Don’t worry, America: Hordes of anthropomorphic blue jeans haven’t suddenly decided to start terrorizing your town. Your neighbors are just taking part in yet another online “challenge.”
Folks living in the freezing regions of the upper Midwest and beyond are purposely freezing their jeans and positioning them in all sorts of funny scenarios as part of the “Frozen Pants” challenge, because, as one Instagrammer in Minnesota asked, “What else do you do when it’s this cold?”
Though not entirely new to 2019, the act of freezing one’s pants, and then standing them up on the front lawn, has taken off in recent days thanks extreme polar vortex temperatures.
Tom Grotting, who claims he came up with the idea about six years ago, tells Time that outside temperatures need to reach below 0 degrees F before the pants will stand on their own, so that they might utterly baffle your local postal worker.
Luckily, the “challenge” only gets easier from there. According to the Des Moines Register, “anyone” can do it simply by soaking jeans in water, propping them up outside, and waiting for them to take form. Grotting even demonstrated one of his techniques on Twitter using a clothesline.
The challenge isn’t only limited to jeans, either. People on Instagram have been spotted freezing pajama pants, hockey uniforms, karate uniforms and even police uniforms, the latter courtesy of the Chisago County police in Minnesota.
“Life doesn’t exactly stop but it sort of slows down,” Grotting told Time of the sub-zero temps. “When it lasts a couple days you can go stir crazy, so your mind thinks of things to do.”