Locker Art Appears All Over Longfellow

Decorating lockers is a time-honored way to celebrate birthdays in middle school. (Andrea Duggan)

Whenever you walk down the hallways of Longfellow, there is at least one locker that catches your eye, colorfully decorated with wrapping paper, streamers, and silly pictures. It’s always a treat to stop and see the attention to detail and effort put into decorating a locker for a friend’s birthday.

Most students are entertained and delighted by the lockers. 

“I was definitely happy because it was my birthday, and I felt really appreciated,”  said 7th grader Lily A. after finding her birthday surprise.

A few students say they don’t like having their lockers decorated because it can be embarrassing.   Bright colors and confetti can definitely make a locker stand out from the rest of the plain blue doors. But that isn’t the usual response.

“She wasn’t embarrassed; she was happy,”  said Melody M., who decorated Lily’s locker. It took a long time, but in the end, it was worth it.” 

Just in case, though, I would suggest asking a person how they feel about birthday decorations before surprising them with a new and improved locker, because they may secretly feel awkward about it. 

Another pitfall can occur when wrapping gets in the way of the locker’s functionality. After decorating, make sure to cut out anything that gets in the way of the latching mechanism.  

If you feel stressed at the idea of decorating, wondering, ‘Where do I even start?’ or ‘What if it looks bad?’ Lily suggests not overthinking.  

“[My friend and I] got a bunch of stuff, and we just started sticking it to [our friend’s] locker and went from there.”  

Occasionally stopping to say, “Oh this looks nice!” they ended up loving the finished design, and so did the recipient.

If you’re thinking about decorating a locker, here are a few tips.  Use bright wrapping paper, add ribbons, streamers, etc., because it’s their special day, and it should be a cheery moment. Draw, paint or print out a happy colorful sign and overall be creative and unique with it.

Lastly, understand that this is a temporary installation. I left [mine] up for a few days, but eventually, I assume, the custodians took it down.”

In order to keep the school looking tidy, custodians are instructed to clean up lockers after about a week or so.  Though you can help them out by doing it yourself and thereby keeping some of the decorations to remember them by.