Watch Stranger Things on Netflix for Halloween
Sometimes, celebrating Halloween calls for a sci-fi horror binge, and that’s where Stranger Things comes in!
The air is getting crisp. The leaves are changing color. Pumpkin spice is in the air in local coffee shops and bookstores, matching the harvest decor on display. We’re inching closer to Halloween as October begins to settle in, and it’s the perfect time for a Stranger Things binge.
For the first two seasons of the series, the Duffer brothers channeled autumn in its creeping glory. There’s something foreboding about fall. Perhaps it’s the slow draining of summer’s colors that are at first vibrant before turning the same hue as the soil. Or maybe it’s the gradual rot of fruit and vegetables as winter waits to freeze the ground.
There’s also the veil between worlds to consider. How stories of its weakening have chilled spines and haunted dreams for as long as we’ve believed in spirits and that which cannot be explained. Returning to Hawkins, Indiana at this time makes sense. We’re in the season of change and transformation as the shadows grow long and the nights grow longer.
Our mood is affected by it, and in all the swirling traditions of holidays, autumn’s celebrations focus on weirdness and family. The macabre is king but so is community. Therefore, a show or film does not have to be about Halloween, or set during the holiday, or contain the typical supernatural trappings that are aligned with the spookiest day on the calendar in order to be on someone’s Halloween watch list. Rather, it has to embody the holiday’s spirit. It’s unsettling vibe.
In its first season alone, Stranger Things saw a child be snatched in the dead of night, another escaped from a lab where she was being experimented on. Creatures from an alternate dimension broke through a weakened veil and murdered a teenager. The abducted child got body snatched and the one who was experimented on has telekinetic powers and can walk between the dimensions.
The series marries science fiction and horror, two speculative genres fueled by history, a subversion of societal norms, and social commentary. Can we trust the government? Who are we when our back is against the wall? Are we alone in the universe? Can the human mind be pushed past its preset limitations? What is a hero and who gets to decide?
Yes, Stranger Things has grotesque monsters. The characters are battling a real threat to their safety and well being, but it’s also a coming-of-age story in the midst of psychological trauma, medical horror, the everyday terror of abuse, and shady government forces.
The show is a nostalgic drama that plays on its ’80s aesthetic to remind the audience of a bygone time where family sitcoms ruled the air and teen comedies made their rise. At the same time, it embraces the thrills and scares of the horror films of the era and never lets go of the fact that there is no such thing as an innocent time in American history.
As we approach Halloween, if you haven’t watched Stranger Things or you’re looking for something to binge, consider (re)joining a group of ragtag middle schoolers, their high school siblings, and their ‘doing their best’ parents in a fight against the Demogorgons and the Mind Flayer hellbent on bringing them to their knees.
Stranger Things will give you everything you want from the autumn holiday season including an episode where these kids go trick-or-treating as the Ghostbusters and their ghost friend. Be prepared to laugh, to cry, and to be freaked out all over again or for the first time.