It all started with a TikTok video.
Homeowners Dave and Aubrey Appel in suburban Plainfield have been putting together this year’s decor for months, but it wasn’t until their TikTok showed floating Max Mayfield from Netflix’s hit series ‘Stranger Things’ in the middle of his driveway that things really started. take off.
For those driving by, it’s hard enough not to notice, but what they haven’t seen in the viral clips is the other side of their yard.
“We don’t just have ‘Stranger Things.’ We’ve got killer clowns, pennywise, pet cemeteries, we’ve got Alien, we’ve got Predator…references,” Dave told NBC Chicago in a recent interview. “And people can pick and call them, that’s amazing. Very funny… because we hide them. We love Easter eggs and horror movies and all that. So our side of our garden is all ‘Stranger Things’, the other side is every pop culture horror movie that we could basically fit in there that seems peaceful.”
Social media can’t get enough of the epic “Stranger Things” themed decor seen in the Chicago suburb.
The popular exhibit launched earlier this month, and the couple said they do it for the “scares, the smiles, the laughs, the joy” and a love of horror.
However, last week, it was about to close.
The abrupt closures initially stemmed from a problem with a neighbor, who the Appels say began “threatening families and patrons with a baseball bat” during its first open weekend last weekend.
The family wrote that their neighbor called the police over security concerns and the family eventually closed their facility early Sunday, planning to tear down the following day.
But thanks to the support of fans and other members of the community, they chose to continue their fight, which led to a security meeting with Plainfield and Joliet officials at City Hall.
“We’ve always come and seen the screen, I’ve never had a problem with it,” said neighbor Nick Durna. “We think it’s a really great thing that they’re doing. So this year, it’s kind of weird that it’s gotten out of hand.”
The Appels said they had discussed their Halloween plans with neighbors to get permission before building their facility.
“We wanted to make sure he was okay because we assumed this year was going to be a little bit busier than normal,” said Dave Appel.
The family said safety is the most important thing to them, stressing that visitors should be respectful of their property, as well as that of their neighbors.
The Appels revealed their “final verdict” on Wednesday, announcing plans to reopen after meeting with officials, where they discussed the future of the famed Halloween set.
“We’re freaking out doing this,” home owner Dave Appel said on a TikTok live about the decision. “Everyone’s support has been ridiculous. Everyone did all the legwork.”
How they created the Halloween decorations
Though many who have seen the screen for themselves or seen it online are deeply curious as to how Max Mayfield is floating above the driveway, the magic will remain a bit more of a mystery when October finally kicks off.
According to Aubrey, many fans online have suggested that the pair used magnets or drones to keep Max afloat. For the Plainfield couple, the entire show must be open to the public before the secrets are revealed.
“The magic really isn’t so much in the props that we’ve done. It’s in the total effect of it. And we decided that we’re going to hang on to the idea for a little bit longer just to give people more time.” guess and figure it out and also get people out,” Dave said.
This weekend marked the first official open house day.
While screens have featured a floating character so far, lighting and special effects will be added outside the house just in time for early October. Although there is much more to come in terms of Dave and Aubrey’s Halloween madness, the decorations are all for the love of the holiday and related activities.
“We do this for no money,” Dave said. “It’s free. It’s just for kids. It’s for adults who want to see something different, who want their walks to be, you know, more fun.”
There may not be any financial gain in horror-inspired endeavors this time of year, but the pair haven’t shied away from recognition for their extraordinary efforts.
“In fact, we listen to Netflix on our TikTok. They commented and said, ‘#001 fan for sure’. Very well. Like we took a good two or three minutes,” Dave said. “Did they really comment and how do you respond to that?”
The pair also said they received a retweet from the Stranger Things Writers Room and caught the attention of athletes, bands, and even The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
“I was like, ‘Okay, okay. We’re really doing something here,'” Dave said.
The pair have been on board with “Stranger Things” since the first season, with Dave and Aubrey pointing to their childhood in the 1980s and general fascination with horror for drawing them into a show millions have watched over the past six years.
The horror of the show may be a draw for them, but the show is much more than scares for the Plainfield couple.
“It’s everything. It’s the music, it’s the writing. It’s really the connection to the characters,” Dave said, adding that the show has grown more and more in tandem with each season.
Even with the recent fanfare and recognition surrounding their awards, Dave and Aubrey hope to continue to have fun and do what they can.
“We’re not trying to become the number one CGI creators. We just want to build and learn at our own pace, but be able to improve ourselves a little bit every year,” said Dave.
how to see it
Planfield owners revealed that there will be new hours for those who wish to visit with “lighting and special effects” in full effect, although the display will be visible throughout the week for those unable to make it during those windows.
“You can visit any day of the week, however the lighting and special effects will be off to help all of our neighbors and ourselves rest and relax,” owners Dave and Aurbey Appel wrote on the company’s Facebook page. Horror Props.
The new official hours are from 5 to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and from 4 to 9 pm on Sundays. Halloween Monday will also be from 5 to 9 pm
The address of the house can be found on this page, under “Infested Oaks”.