Let’s face it, even though most of the characters in Stranger Things are half our age, we all secretly want to be as cool as Mike Wheeler and his group of friends when we grow up. While we can’t all go out on epic adventures with Ego-loving superhumans or fight demogorgons, now that this month’s election basically turned our country into a real-life Upside Down, we might as well try to channel some of that group’s retro ‘80s style!
You couldn’t walk down the street on Halloween without seeing a Barb, an Eleven, or a toothless Dustin, but these costumes shouldn’t just be stored away and worn one day a year. They’re perfect for Stranger Things watch parties, comic or television conventions, and heck, even the holidays – when your parents hang up Christmas lights next month, paint a bunch of letters under them, throw on your costume of choice, and see if one of your friends needs saving! If you need a bit of inspiration, check out some of the most adorable Stranger Things outfits we’ve seen so far.
15 Frumpy-fabulous, fan-favorite Barb
Barb is one character you don’t have to match perfectly for everyone to know exactly who you’re trying to channel. The unsung hero (and somehow, cult-favorite character) of Stranger Things may not have been a fashion icon, but she knew exactly who she was and wasn’t going to change for anyone… even if that meant getting sucked into the Upside Down while her BFF was doing the dirty inside. Just throw on a pair of oversized glasses, put on a button-up that ensures not even an inch of your skin is showing, and tuck that baby in to complete the look. It’s both prude and somehow…. kinda hot in an 80s soccer mom (or grandma, really) sort of way.
14 Baby Eleven, complete with Eggo!
Okay, this little girl may be passed out and have no idea what the heck is going on, but she’s gotta be the most adorable waffle-loving psychic her local playground has ever seen. Her parents deserve some sort of award. She’s got Eleven’s classic pink dress, the blue coat, a blonde wig, and most importantly, an Eggo in her hand. Sure, the Peter Pan collar makes the outfit a bit too old-fashioned to wear at the club, but girls of all ages could totally wear this to school. And chances are, if you do and you get a few looks thrown your way, it’s just because people are super jealous that you look just like one of the coolest characters to ever grace our TV screens.
13 Beat-up Steve Harrington
Let's be real, even though Nancy's ex-beau Steve Harrington isn't winning a "boyfriend of the year" award any time soon, you were totally into him for the first few episodes. He was the right amount of charming and cocky, and despite his Jean-Ralphio hairdo, he was pretty cute in that high school jock sort of way. Who wouldn't want to channel all of that? All it takes is a leather coat, a plain and neutral-colored shirt, some messy hair and a little bit of fake blood on your face and you can be the unexpected hero of any costume party or demogorgon battle.
12 Joyce Byers' Upside Down communication wall
Okay, see, here’s what we were talking about when we said you can totally pull off wearing a Stranger Things costume during the holidays! This is the kind of outfit your oblivious grandma would totally compliment on Christmas Eve without ever realizing you’re actually dressed up as the wall Joyce Byers used to try to communicate with her son who was trapped in some sort of alternate dimension. It’s also a great way to make that old floral dress you’ve had in the back of your closet cool again… a little bit of paint, some dollar store Christmas lights, and you’ve got one of the most original and adorable homages to the show out there.
11 Doctor Strange-r Things
Whether you're headed to a superhero-themed frat party or a comic book convention, this costume is sure to earn your a lot of laughs and high-fives. With Doctor Strange being one of the best films of 2016 and Stranger Things being the best TV show, "Doctor Strange-r Things" is the perfect way to remind people that some good did actually come out of this crazy year. Mix Eleven's pink colored dress and Eggos with Doctor Strange's coat, cape, hairdo and Eye of Agamotto (which is half mystical relic, half waffle), give him a magical aura that lets him communicate with those in the Upside Down, and you've got probably the best pop culture joke ever made.
10 Classic '80s kid Dustin "Toothless" Henderson
There's a reason there were nearly as many Dustin costumes as there were Eleven costumes last Halloween—he's pretty much the best friend a person could ever hope for, and he's as hilarious as he is adorable. It's also super easy to dress up as Toothless, and you don't have to match his outfit from the TV show perfectly for people to know who you are. Pretty much any retro tee and red-white-and-blue trucker hat will work, and that's a look that's still totally cool to wear to school or hanging out with friends. Bonus points if you rock it with curly hair, and if you really want to go all out, paint your front teeth black so it looks like they're missing.
9 Party dress Barb
Okay, so Barb may have spent her first high school party being super socially awkward, and that may have led to her getting sucked into the Upside Down without anyone really noticing until the next day, but at least she looked totally stylish (again, in that frumpy '80s soccer mom sort of way...)! This little girl clearly knows how to channel her inner Barb-diva, rocking her flannel dress, large-framed glasses, and an expression that screams "I have a nine p.m. bedtime and am saving myself for marriage, leave me alone." Sure, it's not an exact replica of Barb's party outfit, but it's definitely one that the Stranger Things icon would wear if she lived long enough to go to a second party.
