Homecoming mums go social

18 Oct
Source: hairbowblog.fifthavenuebowtique.com

Source: hairbowblog.fifthavenuebowtique.com

Drive around most Texas cities on a fall Friday night, and chances are you’ll pass by glaring stadium lights, busy parking lots full of cars, bleacher seats packed with color-coordinated fans cheering with megaphones, plastic pompoms, wearing letter jackets and bearing the sacred colors of their local team as the marching band plays in the background.

Friday night high school football has an electric energy all its own. Never is this truer than during homecoming, a right of passage for Texas teenagers.

Other than going to play-offs, the homecoming game is as big as it gets. The cheers are louder, the sea of colors is larger and homecoming mums are on full display in all their glory.

If you’re from Texas, there’s no need to describe to you what a mum looks like, but, apparently, if you’re from outside the borders, it’s a different story.

Source: my personal photo collection - junior year of high school

Source: my personal photo collection – junior year of high school

My junior year of high school, my homecoming date’s craft-gifted aunt had used three regular sized round mums to make me one huge heart-shaped mum.

Garland, bells and whistles adorned the purple, white and black ribbons that swished all the way down below my knees. My date’s name and football number were written in a cardboard star right at the top of the mum. In case that wasn’t eye-catching enough, the dang thing lit up.

There was a string of white Christmas lights powered by a battery pack that was mounted to the back of the mum, which was mounted to little me. This was more than a decade ago, so before neck or shoulder straps were used to help bear the weight.

The 16-year-old version of me felt a mixture of mortification and victory at all the attention my mum and I received.

I secretly loved that mum, even though I felt like a walking pep rally.

The rise of the Internet has taken mum-making and exposition to a new level.

It use to be that high school yearbooks and personal photo albums were the final resting place for visual archives for mums, but social media has exploded with ways to digitally share photos and videos.

There are 60 pins and 841 followers for mums on Pinterest, although the California-based site lists them under the “sports roses” category, which I’ve never heard before.

There are numerous how-to blogs and videos. One 15-minute video on YouTube has more than 60,000 views.

Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Statigram, house ever growing photo collections of mums of all colors and sizes.

What about the mum-makers?

Growing up, you were either related to someone who made your mum or you paid someone to make it for you. There weren’t too many options in our town. The lady who worked at one of the only two dry cleaners we had downtown also ran a side mum and garter business during football season.

Other than that, Hobby Lobby or H-E-B grocery store made more generic looking mums for a hefty price.

Now, in addition to having their own websites, mum-makers have set up virtual shop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I think this is a good partnering of new technology and Texas tradition to let mum-enthusiasts have their fun year round.


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