TV & Movies

These IRL Squid Game Stunts Are Creepily Intriguing

It’s all the fun of the games minus the, uh, other stuff.

Following the hype over the Netflix series, 'Squid Game' stunts have moved into the real world. Phot...

Spoilers ahead for Squid Game Season 1. More than a month after its debut on Netflix, Squid Game is still enjoying a healthy spot among the streamer’s Top 10 titles — and, as of Oct. 20, has amassed an incredible 142 million viewers, per Forbes. It’s easy to see why Netflix’s biggest series ever has such a hold on us — from all those iconic visuals to memorable characters whose motivations are often grimly relatable. “People can identify with feeling like they’re not the ruling class, but the underdog or the downtrodden,” Dr. Eric Bender, a child, adolescent, adult, and forensic psychiatrist, recently told Bustle of the show’s popularity.

Then, of course, there are the games themselves — cute little contests that would actually be a lot of fun if losing wasn’t so, well, permanent. Fortunately, a recent surge of real-life Squid Game stunts has allowed fans to play some of the games in a safe way in cities around the world.

One such event took place in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 23. According to TikTok user irenehwu, a Netflix-orchestrated outdoor pop-up featured everything from player photos to dalgona to bunk beds, photo ops, tracksuits, guards, and, yes, a game of red light, green light complete with creepy robot doll.

So what happened if you lost? In the show, you’ll remember, Ms. Robot’s eyes clock any movement and any shaky players are promptly “eliminated.” While the pop-up was spared this terrifying detail, TikTok user valeriewango shared footage of actors getting ushered away by guards if they lost — so some of Squid Game’s suspense was definitely still present IRL. Redditor beef_meximelt shared photos of the event, too, including a snap of the original Squid Game business card captioned “THIS broke.” Players didn’t walk away with newfound wealth, but there seems to have been free food available to enjoy, so that’s still very much a win.

Speaking of food, another delicious pop-up happened in Paris earlier this month. Netflix France allowed players to partake in some ddakji (the game Gi-hun plays before being recruited) and snack on some dalgona, too, per Forbes.

As you can see, most of the recent Squid Game tie-ins have been just for fun — and maybe some yummy food — but one upcoming event ups the ante. Or, you know, dangles the gold piggy bank. The Korea Tourism Organization’s New York office is hosting a special, six-hour event for 80 contestants on Oct. 26, Travel + Leisure reports. Per the game website, the players will explore Korean cultural sites across New York while taking part in games from the show, including marbles, ddakji, and, of course, red light, green light. Plenty of prizes and giveaways are available throughout the event (like AirPods, gift cards, and green tracksuits), but the first-place winner will be rewarded with something even bigger: a round-trip flight to Korea.

The 80 players have already been randomly chosen from the initial entrants, but don’t worry: If Squid Game’s continued popularity is any indication, this won’t be the last event to come from the streaming hit. Just keep your eyes open for more opportunities — or, if all else fails, handsome men in the subway asking you to play some ddakji.