Strangest Thingsest
August 29, 2016 11:48 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I both really like Halloween and we both really like the Netflix show Stranger Things. So much so that we're throwing a Stranger Things themed Halloween party. Help us do that! (all of the spoilers inside, but if you haven't seen Stranger Things, just go ahead and fix that and come back)

I should note that I have and know how to use Arduinos and Raspberry Pis. I have a 3d printer (Rostock Max v2) and some modeling skills. I have a decent workshop and I've been a professional prop maker and artist. My girlfriend is an interior designer, artist, and excellent logistics planner. There is no such thing as over the top here, and for the purposes of this question let's assume that the only limit to our capabilities here is time.

Already planned:

The alphabet wall/christmas lights. Not totally trivial to make using arduino and relays, though doable. But is there an off the shelf solution to this? Or any simpler ideas? The complication is that the lights definitely have to be the big old multi-colored ones like in the show.

The Demogorgon, crouched and feeding off in a corner of the back yard with a spotlight on it as in the scene where Eleven first sees it inside her mind or the Upside Down or whatever the black wet place is. We have lights and for the purpose the Demogorgon doesn't have to be incredibly detailed.

The front entrance to the house will be decorated like Fort Byers. Sticks, weathered wood, paint, and a flag. Pretty easy.

A false wall with a portal to the Upside Down. Brown paper for vines, paint, paper mache if necessary, beef netting, etc.

A big sticking point is that we obviously need for the portal to lead to the Upside Down, which will be a room in our house, but we don't have any great ideas about how exactly to do that. Fake trees that look wet, maybe some ash dusted over things, and light fog?

And idea I had just now: We have a glass-enclosed shower we could turn into The Bathtub (the isolation tank Eleven gets dunked in).

Eggo waffles?

Any other ideas for other things we could do or how best to do what we've already thought of?
posted by cmoj to Grab Bag (33 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You're playing the soundtrack, right?

In a corner, I'd do a table covered with a blanket (and lights inside) like Eleven's hiding place in the basement. It would be fun to hang out in there. Hide a huge bowl of junk food inside.
posted by mochapickle at 11:53 AM on August 29, 2016 [15 favorites]

A little swimming pool with an Eleven floating in it? (I'm thinking tiny...maybe for the punch bowl?)
posted by xingcat at 11:55 AM on August 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You need a table set up for Dungeons & Dragons, complete with miniatures.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:56 AM on August 29, 2016 [13 favorites]

Best answer: And cookies in the shape of Barbara's glasses.
posted by mochapickle at 11:56 AM on August 29, 2016 [5 favorites]

Table set up with a D&D game? (maybe it could be part of the decorations on a food or drinks table).
posted by cooker girl at 12:01 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Big walkie talkies! Bonus points if you can somehow rig them to play the crackles and Will's voice!
posted by cooker girl at 12:05 PM on August 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I bet you could do a reasonably good portal on your wall with paper mache for the structure and then fake spiderwebs and gelatin over top to make it stringy and gloopy.

For the upside down room- maybe a fog machine and fake snow flakes and a fan to blow it all around?
posted by rmless at 12:26 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You should get an awful blonde wig and hang it in the bathroom above the mirror so everyone can try on what it would be like to be "pretty"
posted by rmless at 12:27 PM on August 29, 2016 [15 favorites]

Best answer: (Candy) slugs in the bathroom sink.
posted by bonehead at 12:28 PM on August 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Ah, yes we'd thought of the D&D table, but that reminds me of another side question: Are there any D&D or other roleplaying modules that would be casual and quick enough that people could actually play at a party?
posted by cmoj at 12:30 PM on August 29, 2016

Best answer: A corner with boxes of donuts and a samovar of coffee, for Coffee & Contemplation.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:33 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: An old wall phone that occasionally rings to play a crackly sound file?
posted by bonehead at 12:39 PM on August 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You could come up with a simplified Choose Your Own Adventure scenario to stand in for D&D, perhaps with party-based based outcomes (Demogorgon kills your character, go into the Upside Down for 15 minutes, etc). Rules should fit on a single sheet of paper, done up 1st ed style.

If you can, try to make time to slip out and take pictures of the party through the windows. Apply the proper filters, print out the pictures, and leave them around in a fake dark room, Jonathan-style.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:52 PM on August 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Are there any D&D or other roleplaying modules that would be casual and quick enough that people could actually play at a party?

BECMI D&D is appropriate to the early 80s setting and fairly easy to pick up and play, especially if you print out a stack of pregenerated character sheets. I'm pretty sure the Basic set includes a simple dungeon crawl adventure for beginner DMs. For maximum Stranger Things verisimilitude level the characters/monsters up a bit so they can throw Fireballs at random Demogorgon encounters.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:56 PM on August 29, 2016

Best answer: Label a door "Curiousity".
posted by oh yeah! at 1:00 PM on August 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Someone acting creepy and taking candid photos of the party. Even better if you can superimpose the monster so that people look like they're in danger. And if you could print them out so the people can take them with them. As a joke maybe insert a couple of you and your girlfriend about to be intimate.

