Halloween is still more than a month away, but one couple may have already created the internet’s favorite spooky decoration.
Aubrey and Dave Appel went viral this week for their “Stranger Things”-inspired decor, which depicts a scene from the Netflix hit series in which character Max Mayfield levitates.
Just like the show, the Max figure inside Appel’s Chicago home also floats — and no one on social media can figure out how.
A TikTok showing off the decoration has racked up more than 13.6 million views. A second video of the decoration has more than 1.8 million views.
“When people started showing up at our house early … they were like, ‘We saw you on TikTok. How is she up there?'” Dave, 36, recalled.
The Appels started putting some thought behind how they decorated their home for Halloween about four years ago. After the pandemic gave them more time to plan, they started creating more elaborate decorations.
The couple describes themselves as “Home Haunters,” which means they go all-out each season. They also belong to the Chicago Haunt Builders, a collective of decorators who made intricate Halloween displays at their homes.
They’re also big “Stranger Things” fans and horror movie buffs, so when they started planning and designing decorations this summer, they knew they had to find a way to incorporate the show.
“We’re obsessed with horror, so it’s the best of both worlds,” Aubrey, 39, said.
The couple appreciates how practical effects in horror films can look incredibly real, which is what inspired some of their practical Halloween props.
“We grasped on to that because it’s so cool and it’s artistic in its own grotesque way,” Dave said.
The Max figure is made out of items like pool noodles and is weighted to look as realistic as possible regardless of the weather, although the couple said they bring Max inside when conditions are sour outside. They said they learned how to craft a realistic-looking Max by watching YouTubers like Stiltbeast Studios. They also said they’re still making tweaks to the prop to make it look as realistic as possible ahead of Halloween.
The couple initially planned to wait to debut the decoration closer to Halloween, but when they saw how good she looked floating, they decided to put her up early, on Aug. 27.
The couple said they are grateful to their neighbors, who have been good sports about having such enthusiastic decorators in the area.
Ever since the TikTok was posted, many have been trying to figure out how the couple made Max float.
“I need to know how she’s up there. Remind me when the reveal video is up please,” one person commented on Appel’s TikTok video.
Another person wrote: “Honestly, this is easily the coolest thing I’ve seen on this app in the longest time.”
Dozens echoed one commenter, who simply asked. “but HOWWWWW?”
Aubrey and Dave said people react exactly the same when they see Max in real life as they do online.
“We put in a ton — a ton — of effort,” Dave said.
They’re keeping the secret of how she floats under wraps — for now.
The couple said that the effect is extremely practical, but they don’t want to spoil the magic ahead of the holiday.
“She’s really floating,” Dave said. “She looks just like you see in the video in person — but knowing the secret is a lot of the fun of it.”