What I’m about Telling you sounds like something created by an AI story generator designed to spit out the last paragraphs of the local 11 o’clock news, but here it is: A few weeks ago, firefighters in Glens Falls, New York, called to the scene of a burning house. Aside from the fact that it didn’t burn, it was a very elaborate Halloween display consisting of some LED lights, fabric, a smoke machine, and a fan. An NPR Morning edition report called it a “Fire.”
However, there’s a chance you didn’t hear about it on NPR first. It’s, um, exploded on TikTok. Or rather, videos of fake Halloween decorations featuring house fires are all over the platform, which currently has about 140 million views of videos that fit the description “Halloween decorations with burning houses.” It’s absurd.
I don’t mean to be a total idiot—it’s me, hello, I’m a killjoy, it’s me—but the extent of Halloween decorations going viral on TikTok is out of control. In addition to (not) burning houses, there are jack-o-lanterns pretending to be Michael Scott (Steve Carell’s version) by The office, Horror movie icons silhouettesand whatever that is Dot Matrix Rave Is. They all have thousands if not millions of views and YouTubers who get even more likes Publish tutorials about how they made their decorating bonanzas.
Not that 2023 is the first year this has happened. In 2017, police in Tennessee had to carry out a fire-fighting operation Facebook APB She asked residents not to call 911 because there appeared to be a body trapped under a resident’s door. A Pirates of the Caribbean-themed display got that Fire department sent into a house in Los Angeles in 2020. Last year a Court scene with lots of fake dismembered body parts Brought TikTok fame and infamy to a Texas man.
Recently, however, there has been a shift. Instead of someone discovering a cool display and posting it on social media, Halloween decorations are made with the intention of being posted on social media. When they are mass-produced to gain influence, they lose authenticity. You lose sight of the reason why things should go viral in the first place. They are hype for the sake of hype.