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15 Baby Names Inspired by Your Favorite “Stranger Things” Characters

The Netflix streaming series Stranger Things became an instant pop culture phenom almost the minute it debuted last year, charming both critics and fans. A sci-fi-fantasy-horror homage created by the Duffer brothers, it won Screen Actors Guild Awards and received 18 Primetime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series. Its second season, which takes place one year after the first, was released last week.


We see it too, as a source of highly unusual names, not only for its characters, but, interestingly, also for the actors who play them. Set in the early 1980s, many of the characters have era-appropriate monikers — Winona Ryder’s mom character is Joyce, and there are also Carol, Mike, Jim, Jonathan, Steve, Becky, Karen, Nancy, Billy, and Holly — names that could come straight out of a 1980s (or earlier) sitcom.

But here are some cool baby names of the mostly young cast that you wouldn’t find there.

stranger things season 2

1. Anniston: Little Anniston Price shares the role of toddler Holly Wheeler with her sister Tinsley, just as the Olsen twins did decades ago. Anniston was a surprise entrant into the Top 1000 in 2014, perhaps as a result of all those Jennifer Aniston magazine covers, nostalgia for Friends, or its similarity to Addison. Actors Chyler Leigh and Nathan West introduced the double-n spelling for their daughter Anniston in 2009.

2. Cade: Cade Jones plays the recurring character of James, a school bully. Cade entered the list of most popular baby names in the late ’80s, peaking at #201 in 2001; it’s now at 408, accompanied by cousins Caden and Cale. There was a Cade in Gone With the Wind and there’s even a Star Wars Cade Skywalker.

3. Dacre: Dacre Montgomery plays the charismatic but unpredictable character Billy. His rarely heard name, pronounced DAY-ker, originated as a surname first recorded in the 13th century and survives in the descendants of Dracula author Bram Stoker.

stranger things season 2 eleven

4. Eleven: She’s a mysterious young girl with psychokinetic abilities and a limited vocab, who was born Jane Ives before she was experimented on in Hawkins Lab. Not many, but a few parents are playing the numbers game for their kids’ names; Erykah Badu has a son named Seven, and on TV we’ve seen Six on Blossom and Seven on Married with Children and Seinfeld.

5. Finn: Young actor and breakout star Finn Wolfhard plays the intelligent and studious Mike Wheeler. Baby name Finn is a gigantic hit, now at #175, helped by a starring role on Glee, and by starbabies parented by Owen Wilson, Autumn Reeser, Tori Spelling, Ed Burns and Christy Turlington, and several others.

6. Gaten: Curly-haired 15-year-old Gaten Matarazzo plays Dustin Henderson; they share the medical condition of cleidocranial dysplasia, which is incorporated into the story line and has raised awareness of it. Not sure about Gaten — could it have derived from the Italian Gaetano?

7. Glenellen: Glennellen Anderson plays the character of Nicole. I think her unusual smoosh name really works, with its combo of male and female elements. Though it does sound a little like a brand of booze.

8. Linnea: Linnea Berthelsen plays Roman. Linnea is a lovely Swedish nature name inspired by the renowned botanist Carl Linnaeus. It’s mega-popular in Scandinavia, recently #1 in Norway — and just waiting to happen here.

9. Max: Played by Sadie Sink, Max is one of the key kids in the show. Max has lately been joining the category of boy nicknames for girls along with Sam, Charlie, and Frankie.

10. Millie Bobby: Young British actress Millie Bobby Brown earned an Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy nomination for her starring role as Eleven when she was only 13. Her double-nickname name feels more currently UK than US: Millie alone is #10 in Scotland, #26 in England and Wales, and #436 on the Social Security list.

11. Roman: Roman is a female character played by Linnea Berthelsen. Roman is currently a Top 100 name for boys; could it now join Rowan — and Rory, Remy, and Romy — as user-friendly for either gender?

12. Sadie: 15-year-old Sadie Sink (great combo!) plays the complicated tomboy character of Max. Sadie has really come back with a bang, now a Top 60 name. Adam Sandler and Christina Applegate are just two of several celebs who chose Sadie for their daughters

13. Salem: Salem Murphy has the minor role of the high school principal, but I just couldn’t resist including this one. A particularly haunting unisex place name with some dark associations via the witchcraft trials and the eponymous supernatural TV series, it still has some offbeat appeal.

