Mums the word: A big Texas homecoming tradition

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Monday, September 17, 2018
Homecoming Mums: A Texas tradition
The homecoming mum. It's a Texas-sized tradition that is getting even bigger.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The homecoming mum, it's a Texas-sized tradition that is getting even bigger.

So what's the story behind what was once a small corsage and is now an enormous accessory?

Here's a little background on the flower and how it became one of the most important parts of a student's high school years:

  • Mum is short for Chrysanthemums, daisy-like flowers that come in various forms and colors.
  • Chrysanthemums were first introduced in the U.S. during Colonial times.
  • It became known as "Queen of the Fall Flowers" after its growth in popularity.
  • Boys started giving a mum to his date as a corsage for homecoming.
  • It first started out as a simple, small flower and a few ribbons.
  • The decor became more elaborate in Texas in the 1970s.
  • Mums have become enormous with decorations galore.
  • Guys have a mini version that goes around their arm called the garter. But the smaller version still features all the bells and whistles a larger mum would have.
  • Mums have included decor like students' graduation year, high school mascot, charms, bells, ribbons and even LED lights. The most popular piece of decoration though is the teddy bear. You will see a small stuffed teddy bear on just about any homecoming mum.
  • Prices for mums can range from as low as $30 to as high as $500.
  • Students do not wear the mums to the homecoming dance. They wear them the day before at school and football game.

"It's all about the braids, the bling and the fullness of the mum," Elizabeth Cleaver, known as The Mum Queen, said.

If anything, homecoming mums prove that some things are not only bigger in Texas, but over the top.

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