Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been off the air for over 15 years now, but love for the Buffyverse runs deep. Many fans continue to connect with Buffy Summers and her friends, who referred to themselves as the Scooby Gang. In its day, one of the show’s characters was so popular that it warranted a spin-off. Angel, a show centered on Buffy’s main vampire flame, ran from 1999-2004. Before we impatiently waited for Arrowverse crossovers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel had us waiting for crossover episodes before DVR! Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended in 2003, but the comic book series continued where the show left off, giving fans more stories about their slayer.
Buffy continues to inspire creative types of all ages. One way that Buffy fans integrate their creativity with their love for a character is with cosplay! The Buffyverse has a lot of iconic characters and monsters to play with that are varying levels of difficulty. Those who want a simple Buffy cosplay just need to invest in a pair of red leather pants and a kickass attitude, while those going as Angelus will need to invest in some prosthetics. Here at CBR, we’ve rounded the best Buffy the Vampire Slayer cosplay that slays all day.
16 BUFFY THE VAMPIRE CHEERLEADER
Early in the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy tried out for the cheerleading team in an attempt to lead a normal(ish) teenage life. It turns out the whole process is more difficult than simply shaking one’s pom poms. Buffy gets tangled up with a witch! In addition to seeing our slayer get put under a spell for the first time, this is also the first time Willow casts a spell to find out who the witch is.
Photographer Mike Tuffley took this photo of a cheerleader Buffy at last year’s Wonder Con in Anaheim, CA. Cosplayer supersprill fully embodies the part of a peppy slayer. Supersprill also does Princess Leia, Wonder Woman, and Disney Princess cosplay, which you can find on her Instagram.
15 THE GENTLEMEN
If you’re looking for a good scare, look no further than the “Hush” episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is a season four (Emmy nominated!) episode features who are arguably the most terrifying monsters Buffy dealt with: the Gentlemen. In the episode, the Gentlemen steal everyone’s voices in town, which is already scary, so that when they cut out your heart, you won’t scream. Nope, not terrifying at all.
An additional layer to the fear is that they move quite elegantly, floating just above the ground, while dressed like they’re going to a formal dinner (hence their name). Their faces are iconically ghoulish, and special effects artist lgoresfx did a great job at scaring the bejesus out of us while scrolling through her Deviantart page.
Drusilla is a fun vampire to cosplay. She is Spike’s long-time companion and required a lot of care at the beginning of their time in Sunnydale. Fans quickly realized that Dru was quite insane in a childlike way, as she preferred to speak in riddles unless she was talking directly to Spike. Her powers moved plotlines forward since she was a seer and was incredibly adept at hypnosis. She was so powerful she rarely had to use her true vampire face.
One of Dru’s most recognized looks is the long white dress with half pulled back hair. In a way, she resembled a creepy bride. Cosplayer Kris Jade embodies the Dru spirit well in a photo by Mark Benfer. In addition to Drusilla, Kris Jade also does Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Disney cosplay.
13 PROPHECY GIRL
The season one finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer introduced viewers to the Master, that season’s big bad. The Master is a formidable villain because he’s very old and therefore very strong. Because he was unable to leave his prison until the finale, the first season had Buffy defeating his minions. This all came to head when Buffy ditches a dance to face the Master despite a prophecy that this will lead to her death.
Because of the long white gown coupled with the leather jacket and crossbow, many cosplayers have enjoyed making the “Prophecy Girl” look. One of these cosplayers is Tiffany Hadnagy Kopp in a photo by Keya. Tiffany’s cosplays also include our favorite characters from DC, Marvel, and Game of Thrones.
Illyria is a old powerful demon from Angel’s final season. After a beloved main character, Fred Burkle, dies, Illyria takes over her body to move forward in her plan to resurrect her army. However, when this fails, Illyria has to deal with Fred’s memories. Ultimately, Illyria is not a onenote villain, and she chooses to align herself with Angel’s team. Her story continues in the Buffy comics after Angel ended. In the comics, Fred is eventually restored, but the Illyria personality comes out as necessary.
Cosplayer Silvie Dubreuil did an amazing Illyria cosplay. In fact, Silvie handmade her entire Illyria cosplay. When she’s not cosplaying characters from Angel, she does an excellent Helena from Orphan Black, the Tenth Doctor, and an Andorian from Star Trek.
Vampire family trees are complicated. The Master, the big bad of the first season, sired Darla who would later sire (and hook-up with) Angelus. We know that this isn’t going to go over well when Buffy finds out. In her human life, Darla was a sex worker who died of syphilis in the 17th century. In her Sunnydale vampire life, Darla seduces male victims, usually by feigning innocence and wearing a school girl’s uniform.
This take on Darla by Anne Valmont is spot-on. This is a more recent picture of Darla cosplay, as it was taken at Los Angeles Comic Con in 2017. Love for Buffy villains truly never dies! Anne does other villains well, such as Harley Quinn. You can see more of her cosplay on her Instagram page.
Gnarl is a former demon acquaintance of Anya Jenkins (from her own demon days). What makes this demon terrifying is that he paralyzes his victims and then slowly flays them and eats their skin. It’s the stuff nightmares are made of, really, and his sing-songy voice terrifies us even further. Buffy was only able to defeat him, and save Willow and Dawn, by gouging out his eyes.
This Gnarl cosplay is creepy, and we love it. Charlie Short is a special effects makeup artist and YouTube personality who does some amazing monster work. The Gnarl is just the tip of the scary iceberg! Check out his Instagram for more visual creepiness. A particularly good one is the Lock and Barrel from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Buffy and Angel are one of pop culture’s favorite couples (and if you stick Spike in there, we have one of our favorite pop culture love triangles). Their story is inherently tragic. Because of Angel’s curse, if he experiences true happiness, he will lose his soul and turn back into the evil Angelus. And when is with his soulmate, he is bound to experience a moment of true happiness. This happens to Angel in season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and becomes a villain that Buffy has to defeat.
Deviantart user belziir bears a striking resemblance to David Boreanaz, the actor who plays Angel/Angelus. He’s a photographer that sometimes steps in front of the camera as a model. Taken by photographer Benoit Vermette, this photo all around works in giving us the angsty Angel vibe.
Our first on-screen Buffy was Kristy Swanson, who played her in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. The movie has now reached cult favorite status, but Kristy is not the Buffy that everyone associates with the character. Sarah Michelle Gellar played Buffy Summers for all seven seasons of the show, and her likeness is used in the comics that followed. Even though Sarah has been in other roles since, she will forever be associated with Buffy.
Sarah Michelle Gellar is unbelievably beautiful, so looking like her is a blessing. Cosplayer Pervinca looks so much like Sarah Michelle Gellar in her Buffy cosplay that we all have to do a double take. In addition to doing an amazing Buffy, Pervinca also does Sailor Moon and Disney princess cosplay, which you can check out on her Instagram.
7 WILLOW ROSENBERG
Willow Rosenberg is Buffy’s best friend whose witchcraft powers grow stronger as the seasons progress. In season one, Willow was a definite studious good girl with a crush on a guy who didn’t see her that way (you can do better than Xander, Willow!). As the show went on, Willow found more of herself through practicing magic and through being in a loving relationship with her partner Tara.
It’s pretty cool when cosplayers can make a career out of cosplaying a specific character. This is the case for Tascha Dearing. Because of her natural resemblance to Alyson Hannigan, the actress who plays Willow, Tascha can do amazing Willow cosplay. This one that uses Willow’s pink sweater from the early seasons is one of our faves.
6 BUNNY ANYA
Anya first encountered the Scooby Gang because she was going after Xander. As a vengeance demon, it was her job to destroy the men who scorned women, and Xander had just cheated on Cordelia. She joins the Scooby Gang as a human, and there are many hilarious moments where she just doesn’t understand why humans are the way they are. This also leads to some genuinely heartfelt moments.
One of the best Anya moments takes place during a Halloween episode. Xander explained to Anya that on Halloween, people dress up as something scary. This is when we find out Anya has a fear of bunnies. Cosplayer Dani Key has the perfect facial expression and overall bunniness in her Bunny Anya cosplay. She also does a great Octavia from The 100.
5 LITTLE BUFFY
Young girls will find role models in the media they’re consuming, so naturally, there is a lot of Disney Princess idolatry in a younger age range. Not to be outdone, Buffy Summers is a great role model for girls: she has strength in physicality as well as willpower. She always acts for the greater good (and she is definitely going to the Good Place).
While little ones may not have watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer yet, this doesn’t mean that their nerdy parents can’t have some fun! This little Buffy was featured in A Mighty Girl’s 2014 Halloween feature. Her name is Amelia, and she loves that Buffy saves the day and tells the boys what to do. We love this too, Amelia!
4 VAMPIRE WILLOW
In an alternate timeline where Buffy never came to Sunnydale, Willow and Xander both became vampires. When Buffy does show up to make right of messed up things, she dies at the hand of the Master (once again fulfilling the season one prophecy). As a vampire, Willow likes to torture people, which is a complete reversal of her personality, and her catchphrase is “Bored now.”
When Vampire Willow (and Dark Willow) says “Bored now,” it’s time to be very, very afraid. Many have done Vampire Willow cosplay, but this one by Amelia is unique in that she carries around her catchphrase. She has more unique cosplays as well, such as the Starbucks siren and Shae from Game of Thrones, which you can see on her Instagram.
3 GENDERBENT GILES
Rupert Giles is the librarian of Sunnydale High School with a secret life as a Watcher. He looks out for and is responsible for making Buffy the best slayer she can be. As Buffy fans get older, we can help but be drawn to those elbow patches. That’s normal, right?
Genderbent cosplay is always fun to see because it allows for a lot of originality. It’s up to the cosplayer to decide what elements are key to keep for the character and how to best interpret the character as a different gender. Andrea Boren kept it simple with this genderbent Giles cosplay with the jacket, book, and glasses being the keys to the character. While Giles can slay a vampire if he wants to, Andrea’s Giles cosplay slays in uniqueness.
2 LITTLE SPIKE
Spike is a fan-favorite character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He and his then love Drusilla originally came to Sunnydale for the Hellmouth, as they believed it would help strengthen Drusilla’s weakened condition. Spike’s presence in Sunnydale was troublesome as he had a reputation for torture -- the ultimate bad boy.
As Spike’s character progressed, he became a love interest of Buffy’s and slayed the hearts of fans worldwide. Some fans still talk about being Team Angel vs. Team Spike (it was the Team Edward vs. Team Jacob of our day). Now that fans are starting to have kids, we’re beginning to see little versions of our favorite characters, like this little Spike! We could not find the information for who posted this picture, but we absolutely love it.
1 BUFFERING BUFFY
One of our favorite Buffy memes is the Netflix screen with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy looking deep in thought with the word “buffering” over her. Those of us who are Netflix obsessed have undoubtedly had a buffering incident, and this is usually boring or frustrating. We don’t like waiting! However, it is a happy coincidence that this happened at some point over Buffy’s face. Nerds who love puns definitely rejoiced.
Doing cosplay of memes is difficult to do. This didn’t stop Jazmin Lee from doing this Buffy meme cosplay at 2015’s New York Comic Con. We especially enjoy how simple it was to achieve, and we’re mad at ourselves for not thinking of it first! You can see more of Jazmin’s cosplay on her Instagram.