How Stranger Things brought back ‘80s nostalgia

The ‘80s were a fun time, with some of the best movies, songs, and styles. It comes as no surprise that new Hollywood shows and films pay homage to this much-loved decade. The hit sci-fi TV series, Stranger Things, is one of the many shows set in the ‘80s. But what sets this one apart from the rest is how much the directors, set designers and production team nailed the ‘80s look.

When you watch this show, you do not feel like you are watching modern kids playing ‘80s dress-up. You actually get the feeling of being transported back in time. Read on to find out the top five ways in which Stranger Things brought back the ‘80s nostalgia.

The atmosphere

The houses in the show have wood paneling on the walls, which is a classic ‘80s interior design trend. Perhaps it’s not the best way to decorate a modern house, but wood panels paired with floral wallpaper create the perfect setting for a house in the ‘80s.

In addition to this, the boys in the show love to hang out at the arcade, which was every ‘80s kid’s go-to meet up spot. The boys also use walkie-talkies to communicate with each other, reminding the viewers of a time when cell phones did not exist. They are also seen riding their bicycles around like the good old ‘80s kids. And let’s not ignore the mixtapes, another tradition that was very popular in the ‘80s.

‘80s movie costumes

The main characters, Lucas, Dustin, Will, and Mike, dress up as Ghostbusters for Halloween. Ghostbusters was released in 1984 and became an instant hit.

Another ‘80s reference was seen in Nancy and Steve’s Halloween costumes. They dressed up as main characters of Tom Cruise’s film Risky Business, which was released in 1983.

E.T. throwbacks

The opening scene of season one shows the boys playing Dungeons and Dragons while eating pizza in Mike’s basement. This scene echoes the beginning scene of ‘80s sci-fi movie E.T., in which the main character, Elliot, is also seen playing a game in his basement.

Later on, we see Eleven wanting to go out dressed as a ghost for Halloween. We know that E.T. did it first, when Elliot and his friends dressed the alien as a ghost to sneak him away from their home on Halloween.
While these references may be subtle, a direct reference is made when a toy of the alien from E.T. is seen on Dustin’s desk.


Eleven’s favorite food is the frozen waffles, or Eggos, which were immensely popular in the ‘80s. Not only this, but Will’s favorite chocolate is Reese’s Pieces, another ‘80s treat that was also used by Elliot in E.T. to befriend the alien.


Hairstyles were very distinct in the 1980s. The retro coiffe sported by Steve and Billy was indeed an ‘80s look. In one of the scenes, Steve even shares the secret of his fabulous hairstyle with Dustin. Not only this, but the “mom jeans” worn by Joyce and Nancy were another go-to in the ‘80s. While they may be old-fashioned, they were also very comfortable.

When you watch the show, you can see how Stranger Things brought back ‘80s nostalgia in almost every aspect. This is one of the things that makes the show even more fun to watch.