Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is a zombie in a straitjacket carrying an explosive jack-in-the-box and is the 16th zombie encountered in Adventure Mode. If the Jack-in-the-Box explodes before the zombie has been killed, the zombie is destroyed along with all the plants and hypnotized zombies around him (within a 3x3, similar to Cherry Bomb). His weakness is the Magnet-shroom, which steals the jack-in-the-box without detonating it, as well as the Hypno-shroom, which, when eaten by him, makes his jack-in-the-box blow up non-hypnotized zombies instead. He is very deadly in Endless Modes, as he could detonate next to high-cost and/or slow recharge plants crucial to the player's setup.


The tune that the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie plays.

The sounds that the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie makes before its jack-in-the-box explodes.

The explosion

Suburban Almanac entry

Jack-in-the-Box Zombie
This zombie carries an explosive surprise.
Toughness: medium
Speed: fast
Special: jack-in-the-box explodes
Weakness: magnet-shroom
This zombie shivers, not because he's cold but because he's crazy.


The Jack-in-the-Box Zombie enters the lawn, playing his special jingle tune with his jack-in-the-box. This tune continues to replay it until the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie gets defeated or after he blows himself up. The Jack-in-the-Box Zombie absorbs 500 damage per shot and his appearance changes upon absorbing 250 damage per shot before dying at 500 damage per shot. When the Jack-in-the-Box detonates, he and all other plants, as well as hypnotized zombies in a 3x3 area are destroyed.

Jack-in-the-Box Zombie has the following probability of exploding:

  • 5% chance of opening the surprise in 4.4 to 7.54 seconds upon spawning.
  • 95% chance of opening the surprise in 13.22 to 22.68 seconds upon spawning.
  • 100% chance of exploding upon spawning in Vasebreaker.
  • Using an Ice-shroom stops the countdown timer as well as butter from Kernel-pult.
  • However, slowing down with Snow Pea, Winter Melon and Ice-shroom (after stunning) does not slow down the timer at all.

Once it opens the surprise, it is only vulnerable against instant-kill plants (not including squash, potato mine, and ice-shroom). It explodes 1.1 second after it opens the surprise.



A Magnet-shroom will remove the jack-in-the-box, but this will not work in levels with a high density of metallic zombies (especially in Survival: Endless.) It is not a good idea to plant a Wall-nut or Tall-nut in front of them in Survival: Endless, as there will be too many zombies to counter them all properly, resulting in those two plants being eaten up or destroyed very quickly. During the Night, use a mixture of Fume-shrooms and Gloom-shrooms. Since the Gloom-shrooms in the first columns of the Pool (that are commonly found in many Survival: Endless strategies) are especially vulnerable to their attacks, pay special attention to them. Use a combination of Ice-shrooms and instant kills to counter the Jack-in-the-Box Zombies. In the absence of Gargantuars or Zombonis, placing a Garlic in each of the two rows beside the pond when a wave of Zombies come might also be a good idea. However, in the DS version, much like the Zombie Yeti, as it escapes after a short while, the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie will explode after a short while, so the best thing to use other plants (such as the Gatling Pea and Torchwood) to deal with the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie. It may be a pain, so the best strategy is to always use the Magnet-shroom when the density is low enough.


PvZ TEST - Jack-in-the-box explosion Test. PLEASE READ DESCRIPTION.

A lot of Jack-in-the-Box Zombies

In Vasebreaker, the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie always explodes as soon as he is revealed, so if you find him in a vase with a Plantern, it is best to not break the vase and leave it there until there are no vases nearby that he could destroy. If his Jack-in-the-Box is stolen right as you break his vase, he will march toward your house as he would in Survival or Adventure. He also destroys nearby vases and reveals their contents.

Note that a hypnotized Jack-in-the-Box Zombie will blow up other zombies when he explodes and does not harm your plants, making it a point to hypnotize them in large waves of zombies. However, try not to hypnotize him too soon, or else he will leave the lawn or roof or get eaten by other zombies, therefore wasting 75 sun. Try to slow him down, freeze him, or let him go a little further to about the third square from the right, then hypnotize it. Then, just use the Ice-Shroom to freeze the other zombies and he will not have any problems against the zombies.


Main article: Dynamite

Because he is absent from online version of Vasebreaker, the dynamite appears instead, which has the same function. Once the fuse in the dynamite runs out, it will explode in a similar fashion. The dynamite takes longer to explode.

Related Achievement

The Complete Zombie2.png
The Complete Zombie
You've won every trophy, climbed every mountain, defeated every zombie, planted every plant. Congratulations!


