Mum’s rite of passage; Texas’ bigger homecoming tradition

Things are said to be bigger and better in Texas. And that includes their Homecoming corsages.

One can also order mums from not only craft and grocery stores; florists sell them as well as specialty stores or home businesses that only operate this time of year.

FORT WORTH, Texas October 7, 2017 — Texas has many traditions and one of the most original is the homecoming mum. No, the Lone Star State did not invent the autumn corsage. That honor goes to the University of Missouri. The whole idea of inviting alumni to come home for a football game, festivities, and a dance began there.

A high school dance team wears homecoming mums (Henry Huey/Flickr)

However, the mums took on a life of their own in Texas. They’ve gone from a real chrysanthemum and maybe some ribbons to a portable craft store display. Prices range from about $40 to $600.

This time of year grocery and craft stores ply their trade of base model mums with local high school colors. Frugal parents buy extra ribbon, charms, boas, stuffed animals, bows, trinkets, and assorted tchotchkes to embellish the corsage. Some even buy LED lights and speakers for sound.

A line of mums –
Izabel Rodriguez (9), Kerstin Maddox (10), Brice Dickinson (12), Kalee Maddox (12) Peyton Lawless (11), Natalie Olson (11) and Rachel Tomeff (12) display their homecoming mums and garter. Mums is one of the annual traditions that seems to thrive from year to year.
courtesy of The Talon – Georgetown High School, Texas

They can be ordered from craft and grocery stores; florists sell them as well as specialty stores or home businesses that only operate this time of year.

Base model mums and embellishments at a craft store. (Claire Hickey)
Image captures from Pinterest

Traditionally the boy would ask a girl to homecoming and he would buy the corsage, or his mother would make one. The custom grew to include a garter worn on a boy’s arm, bought or made by the girl. Single people now sport the homecoming adornments too.

It used to be that if you didn’t have a date for homecoming you didn’t get a corsage. Girls wear their mums to school the day of homecoming if it isn’t too big – but then in Texas what is too big (see image left).

People go to the game not just to watch football but to see all the mums on display. They are single, double, triple, quadruple flowered, and even bigger. Some are too big to be pinned to a blouse or sweater. The giant mums have added ribbon to go around the neck of the wearer, and sometimes even have to encircle her back.

Quadruple flowered mum – The white and silver colors are for seniors only (Claire Hickey)
Just bigger in Texas! Image captured on Pinterest photo share

Texas transplants to other states have tried to take this tradition with them without much success. And although there are a few high schools in other areas that do this Texans wonder why other states haven’t caught on to this rite of passage. Maybe one day they will.


Read more of Claire’s work at Feed the Mind, Nourish the Soul in the Communities Digital News and Greater Fort Worth Writers Group.

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Claire Hickey
Claire has held a Texas Cosmetology License, Certification in Surgical Technology and has decorated cakes professionally. She believes that life is a banquet to be experienced and wants to learn and do as much as possible while she’s here. This Stay @ Home Mom has always loved to write and thanks to the Communities Digital News has got her chance. Her curiosity and writing lead her to create her column based on “garbage in garbage out” theory to provide interesting and thought provoking pieces that enrich her readers. A proud member of the Greater Fort Worth Writer’s Group she is currently working on her first novel.