Halloween isn’t complete without watching at least one “Treehouse of Horror” episode of The Simpsons, which is why last night, in lieu of giggling at Harley Quinns and the Jokers drunkenly wobble down Austin, TX’s most bar-covered street, I went to “Cartoon Night.” It’s exactly what it sounds like — people watch cartoons — but with a little extra: a Scooby Doo tribute band called the Zoinks played between screenings, and attendees were invited to feast on bowls of milk and cereal. The hosts also invited everyone to dress up, so I was expecting to see various obscure Simpsons references. Nope: by far the two most popular costumes were from Rick and Morty and Stranger Things.
Rick and Morty makes sense — it’s a cartoon, after all, and a damn good one at that — but there’s nothing animated about Stranger Things, unless you mean Winona Ryder’s performance. Netflix’s nostalgic breakout hit was everywhere on Halloween, though. (A brief tangent: Halloween on a Monday is the worst. Four days of partying and dressing up sounds fun, in theory, but that’s a lot of forethought and by the time actual Halloween rolls around, you’re exhausted and hate candy corn even more than usual. End of rant.) I tried keeping track of the number of wig-wearing Elevens and blinking Christmas lights and toothless Dustin costumes I saw but lost count after 50. It didn’t help that I went to a Stranger Things-themed bar, which included such drinks as the “Nosebleed” and “Fireball or Protection.” No TV show has taken over Halloween as much as Stranger Things did this year since… Game of Thrones?
There are a few reasons why I think that is.