If you’re in the mood for a laugh today, then look no further — we’ve got you. Behold: this mother took to TikTok to share her experience accidentally taking her kids the creepiest art installation of all time.

NYC-based Ilana Wiles, otherwise known as @mommyshorts, took her children to the event because it was advertised as a “family” day. While it ended up being “traumatic” for all of them, Wiles still says it was “the funniest day in [her] life as a parent.” Prepare to crack up — it gets worse by the second.


Throwback to the funniest day in my life as a parent. Don’t worry, this was 5 years ago and kids seem to have come out of it okay. Thanks to the artists for creating a core memory for our family! #momsoftiktok #momsover40 #ditl #throwbackditl #tribecamom #nycmom #artistsoftiktok #art

♬ Famous Mozart’s Turkish March(872150) – East Valley Music

As you can see in the video, the mother took her kids to the supposedly kid-friendly art pop-up back in 2018. She explained, “Throwback day in the life to the time I traumatized my kids at an art installation.” The mom continued, “Back in 2018, we went to something billed as a ‘family day’ at the Watermill Art Center. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I definitely didn’t expect this.” Why? Because no one would expect what would happen next. Not one living person, ever.

The clip shows how of the first exhibitions they saw was a shirtless man with scary, pale face paint, acting like a statue until he started making stomping movements. You can see her daughter ask, “Is that a real guy?” with actual fear in her voice. Time to move on!

Next up, the family went to a “Time Bomb Barn” as one of the girls complained, “It’s scary.” We feel you. What did they find in the barn? None other than a man steering a gondola with a “pale, very still woman lying in the boat.” After the kids asked if it was a funeral, the seemingly-“dead” woman began to sing opera. We can’t even make this up.

What was next? A museum installation with banners that read, “Don’t be afraid of anyone”… which were pretty ironic for the kids. After that, the girls made their way over to a blue house that was playing a movie, yay! Unfortunately, it was about to show a man lighting a bed on fire with a woman in it, so the mother “hustled” her kids out of there stat.

Now, let us introduce you to the next exhibit: three guys wearing orange velour tracksuits playing pool in a hole in the ground. Weird, sure, but in this installation? As normal as normal gets. However, the weirdness wasn’t over — it was just getting started. The family was suddenly confronted with a “dehydrated mermaid” completely covered with silver fabric (face included). The mermaid was being fed from a water bottle by an attendee… until she “collapsed” and symbolically died — right in front of the kids.

As the mom joked, “Thankfully Harlow determined it wasn’t a real mermaid” after they saw the zippers in her costume. Trauma averted?

Yes, it gets worse. They then saw men — in their underwear— “trapped” in spiderweb-like strings in the forest. The camera pans out, and when it goes back… one of the men is suddenly upside down hanging from the strings. WHAT IS HAPPENING?


Replying to @thekrazykatelyn Maybe there was a method to this madness? #artexhibition

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Genkool

Then, there was a woman eating a man’s shoulder— thankfully, “the man” in question was just a sculpture. The mom told her kids it was made out of white chocolate, which sort of made it better. Sort of.

If we were any of the characters in this magically frightening forest, we’d have to pick the next installation. Here, we have a man covered in moss and plants creeping out of a hole in the ground as he speaks Portuguese. The plant-man turns to Wiles’ nephew and asks, “Jack? How are you, Jack?” and word is, Jack still hasn’t recovered. We wouldn’t either.

The final chef’s kiss at the exhibit? Three people in green, full-body suits holding laptops and dancing to “computer startup sounds.” Perfect.

By the end of the video, the mom jokes, “I’m kinda hoping that one of the artists sees this video because I have a lot of questions. Including, who is going to pay for my kids’ therapy?”


Replying to @playfullysnarky This is why I love documenting stuff. Truly the best part of that day was reliving it with my family after the fact. #vloglife #storytelling #momsoftiktok

♬ original sound – mommyshorts

After the video reached more than 5 million TikTok views, Wiles took to the platform to clear some things up. For one, she described how the installation was billed as a “family day” because of a very confusing misunderstanding. The mom explained, “That place is an artist residency, so all these artists stay there during the summer and then they put together a big presentation at the end… Somebody said [they called it ‘Family Day’ because] it was meant for the artists to bring their families to show them everything they’ve been working on.” Oh.

As Wiles put it, “Everyone in the area just misinterpreted as art for families.” Not exactly! She also brought up a very important detail some users picked up on: all the exhibits might actually be puns. For example, the dehydrated mermaid was a “fish out of water,” and the plant-man was a “pothead.” Mind. Blown.

As you can expect, the comments on the video do not disappoint. One TikTok user wrote, “Watermill Art Center really said family trauma, but make it art” LOL. Another imagined, “I’m 25 and I still think this would traumatize me.” Same, same.

Yet another questioned, “This is FAMILY day?! What do they do on a normal day?” We don’t want to know! Meanwhile, another user commented, “This looks like something out of a Guillermo del Toro movie” and we can say this actually does give us some “Pan’s Labyrinth” vibes.

One other commenter simply wrote, “THE PORTUGESE PLANT MAN,” and yes — we will never forget. And the kids won’t, either!