Stranger Things house puts Plainfield on map


Ella Underwood

The Tik-Tok famous Stranger Things house is open to the public Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The house is located in the Wesmere neighborhood off of Caton Farm. Decorating has taken the Appel family more than 1500 hours. Follow them at @horrorprops on Tik-Tok.

Alyssa Carino and Rachel Mackey

Plainfield’s newest pride and joy, locally known as the “Stranger Things House”, is open again after a temporary shutdown at the beginning of October.

The decorations are open for visitation on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Wesmere neighborhood off Caton Farm Road.

“I thought it was really cool,” said teacher Ronnie Faraj. “I felt like there was a lot of effort put into it, and I feel like Plainfield needed something like that. When you think of Illinois, you don’t think of Plainfield. Now we have something to put us on the map, and I think that’s cool.”

The Halloween display, showcasing a floating iteration of character Max Mayfield, has circled the internet for its unique take on the show’s fourth season.

Display-owners Dave and Aubrey Appel said they are big fans of the series, deciding to use the scene as inspiration after watching the show together in May.

“Max is an incredible character,” said Aubrey Appel, “I feel like a lot of people can relate to her, and truthfully, me and my husband were sitting down watching Stranger Things [and] when that scene came about, he looked at me and was like, ‘Babe. This! We have to do this!’”

Although the floating Max is one of the most talked about among fans, that’s not where the scene ends. The Appel’s house is also covered in vines and spiders, and the house has a makeshift graveyard on their front lawn, where a second Max Mayfield sits at her step-brother’s grave.

“Our attention to detail is really important, especially to me,” said Aubrey Appel. “We tried to make it as identical to the scene as possible. I think we did a pretty good job. I’m really proud of the tombstone because I made it.”

Additions were added throughout the month of October, with newer decorations including a large demogorgon replica, the villain Vecna’s throne, character Eddie Munson’s guitar, and a scaled-down model of the famous “alphabet wall” gifted by a fan.

The display went viral in late September on apps like TikTok and Reddit, garnering millions of views in a few short weeks. The attention quickly spread through the Plainfield area soon after the house’s decorations were finished. In fact, the house’s fame has  reached news stations in places such as  New York and San Francisco, attracting Stranger Things fans in all corners of the world. The Appels even mention fans arriving from countries such as Australia and Chile.

Aubrey Appel explains their newly-released tutorial on their TikTok account.

“We never intended to keep anything a secret,” Appel said. “In all of our videos, we’ve never hidden anything. It’s just so naked to the eye that even when people walk up, they’re like, ‘Okay, so, fans? A drone? A balloon? I’m like, ‘Dude, just look to your left.’”

To that left is a light pole that just so happens to be next to the Appel residence.

“But what’s really cool is the people who do realize how it’s done, they’re not telling people either,” Appel said fondly. “So, if people ask, or if they take a video and they post it, [and] they’re like, ‘How’d they do it?’ They’re like, ‘I’m not ruining the magic. Sorry.’ And that’s what it is.”

But how does someone achieve something like this? Is it engineering? Money? Special effects?

“We try to do this as cost-effective as possible, truthfully,” advises Appel. “Cost effective is how you do it. Goodwill is the best place- there’s so much stuff.”

Appel explains that Max’s shoes are from Goodwill and just about everything else is from Amazon. Meanwhile, the vines are made of foil, and the pillars sticking out of the ground are pool noodles.

Many Plainfield South students have seen the house for themselves.

There isn’t always anything very interesting to do here, so the fact there was a new thing to do seemed really cool,” said senior Graham Miller.

“I would just say that we’re not the only house. We’re not the best house,” Aubrey Appel added as a final comment. “There’s tons of other houses in our area that people should visit if they’re going to come see our house. But ours is not the best; we’re not saying we’re the best. We would never say that. And if anybody would say that we are, we’d tell them we’re not. It’s not about that, it’s about the holiday and the kids and the community and candy.”

Appel reminded us that they give out candy every weekend, as well as toys in contribution to the Teal Pumpkin Project.

The Appel family can be found on TikTok and Facebook under @horrorprops, and on Instagram under @horrorpropsdave.