Culture of Pop

31 Days of Halloween Episodes: Fear, Itself (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Here at Pop Culture Spin we refuse to accept that Halloween is only one day. We’re going to be celebrating Halloween all month, by highlighting one of our favorite Halloween episodes every day. Today’s we’re looking at the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Fear, Itself.”

Basic Info

Directed by: Tucker Gates

Written by: David Fury

Episode Number: Season 4, Episode 4

Where to Watch It: Netflix

Why It’s Awesome

“Fear, Itself” is one of the funniest episodes in Buffy‘s run, but it’s also one of the most emotionally resonant. The fear demon in this episode doesn’t just make things creepy, he also senses the characters’ deepest fears. Seeing Buffy’s fear of abandonment, Xander’s fear of being ignored and Willow and Oz’s fear of losing control in action is an emotional reminder of why we’re attached to these characters.

Why It’s Full of Halloween Spirit

There are tons of Halloween tropes in this episode. It kicks off with the group carving pumpkins together and overanalyzing their jack-o-lantern’s faces. (“I was going for ferocious-scary but it’s coming out more dryly sardonic.”) Xander plans a scary movie night although it’s thrown off when he discovers he rented Fantasia instead of Phantasm (“Maybe it’s because of all the horrific things we’ve seen, but hippos wearing tutus just don’t unnerve me the way they used to.”)

Then, Buffy discovers that even Giles is getting into the Halloween spirit and is adorably enthusiastic about his dancing Frankenstein decoration.

Things get even more Halloween-y once the characters enter a haunted house that’s coming to life because of the demon that’s been accidentally summoned.

In the end, everyone comes together to collectively conquer their fears. The message that things aren’t so scary as long as you’ve got your friends might be tacky, but it’s still a great Halloween message.

Costume Count

Giles wears a sombrero and poncho

Buffy is Little Red Riding Hood

Xander is James Bond

Willow is Joan of Arc

Oz is God

Any is a bunny

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