Plants vs. Zombies Wiki has a gallery for Jack-in-the-Box Zombie.
Jack-in-the-Box Zombie1.png
Visit this page to see it.
Jack-in-the-Box Zombie1.png


  • The music he plays with the jack-in-the-box is a xylophone-remixed version of the popular nursery theme called Pop! Goes the Weasel.
  • Jack-in-the-Box Zombie, Dancing Zombie, and Ladder Zombie are the only zombies that can use their special abilities when hypnotized.
  • Even after a Magnet-shroom pulls the jack-in-the-box out of his hands, the zombie will continue to move his hands as if he was still holding the box, unlike the Ladder Zombie and the Screen Door Zombie.
  • The Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is one of only three zombies (with feet) that do not wear shoes, the other two being the Imp and the Zombie Yeti.
  • When a Jack-in-the-Box Zombie's head falls off, it is that of a normal zombie's. This also happens with the Newspaper Zombie.
    • Newspaper Zombie's head is just a normal Zombie head with glasses and hair. But the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie's head is different.
  • When a Jack-in-the-Box Zombie explodes it may destroy the Pumpkin around a plant but not the plant in it. This issue is caused by Pumpkin's hitbox, which is larger than most plants.
  • If hypnotized zombies are nearby when a jack-in-the-box explodes, they will be killed in the explosion and vice versa if the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is hypnotized (as a Cherry Bomb).
  • When a Jack-in-the-Box Zombie explodes near plants, they just disappear. However, when a hypnotized Jack-in-the-Box Zombie explodes near hypnotized zombies, they turn into ashes, as if they were hit by an exploding plant. This is because there is no animation for plants that are blown up.
  • In Vasebreaker, if the player plants a Magnet-shroom close to a vase with a Jack-in-the-Box Zombie and reveal the zombie, the Magnet-shroom will instantly grab his jack-in-the-box and he will walk forward instead of standing there and exploding. This only happens in M is for Metal.
  • The Jack-in-the-Box Zombie, Dr. Zomboss and Crazy Dave are the only crazy characters that wear a white outfit.
  • This is assuming that the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is crazy because he was a psycho before turning into a zombie.
  • Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is one of the three zombies that does not use his hand to eat, the others being the Ladder Zombie and Newspaper Zombie (except for Gargantuar that smashes the plants, the Catapult Zombie that hurls basketballs and crushes plants, and Dr. Zomboss and the Zomboni that crush plants).
  • When Jack-in-the-Box Zombie explodes, the word "SPROING!!" along with a purple explosion will appear.
  • Before the jack-in-the-box explodes, the Jack-in-the-Box-Zombie will scream as he is surprised by the jack-in-the-box. Dr. Zomboss has the same facial expression when his Zombot blows up.
  • There is a glitch where his face sprite does not change when he explodes.
  • Jack-in-the-Box-Zombie, Dr. Zomboss, Imp, and Money Bag Zombie are the only zombies that has a maniacal smile.
  • Jack-in-the-Box Zombie, Football Zombie, and Giga-Football Zombie are the only zombies that remain fast even after their shields or objects carried are stolen or destroyed.
  • The reason for Jack-in-the-Box Zombie's clothing is because he was a psycho under medical maintenance before he turned into a zombie.
  • Jack-in-the-Box-Zombie cannot eat a Spikerock, but he can destroy a full-health Spikerock with only one explosion.
  • The Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is the only zombie in Plants vs. Zombies that plays music. It comes from the Jack-in-the-Box, as when it is stolen by Magnet-Shroom or when he is defeated, the music stops.
  • Even when he is slowed down by a Snow Pea or Winter Melon, the music still plays at the same speed.
    • This also happens with Pianist Zombie.
  • Unless the Jack-in-the Box is stolen by Magnet-Shroom, he will never reach the player's house.
  • In the Nintendo DS versions, they keep on exploding after going through a few squares so the music does not keep repeating all over to annoy the player.
    • Therefore, choosing them in Versus Mode on the DS is a waste of slots as he will only get up to the separating line before exploding.
  • In the online version of Vasebreaker, the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is replaced with the dynamite due to his lack of presence in the version.
  • Jack-in-the-Box Zombie, Balloon Zombie, Bungee Zombie, Zomboni, Dolphin Rider Zombie, Pogo Zombie and Digger Zombie are the only zombies that make noise before entering. In fact, he is the only one of them that makes a persistent sound.
  • His Jack-in-the-Box, Zomboss' Zombot, Squash Zombie's and Gargantuar's smash, the crushing of Catapult Zombie and Zomboni, and the Jalapeno Zombie's flames are the strongest zombie attacks in the game.
  • Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is one of two zombies that can destroy instant kills, the other one being Bungee Zombie (if timed correctly).
  • Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is immune to freezing, hypnosis, butter, and damage when he is about to explode. However most other instant-kills are an exception.
    • But if timed correctly, the jack-in-the-box will explode before the explosive plant explodes and the explosive plant will be destroyed without triggering it's own explosion.
  • In Versus Mode he only costs 100 brains, as opposed to Cherry Bomb's cost of 150.
  • In Versus Mode, the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie explodes whenever he meets a plant.
  • Jack-in-the-Box Zombie's explosion color is the same as the Doom-shroom's explosion.
    • However, it uses Cherry Bomb's explosion sound effect.
  • He is one of the three types of zombies with kamikaze attacks in which the zombie will destroy itself in order to destroy plants. The others are squash zombie and jalapeno zombie.
    • However, he is the only zombie that kills himself that is not from ZomBotany 2.
  • In the Nintendo DS version, the clown head inside the jack-in-the-box is slightly bigger in comparison with the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie's head.
  • In the Nintendo DS version, when the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie about to explodes, his face looks like smiling.
  • His feet look somewhat similar to the Zombie Yeti's feet unless they are crossed.
  • In the Android version, his tune is higher-pitched than in other versions.
  • He is similar to Gas Can Zombie from Plants vs. Zombies Adventures, MC Zom-B from Plants vs. Zombies 2, and Suicide Bomber Zombie from the Chinese version of Plants vs. Zombies 2.
  • He has a similar appearance to Cuckoo Zombie, from Plants vs. Zombies Heroes.
  • It is odd how exactly Jack-in-the-Box Zombie is able to both hold and crank his Jack-in-the-Box while in a straitjacket, as straitjackets are meant to restrain the hands from being used on someone who poses danger to someone or themselves, though he might have just broken free of his restraints.
  • Jack-in-the-Box Zombie and Gargantuar are only zombies that can break open other vases in Vasebreaker.
  • If a new Jack-in-the-Box Zombie appears in a level where one has already just died then the music will carry on and not restart as the first one continued it

