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Note: This article is about the episode. For other uses, see Halloween.

"Halloween" is the sixth episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the eighteenth episode in the series. Written by Joss Whedon with Carl Ellsworth and directed by Bruce Seth Green, it was originally broadcast on October 27, 1997, on The WB network.


TRICK OR TREAT — Buffy, Willow and Xander are recruited by Principal Snyder to trick-or-treat with the neighborhood kids, but the night doesn't turn out as they had planned when Buffy's costume causes her to lose her slaying ability and the other kids transform into their costume characters. Meanwhile, when Giles begins to paste together the night's events, he learns that it's his past that is making this a very haunted Halloween.[1]


Buffy and Angel finally agree to a date, but Buffy is delayed at Pop's Pumpkin Patch by a vampire. Another vampire films the fracas from the shadows. While Angel waits at the Bronze, Cordelia shows up. When Buffy finally arrives, she is turned away by Cordelia's sharp tongue. Cordelia continues to hit on Angel, unaware of his history.

The next day, Principal Snyder forces Buffy, Willow, and Xander into chaperoning children while they trick-or-treat. Buffy would rather take a break as, contrary to expectations, on Halloween vampires and demons take the night off. Later, Larry, the school bully, threatens Xander while asking him about Buffy, who intervenes smashing Larry into a soda machine. However, instead of being grateful to Buffy for rescuing him, Xander is upset by the damage that does to his reputation.

Buffy, wanting to know more about Angel, comes up with a plan to distract Giles and has Willow sneak in to take one of Giles's Watcher diaries. When Buffy and Willow go through it, they find a picture of an 18th century woman. Buffy is worried because the drawing of the woman makes her look more sophisticated and beautiful than Buffy. Willow points out that she looks like a noble woman and being beautiful was her job. Cordelia comes in and taunts Buffy about having to take over comforting Angel the previous night. Cordelia asks them about Angel, wanting to know why he's never around during the day. Buffy and Willow try to tell her that he's a vampire, but she thinks they are lying. She says Buffy is just trying to scare her off because she's afraid of the competition.

To dress up for Halloween, the gang head to Ethan's Costume Shop, where Willow gets a ghost costume and Xander buys a toy gun to go with his army fatigues from home. Buffy and Xander apologize to each other about what happened with Larry, with Buffy promising to let Xander get pummeled from now on. Then Buffy finds a beautiful 18th-century pink dress — one that matches the drawing that she had seen from Giles's Watcher files on Angel. Ethan Rayne appears and makes her an offer she cannot refuse.

Spike is reviewing Buffy's recorded fight when Drusilla comes to tell him that someone will make Buffy weak the following night. Spike is confused, since the following night is Halloween when nothing happens, but Drusilla tells him someone new has arrived in town. Meanwhile, Ethan is chanting to a Janus statue in the back room of his shop.

On Halloween night, Buffy manages to convince Willow to wear a black mini-skirt and a long-sleeved crop shirt, making her very shy. The doorbell rings and Willow takes the opportunity to cover her outfit with the ghost costume before Xander sees it. While taking the children trick-or-treating, people start turning into their costumes' personae: Willow collapses and then she becomes a real ghost (wearing the skimpy outfit), Xander a soldier, and Buffy an 18th-century girl.

Willow convinces Xander, who has no recollection of her, to not shoot the transformed people in the street with his now real gun. They find a disoriented Buffy, who is frightened and confused by the modern world. Willow rushes them to Buffy's house, where her mother is conveniently not home. Outside, Cordelia screams and Xander rushes out to save her. Willow, being unable to get hurt due to her ghostly status, goes to Giles for help. While Cordelia searches the house, Angel shows up and takes Buffy into the kitchen. As Angel tries to handle a vampire that has sneaked into the house, he reveals his vampire face. Buffy is horrified and runs from the house. Meanwhile, Spike has also appeared and revels in the chaos around him.

At the library, Willow and Giles realize Cordelia has not changed into a cat, like the costume she is wearing, having rented her costume from a different shop from Ethan's. They head to the shop, where Ethan greets Giles by the nickname "Ripper." He orders Willow to leave then physically persuades Ethan to tell him how to reverse the spell.

