How did a Plainfield family get a Max from ‘Stranger Things’ Halloween decoration to float?

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PLAINFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — In Plainfield, a Halloween decoration goes beyond spooky.

We’ve watched it over and over again on TikTok like millions of people online, and yet, we can’t figure out how any of it is possible.

It looks like a real girl dressed as Sadie Sink’s Max Mayfield character from “Stranger Things” is hovering in midair. It’s not a real person – it’s a mannequin – but the family behind it is keeping how it works a mystery.

CBS 2’s Jermont Terry went to see it all for himself Friday evening.

Dave Appel and his wife, Aubrey, go big every year for Halloween decorations. This year, they started Aug. 1.

“And then every from the moment we get home from work,” Dave Appel said.

Every year, the final product has proved to be dramatic and ghoulish – giant spiders on the garage, fog enveloping the driveway, the “Stranger Things” monster the Demogorgon standing front and center on the lawn.

But this time, there’s one specific prop – also referencing “Stranger Things,” a hit Netflix series the family loves – and it’s is grabbing everyone’s attention.



“There’s so many people out there who are fanatics like we are, so we wanted to make something that was the most iconic scene from the show; something maybe no one else could try and do,” said Dave Appel.

When the family decided to replicate Max from “Stranger Things” levitating in the air, it left folks perplexed.

“The wonderment of how – or like, you know – ‘Where? Where is it coming from? How are they doing that?'” Dave Appel said.

Dave and Aubrey created a quick TikTok of the Max display – and now it has more than 14 million views. Everyone wants to know what’s keeping Max afloat.

Dave will tell you what’s not.

“It’s not drones. It’s not helium or balloons,” he said, “and we just felt like it was more fun to keep it under wraps.”

The sense of mystery is what it’s all about.

“We didn’t think that would be the thing,” said Dave Appel.

If you were hoping to find out the secret to the hovering Max in this story, unfortunately, your wish will not be granted. The Appels are not ready to reveal the secret just yet.

But the display is gaining attention. CBS 2’s Terry ran into some neighbors who happened to see the floating Max on TikTok and wanted to drive by – and who reported they had a lot of “Stranger Things” fans in line behind them.

Even Netflix joined into the fun – calling the Appels their “#001 fan for sure.”

Dave Appel seemed to be in a bit of disbelief, but he was willing to claim the title given the work he and his family put in.

“It makes me feel amazing,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

But what’s more amazing is the Appels are doing something as a family – and bringing smiles and screams to so many other families.

“That’s what makes us want to continue doing that, is making the kids happy,” said Aubrey Appel.

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