By Joy Donovan
Photos by Ron Jenkins
Homecoming mums have always been a thing in Texas, but now they’ve evolved into giant magical creations that can cost a car payment.
Yes, there are queens and kings, and parades and football, but homecoming in Texas has always been about the mum.
Back in the day, a quaint chrysanthemum was the centerpiece of a colorful corsage accented with a smart amount of ribbons and pinned to your sweater to show off school colors on the day of the homecoming football game.
It was a point of pride in Texas, a rite of fall. That hasn’t changed.
But over time the mums have evolved; it’s almost as if they’re on steroids, growing into artificial flowers the size of dinner plates that are draped with streams of ribbons and stuffed animals, hanging like a yoke about a young girl’s neck.
“Never in my wildest dreams” is how Cecilia Valudos describes the changes she has seen in homecoming mums in the 25-plus years she has co-owned C&C’s Floral Events (ccfloralevents.com). She and a friend, also named Cecilia, started their shop in a Grapevine garage as a seasonal business; it’s now a storefront at 124 Grapevine Highway in Hurst that operates all year.
“They all wear them around their necks; we don’t pin them on any more,” Valudos says in between customer questions. “Some have 15 to 20 mums. They’re not ‘corsages.’ They’re homecoming mums. They’re our works of art.”
C&C’s, which is now co-owned by Nancy Kirkpatrick, creates mums for high schools across the DFW region, including the Carroll Dragons.
The boys take part in this tradition. A girl buys her date a “garter,” which involves a fake posy similarly festooned and worn on elastic around his bicep. All this may or may not involve a school dance, a homecoming banquet or a football victory. It’s what goes on your Instagram page that counts.
Just like any other facet of the fashion world, mums are subject to trends. Plastic trinkets? Oh, that’s so last millennium. In are bows, ribbons, handcrafted silhouettes and even sparkling brooches.
“Now this season it’s all about the braids, bows, boa and bling — the four Bs,” Valudos says. Some don’t even bother with school colors at all, and the white mum — a color reserved for high school seniors — now may be accented with rose gold, champagne or blush.
All this tradition comes with a price tag, of course. Getting out easy means spending about $50. Spending $1,000 can get you something really impressive.
You’ll be seeing plenty of these mums, and soon. Upcoming homecoming football games in the 76092 area include:
Sept. 12 Keller vs. Grand Prairie
Sept. 27 Grapevine vs. Carrollton Creekview
Oct. 4 Trophy Club Byron
Nelson vs. Keller Central
Oct. 4 Colleyville Heritage vs. Carrollton Creekview
Oct. 25 Carroll vs. Keller Central