When they're done in a spirit of fun, dorm pranks can make the college journey more memorable. A combination of wicked creativity and mindful restraint (making sure what you're doing is safe and legal) is the winning combination for dorm pranks.
1. Haunted Stereo Speakers
Unplug the wires from the speakers to the sound source, but keep the speakers in place so that they appear to be still plugged into the person's stereo. Then run an extended set of wires from a different stereo, phone, or audio device into the disconnected speakers. (If they use wireless Bluetooth, you can link your phone to the device in a sly way so that the person isn't aware of it.)
In the middle of the night when their sound system is turned off (but secretly connected to your sound source), find the creepiest audio track or loudest death metal and blast it. Besides the shock of the noise, your friend will really freak out when she sees that her stereo is turned off but is still emitting nightmarish sounds in the deep of night.
2. For the Love of Christmas
For a lighter prank that's a little more kind-spirited but still thoroughly annoying, in May or June right before finals, grab a car load of cheesy Christmas decorations with your friends. Assuming the lucky recipient of the prank is not offended by seasonal decorations, sneak into his or her dorm room and go wild with the most over-the-top Christmas display in history: lights everywhere, mistletoe, sleigh bells, tree ornaments hanging from anything that can support their weight, and an album of Christmas music blasting at 11. It's quirky, and the person has to explain to visitors why she has gone bonkers for Christmas in June.
3. Turn Gravity Off
All this requires is some duct tape, a ladder or stable chair, and plenty of care that you don't break anything. Take as many objects as you can find in the room (preferably ones that can be supported by duct tape) and tape them to the ceiling as if gravity was turned off. If the ceiling is too high for this kind of duct feat, you can tape objects to the wall to create a disorienting surprise when the person walks into the room.
4. Embarrassing Posters
This is a good prank just before the college has a family weekend when family visitors come to see where the college students live. Find a slew of goofy or embarrassing posters (for example, extremely cheesy posters from the 80s of David Hasselhoff flexing without a shirt on) and plaster them all over the person's side of the dorm as if they were the biggest Hasselhoff fan in history. It can be any theme that will surprise and embarrass. Try to keep it clean and use good taste and tact, though. If you know the person's family has kids, definitely keep it clean.
5. Death by Cheerfulness
This is especially funny to do to someone who is annoyed by cheerful perkiness. Get as many cute stuffed animals as you can find, either ones that your friends brought to college with them or cheap ones from a thrift store, and tape them on the ceiling, walls and bed rails of the target of the prank while he is sleeping. (If they're creepily peering over the bed rail that's even better.)
Position them so that when he wakes, dozens of smiling, plushy faces and beady plastic eyes will be staring at him. To add to the creepy cute overload, decorate the room in bright pink paper and shiny glitter. Get colorful markers and on the paper draw rainbows, happy faces, and silly messages like "Waky, waky, eggs and baky!" If you want to startle the person awake, cue My Little Pony's new theme song on speakers and crank it up.
6. A Thousand Points of Post-It Notes
Buy as many pads of bright neon sticky notes as you can. When the target of your prank is gone, stick a post-it note on every square inch of their personal belongings, especially their desk, bed rails, and the ceiling above their head. You can coordinate the colors to spell different words out if you'd like to include a message in the shocking display of neon that will greet their eyes when they walk in.
7. Horror Movie Clowns in a Row
Grab a few of your friends, go to a costume store or dollar store for discount Halloween costumes, and try to find evil clown costumes (or some other creepy costume if the clowns aren't possible). While the target of your prank is sleeping, sneak in and either sit (if there are enough chairs you can quietly move) or stand silently in a neat row of three or four clowns in the room staring at the person. Have an extra person hide out of view at the foot of the bed. When ready, the person hiding can play on their phone some creepy music or an ironic ballad (Send In The Clowns by Barbara Streisand) until the person wakes up.
Just to add a little more adrenaline to the moment, when the person sees the four clowns staring silently and freaks out, have the hidden person jump out and scream. (Don't do this horrifying prank to extra sensitive people.)
8. Universal Remote
If your dorm has a common area with a television, use a universal remote to change the channel as you walk by and enjoy the confusion that ensues. It's a simple, yet effective, joke.
9. Googly Eyes in the Fridge
Buy a pack of stick-on googly eyes, and go to town in your dorm's community fridge. Put some googly eyes on every item. If you're feeling extra generous, grab a pack of stick-on mustaches and add those under the eyes. Who doesn't like a pair of googly eyes staring into your soul and a mustache tickling your face while you drink a bottle of soda?
10. Spilled Grape Juice
Pick up a cheap bottle of blue or purple disappearing ink, get the person's clothes and spread them on the floor, then sprinkle the ink all over every item of clothing. Put an empty bottle of grape juice nearby tipped over as if it spilled on the clothes. Timing is key for this prank because the ink will only be visible for several minutes. (Be prepared to ignite a massive prank war over this one.)