Below Freezing Temperatures Inspire the ‘Frozen Pants’ Challenge

By Janita Kan

The polar vortex appears to have brought more than the icy winds and snow to people’s backyards. Americans are now taking advantage of the extreme temperatures and participating in a new online challenge.

In the challenge, people living in and around the northern Midwest areas are deliberately freezing their jeans and installing them standing upright in the snow. Videos and photos of these strange anthropomorphic pieces of clothing are also popping up on social media with the hashtag #frozenpants.

Tom Grotting, who claims to be the mastermind behind the challenge, told Time magazine that he came up with the idea during another Arctic blast six years ago in a hope to embarrass his teenage children. He said the temperatures need to be at least zero degrees Fahrenheit for the pants to be able to stay in place.

“Life doesn’t exactly stop but it sort of slows down. When it lasts a couple days you can go stir crazy, so your mind thinks of things to do,” Grotting told the magazine.

Grotting, who is from Minneapolis, has even posted his own tutorial on Instagram on how to create these strange garden installments.

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#frozenpants instruction

A post shared by Tom Grotting (@tomgrotting) on

However, jeans are not the only pieces of clothing being used in the challenge. Some people are freezing their pajama pants, tuxedos, and even their police uniforms.

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Handstand is up! #frozenpants

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@dailyhandwrittennote ‘s old tuxedo out for a #Frozenpants spin

A post shared by Tom Grotting (@tomgrotting) on

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#ccso #frozen #frozenpants #polarvortex #stupidcold #minnesota

A post shared by Chisago Co Sheriff’s Office (@chisagocountyso) on

Extreme Weather

Over the past few days, millions of Americans had to brave Arctic-like temperatures that reached as low as minus 56 degrees Fahrenheit on Jan. 31. The cold blast has paralyzed the U.S. Midwest and caused the death of at least 21 people.

Officials across multiple states have linked numerous deaths to the frigid air. The death toll rose dramatically after at least nine people in Chicago were reported to have died from cold-related injuries, according to Stathis Poulakidas, a doctor at the city’s John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital.

Poulakidas, a trauma specialist, said the hospital had seen about 25 frostbite victims this week. He said the most severe cases risked having fingers and toes amputated.

Among those believed to have died from the cold was University of Iowa student Gerard Belz. The 18-year-old was found unresponsive on campus early Wednesday morning just a short walk from his dorm, according to university officials. Police told a local television station they believed the cold played a factor in his death. The wind chill at the time was minus 51 F (minus 46 C), according to the National Weather Service.

Homeless and displaced people have been particularly at risk, with Chicago and other cities setting up warming shelters. But many toughed it out in camps or vacant buildings. A 60-year-old woman found dead in an abandoned house in Lorain, Ohio, was believed to have died of hypothermia, Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans said.

“There’s just no way if you’re not near a heat source that you can survive for very long out in weather like this,” Evans told the Chronicle-Telegram newspaper.

Reuters contributed to this report

From The Epoch Times