- “... She's the only one who makes sense around this insane asylum!”
- ―Santa Claus to Jack; referring to Sally
Sally is kind, sensible, honest, and incredibly clever. Sally was created by Dr. Finkelstein, Halloween Town's resident mad scientist, yet their relationship is rather tense, as Finklestein insists on keeping Sally under lock and key, under the pretext of protecting her from the excitement of Halloween. However, Sally is restless, and is intrigued by the wonders of the outside world.
It is this restlessness, or, more specifically, this desire for something better in her life, that draws her to Jack Skellington. In the beginning of the movie, she idolizes and admires Jack much like any of the other female members of Halloween Town; however, she quickly discovers that they are connected by the desire for something more in their lives, and her feelings for him intensify. The two refer to each other as "friends", though Jack seems unaware of her true feelings for him, as she is too shy to make them known to him other than through her sweet actions.
Sally is an expert at needlework, and keeps a needle and thread on her person at all times. Her skills are well appreciated, as evidenced by Jack's request of her to tailor him a Santa suit and his encouraging words to her. She also has skills at brewing potions, which she uses to poison Finklestein so she can escape; and seems to have psychic-like tendencies.
Sally has faded blue fabric for skin, with multiple sewing stitches all over her body, and is quite slender. She has large eyes with small black pupils and red lips. Her hair, where she hides a sewing needle, is a reddish color, and is kept at tailbone-length. Sally is also known to be stuffed with fall leaves.
Sally wears a knee-high, ragged dress with a V-cut neckline, and is presumably made by simply stitching together multi-colored pieces of cloth (it has a sewn pocket for her thread). She also wears black heel boots with black and white striped socks.
During the beginning, Sally has escaped the Doctor again to see the festivities of Halloween, especially to see Jack. However, once Finkelstein catches up to her, she runs off to hide in the graveyard, leaving one of her arms with her creator. While she hides, she overhears Jack's sorrowful song, expressing his weariness of his life, she comes to understand the deeper connection between them and falls deeply in love with him.
After returning to the lab, it is revealed that Sally has grown resentful of Dr. Finkelstein's over-protectiveness and that in the past has slipped deadly nightshade into his tea (at least three times) as a narcotic and then left the house while he was asleep.
Before Jack returns from Christmas Town, she again slips deadly nightshade into Finklestein's soup and runs off to participate in the town meeting Jack has called when he returns. Though she is intrigued by the things Jack has brought from Christmas Town, she already feels that something about this is incorrect. The very next day, Dr. Finkelstein imprisons her upon her return to the laboratory. Despite being trapped in her room, she creates a gift basket for Jack who is busy conducting several experiments. She escapes her imprisonment by throwing herself out of the tower and sewing herself together after falling apart from impact. She delivers the basket to Jack, but runs away before Jack can thank her.
As she is outside of Jack's house, Sally picks at a flower's petals and has an ominous premonition about Christmas going wrong when she has a vision of a Christmas tree bursting into flames. From this point on, she tries to convince Jack that his Christmas plans are a mistake for his safety. However, all her attempts to stop Jack from making Christmas fail, and she is even persuaded to make the Santa suit Jack wears on Christmas Eve.
After Lock, Shock, and Barrel arrive with Santa Claus and Jack takes his hat from him, Sally realizes that the situation has become far worse than she envisioned. She then attempts to ruin Jack's plan by pouring her whole jar of fog juice into the fountain to create a heavy fog. This works at first, until Jack's pet dog Zero reveals his glowing nose which Jack immediately uses to guide his sleigh. Sally watches in horror and sadness as Jack takes off.
In a final attempt to save Jack, she goes to rescue Santa from the evil Oogie Boogie, but she finds herself captured as well. At the near-end, once Jack has defeated Oogie Boogie, Santa tells Jack that Sally is "the only one who makes any sense around this insane asylum". After Santa leaves, Jack finally comes to appreciate what Sally has attempted to do for him and falls in love with her. Before Jack can say anything, the pair is interrupted by the Mayor before beign taken back to Halloween Town. Eventually, Jack meets Sally again on spiral hill and the movie ends with the two reciprocating their love with a kiss.
An emoticon version of Sally appeared in the As Told by Emoji episode based on The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Video game appearances
In his attempts to turn Halloween into Bug Day, Oogie Boogie tries to kidnap Jack AKA the Pumpkin King, but Sally is kidnapped by mistake. Oogie Boogie decides to hold her hostage until Jack comes to save her and the town from his terror. It is from this experience that Sally falls in love with Jack.
After Jack returns to Halloween Town from his travels, Sally is one of the few citizens of Halloween Town who has not been deceived by Oogie Boogie and remain loyal to Jack. Unfortunately, she is captured by Oogie's boys and Jack has to save her from a giant spider. Later on, Sally helps provide Jack with news on events and even aids in giving Santa Halloween town's other sleigh so he can help Jack get the presents back. At the end, she fears Jack might leave again, and once again they share a kiss on Spiral Hill.
