Your school didn't invent masochistic time-killers like The Circle Game or Bloody Knuckles. Nor were you the first to make questionable fashion choices like popping polo collars or covering your limbs and neck with grody hemp jewelry. But in the hallowed halls of education, where identities are pupating and hormones are roiling, you guys probably did some dumb shit that was fairly unique.
We asked people to share the most absurd fads and trends that made the rounds in their schools. Let these anecdotes be shining examples of the dangers of a herd mentality and cautionary tales for those still on their educational journeys.
"My senior year in high school was around the time Twilight came out and vampires were all the rage. This group of freshman got crazy into it, like they started wearing black and having blood drips on their mouths and shit. And I guess at some point they took it to the extreme and actually starting biting each other, like in stairwells and corridors and shit.
Somehow MTV got wind of it and came and did a story on it. I don't remember all the details but my mom kept me home a couple of days because of it."
- Marvell, Boston
"All of the scene kids at my high school would wear zip up hoodies from the five local elementary schools. They were the kind of sweatshirt a kid would buy from the school and wear it on spirit day or whatever. No one was buying them or borrowing them from siblings. Instead, we were all sneaking onto elementary school campuses at night and stealing them from the children's cubbies. You know, some real hardcore shit.
Also our school had a ton of soda vending machines. Underneath the plastic twist cap of the plastic bottle soda lived a little clear plastic ring shaped seal thing. We would take those out and stretch them out to be bracelet sized. This had to be done very slowly and meticulously to make sure it didn't snap, and we all had ones we were working on in class. The number of them you wore signified how many people you had hooked up with. Additionally, if someone walked up and snapped one off of your wrist, you had to make out with them right then and there."
- Brooke, Ventura, California
"In middle school, a few of us more rebellious boys (and it was definitely only boys doing this bullshit) figured out that if you took a foil gum wrapper, folded it in half and made into a two-pronged pitchfork, it could be inserted into a wall outlet that would pop the circuit, electric burn the plastic, and produce a ton of sparks, all while leaving the prankster unharmed. Pretty sure this would get someone taken to a CIA black site if done today."
- Eric , San Francisco
"In my elementary school, the sixth graders in my classroom started piercing themselves with safety pins. People did their ears and noses. Then, one kid pierced his tongue with one of the safety pins, and got the bright idea to stick pencil lead through the hole. Then, other people started sticking lead through their piercing holes. This fad was specific to my classroom. No one else in our school was doing it and we were foolishly sharing the pins used for piercing. All of this is extra ironic because we were in the class for "gifted" kids."
- Erin, Anaheim, California
"People at my high school allegedly shoved Cheetos up their asses. I was a non-conformist though. So, back in the day, all the 'popular' kids would have these parties where they would all do keg stands and then ostensibly shove Cheetos up each other's asses, trying not to break the Cheetos. I assume it was mostly ladies who were the Cheeto receivers, and I am unsure of other details such as whether they were puffs or crunchy. I was never "cool" enough to be invited to such parties and, in retrospect, I'm pretty glad about that.
- Molly, Seattle
"In middle school, the administration decided to crack down on girls breaking dress code by wearing shorts that were too short. Their solution was to completely ban shorts. For everyone—guys included. They did not, however, ban skirts or dresses. In protest of being forced to wear long pants in the incredibly hot weather, the guys started wearing skirts to school. The shorts ban didn't last long."
- Michelle, Philadelphia
"We had these things called hornets. You'd fold or roll up pieces of paper until they made a U shape. The bottom of the U was folded so tightly that it was hard as rock. Kids would take these 'U's, load them as ammo into rubber bands being stretched between their thumb and index finger and send them flying at their friends. The welts they left were the size of half dollars or bigger. I sort of remember hearing about someone going partially blind in one eye from one but who knows if that was true."
- Brandon, Hummelstown
"When I was a senior in high school, the freshmen were notoriously more mature than all the grades above them. Their first semester in the high school building, their grade allocated a pole in the student center to what they called the "No Strings Attached" club. If you wanted in, all you had to do was Sharpie your name onto the pole and you would get invited to these parties after school where everyone hooked up with each other, swinger-style. I was at least three years older than all of them, but very scandalized by the idea."
- Annie, Atlanta