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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Halloween
October 27, 1997
5V06

 
Credits

Writer:
Carl Ellsworth


Director:
Bruce Seth Green


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Robin Sachs as Ethan Rayne
Seth Green as Oz
James Marsters as Spike
Juliet Landau as Drusilla
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
Cast:
Larry Bagby III as Larry
Abigail Gershman as Girl

 
Synopsis

It's the most quiet night of the year for the undead, which would mean a quiet night for our Gang, except they're pressganged by Principal Snyder into baby-sitting the kids of Sunnydale while they trick or treat. The gang go to buy their costumes at a new place run by a mysterious Englishman called Ethan Rayne. Xander saves money on a soldier's costume, Buffy chooses a noblewoman's costume to impress Angel, while Willow chooses a revealing outfit, at Buffy's urging. She chickens out and wears a ghost's sheet over it. Ethan is clearly a bad 'un, since he casts a spell to turn people into their costumes. Buffy is now powerless and at the mercy of Spike, Xander is a real soldier, Willow is the Ghost of Hookers Past and everyone else is a monster. Ethan and Giles have some bad history it seems, and Giles brutally beats the spell reversal out of Ethan. This brings everyone back to normal, much to Spike's displeasure. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

Janus (properly pronounced JAYN-uhs) was indeed a two-faced god in Roman mythology. However, his worship was never as sinister as it is portrayed here. In real life, Janus is the Roman god of gates, of doors, and of beginnings and endings, and was worshipped at harvests, marriages, births, and other kinds of beginnings. One interesting note is that Janus also represented the transition from child to adult, a theme of particular significance in Buffy's second season.

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Dialogue to Die For

Drusilla: "Do you love my insides? The parts you can't see?"
Spike: "Eyeballs to entrails, my sweet."

Xander: "Buffy! Lady of Buffdom, Duchess of Buffonia, I am in awe! I completely renounce spandex!"

Willow: "She couldn't have dressed up like Xena?"

Willow: "Okay, your name is Cordelia, you're not a cat, you're in high school, and we're your friends. Well, sort of."
Cordelia: "That's nice, Willow. And you went mental when?"

Spike: "Well, this is just... neat!"

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Buffy as eighteenth-century-girl is a tad overdone: "I would never wear this, that low apparel, and I don't like this place, and I don't like you, and I just wanna go home!"

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References

  • "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, actually), among others.

  • "Like a Care Bear with fangs?"  The Care Bears were a series of collectible teddy bears introduced by Hasbro in the 1980's and quickly spun off into a huge entertainment empire including clothing, comic books, and cartoons. (There was even The Care Bears Movie in 1985!) The Care Bears were supposed to represent all that was good and pure and fluffy and saccharine in the world.

    Godfather

  • "I feel quite moved to make you a deal you can't refuse."  In the 1972 film The Godfather (based on Mario Puzo's 1969 novel), "an offer you can't refuse" is a phrase used by Don Vito Corleone, the title character. It meant an offer of help from his extensive crime family, usually illegal, and refusal would most likely result in retribution against the person to whom the offer was made.

  • "She couldn't have dressed up like Xena?"  Xena is, of course, the super-tough title character of the campy adventure series Xena: Warrior Princess, played by Lucy Lawless.

  • "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).

    Catwoman

  • "Catwoman, you're with me."  In DC Comics' Batman comics, Catwoman is a sexy cat-burglar, the alter ego of Selina Kyle.

  • The card that Giles finds in Ethan's shop at the end says "Be seeing you," which was 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.
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • Numbers trip up again: Willow states that Angel was eighteen in 1775. But twice so far this season, ("Some Assembly Required" and "Reptile Boy"), Angel has stated that he's 241, which would have him born in 1756 (or 1755, if he hasn't had a birthday yet in 1997). So he would be either 19 or 20 in 1775.
  • It is established that Ghost Willow can't touch anything (she couldn't turn the pages of a book), yet when Giles tells her to leave Ethan's shop, the door can clearly be heard opening and closing as she goes out.

