Thursday, October 17, 2013

Texification or MUMmification?

Ahhh, behold the homecoming mum, Texas style.

Tradition in the Lone Star State dictates that high school students wear elaborate, floral/ribbon creations for homecoming. This "corsage" is no shrinking violet. Remember, we're in Texas. These mums are usually bigger than a dinner plate and are covered in one or more artificial chrysanthemum flowers, lots of ribbons (that reach the floor), noisemakers, and stuffed animals. Homecoming mums are worn around the neck and can weigh several pounds.

Native Texans have told me that this trend toward bigger and "better?" mums started sometime in the 1980s. Up until then, a homecoming mum was made up of a real chrysanthemum flower with a few ribbons surrounding it; nothing out of the ordinary. Modest. Tasteful. Understated. Times have changed, the corsages have grown, and mums have morphed into (sometimes tacky looking) monstrosities. 

In this photo from the early to mid 80s, the trend for "bigger and better" was well underway.

A basic, no frills mum now starts at about $45. These pre-made corsages can be purchased at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or at almost any (believe it, or not) grocery store. There are florists and specialty homecoming mum shops that make mums. Some of the groups/clubs at the local high schools also make and sell mums as a fundraiser. And then there are the die-hard DIYers, like me!

My newly found mum designing friend, Angie, has been in the business for 23 years, and she said that she has seen it all. Her business is only open twelve weeks out of the year. She employs twenty mum artists, who build homecoming mums for girls and garters for guys. FYI, a garter looks pretty much like a mum, just on a smaller scale. Guys wear their garter on their upper arm.

It used to be that freshman could only wear a corsage with one flower, sophomores had two, and so on. That tradition no longer holds. Teddy bears are the stuffed animal of choice; however, it is becoming acceptable to use other animals. The only rule that I was told that I had to follow was to stick to the school colors during the first three years of high school. Simple enough. Seniors are the only ones who can deviate from the school color theme. Seniors get to have white corsages with either gold or silver accents. They are also allowed to add splashes of whatever other colors they want.

I told Angie that I wielded a pretty mean hot glue gun, and she assured me that I would have no trouble creating something unique for my daughter. She even started me out with a basic heart-shaped arrangement of mums and ribbons. I purchased a few interesting decorative ribbons and trinkets at her shop, then I visited Hobby Lobby, where I found more ornaments and ribbons to add to the mum. I even got 40-50% off my purchases. Yay!

One floral designer told me that she has had more than one client willing to pay $600+ for a one-of-a-kind custom creation. Real flowers have long since been replaced with silk flowers. White chrysanthemums are the most commonly used flower, but anything goes. The silk flowers are glued onto a cardboard plate with ribbon, streamers, trinkets, and stuffed animals attached. Some folks go all out with LED lights, moving parts, and sound. Creativity and individuality reign.

So, it's homecoming week at Keller High. 

Our girlie was not too sure about whether or not she would even want a mum... I decided that I didn't want our daughter to be the odd one out, so I made her a "corsage" to wear to school today. She will also wear it to the football game tonight. 

With the presentation of this more modest Texas-style mum from her mum and dad, our transplanted Cali gal now looks like a Texan.
Texification complete.

No, this one will ALWAYS be a California girl.

We stopped by Makenna's house on the way to school. I simply had to take a picture, or two, of these two friends dressed in their homecoming finery. Does this make them mum chums or chummy mummies or mummy chummies? Or perhaps they're just buds...

Let's go, Keller Indians!