Now that I’ve finished binge watching Netflix’s much-anticipated new series Stranger Things, I’ve been passing the time by….reading about Stranger Things, re-watching key scenes, and planning the viewing party concept featured in today’s post! Inspired by the incredible performance of the talented Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, this build-your-own Eggo bar is the perfect way to watch a series that pays homage to some of our favorite ’80s films. Seriously, not since E.T.’s love of Reese’s Pieces have I been so excited about a character’s obsession with snacks. While Eleven may not be able to get her Eggo fix in every scene, you can get yours on demand from the comfort of your couch…
Let’s start by talking about why Stranger Things has struck such a chord with audiences of all ages. If you’re like me and grew up watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., and movies based on Stephen King novels, there’s simply something fun about a series that references these masterpieces. But the Duffer Brothers, who created, wrote and directed Stranger Things, don’t just stop there. They breathe new life into retro storylines and motifs with elements like multidimensional characters and a powerful synth soundtrack, challenging convention and adding layers of depth that make repeat viewings very rewarding. No matter what age you are! [photo above via ScreenCrush]
So invite your friends over and watch as many episodes back-to-back as you can. Introduce someone to the series who has never seen it. Welcome those who want to watch it again. And again.
Party Food and Decor
If you’re watching at night, set the stage by adding some spotlights to the backyard for an eerie effect. Or simply enjoy the summer night by sitting outdoors on the patio and shining the flashlight into the bushes (shown below). You just might appreciate your surroundings in a whole new way!
For some added festivity, you can always string holiday lights around the room in an homage to Winona Ryder (aren’t those scenes where she communicates with Will via string lights THE BEST?)!
Now let’s talk about food… Obviously, we’re going for Eggo waffles here, but make sure to offer something salty to counteract the sweetness. This is the cult TV version of summer blockbuster viewing, so don’t forget the popcorn!
The main attraction: a build-your-own Eggo bar. *Note: In September of 2016, Eggo recalled about 10,000 cases of their Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles amid Listeria concerns, so choose wisely at the supermarket. Since you may want to try a few different versions of these tasty waffles, don’t hesitate to have some Eggo Minis on hand for bite-sized nibbles.
Or be authentic, and go for the full-sized version. After all, Eleven would stop at nothing to get her Eggos (see the glass shattering behind her?)!
Props to the Duffer Brothers, who seem to have gotten Kellogg’s to whip up a few retro-style Eggo boxes for filming. Nowadays, there are many options to choose from, including Eggo Minis and (gasp) gluten-free Eggos. Yes, folks, we’re not in the ’80s anymore…but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an ’80s look for the party! I hit Goodwill to find some earth-toned dinnerware for the table. Remember what most families would have had in their china cabinets at that time. This was not Miami Vice. Think brown-rimmed dishware. Bonus points if you can find plaid napkins that match some of the upholstery from the set of Stranger Things!
Next up: have plenty of toppings on hand. My favorites include strawberries, bananas, toasted walnuts, Nutella, peanut butter, whipped cream, ground cinnamon and chocolate sprinkles…
Set up your bar and let guests help themselves. You can toast a batch of waffles before guests arrive, or simply direct your friends to the toaster so they can prepare their own crispy, hot Eggos when they’re ready to eat.
Since you’re having breakfast for dessert, don’t hesitate to offer beverages such as juice, milk and coffee. Or spice things up with some Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Now about those toppings… If you’re feeling like something hearty, top off your waffle with peanut butter, bananas and honey:
For a lighter version, add some whipped cream, ground cinnamon and walnuts. For the ultimate in decadent Eggo desserts, top the waffle with Nutella, strawberries and whipped cream, then finish it off with chocolate sprinkles:
A Few More Details…
Here are a few more eerie shots, the first from Stranger Things, and the last two once again from my backyard. Who knew it could look so spooky out there?
Do yourselves a favor: as you watch the show, check out The Duffer Brothers’ behind-the-scenes recaps for each episode at Entertainment Weekly. So many fun facts, from the casting process to how they found the Austin musicians who created the soundtrack. Enjoy!