Attention all “Squid Game” fans: You may soon be able to play real-life versions of the Netflix dystopian drama’s competitive events, including the Red Light, Green Light game and the honeycomb candy challenge — thankfully, without the risk of being executed.
Throughout the U.S., event promoters, bars and restaurants and Korean organizations are among those hosting their own games inspired by the ones played by desperate debtors in the hit Korean series. Many are tying competitive events to upcoming Halloween festivities.
At the Hollywood, Calif., location of Fat Sal’s Deli & Sandwich Shop, the plan calls for redecorating the store in a “Squid Game” theme for the late October holiday and then inviting some 2,000 customers — first come, first served — to try the candy challenge, which involves carefully carving out a figure or shape outlined in the sweet treat.
“It will be intense,” said Rob Heppler, Fat Sal’s chief marketing officer. The restaurant will also introduce a special sandwich — the Fat 456 with Korean-style marinated ribeye — for the occasion. (The “456” refers to the number assigned to one of the series’ main contestants.)
The cost to compete will be nominal, the restaurant said. And while there are no penalties for losing the challenge, prizes such as gift cards will be up for grabs for those who are successful.
At a cafe in Jakarta, women tackle the honeycomb-candy challenge from ‘Squid Game’ as a waiter dressed in an outfit from the Netlix series observes.
Adek Berry/AFP via Getty Images
Other event promoters are promising a full slate of games. The Korean Cultural Center of Chicago is promoting a Nov. 6 “Squid Game” event with six game stations, for example. Officials with the center couldn’t be reached for comment.
Netflix itself has gotten in on the act, at least in France. The network hosted a pop-up event in Paris earlier this month. Netflix officials didn’t respond for immediate comment about whether they have plans for any U.S. pop-ups, or if they have any reaction to the non-Netflix-hosted events taking place.
Perhaps the number of “Squid Game” events shouldn’t come as a surprise. The show has drawn a tremendous audience — some 111 million households have watched at least part of it, according to news reports. The series, which has also spawned its share of memes and Halloween costumes and was spoofed recently by “Saturday Night Live,” is expected to generate close to $900 million for the streaming service.
Some “Squid Game” fans, including 27-year-old Jackie Grose of New York City, say they will gladly participate in any mock games. Grose said she thinks she would do especially well in the Red Light, Green Light game, “because I’m fast.”
But Kim McCabe, a 51-year-old Boston-area resident who’s also a “Squid Game” buff, said she’d hesitate at any actual game play. Her issue: The show’s inherently violent nature might make some people take even a mock game too seriously.
“I think it’s a much too slippery slope that could easily devolve into assault and injury, intentional or otherwise,” McCabe said. “I think (the show) should stay that way: as imaginative commentary on society, not real-world action.”