Stranger Things Halloween display causes dispute in Illinois

A family in Illinois causes a bit of controversy with their Stranger Things-themed Halloween display

Max Mayfield levitating in Stranger Things season 4 - this is the inspiration of the viral Halloween display in Illinois

A Stranger Things-themed Halloween display in Plainfield, Illinois has caused a bit of controversy due to the crowds it’s been drawing in the past few days.

The Halloween display, which was put up by Dave and Aubrey Appel and their family in their driveway, recreates an iconic scene from Stranger Things season 4. The display features a life-like body of Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) levitating in mid-air above her brother’s grave. A replica of Vecna’s (Jamie Campbell Bower) throne is also part of the decorations, as well as other elements found in the villain’s lair.

Dave and Aubrey began posting videos of the display on TikTok last September, but it’s only this month when their decorations started to gain national attention. As of writing, the most popular video of the display has already earned more than 14.5 million views.


♬ Stranger Things – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

But due to the crowds of people it’s been drawing, the Halloween display has caused problems for some of the residents of the neighborhood. According to, a neighbor of the Appel family became upset when a visitor pulled into their driveway to see the display.

That incident resulted in a heated argument, and police were even called to the house. Because of what happened, the family posted on social media on Sunday that they were considering dismantling the display. However, they have since received overwhelming support from the public.

“Monday morning, we woke up and the amount of support and love from everywhere — literally everywhere, like worldwide — [It] was like, ‘Don’t let one person ruin your fun,’” Aubrey told WGN earlier this week.

The neighborhood is under the jurisdiction of both Plainfield and Joliet. According to WGN, Plainfield has already given the family its blessing to keep the display. The Appels had planned to meet with Joliet officials on Wednesday to ensure the display is not violating any ordinances. If everything is good, they said they planned to keep the decorations up through Halloween.

The Appels talk about their Stranger Things-themed Halloween display

In an interview on Chicago’s Afternoon News, host Lisa Dent asked Dave and Aubrey how they are levitating Max in their Halloween display. The husband and wife, however, refused to share the secret.

“Come out here and take a look for yourself at how we do it,” said Dave. To which Aubrey added: “See if you can figure it out because some people come and they figure it out like, ‘Wow, that’s clever.’ And others are like ‘I still don’t see it. How are you doing that? I don’t get it. What’s the trick?”

When asked how much time and effort they put into the display, Dave said, “More than our full-time jobs combined, I believe. Probably … about 15000 hours.”

As for the entire cost of the display, Aubrey revealed that they “try to do everything as cost-effective as possible. And there was actually a comment on TikTok. Somebody said, ‘Ohh, it must be nice to have money, to have things like that.’ I was like, ‘What!? You know, we don’t.’”

“There is no financial gain whatsoever,” added Dave.

Though the couple is not sharing the trick behind the levitating Max in their Halloween display, Dave made it clear that they don’t really mind if people start copying their Halloween display. “People are telling us that we have inspired their new ideas,” he shared. “To be able to say that we have inspired people to be able to decorate their homes in the way that we have is truly amazing. It’s very hard to have some sort of an original idea these days.”

At the end of the interview, Dent asked if Dave is a builder by trade. “No. I love LEGO,” he revealed.
“I’m 36 years old and I still love LEGOs, so everything that goes with that is really just how we solve this problem.”

Stranger Things will return for a fifth and final season, but Netflix has yet to set a premiere date for the show’s last batch of episodes.

Sources: WGN, Chicago’s Afternoon News
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