8 Sexy Eleven? A little weird, but okay...
Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven was badass, unique, cool, and a number of other great adjectives, but the 12-year-old actress probably didn't really intend for her character to be viewed as "sexy." But hey, you do you. If you've got a lingerie or sexy costume party to go to or you have a boyfriend that's a little bit too obsessed with the show, here's an outfit that nobody will be expecting! From the high socks to the pink and white top and skirt, it's still clear who you're dressed up as... even if it'd be super weird for Eleven to wear anything like this.
7 Sexy AV-club leader, Mr. Clarke
Mr. Clarke may not have gotten the fanfare that Barb received after the show, but he was undoubtedly Stranger Things' true unsung hero. He gives Mike's gang the ham shack they used to contact Will, he explained to them how alternate dimensions work, and he taught Dustin how to make the sensory deprivation pool that let Eleven go to the Upside Down. So he pretty much deserves credit for everything heroic that happened. Show the world you appreciate his wisdom and kindness by throwing on an old sweater, dress shirt or cardigan that only a teacher from the '80s would be caught dead in, brushing your hair back, and putting on a fake mustache.
6 Elle, the super-powered kitty
Why should we humans hog all of the Stranger Things cosplays when chances are, your cat was right there next to you watching the show, and loving every minute of it?! Either check your local pet shop or the nearest Baby Gap to see if they sell Elle's classic blue coat, a white collared shirt, and a pink dress. Chances are, you won't find all of the items you need, but whatever you can't find, you can likely sew together yourself with little difficulty. If you have guests over, put out a little plate of Eggos for your kitty to nibble on, and watch as everyone freaks out and Snapchats your little furry bundle of joy's every move.
5 Eleven and Dustin buddy costume
If you're off to a party with your entirely platonic opposite-gender BFF, this is a great buddy costume to show up in. And if you want to go for laughs, show up gender swapped! This duo costume is clearly perfect for people of all ages, because look how adorable those two kids are; they might have absolutely no idea who they are dressed up as, but we really don't care—we just want to take a million selfies with them! They seriously nailed it. Bonus points if you and your bestie wear these outfits for your yearbook photos—with a show this good, chances are people will still be talking about it, years and years down the road.
4 A very merry Stranger Things Christmas card
The holidays are right around the corner, and that means you and your family will probably be mailing out your annual Christmas card any day now. Convince your parents to make it a Stranger Things-themed card—each of you can dress as an iconic character from the show by throwing on the appropriate wigs and '80s attire! Look out family costume contest! You just may have a winner.
Look at this adorable family dressed up as Mike, Barb and baby Eleven; they can use this as a Christmas card, as an invitation pic for next year's Halloween party, whatever! Themed family pictures are usually super embarassing, but this is one you can be proud to be a part of.
3 Sheriff Jim Hopper
Sheriff Hopper might not have been as cool as the kids on Stranger Things, but he was every bit as important. He's also super easy to cosplay, because sheriff badges, belts and hats can often be found in your local dollar store or in the leftover discount Halloween costume bin at Walmart. If you don't have a group of friends in Stranger Things costumes with you for reference, people might confuse you for Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead, so print out a "Have You Seen Me?" flier with Will Byers' face on it that you can carry around to make your identity a bit clearer. This is great for Cops & Robbers-themed frat parties!
2 Young lovers Mike & Eleven
Mike and Eleven are totally #relationshipgoals, even if they're only in middle school. Mike gave her a home and introduced her to his best friends; Eleven gave him protection from his bullies and helped him find his missing best friend. What more can you ask for? Whether you and your S.O. want a new profile picture, a couples costume for an upcoming party, or an engagement photo that'll make your friends super jealous, dressing up as Elle and Mike is guaranteed to earn you some serious props. Like, how can you look at that couple and not want to be them?! If you want to plan a fun outdoor date for you and your boo, jump on a retro bicycle together in your costumes, ride around town, and spend the day trying to count how many people freak out and take pictures of you two.
1 Eleven & her Eggo, OTP
Okay, so Mike and Elle are #relationshipgoals, but Eleven and Eggos have to be the OTP of Stranger Things. There's a reason no Eleven costume is complete without a mini waffle in hand—she loves them more than anyone and anything. This is by far the most hilarious and adorable couple's costume honoring the show, and is simple enough to throw together—the Eleven needs her usual pink dress and blonde hair, and the Eggo can be made with some cardboard and the tiniest bit of artistic talent (or a printer, if you're lazy). Just make sure you stay by each other's side, because if you wander around alone wearing a giant waffle on your chest, people are going to be a little confused.