The Brief: Oating is a riff on "icing" where people prank their friends by tricking them into encountering a container of oats, which they must then pour onto their heads.
Oating, a practice that is popular on TikTok, is a derivation of “icing,” when people prank their friends by setting them to encounter a Smirnoff Ice alcoholic beverage, which they’re then supposed to get down on one knee and chug. Icing has been popular as a college prank for at least a decade. In 2020, a similar prank called “oating” started circulating on TikTok. People can “oat” their friends by fooling them into finding a container of oats, which they’re then supposed to get down on one knee and pour over their head and into their open mouth.
According to Insider, this prank started appearing on TikTok in June 2020 and has surged in popularity in September and October. At the time of writing, videos associated with the hashtag #Oated have been viewed over 13 million times on TikTok. Popular videos under this hashtag show frat bro-types pranking their friends with cartons of oats. Many of the videos appear to have been staged, with over-the-top acting that indicates that the person being pranked was in on it the whole time.
A version with milk instead of oats: