Stranger Things may have premiered back in July, but even then, with Halloween months away, it was clear: These characters were going to make awesome costumes. There’s something about that ’80s nostalgia we can’t get enough of, and let’s face it, you were probably getting sick of your only ’80s options being a John Hughes movie or The Goonies. You know the gang is practically begging to become a group costume, and won’t it be fun rocks-paper-scissoring who has to (or is it who gets to?) be Barb. To help you get ready for picking your Stranger Things look, EW has rounded up the best costumes to help you transform your Halloween into a full-on Hawkins fright fest.
This one’s a no-brainer: the breakout star of the show makes for a costume that’s the perfect balance of weird and wonderful. This dress from Melonhopper is a spot-on replica of the pink, frilly one the boys put El in when they’re trying to get her to fit in a little bit more. Add a blonde wig, a denim jacket, white Converse, striped tube socks, and of course, a box of Eggo waffles to complete the look. And don’t forget the bloody nose! Bonus points if you don’t speak all night.
The toothless wonder is everyone’s favorite curly-haired nerd, and his look is one that’s easy to recreate with the help of Etsy. You can find his signature red, white, and blue hat complete with a Hawkins Middle School A.V. Club pin here. Top it off with the quirky Castroville Artichoke Festival t-shirt he wears in several episodes (yes, the Artichoke Festival is real, and it’s spectacular) or the Waupaca, Wisconsin, shirt he was seen sporting. Dustin also wears a dark jacket and a backpack for many of his scenes, which should be easy to find either in your closet or a friend’s closet. If all else fails, go to your local thrift store. And how could we forget the wig? You’ll definitely need a brown curly wig. To be Dustin, make sure you have a few one-liners ready to crack up your friends.
Lucas Sinclair and Mike Wheeler
Maybe Lucas and Mike don’t have the most distinct fashion choices, but the two should still be pretty easy to pull off. For Lucas, wear a reddish-brown jacket (something like this) with a backpack (preferably corduroy blue) and a green-striped tee (something like this, from Uniqlo, will do just fine). If you’re feeling adventurous, stick a camouflage bandana on your head, too. For Mike, the striped shirt thing works well, too. Just swap out the red jacket for a beige one. Also totally acceptable for Lucas and Mike: a Hawkins A.V. Club t-shirt or a plain old Hawkins Middle School t-shirt. They may not have worn them in the show, but they seem the type to rep their hometown, no? If you’re dressing up as Lucas, reluctancy is key. Your friends want to hit one more bar before night’s end? Make sure they know you think they’re a little nuts. As for Mike, tonight, you’re the brains of the operation. It helps to also befriend any quiet, bald women you meet.
Oh, Nancy. We know you’re on the brink of becoming a “cool girl,” but one would think that would involve an updated wardrobe. To be Nancy this Halloween, do your best to dress as if your grandmother’s couch was an outfit. Think tight sweaters along the lines of this and this. Pair it with long, flowing hair neatly pinned back, a long skirt or dark jeans and a messenger bag, because, you know, a student’s gotta find time for homework when you’re not fighting the demogorgon! To play Nancy, make sure you attempt a transformation throughout the night. She starts as a quiet, innocent high school student, but by the end of season 1, she’s a badass monster-fighter. Know that should anyone attempt to steal your candy at any point in the night, you’re coming for them.
Sweet Barb, we hardly knew ye. Barb, for her brief tenure on the show, made quite the impression in the Twitter-verse, and it was largely in part to her unique fashion choices and the relatability factor in her tendency to play second fiddle to her cooler best friend Nancy. It’s okay if you don’t have short red hair — you can make up for it with retro large-frame glasses like these from Amazon, and a high-neck ruffly plaid top that looks like this. Make sure your jeans are the mommiest of mom jeans, and in as light a wash you can find. It doesn’t hurt to carry around some notebooks, either — Barb always was a studious one.
Ah! How could we forget the reason it all began? When he’s not in the Upside Down, Will wears blue and yellow plaid flannel shirts (which you can find here) and a red puffy vest (perhaps Marty McFly took fashion advice from Mr. Byers?). Pair it with some light jeans and sneakers, and if you can, ride around on a bike all night. No one will mind! Maybe. Also important to complete the Will look? A moptop haircut that looks a bit like early-’60s Beatles, which you can find on Amazon here, or in any party store, really.
Honestly, just have really great hair and pout a lot in a preppy polo. That’s all.
This one’s easy too: Wear a neutral-colored shirt, a denim jacket, and walk around with a nice camera, snapping creepy pictures of your neighbors. They’ll love it! And it may even help you snag a date — sort of.
Chief Jim Hopper
Odds are you probably already own beige clothes, and if that’s the case, then you’re halfway there to recreating the look of Hawkins’ trusty police chief. All you need is a button-down beige shirt and khaki pants – or, if you can find it, an already-made police costume in those shades, like this one from Party City. If you’re really committed, you can even add a Hawkins Police patch, found on Etsy. Complete the look with a sheriff’s hat like this and a cup of coffee, because, as Hopper says in the show, “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.”
If you’re into DIY-type costumes, this is the one for you! Since it’s, you know, a wall, and not an actual person, you’ve got some creative freedom with this one. Start with a button-down shirt that you don’t mind covering in black Sharpie. The wall in the show has a muted floral pattern, so that’s probably your best best if you can find a shirt like that. Then, in your best creepy handwriting, write the alphabet across it. Once you’ve done that, drape yourself in colorful Christmas lights that you can probably already find in stores that seemingly push Christmas earlier and earlier each year. Once you’ve found your lights, you’re all set. Unless of course, you’re set on making this a couples costume…
Which you totally can! Joyce and her wall are the unsung romance of the series, so make sure you’ve got all your bases covered. To play Joyce, you’ll basically just need to be as on-edge as you possibly can. That’s best done in a dark green army-style jacket like this one from Charlotte Russe and a striped t-shirt. To really be your best Joyce, also consider wielding an axe and carrying around a landline phone (remember those?) and calling out to your son, Will. Please note: This costume probably works best for people who won’t be hanging out with someone named Will. For extra inspiration, check out how Saturday Night Live pulled off this look.
We can’t all be the good guy. Halloween’s a time for embracing your inner villain, right? And the ultimate villain in Stranger Things is the mysterious demogorgon. The demogorgon is quite the strange…thing, so we’ll leave it up to this video to tell you how to complete your transformation.
On a final note, if you dress up as a Stranger Things character this Halloween, don’t forget to tag Entertainment Weekly on Instagram and use #EWHalloween.