Monday, August 8, 2011


While I was sick with a 36 hour stomach bug last week, the only thing that made it a bit better was streaming Netflix. A few friends on Twitter had suggested Friday Night Lights as a great show that they were all addicted to recently. Since I didn’t have anything else to do, I started up an episode – and boy howdy, was it addicting!

It’s about a Texas town and their love for football. And with Texas football comes Homecoming. I know other high schools and colleges have Homecoming, but in Texas, it’s just special. We take it to another level.

For those that aren’t familiar, Homecoming in many Texas towns has a special tradition – mums. And we’re not talking the normal flowers:


We’re talking fake mums that guys buy their Homecoming dates so they can wear them to the big game the day before the dance.

Enter exhibit one:


This is a sophomore me, with T, the love of my young high school life. Boy, was he wonderful. He’s now a Navy man with a beautiful wife and a few kids, I think. It’s crazy how things change.

Tradition in Texas has it that a gentleman purchase his lady a mum before the big Homecoming game. In the beginning, that was a real mum but over the years, people started using plastic flowers so they would last longer (I’m guessing in the Texas heat, because in October, it’s still awfully hot). They started adding ribbons in the team colors and little trinkets to make noise when they walked. Then, more elaborate ribbons and teddy bears in the middle of the mums. And then you have my wonderful mum from sophomore year.

Homecoming tradition also holds that the lady purchase her gentleman a garter to wear. If he’s on the football team, he can wear it during the school day, but if he’s just watching the game, then you can wear it the whole day.

Yup, that’s right. We wear these things to school that day, to classes and then to the big pep rally at the end of the day, before the big game.

Enter exhibit two:


This is my senior year of high school, after I transferred from one Texas city to another, hence the different colors in the mum. Typically, the mums are in the color of the mascot – whatever that may be. The teddy bears in the middle of the mums were usually dressed up like little cheerleaders and carry megaphones.

But as a senior? Your mum got to be special. Yours got to be white – to denote your seniority of the school. I waited three years to be able to wear one of those white mums! I was so happy when I finally got to do it. This one was particularly big – the ribbons went to my knees. It was so heavy that I had to wear overalls to the Spirit Day that year, because pinning the thing to a regular shirt would have pulled my shirt clean off me! Lots of the girls came to the same conclusion, so we all matched in our overalls that day.

I was never one of the extra special girls who got a double or triple mum – multiple flowers on one thing. Those were extra expensive and my boyfriends never loved me that much. ;)

When I brought up my love of Homecoming mums, my Sunday night dinner crowd looked at me like I had two heads.

I explained what it was, and then the laughing started.

So let me ask you – did your high school have any traditions that other people might find ridiculous? Because I loved my mums and wouldn’t have traded the tradition for anything in the world.


  1. I went to high school in Alabama, and we did huge Homecoming mums, too, but ours were real and only worn to the game and the dance. (Our dance was right after the game.) A boy only bought your mum if you were dating exclusively (or he wanted to take the step towards exclusivity). Otherwise, a lot of girls' parents bought theirs. If you happened to be dating exclusively, both your first names were printed on the ribbons, and it was a big deal. I loved it! Traditions are what make your experiences special.

  2. Those are HUGE! I actually have never heard of that! My school sells mums (the plants) for homecoming, but I think the only ones that actually dress up are the students in homecoming court. I don't remember that when I was in school either.

  3. At my California high school no one even went to the homecoming dance and I've never heard of the mums thing. It sounds fun though.

  4. Hahaha! How did that not pull you over? My best friend is from a small town in Texas and she's always talking about these Homecoming mums. She's tried to explain it a million times but I still do NOT get it! :) But I probably would have loved something like that back in high school.

  5. Sweet 8 lb 10 oz. baby Jesus, those are massive, ridiculous flowers. After we set Florida adrift into the Atlantic, Texas is next.