Safe ways for decorating dorms

Cristen Friddell

Dorm residents are celebrating the season of spooks and falling leaves by decorating their rooms and doors.

“I have seen a lot of spider webs,” said Alicia Brookshire, a junior from Dayton, Ohio, who is a resident assistant at Rodes-Harlin Hall.

Kit Tolbert, the director of housing operations, said students are encouraged to decorate for the holidays, as long as it follows the safety guidelines.Carved pumpkins are permitted in the dorms, but not lit candles, she said.

All lights and devices used to decorate must meet Underwriters Laboratories Inc. standards, Tolbert said.

Underwriters Laboratories is an independent product safety certification organization that evaluates the safety of products, according to its website.

Products that meet the organization’s standards are usually labeled with a sticker, sometimes located on the cord or the bottom of the product.

“We want people to be festive and decorate,” Tolbert said. “Our only restrictions are about things that might be fire hazards.”

If students are unsure about certain decorations meeting the standards, they can bring them to the Housing and Residential Life office, she said.

Decorations are also allowed to be put on the outside of the doors, but not in excess, Tolbert said.

“We like for students to avoid a lot of paper and streamers,” she said. “It itself is not dangerous – it’s what people might do to it. It never fails that someone walks down the hallway with a lighter.”

Some dorms are also hosting seasonal programs.

Brookshire said Rodes is having a door decorating contest called “Freak your floor; gore your door.”

Rodes RAs will judge the doors on creativity on Oct. 13.

Bowling Green sophomore Julie Washer, author of a do-it-yourself projects blog, said simplicity is the way to go when planning a door design.

“It should be fun,” she said. “It shouldn’t be a chore.”

Washer recommends tracing Halloween-themed images on stiffened felt, then cutting them out and fastening them to the door or wall.

“It adds a cool 3-D effect,” she said.

Templates for Halloween images can be found online on magazine websites such as Country Living.

More Halloween crafts ideas can be found on Washer’s blog at