‘Dragon’s breath’ liquid nitrogen
Very few safe trends revolve around liquid nitrogen. This one involved dipping candies and fruits into liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze them, then eating them to fill your mouth with vapor to create the ‘dragon’s breath’ effect. By trying these treats before the nitrogen has properly burned away, 25 children across Indonesia became ill.
The ‘blackout’ challenge
This fatal ‘challenge’ has been around for centuries in different forms. It involves inducing a blackout by a combination of shallow rapid breathing, periods of held breath, and neck or chest compression. Several parents have come forward claiming their children died while trying to recreate the video, with one US mother suing TikTok for pushing the video through its algorithms.
This is a literal recipe for disaster for a few reasons, the least of which is how bad it looks like it tastes. Nyquil and similar syrup medicines are often high in sugar, which is a thick liquid that will catch and burn quickly. It also reduced the concentration as it would for any liquid, which the FDA issues a warning about.
The skull breaker challenge
Originating in Venezuela, this trend sees two friends kick their legs out from underneath the challenge taker, after which they fall and crack their heads on the floor. That’s it, and it was popular enough to cause injuries across the US and for two Florida teens to be charged with battery. As far as trends go, blunt-force trauma is pretty damaging.
The Benadryl challenge
Another trend centering on the misuse of over-the-counter medication. The overdose of antihistamines can result in hallucinations and fatal complications, spurring Johnson & Johnson to release warnings after the death of a 15-year-old Oklahoma girl. Many trends focus on abusing common pharmaceuticals, which makes them difficult to curtail.
The red light challenge
Given the rest of this list, you’ll be happy to know this doesn’t actually feature cars. Instead, this saw singles striking sensual silhouettes in a door frame, with TikTok’s red light filter covering all details but shapes. The internet being as cruel as it is, discovered the filter can be reverse-engineered, leading to many women’s privacy being violated.
The milk crate challenge
Closer to a stunt than a challenge, this trend went ultra-viral due to the many gruesome injuries captured on film. Crossing a set of stairs made of milk crates looks pretty low-risk, but as always, physics is the downfall of us all. Broken arms, twisted legs, and ambulances on park corners became a common site during across the internet.
The face wax challenge
While many use wax to remove unwanted hair, this wave of TikTok content had people casting their entire faces in candle wax. Whilst some, erm, spicier candles use kinder chemicals and lower melting points to make them suitable for skin contact, pouring a vanilla cupcake Yankee candle into your eyes will only cause damage.
The penny challenge
An idea so dangerous it’s a wonder the phone it was being filmed on didn’t disintegrate. The trend involved leaving a plug half-in the outlet and touching the exposed metal with a penny. This can cause anything from severe damage and housefires to death. Apparently, one Amazon Alexa suggested this as a randomized challenge!
Throw it in the air challenge
Reminiscent of Looney Tunes, you throw a heavy object in the air and stand there unflinching, in hopes it doesn’t whack you on the head. The archives here are filled with people throwing heavy weights, mobile phones, medicine balls, really anything with a hefty enough weight to make a decent thwack sound when it (hopefully!) hits the pavement.