To the students at Mountain Pointe High School, the painted faces and grim reaper who stalked the halls Thursday were a representation of what can happen when someone makes a bad decision.
To one student, "Dead Day" at MP signified something personal.
In her first year participating in "Dead Day" as a member of Students against Destructive Driving (SADD), Allicyn Phillips, 15, was reminded of the devastating effects that drugs and alcohol can have on a family member.
"I was personally affected by drugs and alcohol," she said. "My mom left me when I was 9 because she couldn't control it... and she almost died because of it."
Her mother's liver, kidneys and heart were failing. When she was in the emergency room, doctors were forced to amputate her hands.
"It hit me because she was never going to be able to braid my hair and I was never going to be able to paint her fingernails or anything like that," she said. "So I figured if she could go through that, then I could be dead for a day."
Phillips was one of 70 students who were taken out of class by another student who played the grim reaper. Their faces were painted white and when they returned to class, they were unable to speak the rest of the day. Each had a card pinned to them that said how they died.
"It's a day of awareness of the bad things that can happen when someone chooses not to be responsible when they get behind the wheel," teach Dawn Agnew said.
"Dead Day" became a biennial event after a MP student died in a drunken-driving related accident after prom in 2006.
Some students saw the day as an opportunity to talk to their friends about being safe on the road.
"It does get through to some people," junior Alexa Carrasco said. "I always yell at my sister or boyfriend when they are texting while driving. Hopefully this will make people realize that an accident can happen to anyone."
At the end of the day, most of the 70 students lay down together in rows in front of the school as other students were leaving campus.
"With prom right around the corner, the goal isn't to make the students depressed, it's to remind them that they can still have fun, but also to be safe," Agnew said.