See also

V · T · E
Zombies (Tower defense)
L · G
Plants vs. Zombies
Day Zombie · Flag Zombie · Conehead Zombie · Pole Vaulting Zombie · Buckethead Zombie
Night Newspaper Zombie · Screen Door Zombie · Football Zombie · Dancing Zombie · Backup Dancer
Pool Ducky Tube Zombie · Snorkel Zombie · Zomboni · Zombie Bobsled Team · Dolphin Rider Zombie
Fog Jack-in-the-Box Zombie · Balloon Zombie · Digger Zombie · Pogo Zombie · Zombie Yeti
Roof Bungee Zombie · Ladder Zombie · Catapult Zombie · Gargantuar · Imp · Dr. Zomboss
ZomBotany Peashooter Zombie · Wall-nut Zombie · Gatling Pea Zombie · Tall-nut Zombie · Squash Zombie · Jalapeno Zombie
Others Trash Can Zombie · Target Zombie · Giga-gargantuar · Giga-Football Zombie · Baseball Zombie · Catapult Baseball Zombie · Chinese zombies · Zombatar
Plants vs. Zombies: Journey to the West/Plants vs. Zombies: Great Wall Edition
Day Zombie · Flag Zombie · Conehead Zombie · Pole Vaulting Zombie · Buckethead Zombie
Night Newspaper Zombie · Screen Door Zombie · Football Zombie · Dancing Zombie · Backup Dancer
Pool Ducky Tube Zombie · Snorkel Zombie · Zomboni · Zombie Bobsled Team · Dolphin Rider Zombie
Fog Jack-in-the-Box Zombie · Balloon Zombie · Digger Zombie · Pogo Zombie · Zombie Yeti
Roof Bungee Zombie · Ladder Zombie · Catapult Zombie · Gargantuar · Imp · Dr. Zomboss
ZomBotany Peashooter Zombie · Wall-nut Zombie · Gatling Pea Zombie · Tall-nut Zombie · Squash Zombie · Jalapeno Zombie
Land demons Spider Devil Zombie · Skeleton Demon Zombie · Red Boy Imp · Yellow Brows Gargantuar · Ox-Demon King Zombot
Underwater World and The Dragon's Palace Conchhead Zombie · Crab Imp · Tortoise Zombie · Seahorse Pogo Zombie · Fish Thrower Imp · Dragon King of the East Sea Zombot
Survival-exclusive Talisman Zombie · Assassin Zombie · Wraith Zombie · Emperor Zombot
Others Flying Imp
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.