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At Bowling Green State University in Ohio, administrators banned the use of Nerf guns for a semester, but then met with student organizers and drew up a list of guidelines, such as keeping the game outside of school buildings. Students also agreed to refer to the weapons as Nerf “blasters,” not guns.

The next semester, the Nerf ban was lifted, said Landon King, a junior and past president of the BG Undead, which organizes the games.

“We haven’t had any issues, other than people coming up and asking, ‘What’s that?’ ” said Mr. King, who added that the group always coordinates its games with campus police. “My only advice for the University of Colorado would be to work with the university, listen to their concerns, and meet them halfway.”

In the meantime, Colorado zombies were content to adhere to the no-Nerf policy, especially after learning that they could be charged with violations of the student-conduct policy or even arrested on charges of unlawful conduct.

“We told them that the violation of the weapons policy is a serious thing,” said Mr. Hilliard. “If a third party happened upon this and called 911, we’d have to respond as if it were a real incident.”

That was enough to convince students like junior Trevor Doner.

“It’s not worth it,” Mr. Doner told the Colorado Daily. “I’m just going to shed my dignity and bring a balled-up sock to chemistry class.”