Teens and young adults are attempting to hide out in chain stores and restaurants, in what is being called the “24-hour overnight challenge” – with everything from Chuck E. Cheese’s to McDonalds to Ikea being fair game, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The goal of the new fad, which apparently started with two Belgian teens in 2016, is to sneak inside a store or restaurant just before closing time, and remain there undetected until the next day, the newspaper reported.
A quick YouTube search returned more than 1.6 million results, as people document their adventures from inside a Toys R Us, Best Buy and even a trampoline park.
Retailers and police are trying to crack down on the sleepovers, citing safety concerns and the worry it causes to parents.
"As well as the safety risk, children often do this without the knowledge of their parents, which could lead to large-scale searches or even cause them to be reported as missing,” Detective Inspector Anna Sedgwick of Britain's South Yorkshire police told the Sun.
"(C)hildren often do this without the knowledge of their parents, which could lead to large-scale searches or even cause them to be reported as missing."
In February, an 11-year-old boy from Britain caused a massive police hunt after he disappeared while attempting to sleep overnight at an Ikea store, according to the paper.
A Walmart spokesman told the Journal it has been dealing with the issue of unwanted overnight guests for more than a year, with the toilet paper aisle being the main hideout of choice.
“We’re familiar with the incidents and obviously don’t condone the behavior,” the spokesman said.
An Ikea spokeswoman told the paper, “We appreciate that people are interested in Ikea and want to create fun experiences with us. We cannot guarantee safety in our stores after closing hours and that’s why we do not allow this kind of activity.”