Sally appears in all 3 installments of the Kingdom Hearts video game series.
Her role in the first Kingdom Hearts is relatively minor. Jack and Sora find her in the graveyard and she gives them one of the ingredients for the heart Doctor Finkelstein is making, memory (Forget-Me-Not). She expresses her worries about Jack's plan of adding the Heartless swarming the town to the Halloween festivities, though Jack tells her not to worry. Her gut feeling proves to be right, as Oogie Boogie steals the heart and attempts to use it to summon Heartless to defeat Jack. Oogie's plan fails, and Jack admits his mistake, but Sally promises that next time they will plan together.
In Chain of Memories , she was "created" from Sora's memories of Halloween Town. Sally is in possession of a potion Dr. Finkelstein made that can bring "true memories". She hesitates to give the potion to Jack, as Heartless appeared when Finkelstein did so much as sniff the potion. However, Oogie Boogie pops up and steals the potion from her. When Oogie drinks the whole potion, he is overwhelmed with fear, and she concludes that this means the potion was a failure, though whether she is right or not never becomes clear.
Sally plays a bigger part in Kingdom Hearts II, in which the events in Halloween Town are loosely based on the events of the film. Jack is determined to take Santa Claus's place this year, and even convinced Sora and the gang to join him as Santa's bodyguards. Sally has a terrible feeling about this, but Jack and Sora don not adhere to her warnings, too excited by the concept of making Christmas. When Santa goes to Halloween Town to find Jack, Sally comes to him and asks him to avoid speaking with the Pumpkin King. She becomes the only witness to the resurrected Oogie Boogie kidnapping Santa, and runs off to warn Jack and the others. They all return to Christmas Town, where Oogie Boogie is about to throw Santa into one of his own gift-making machines, but Sally distracts Oogie to save Santa. In the end, she gives Jack a Santa suit she sewed on his request. In the second trip to Halloween Town, Jack still wears the Santa suit, feeling that it would be rude not to wear the suit she worked so hard on. By the end of the visit, Jack learns the meaning of Christmas by understanding the act of giving, and understands that he felt so strongly about wearing the suit because it was a gift from Sally. 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.
Sally appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a rare, yet popular, character available for meet-and-greets. Like Jack, she is almost exclusively seen during the Halloween to Christmas season.
An animatronic Sally is featured during Haunted Mansion Holiday in Disneyland, through both the Halloween and Christmas seasons. She also served as the inspiration for the attraction's 2016 gingerbread house. Also in the 2016 rendition of the ride, a new Sally animatronic was added to the graveyard scene, staring admiringly at Jack.
For meet-and-greets during the season, Sally can be found in New Orleans Square.
Sally was also featured in a unit based on The Nightmare Before Christmas in Disneyland's Frightfully Fun Parade.
In the park, Sally makes seasonal appearances in the the Town Square.
- Sally's mouth movements "were animated through the replacement method. During the animation process,...only Sally's face 'mask' was removed in order to preserve the order of her long reddish-brown hair. Sally had 10 types of faces, each made with a series of 11 expressions (e.g. eyes open and closed, and various facial poses) and synchronized mouth movements."
- Judith Halberstam describes Sally as "a pathetic sentimental heroine". Bryan Theiss declares that Sally is one of "those rare fantasy characters we can relate to on a certain level as much as we can to real-world characters on a more literal level."
- In 2008, Evanescence's frontwoman Amy Lee covered Sally's Song for the cover album Nightmare Revisited.
- Jack and Sally are mentioned in the song, "I Miss You" by Blink-182.
- "Sally's Song" was covered by European Gothic-Neo Classical band, Dark Sanctuary, on the album Exaudi Vocem Meam Part II.
- Sally's Song was covered by Californian Gothic band, London After Midnight on the compilation album Oddities.
- In the soundtrack, an epilogue poem is included that implies that Jack had "4 or 5 skeleton children" several years after the film.
- Sally in the original film is voiced by Catherine O'Hara who previously worked with director Tim Burton on the 1988 film Beetlejuice.
- Sally originally was supposed to have trouble walking, however the filmmakers changed this because they thought Sally looked drunk while walking. However, it is shown that Sally walks more stiffly than other characters.
- Sally makes an appearance in Bleedman's webcomic: Grim Tales Down Below. Sally is now married to Jack making her Grim's Sister-in-Law. This does not mean, however, that that is what happened in the original story.
- The Japanese version of Sally's Song was covered on Nightmare Revisited by an American artist known as Scott Murphy, who is popular in Japan.
- Sally is somewhat similar to Frankenstein's monster and the monster made in the Bride of Frankenstein, as she was a sewn-up monster created by a mad scientist.
- According to Disneystrology book, her birthday would be on February 8th.