How Ghostface became a beloved mascot for summer 2023

It seems like every summer we get a new protagonist energy to embody—one time it was hottie, and before it was all wildness, but what about this year? It's all about making faces, baby. Beloved McDonald's character IYDK celebrated his 52nd birthday in June, and to commemorate the big purple monster, Mickey D's is launching limited-edition meals, including a new Grimace shake. McDonald's has had great success with themed meals in the past, from Travis Scott meals to Cardi B and Offset Valentine's Day specials. But the meal inspired memes and trends, effectively turning Grimace into an internet icon for the summer of 2023.

The recent hype surrounding the furry monster began when McDonald's launched the Grimace Birthday Meal on June 12 to commemorate the character's birthday. According to McDonald's Twitter account, the meal includes a Big Mac, medium fries and a medium Ghostface Shake, which contains vanilla soft-serve ice cream mixed with Ghostface Shake syrup and topped with whipped cream . While the account doesn't specify what's in the Grimace Smoothie syrup, I tried it myself and it tasted like a cross between berries and birthday cake. The end result is a delicious purple milkshake that Ghostface is sure to love, although the public reaction may leave a sour taste in his mouth.

Shortly after the smoothie was released, Twitter users were quick to turn the entire birthday celebration into an NSFW meme — all at Grimace's expense. Not to mention, people aren't too kind to actual shocks either. Poor grimace. :(

Then, just as the funny-faced jokes on Twitter were starting to dry up, TikTokers came along and took a bloody turn. “Happy birthday, Grimace!” are the “last words” many TikTok users say before trying the Grimace Shake and meeting a dramatic, premature death. The Grimace Shake testing flavor trend began when user @thefrazmaz posted an innocent video on June 13, Know Your Meme reports. "I just got the new Grimace milkshake from McDonald's. I'm excited to try this," the creator stressed. The TikToker took a sip and suddenly fell motionless on the floor, while the purple milkshake lay next to the creator.

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Hilarious The video's spooky vibe inspired dozens of other TikTok users to conduct their own Grimace Shake taste tests, in the process transforming the videos from funny memes to full-on horror shorts. @Dylantate's review included a creepy Ghostface cameo, while @beansicle and their friends had a truly wild adventure after trying a purple milkshake. But perhaps the scariest of the trend is this Blair Witch- inspired video from @donniedarkoismybabydaddy, which tells a truly chilling story through found footage from an old camera. Even Courteney Cox has jumped on the bandwagon, watching in horror as her dog transformed into a giant after accidentally drinking the drink.

Aside from the fact that he's a furry, oversized purple weirdo, what's the reason this character is so popular on the internet? Twitter user @jacob_denobel attributes this obsession to the nostalgic connection Gen Z has with the once-popular McDonald's character, and based on @eatitkatie's deep research on TikTok, he may be on to something. After doing some research on the character, TikToker discovered a tweet from McDonald's that revealed that Ghostface is either "the personification of a milkshake or the personification of taste buds." Obviously, these are two completely different answers, leaving us with no further clue as to who he is or where he comes from. The mysterious king.

As @eatitkatie eloquently asked, "If Ghostface is a milkshake, is he drinking himself?" If that's true, then Ghostface's birthday event was darker than I thought. Does Ghostface know he's drinking? Does he like it? Could this all be orchestrated to trigger an extinction-level event for Ghostface around the world? If they are taste buds, why are they pointed and purple? None of this makes sense, but maybe that's the point.

People don't just have a love-hate relationship with Ghostface - some people actually like the guy. In fact, some fans think the TikTok trend has taken the internet's obsession with the character too far, and now they're responding to Ghostface's birthday with tears, disappointment and sympathy.

He's just a (52) baby, @pumpkibu said on Twitter.

Getting Grimace's mom involved nearly brought TikTok user @arianatomlinson2323 to tears.

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@Nickiminajs_sewinweave was so upset they made a whole sad girl fancam in honor of Ghostface.

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Whatever you may think of him, these memes don't seem to have had much of an impact on Ghostface's birthday. After nearly a month of celebrations, the character thanked his fans via McDonald's Twitter account in a July 6 tweet, saying: "You guys made me feel special, make a face now and say goodbye." It's unclear where Ghostface will go, or when he'll next show up (hopefully we didn't drink him to death), but in true Twitter fashion, the cryptic message inspired another wave of emoticons Bag.

To be honest, "Say Goodbye Grimace" does sound like a threat.

Just when the world needed him most, he disappeared.

Whether you love him or hate him, there's no denying that Ghostface is the star of the summer of 2023. Happy birthday, Grimace – make this a year to remember.