A bloody deer carcass.

BMX bikes.
posted by willnot at 1:01 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you have wallpaper anywhere in your place, it would be cool to make a bulging wall section (create paper mache with one flat side, hang it on the wall and then paint the stretched wallpaper pattern over top)
posted by rmless at 1:06 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For the christmas lights, what you are looking for is RGB LEDs with the WS2812 controller chip built in. This means no relays or transistors per lamp, you just chain the LEDs together (four leads but three wires: positive, negative, and signal output to the input of the next LED) and then a single arduino can change the color and brightness of each and any light on the string individually at any time. Use that to define them as different coloured bulbs and then switch them off and on based on whatever system you want.

If you are inclined to protest that christmas lights in the 80s were bulbs, not LEDs, I counter that if you pay attention, the lights in Stranger Things are actually modern LEDs, so you should use modern LEDs to be accurate to the show! :)
(The blue bulbs in the show emit the 21st-century blue, not the shoddy yellow-green "blue" of the incandescent 80s. But if you want to be more authentic than the show was, have the arduino add some yellow-green to the blue lights)
posted by anonymisc at 1:30 PM on August 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Also: pillow fort (for making out?). The mother lode hoard of tinned pudding?

Do you know anyone with a white van? "Hawkins Power & Light" vinyl signage for it is probably sufficiently inexpensive.

"The bathroom is down the hall BUT WATCH OUT FOR THE BEAR TRAP!"
posted by anonymisc at 1:45 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You have to serve Eggos!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 2:10 PM on August 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hand out compasses!
posted by porpoise at 3:32 PM on August 29, 2016

Leave a bear trap in the corridor.

Preferably deactivated, so it won't break anybody's leg...
posted by Loudmax at 4:19 PM on August 29, 2016

Best answer: A happy face yo-yo with a string strategically placed somewhere?

Old school 80's phones (spray paint them to make them look burned?)

Baseball bats, with or without nails driven into them?

Rig up a rope on a giant spool that leads into the Upside Down?

For the walkie talkies - put a small bluetooth speaker nearby that plays an mp3 recording of Will's voice?

Hang the "No Trespassing" sign from Jonathan's room?

Rig up an upside-down round fish bowl with (or without) El's head inside for a table decoration?

Hunt Craigslist for a free, old, A/V radio kit then spraypaint it to look burned?

If it's not too hot, someone can wear the reindeer sweater? Or Dustin's trucker hat?

Play the Stranger Things soundtrack, vol. 1 and 2.

Edited to add - can someone wear the fake blood from El's nose? (Or is that too gross?)
posted by onecircleaday at 4:47 PM on August 29, 2016

Best answer: DIY waffle bar with a buffet of toppings to choose from.

maybe for a party game, make a set of those ESP cards and have people test each other as a nod to the MK-ULTRA themes in the show?

also – make sure you have a playlist of cool 80s tunes!
posted by celestine at 4:47 PM on August 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Have a baseball cap and brown curly wig so people can also be Dustin!
<3 DUSTIN <3
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:40 PM on August 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: A bunch of bags of Epsom salt and a kiddie pool?

The bikes seem essential. As do Eggos.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:23 PM on August 29, 2016

Oh, and a ton of chocolate pudding.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:27 PM on August 29, 2016

Best answer: Additional food to serve: French fries, nutty bars, Nilla wafers, trail mix, Pez, Smarties, apples, bananas, Coke in cans, unspecified casserole.

Somewhere in the house you could play a loop of Should I Stay or Should I Go Now, or a loop of Will's voice coming over the walkie talkie.
posted by corey flood at 9:05 PM on August 29, 2016

Encourage everyone to come rocking their best pastel colors, Members Only jackets and feathered hair- like Steve and Nancy!
posted by ChickenBear at 9:33 PM on August 29, 2016

Best answer: Have a ring of shadeless lamps in one of the rooms.
posted by cooker girl at 5:42 AM on August 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you have a yard, could you build a diving board bench and have a cooler of beers (and a pocketknife) out there? A camera rigged to take photos from the edge of the yard would be pretty cool too.

Make it look like you hacked open your wall and put in a view out to the Byers' yard!

You also need a bundle of white xmas lights in a tangle that flash when people talk to them and/or pick them up.
posted by snaw at 7:44 AM on August 30, 2016

Best answer: For the light wall, look at this reddit post
posted by Rage-chel at 10:39 AM on August 30, 2016

Best answer: Seems to me the Upside Down room should be decorated the exact same as the room that leads to it, but all gray with ash everywhere.
posted by lampoil at 1:59 PM on August 30, 2016

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