— -- This story was originally published on January 19, 2016.
When the cold gets tough in Minnesota, one longtime Minneapolis resident uses frozen pants to make it more fun.
Tom Grotting is famous in his Minneapolis neighborhood for freezing pants and placing them in unlikely places, including his front yard.
“I mostly do it for my neighbor, Diane,” Grotting told ABC News. “The winter gets a little long and she doesn’t like winter very much so it’s mostly entertainment for Diane.”
Grotting soaks the pants in a bucket of water and then hangs them outside, sculpting them as they freeze. The whole process takes less than 30 minutes, he said.
The fun begins for Grotting when he decides where to put the frozen pants. Past locations have ranged from outside the neighborhood coffee shop to next to parking meters near his company, Digital Pictures, Inc., in downtown Minneapolis.
“I put them right outside my office window so I took pictures of people awkwardly squeezing in between the frozen pants as they tried to fill the meter,” Grotting said.
Grotting began the now-tradition a few years ago when what was described as a Polar Vortex left Minneapolis with unbearably cold temperatures.
“It was just on us for weeks on end so I took advantage of the Polar Vortex and froze some pants,” Grotting said. “You can usually wear them again - it’s not unlike washing your clothes – but in this case they ended up getting kind of ratty because I kept doing it.”
This year, Grotting’s frozen pants prank has gone viral after he posted photos to the neighborhood Facebook page, "I Love NE Minneapolis."
“I got somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 or 700 likes and everyone is talking about it,” Grotting said. “People have tried it themselves and it’s caught on.”
“All over Northeast Minneapolis, people are freezing their pants,” Grotting joked. “There is no end in sight.”
Grotting said two people who have never caught on to his prank are his two children, a 15-year-old daughter and 19-year-old son.
“The kids hate it,” Grotting said. “My daughter is in the band and had a big rehearsal with the trumpet players and she texted me and said, ‘Dad, the trumpets saw the pants.’”