Spike is looking for Buffy, who enters an alley and meets Larry, now a pirate. Xander arrives just in time to beat up Larry before he can attack Buffy. When Angel and Cordelia arrive, Buffy shrinks back and tells Cordelia that Angel is a vampire. Cordelia, still thinking Buffy is lying, tries to explain to Angel that Buffy has some strange ideas about him but gives up and just tells Buffy that Angel is a good vampire. Willow then shows up to warn them of Spike. The gang tries to barricade themselves inside a warehouse, but Spike's gang breaks in. Just as Spike is about to kill Buffy, Ethan reveals the secret to ending the spell and Giles throws the statue to the floor, smashing it to pieces, breaking the spell. Buffy recovers in time to defeat Spike and he flees.

Willow wakes up on the porch where she "died," now wearing the ghost costume again. She takes off the ghost costume and confidently walks across the street in her risky outfit. Unbeknownst to Willow, Oz drives by at that moment and admires her from his van.

In her bedroom, Buffy confesses to Angel that she was trying to impress him; much to her surprise, he tells her that he hated those people back then — especially the noble women. Angel also reveals that he wanted someone exciting. They kiss. The next day, Giles returns to the store to find a note: Ethan has promised to return soon.


  • Despite having interacted with Angel regularly since "Prophecy Girl," Cordelia doesn't believe Buffy when she tells her he is a vampire. She eventually realizes it off-screen, at least by the time she witnesses Angel forcing Eyghon to use him as a host, a plan that hinges on his undead status, in "The Dark Age".
  • While Willow and Buffy are looking up facts about Angel, they come across a drawing of a woman, dated 1775, and Willow states that "Angel was 18 and still human." However, Angel was born in 1727 ("The Prodigal") and turned in 1753 ("Becoming, Part One"), so he was no longer human in 1775. They could have meant 1745, when Angel would have been 18 (and human).
  • Xander's soldier experience and military knowledge from this episode is referenced several times in the future, most notably in "Innocence," "Graduation Day, Part Two," and Revelations.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Ethan Rayne in the series, who will show up as an antagonist again in "The Dark Age," "Band Candy," and "A New Man."
  • This is the first hint at Giles's past, more of which is explained in "The Dark Age."
  • The two-faced statue of Janus used by Ethan in this episode is later seen in "Tabula Rasa" behind Giles when he finds his airline ticket in his pocket, as well as in "Dead Things" on a shelf next to the cash register.
  • Upon seeing Willow again, Oz remarks "Who is that girl?", which is exactly what he said on his first sighting of Willow, in "Inca Mummy Girl." They unknowingly interact with each other in this episode but will only properly meet in "What's My Line? Part One."
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Larry. While an antagonist to Xander in this episode, Larry and Xander will create a bond in "Phases."
  • Willow states that Angel would never fall for someone like Cordelia. Years later, Angel and Cordelia not only become close friends ("Rm w/a Vu") but eventually fall in love ("Tomorrow").
  • This episode establishes Halloween as traditionally a quiet night for demonic activity, as in future episodes "Fear, Itself" and "All the Way."
  • In this episode, Xander tells Snyder that one day he will tell him exactly what he thinks of him. This will occur in "Restless," although it is in a dream.



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • Unknown vampire, staked by Buffy with a lawn sign at Pop's Pumpkin Patch.
  • Willow Rosenberg, became a ghost during Ethan's spell (reversed).

Behind the scenes[]


  • Costume designer Cynthia Bergstrom picked Buffy's Halloween costume as her favorite piece of the series.[2]


  • "Halloween" pulled in an audience of 3.7 million households on its original airing.[3]
  • Willow's line, "Wild on me equals spaz," was cut when the episode was shown on the BBC because, in the UK, "spaz" is an offensive term often used to describe a handicapped or disabled person.

Pop culture references[]

