AUSTIN - Erika Thompson's on a quest to "Keep Austin Strange."
It was that pursuit of "strange" that led Thompson to transform her front yard into a "Stranger Things"-inspired Christmas display. And now it's the talk of the town.
This is the first year Thompson and her design partner, Greg Bass, have ever put up anything for Christmas, and her first year living on 37th Street, so she wanted to do something special.
"I usually send Christmas cards every year, but didn't send one this year. So this is like my Christmas card." Thompson said.
The Christmas lights on 37th street have been an Austin holiday tradition for over two decades, previously inviting throngs of visitors to the older residential neighborhood. In recent years, the traffic has significantly reduced due to the original homeowners moving, and more university students renting out the homes, neighbors told KVUE.
"My neighbors and I have been trying to revive the 37th Street lights tradition." Thompson said. "I'm a big fan of the series, "Stranger Things," and this just seemed natural to do. I feel like I'm just doing my small part to keep Austin strange."
Thompson's neighbor, Robert Foster, knocked on everyone's doors to encourage them to put up lights this year. Thompson, Foster and other neighbors have been trying to revive the tradition of the Christmas lights on 37th Street.
But they couldn't do it alone. According to a post Foster shared to a Facebook group created for the neighborhood, "A nice lady recently lost a Christmas-light-obsessed husband. She donated boxes and boxes of his supplies," he said. "Let us know what you need and we'll probably have it."
Building the Stranger Things display only took one day, and much of the resources they used were donated. They found the couch for free off Craigslist, and found from Goodwill some wallpaper that resembles Joyce Byer's wallpaper from the Netflix-original drama.
"I hope folks will come by and see the 37th lights again." Thompson added.
Tessa Heines and Joseph Bay are students, and big fans of Stranger Things. They came to look at the display on 37th Street.
"We both watched the second season in a day," Heines said.
Heines and Bay originally saw a photo of the display on Instagram and Reddit and came to see it for themselves.
But where's the holiday spirit in Stranger Things?
"It was trying to say Merry Christmas in a different way than the Home Depot's Santa Claus and snowmen," Bass said. "We just wanted to do something a little genuine."
Thompson encourages people to come and take pictures in their yard. Don't worry, they haven't spotted any Demogorgons yet.
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