Thrilling Thursdays: A Buffy Halloween

Y’all know I love Joss Whedon, my Dragon*Con Countdown from 2010 even featured three posts on why Joss Whedon should direct musicals (here is Part I, Part II, and Part III, they offer a persuasive argument I promise).  You didn’t really think we’d get through Halloween Month without a Joss Whedon-centric post, did you?

Joss Whedon, of course, does Halloween quite well.  Three Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes are Halloween-centric, “Halloween” from Season 2, “Fear Itself” from Season 4, and “All the Way” from Season 6.  In the Whedonverse, Halloween is the night that most vampires and demons take off and go underground, as they deem Halloween “cliche,” but of course nothing really ever goes as planned in Sunnydale.

We’ll talk about “All the Way” first because it is the weakest of the bunch.  Season 6 is the season that polarizes the most Buffy fans, because it is full of angst and there isn’t really a unifying Big Bad.  I know that most people would rather see Buffy slay vampires than bills and plumbing problems, but I actually found Season 6 really brutal and quite real.  Also, it has “Once More, With Feeling,” how can you hate on that?! So, you know, I’m in the minority.  However, I am in general agreement with those who think that one of the major problems of Season 6 was Dawn.  This is a pretty Dawn-centric episode, so it isn’t the best.  However, there are some great points–mostly those which take place in the Magic Box, with Anya dressed as an “Angel named Charlie” and Xander as a pirate (guess he knew he’d be needing that patch at some point, huh?)  But overall this is mostly an episode about teenage boys, and how they are all vampires who want to eat you.  You know, I bet Stephanie Meyers saw this episode of Buffy and it inspired the Twilight series.  Curse ye, Steven S. DeKnight, curse ye!

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Season 4 was also a so-so season, because Buffy and crew go to COLLEGE and lord knows things get messy when people go to college!  Especially when one goes to a Halloween party at a Frat House, like the Scooby Gang does in the episode “Fear, Itself.”  Never go to a Halloween party at a Frat House, guys, that’s a recipe for disaster and, you know, cliche costumes like sexy nurse and sexy police woman and sexy Ebola victim.  Anyways, this particular frat house is haunted by a Fear Demon that has accidentally been conjured by the frat boys (oh, Buffy).  The fear demon brings everyone’s personal fears to life, leading to many problems and scary antics and a lot of screaming!  Highlights include Xander’s fear of being ignored and invisible and Anya’s amazing bunny costume, which she donned after Xander’s instructions to wear something scary (Bunnies aren’t just cute like everybody supposes/They’ve got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses!)

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At one point Giles also wields a chain saw, which is amazing.

So this is ultimately a humorous episode, because when the Fear Demon finally shows himself at the episode’s end he is only six inches tall, and Buffy squishes him with her shoe.  Way to slay.

The Season 2 Halloween episode is appropriately named, “Halloween.”  The monster of the week (actually one of Giles old magic buddies from his wild teenage days in England) casts a spell which causes all the characters to turn into their costumes.  However, only costumes purchased from a specific shop are effected, so not all of the characters are transformed.  Still, it causes some shenanigans: Xander turns into a soldier, Willow turns into an actual ghost, and Buffy turns into a helpless damsel.  This is a great concept, as Halloween is the one night when we are allowed to explore what we could be or what we want to be (unless you are me, and you attend conventions, in which case you have a few more opportunities to swap personalities and hair colors!), so it is pretty clever to take the costume and pretend concept literally.  Oh and random jock dude Larry becomes a pirate (Joss really likes pirates).

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If Buffy the Vampire Slayer really isn’t your thing (which, huh?!) then you should go check out Television Without Pity’s list of the best Halloween-themed television episodes. I personally think that South Parks Spookyfish” episode is better than Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery,” but I could be the rarity here.

What are some of your favorite Halloween-themed television episodes?

3 thoughts on “Thrilling Thursdays: A Buffy Halloween

  1. Buffy was always my guilty pleasure when I stayed home sick from school. Nothing like watching someone else kick ass to remind you how horrible you feel. Is the “bad” season the Spike season? I really hated Spike. Dawn, not so much. Maybe because she was bitchy and brunette. I could relate.

    I never really think of Buffy as Halloween related, so thanks for making that long overdue connection in my grey matter.

    1. There is nothing guilty about Buffy! Spike gets much better as time goes on–he’s introduced in Season 2, which is a GREAT season. There is a lot of him in Season 6 but he isn’t a bad thing by any means. Spike grows on you over time…Dawn got a bit better in season 7, but lord can Michelle Trachtenberg whine.

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