Today we are continuing our look at Halloween episodes of teen shows from the ’90s with Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s season 2 outing. Fashion and TV from this decade is a big source of discussion here at TV Ate My Wardrobe and one of the most representative of this period is Willow’s very un-Willow attire.
Willow protests that this costume “just isn’t me.” Buffy responds with “And that’s the point. Look, Halloween is the night that not you is you, but not you. Y’know?” Which is Buffy speak for Halloween is the night you get to pretend to be something that you are not. The reason why Willow is dressing from Buffy’s closet is because Buffy wants Willow to get noticed as it’s “the perfect chance for a girl to get sexy and wild with no repercussions.” This isn’t a specific costume per se and Willow isn’t exactly pretending to be Buffy in the same way that Danielle is dressing as Angela in My So-Called Life, instead Buffy is using her clothes as a way to give Willow a new sexy look with Halloween as the excuse.
Instead Willow opts for her original very covered choice and she is clearly not feeling the sexy makeover. This is not the very ’90s aspect of her costume but it does turn Willow into a ghost when Ethan’s spell kicks in and she spends the rest of the episode in her Buffy chosen attire. It’s also a time for Willow to take command of the situation as both Xander and Buffy’s costumes mean they don’t remember anything about who they are.
A super short leather looking mini (with a bonus thigh split), a stomach bearing top and the obligatory choker is why this perfectly represents the latter half of this decade. Dark lipstick, smoky eyes and an up do with the necessary two strands of hair dangling at the front completes the look so if you’re ever wanting an authentic ’90s costume idea this is pretty much it.
This is a big episode in the Buffy verse as it’s the first time we meet Ethan Rayne and get a hint of Giles’ dark past. It’s also the second time that Oz has noticed Willow (the first is in “Inca Mummy Girl” when Willow is dressed as an Eskimo) and he asks to himself in wonder “Who is that girl?” This occurs after the effects of the spell have worn off and Willow has ditched her Boo costume and strides with pride as she finally feels comfortable in her original outfit. While this doesn’t mean that Willow is suddenly going to change her style, this experience of having to lead under pressure means that Willow now has confidence in her abilities and she is a valuable asset to this team. Buffy’s mission to stop Willow from hiding has worked both from a boy perspective with Oz and with her role in the Scoobies. It’s a subversive look at the come as a sexy version of something.
As with Freaks and Geeks and My So-Called Life, Halloween gives Buffy the Vampire Slayer the opportunity to address relationships and the insecurities these characters might be feeling. Plus there is the added bonus of costumes and who doesn’t love a deep and meaningful discussion in fancy dress?