14. Tinsley: Little Tinsley Price shares the role of Holly Wheeler with sister Anniston. Tinkley Tinsley, a British surname name, entered the Top 1000 last year.

stranger things season 2 winona ryder

15. Winona: Winona Ryder, with her long, stellar resume, plays the mom figure, Joyce Byers. Born Winona Horowitz, she was named after the city in Minnesota near which she was born. Winona is a Sioux Indian name meaning “firstborn daughter” and has been heard on television in Justified, Seinfeld, and Star Trek (as Captain Kirk’s mother). There are many spelling variations.

What’s your favorite “strange” name? Let us know @BritandCo.

This post was previously published on Nameberry by Linda Rosenkrantz.

(Photo via Netflix)

Alright, folks. We've officially made it to fall. And if you haven't already started switching out your decor (as long as it's ready by Friendsgiving, right?) you still have time to do so. Draw inspiration from this round-up of new home products that includes harvest-inspired candles, cozy linens and textiles, and a v. practical piece of furniture. One scroll through these, and you'll have all the motivation you need to transition the seasons. Scroll on to start shopping.

Prism x LOREM Collection ($96+): Calling all Cali babes. The popular Long Beach boutique, Prism, announced a boho-fabulous collab with home decor line, LOREM, that we can't get enough of. Shop everything from plant hangers (eight options, to be exact) to artwork, all inspired by the very colorful vibes of the brands. If you were looking for a cheery way to tide you through winter, this. is. it!

Floyd Mattress (Price TBD): Fans of the cult-favorite Detroit-based brand will love their latest launch debuting on October 29. The highly-coveted Floyd Mattress will have the same made-to-last design and superior comfort as their other furnishings, tailored perfectly to fit the line's in-demand bed frame. Additional details for the mattress include a breathable foam material, highly-mobile packaging, and a low-profile design to secure your best night's sleep yet. Check back on the last week of the month to get one for yourself.

Dims 'Composed Vanity' ($595): Small space? No problem! Direct-to-consumer brand, Dims, is giving you a quick and stylish solution to your storage needs with their newest item that doubles as both a desk and vanity. The functional piece is made with non-toxic, chemical-free materials and can be assembled in seven minutes or less. Throw in four sleek shades to choose from, and this may just be your best purchase of 2019 yet!

Saatchi Art x The Citizenry Holiday Collection ($225+): Get ready to deck your walls this holiday season. Saatchi Art partnered with The Citizenry in a one-of-a-kind collection that features a curation of art across styles. Explore everything from modern to abstract creations in a selection so stunning, it's bound to spark a conversation at your next gathering.

NEST Spiced Orange & Clove Collection ($16+): If you haven't experienced the addicting aromas of the beloved NEST fragrance brand, this is the perfect time to get on board! The label recently released their latest scent — spiced orange & clove — just in time for all your gatherings. Inhale festive notes of orange pomander, spiced brandy, cinnamon, and gingered honey across their suite of candles and diffusers to bring all the good vibes to your home.

Bloomingdales x RiLEY Home ($19+): RiLEY Home gets millennials. So they teamed up with Bloomingdales to make shopping their selection more attainable than ever. Now, you can get in on long-lasting, luxurious staples like flannel sheets, bedding, printed throws, premium pet beds, and more, by shopping online and in-stores at the department store. (Trust us: These dream goods are ones you're going to be *glad* you stocked-up on.)

Italic Serene Towels ($12+): The luxury brand that prides itself on using the *same* factories namesake brands (like Calvin Klein and Lacoste) use, but without the price tag behind them, brings you a new product for fall. Treat yourself to Italic's ultra-soft towel set spun from fluffy, 100% Australian cotton, in a convenient set of six. Consider it the perfect indulgence after a long soak in the tub on a cozy FNI (Friday night in)!

Hyascent x Neiman Marcus ($169): 'Tis the season for a delightfully scented home. Warm your abode with scents like bourbon joy, cheeky rose and more in a unique diffuser that doubles more as decor than a fragrance-inducer. Fresh off the (online) shelves of Neiman Marcus, explore nine scents that last up to six months in a specialized hourglass holder. (Shhh! Your friends will never know the secret of why your place smells so darn good!)