The Paranoia Begins


@babytronsfinest2023 on Instagram

A paranoia team, Babytron’s Finest, posing.

Tessa Poulton, Staff Writer

The once quiet town of Lake Forest quickly turned competitive and chaotic when the annual game of “Paranoia” began. Paranoia is a senior tradition where students break into groups and attempt to take down opposing teams using nerf guns. Players will be paranoid for the next few weeks of April as they proceed with caution while turning every corner, preparing for the fact that enemies could be creeping in the bushes, ready to attack as they walk up to the door of their once safe homes. 

Many seniors have been waiting to participate in Paranoia for several years now.

“I am so beyond excited for paranoia. This is something I’ve been looking forward to since eighth grade going into freshman year. I was training for dance team tryouts and one of the senior girls came to practice with a nerf gun strapped to her hip,” senior Bentley Frost said.

Senior Maddy Turinsky remembers watching her older siblings battle through Paranoia. She’s excited to use it as an escape from the stressful parts of senior year.

“I feel like nowadays everything is so serious and everyones focused on college and sports and jobs and we don’t really get time to just be a kid anymore. This will unleash the kid in everyone one last time before we all go to college and everything is serious” Turinsky said.

Every year, a senior student steps up and takes on the responsibility of organizing Paranoia. This year, the brains behind paranoia will remain anonymous. Check out @scoutsparanoia2023 on Instagram to access all the rules and information about Paranoia.

Just like any other year, Paranoia follows a strict set of rules to ensure that everyone stays safe. Participants are not permitted to ambush each other during the school day, at Croya, or on any Lake Forest/Lake Bluff school grounds. There will be a period of grace that ends at 3:30 p.m. which will allow students to get home untouched and grab their nerf guns for a fair game. 

This year, some people in the community are concerned about Paranoia because of the recent school shootings, as well as the lockdown last week at Highland Park High School. There’s been discussion about using something other than nerf guns like water balloons or leaving a pen mark, but many students didn’t want to change the way Paranoia is traditionally done.

A TFS poll shows that 64% of 137 responses were in favor of keeping Paranoia. 25 percent wanted to eliminate the guns, and 15 percent voted to cancel it entirely.

The competition looks tight this year with 25 teams enrolled in the Paranoia rivalry.

“I don’t have many enemies but I definitely need to look out for my close friends on opposing teams because they know where I live, when I go to the gym, where I park at work, and it would definitely be easy for them to target me,” Turinsky from Sheisty Shootas OYA said.

It seems like most seniors are looking out most for their friends. Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer…

“I definitely need to look out for Alexa Schweitzer and Mateo Morrone because they know everything about me and my schedule… so I will need to watch out for them if I ever play one of their teams… I know they will be ready and waiting,” Frost from Babytron’s Finest said.

Teams are locked in and ready to do whatever it takes to be the last team standing. 

“I definitely think my team will win because we are ruthless. A message to our competitors: Always keep an eye out, we’re not taking this easy. We will come for you, so don’t mess with us,” Turinsky said.