  • There is a black and white oval sticker with the letters "WP" on it. The letters stand for the southern jam/rock band, Widespread Panic. It can be seen in a number of places in this episode: on Oz's locker door (near Cordelia when she's dressed as a cat and talking to Oz), on a bulletin board (on Willow's right when she walks into the library as a ghost), and on the bathroom wall (behind Buffy's right shoulder when she and Willow are looking at the book). The same sticker appears in a number of episodes: "Inca Mummy Girl," "Bad Eggs," "Surprise," "Phases," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "Becoming, Part Two," "Dead Man's Party," "A New Man," "Wild at Heart," "The Yoko Factor," and "The Replacement."
  • Willow muses: "She couldn't have dressed up as Xena?" in reference to the title character from the Xena: Warrior Princess series.
  • Ethan paraphrases the line from The Godfather, "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse" when he tells Buffy, "I feel quite moved to make you a deal you can't refuse."
  • Buffy says to Giles: "Well, she said that you were a… hunk of burning… something or other." "Hunka hunka burning love" was the chorus of "Burning Love," the Dennis Linde composition that was a hit for Elvis Presley in 1972 (the King's last top ten hit), among others.
  • Cordelia says: "Like a Care Bear with fangs?" The Care Bears were a series of collectible teddy bears introduced by Hasbro in the 1980s and quickly spun off into a huge entertainment empire including clothing, comic books, and cartoons. The Care Bears were supposed to represent all that was good and pure and fluffy and saccharine in the world.
  • Cordelia: "I was just attacked by Jo-Jo, the Dog-Faced Boy." Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy was one of the many "curiosities" exhibited by showman P.T. Barnum (1810–1891).
  • Xander tells Cordy: "Catwoman, you're with me," in reference to the fictional character.
  • The card that Giles finds in Ethan's shop at the end says "Be seeing you," a catchphrase used in the 1967 British TV series The Prisoner, which was about a retired secret agent who is kidnapped and imprisoned in a bucolic but mysterious village. Despite its outwardly friendly nature, the phrase's consistent use by the agent's captors gave it a distinctly sinister tone.


  • The front door of Buffy's house has its hinges on the right side of the door (when viewed from the inside). In every other episode, they're on the left side.
  • Despite not being corporeal as a ghost, as Willow leaves the costume shop, you see her brush against a curtain. Also, when she leaves, you clearly hear the door close behind her, while in other scenes, she simply walks right through doors, walls, etc.
  • The vampire that attacks Buffy and Angel in Buffy's house was never invited in. It's possible this was just a person that changed into a vampire due to Ethan's spell, and normal vampire rules may not apply.


International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Հելլոուին" (Halloween)
  • Czech: "Halloween"
  • Finnish: "Halloween"
  • French: "Halloween"
  • German: "Die Nacht der Verwandlung" (The Night of Transformation)
  • Hungarian: "Halloween"
  • Italian: "Halloween"
  • Japanese: "ハロウィーン" (Halloween)
  • Polish: "Wigilia Wszystkich Świętych" (All Saints' Eve)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Doce ou Travessura?" (Trick or Treat?)
  • Romanian: "Halloween"
  • Russian: "Хэллоуин" (Halloween)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Halloween"
  • Spanish (Spain): "Noche de Brujas" (Halloween Night)
  • Swedish: "Halloween"



Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Cordelia: "Are you guys playing tonight?"
Oz: "Yeah, at the Shelter Club."
Cordelia: "Is mister I'm-the-lead-singer-I'm-so-great-I-don't-have-to-show-up-for-my-date-or-even-call gonna be there?"
Oz: "Yeah, you know, he's just going by 'Devon' now."
Buffy: "A demon! A demon!"
Willow: "It's not a demon, it's a car."
Buffy: "What does it want?"
Ethan: "What? No hug? Aren't you pleased to see your old mate, Rupert?"
Giles: "I'm just surprised I didn't guess it was you. This Halloween stunt stinks of Ethan Rayne."
Ethan: "Yes, it does doesn't it? Don't wish to blow my own trumpet, but it's genius. The very embodiment of 'be careful what you wish for.'
Giles: "It's sick, brutal, and it harms the innocent."
Ethan: "Oh, and we all know that you are the champion of innocents and all things pure and good, Rupert. It's quite a little act you've got going here, old man."
Giles: "It's no act... It's who I am."
Ethan: "Who you are? The Watcher, sniveling, tweed-clad guardian of the Slayer and her kin? I think not. I know who you are, Rupert, and I know what you're capable of... But they don't, do they? They have no idea where you come from."
Giles: "Break the spell, Ethan. Then leave this place and never come back."
Ethan: "Why should I? What's in the bargain for me?"
Giles: "You get to live."
Ethan: "Oh Ripper. You're scaring me."
Giles: "Alright, let's review. Um, so everybody became whatever they were masquerading as."
Willow: "Right. Xander was a soldier and Buffy was an eighteenth-century girl."
Giles: "And your costume?"
Willow: "I'm a ghost."
Giles: "Yes. Um, the ghost of what, exactly?"
Buffy: "Hi honey, I'm home! Boy, it's good to be me!"


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original on June 9, 2001.
  2. "Halloween chic." BBC. Retrieved on October 8, 2019.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Second Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on April 13, 2008.