your circles with the edible ink. His face is pretty easy to draw for even the least artistically inclined: Two big, dark eyes; small teardrops for nostrils and a long, smiley mouth covered in stitches.

Christmastown Spirits



  • A drink

These guys fit in to the theme with a name, Christmastown Spirits, that plays in to the story of the film. So go crazy with what you choose here. This mocha peppermint milkshake works, but so would iced tea or apple juice.


Zero Kibble



  • Trail mix
  • A dog bowl

This is another one that works thanks to the name, on ode to Jack Skellington’s ghostly pet dog, Zero. The only step? Throw some trail mix into a dog bowl.

If you don’t have a dog bowl, try this: Take your most dog-bowlish serving dish and decorate it with Zero’s name using removable stickers from a craft shop.


Oogie Boogie Guts & Sally Hair Strings



  • Gummy worms
  • Licorice (like Twizzlers)
  • A brown paper bag
  • Black yarn

Who doesn’t love gummy candy? Serve it up in two batches as an homage to two of Nightmare’s best characters: Oogie Boogie and Sally.

Sally’s hair strings are actually just Twizzler candies popped on a plate—adorned with a few buttons as if Sally had been there herself.

Oogie Boogie’s guts, just like in the movie, are made of worms and bugs—only this time, they’re gummies. To give it that just-squeezed-from-the-boogie-man-himself look, get rid of the bowl and serve these gummy worms in a brown paper bag, stitched up with black yarn to look like Oogie Boogie is coming apart at the seams.


Comments on The Nightmare Before Christmas dessert bar

  1. OMG! My birthday is in December and I remember always feelign just a wee bit screwed by the christmas/Hannukah/birthday mish-mash. My folks always tried to make it seem like it was not a part of the holidays, but this would have been a great way to incorporate both!

  2. This is fantastic! My daughter’s high school is having The Nightmare Before Christmas as the theme for their fall dance. Using the snack size baggies, these ideas will work great! Not your cookie cutter theme!

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