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One of the standout episodes of “Stranger Things” Season 2 was unquestionably “Trick or Treat, Freak,“ which can essentially be considered the show’s first true Halloween special. The season’s second episode saw the boys dressed up as the Ghostbusters, but tons of other retro costumes were also on display throughout.
Speaking with Yahoo, costume designer Kim Wilcox talked recreating Halloween ’84. For starters, she discussed the handmade Ghostbusters outfits, unique to each character.
“I think that Netflix and the people from Ghost Corps got together and decided this would be a fun element to introduce into the show,” Wilcox told the site. “We thought about how these boys and their moms would have come up with these costumes. Some of the wealthier moms might have been able to go and buy a little suit to trick out, but Joyce doesn’t have the money to do that. Her family just kind of gets by with her one salary; most of their clothes come from the thrift store, or they rewear stuff they’ve had for years and years and years. We love the scene where she is hand-sewing the little Ghostbusters logo onto the costume that she’s made. You could actually buy the logo patch back then, but the rest of the costumes you’d have to make. Will’s suit was actually built from scratch, whereas the other ones are different kinds of flight or mechanic suits that we were able to find out in the world.”
“I wanted everything to be made of what it would have been made of had kids made it, so the proton packs are cereal boxes taped together,” added propmaster Linda Reiss. “There’s an old pie-tin for the circle piece, as well as Mason jar lids, buttons, colored wire and rope, a vacuum cleaner hose and nozzle, and a wooden cap gun as the trigger mechanism. Everywhere we use tape, we used old school duct tape or shiny scotch tape, and then painted everything with black poster paint.”
Reiss even touched upon the use of a Michael Myers mask, worn by Max. The mask is actually the one offered up by Trick or Treat Studios, so it’s not quite period authentic.
“The actual Michael Myers mask was not on sale at the time of our show in 1984, so we had to make it look like Max had done what the Halloween prop people did: Take a Shatner mask and paint it,” Reiss recalled. “We took a Myers mask that was the style used in the first movie, and removed a bunch of paint so it had the feel of a flesh-colored mask that had been painted.”
What about all the costumes that are less prominently featured in the episode? Wilcox talked with Yahoo about some of the costumes you might’ve missed!
“We had a crayon walk through the background. Somebody did that when I was a kid, so we put it in the episode. And Pac-Man is in there,” she notes. “We pretty much had free rein, so we went back and looked at mid-’80s catalogues and magazines like Tiger Beat. I also had middle- and high school yearbooks from that time, and they have great pictures of what we were dressing up as for Halloween. It was fun for my crew, because they got to be more crafty than usual in order to make a very Hawkins-esque everyday costume.”
Wilcox continued, talking about the Halloween party that Steve and Nancy attended – dressed as Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay’s characters from Risky Business…
“We looked back at the movies of the time and picked what was the most exciting and which made sense for the character’s personality. Some of them were also inspired by the Duffers. They’d say, ‘We think this guy should be a Cobra Kai, and maybe Billy [Dacre Montgomery] should be the Terminator.’ 1984 was also a great year for pop culture, so we have Michael Jackson and Madonna in there, and Siouxsie Sioux makes an appearance. It was really fun to go back and take a look at what was the music that was popular at the time.”
“Halloween has become even more commercialized now, and it’s gotten strangely sexualized, especially for younger girls,” Wilcox added. “It’s fun to go back to the simple basics and do more of the homemade stuff.”