  • Although vampires can't enter a house without an invitation, a kid-turned-vampire attacks Buffy and Angel in her kitchen, with no explanation as to how he got in. Of course, he's not technically a "real" vampire, so it could be argued that the rule doesn't apply.

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Notes

  • This was not guest star Robin Sachs' first encounter with the bloodsucking undead. A much younger Sachs starred as Heinrich the vampire acrobat in the 1971 British horror film Vampire Circus.

  • In this episode, Cordelia does not yet know that Angel is a vampire.

  • Halloween is traditionally a quiet night for undead activity.

  • The Bronze may be the only club in Sunnydale, but a place called the Shelter Club is close enough for Dingoes Ate My Baby to have a gig.

  • Ethan's prayer to Janus, the spell that causes all the chaos, translates as follows: "Janus, I invoke your spirit. Hear my plea. Seize the night for your own reason. Come, appear and show to us that which is infinite power. The mask transforms itself into flesh and blood. Your holy presence curdles the heart. Janus! Take the night!"

  • Ethan and Giles are old acquaintances, and Ethan refers to Giles as "Ripper."
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Music

  • Epperley - "Shy" (From Epperley, Triple X Records, 1996)
      This is the song playing in the Bronze at the beginning of the episode.

  • Treble Charger - "How She Died" (From Maybe It's Me, RCA Records, 1997)
      This song plays at the end of the episode as Oz watches Willow walk home and once again wonders who she is.
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Comments

Brian:
Oh, my stars and garters! Two weeks ago, I said that "Reptile Boy" was Buffy on autopilot. Well, "Halloween" was Buffy on overdrive! Where have they been hiding this Carl Ellsworth guy? Just when I thought that episodes like "Prophecy Girl" and "School Hard" had shown me the best this show could offer, they go and pull out all the stops and raise the bar. Okay, there are things I can criticize: I like Oz and am looking forward to some Good Stuff between him and Willow, but his part in this episode was a total retread of his part in "Inca Mummy Girl"; Buffy's accent as 18th-century-schizoid-girl, assuming there was supposed to be one, was laughable (the first bad thing I've seen SMG do); and Angel and Buffy went from "What-the-heck-are-we" maybe-dating in the last episode to casual snogging here. But these things are trivial next to the hair-raising, rip-roaring perfection of the rest of the episode. Willow was hub-BAH, of course, but still kept that wonderful innocence and sweetness that makes her so irresistible — Alyson Hannigan's expressive face was put to good use in this excellent Willow episode. The emasculation-remasculation Xander storyline was a total hoot, and Spike's appreciation of the Halloween spectacle was pure pleasure. And Giles! From out of nowhere we get the news that Giles isn't all tweed and stutter, and I like it! The interest factor for this season increased exponentially the instant Giles kneed Ethan in the stomach. There is too much good stuff to even try to include here, so I'll sum up: "Halloween" rocked my Buffy-world in a big, nasty way. (9/10)
Will:
OK, Joss redeemed himself. All I can say is that this episode was just completely fun. Xander was buff, Willow was hot, and Buffy was a coward. The list of things that I liked about this episode is quite long but I will start with the presence of Spike in it (even though it was a bit gratuitous). Willow the friendly ghost was looking quite sexy in her all-too-revealing outfit. My favorite part, though, was the very brief view into Giles' past. I see a great big can of Buffy excellence being opened here. I viewed this episode apart from my partner in crime (Brian). Instead my brother came to view it with me. He asked me at the start of the episode how Giles came to be the Watcher. I proclaimed that I didn't know and, sure enough, the episode introduces the same question. I must say that I am finding the character of Drusilla a bit irritating, but Spike more than makes up for it. I suppose that we should just sit and wait for Ethan (the costume shop curator) to resurface in a future episode. By the way, it is about time that Angel and Buffy do more than just deny that they should be together. Two huge thumbs up for this episode. (9/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
October 27, 1997 3.7 99 of 118 (tie)
February 3, 1998 4.0 86 of 106 (tie)
October 27, 1998 3.4 100 of 129 (tie)
October 31, 2000 1.9 113 of 138 (tie)

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