What Is Senior Paint Night?

By Anna Degnin

For BHS graduate, Senior Paint Night is the well-loved tradition of recognizing the graduation rite of passage with—what else—the graduate’s name and class year in white paint on pavement. Most incidents are harmless enough, kept to side streets and driveways.

The senior “artists” (and their trusty lookouts) usually travel in groups, painting their own driveways or those of friends. A memorable example was a large ’96 painted in view of the ferry that could be seen when returning from Seattle.

Some paint night shenanigans can get dangerous. We heard a story from the 1960s that involved students scaling a water tower (now torn down). When the cops arrived, the students on the ground scattered, and the climbers above attempted to dodge police flashlights by running around the top of the tower.

Luckily, nobody lost their head, so nobody lost their head. All survived. So how did such a strange tradition start? And when? Hard to say. Former students from as far back as the 1950s cite Paint Night as standard operating procedure.

No matter when it started, this tradition (which can be viewed as straight-up vandalism or just youthful hijinks) is here to stay. If you’ve got a graduating senior in your house, you might want to check your driveway.

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